University of Virginia, Department of Computer Science
CS655: Programming Languages
Spring 2000

Mock Trial

The week of March 26 we will put Bjarne Stroustrup, creator of C++, on trial for "crimes against programmerdom" (the prosecuting attorneys are responsible for making the charges specific). The mock trial is meant to be a fun way to review what we have learned so far in class. You should aim to bring as much technical and historical context to your arguments as possible.

Each student in the class will be assigned a role in the trial. You may express a preference for particular roles by filling out this form and returning it to me by noon on 23 February. Rank order (1 is highest preference) as many of the listed roles are you want. There is no guarantee you will be assigned the requested role.

Trial Roles

Your name: ________________________________________________________

The Prosecution

_____ Prosecuting Attorney 1 - write charges (with help from other prosecutors), cross defendant
_____ Prosecuting Attorney 2 - opening argument, direct prosecution witness #3, cross defense witness #3
_____ Prosecuting Attorney 3 - direct prosecution witness #1, cross defense witness #2
_____ Prosecuting Attorney 4 - direct prosecution witness #2, cross defense witness #1, closing argument

_____ Prosecution witness 1 (suggested: Barbara Liskov, creator of CLU)
_____ Prosecution witness 2 (suggested: Alan Kay, creator/evangelist of Smalltalk)
_____ Prosecution witness 3 (your choice: _________________)

Can be any programming languages person, or a representative of a group like a "CS 101 student".

The Defense

_____ The Defendant, Bjarne Stroustrup
The Fifth Amendment doesn't apply in our courtroom, so the defendant will be required to testify (for that matter the Eigth Amendment doesn't apply either).
____ Defense Attorney 1 - opening argument, direct defense witness #3
____ Defense Attorney 2 - direct defendant, cross prosecution witness #2
____ Defense Attorney 3 - direct defense witness #1, cross prosecution witness #3
____ Defense Attorney 4 - direct defense witness #2, cross prosecution witness #1, closing argument

____ Defense Witness 1 (suggested: Dennis Ritchie, developer of C)
____ Defense Witness 2 (suggested: Philiippe Khan, head of Borland/Inprise)
____ Defense Witness 3 (your choice: ______________________)

The Jury

____ Juror - jurors will write a position paper explaining their verdict. If guilty, they will suggest an approporate sentence.

Rules of Evidence

Any course reading, lecture, problem set or position paper may be introduced as evidence. In addition, each team of attorneys may (this means "should") request additional exhibits before the trial begins. These may be papers, excerpts of papers or books, programs, etc. The court will decide if an exhibit is admissible or inadmissible. Since jurors will be expected to examine all exhibits, attorneys are advised to limit the size of the exhibits they propose.

Explanation of Roles

Attorneys will be responsible for working with their assigned witnesses to take a deposition before the trial begins. This deposition is a list of questions and answers that will be provided to the court (that's the course staff) and the opposing attorneys a week before the trial begins. Attorneys will be evaluated on their pre-trial depositions, and performance in the trial. In addition, the prosecuting attorneys are responsible for writing the formal criminal charges. They should include solid evidence of harm caused by the Defendant that can be attributed to gross negligence (as opposed to the start-of-the-art in language design at the time).

Witnesses (including the defendant) will work with their assigned attorney to prepare a pre-trial deposition. Witnesses will be evaluated on how well their answers represent the views of the person they are impersonating. If you can convince the real person to testify in your place, that's fine too.

Jurors will write position papers arguing either that the prosecution did not satisfy its burden of proof or that the defendant is guilty. If the defendant is guilty, jurors also suggest an appropriate punishment. (The Defendant will be required to suffer the punishment only at the discretion of the court.)

CS 655 University of Virginia
CS 655: Programming Languages
Last modified: Mon Feb 26 12:48:19 2001