Western New England College School of Law wins First Amendment Moot Court competition
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The team from Western New England College School of Law won the 14th Annual National First Amendment Moot Court Competition today at the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University. Winning team members were Dennis Egan and Thomas Marino.
Runner-up in the two-day competition, sponsored by the First Amendment Center and the Vanderbilt University Law School, was the team from the University of Georgia School of Law. Team members were Beth Cavagnolo and Susannah Rogers.
Recognized for “best brief” in the competition were Tracey DiLascio and Erin Ryan, Boston University School of Law; and for “best oralist,” David Koysza, Duke University School of Law.
This year’s legal-debate problem involves the constitutionality of a judicial “gag” order. In the hypothetical situation debated by the law-student participants, the gag order was issued after a politically charged prosecution for a police killing had resulted in a hung jury and mistrial declaration. A discharged juror was cited and punished for contempt for violating the gag order by speaking publicly about what the juror believed were racist and authoritarian tactics employed by police and prosecutors.
Competing this year were 32 teams of law students from across the U.S., including law schools in Massachusetts, California, Arizona, New York, Ohio, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. More than 200 attorneys, professors and legal scholars judged the preliminary rounds. Western New England College is in Springfield, Mass.
A total of $5,000 in prizes was awarded to:
- Winning team ($2,000): Western New England College School of Law, Dennis Egan and Thomas Marino.
- Runner-up ($1,000): University of Georgia School of Law, Beth Cavagnolo and Susannah Rogers.
- Semi-finalists ($500 each): Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University; Joni Kletter and Shannon Stallings; Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law, Adam Schwartz and Megan Byrnett.
- Best brief ($500): Boston University School of Law, Tracey DiLascio and Erin Ryan.
- Best oralist ($500): Duke University School of Law, David Koysza.
Receiving gavels were:
- Runner-up best brief: Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law, Adam Schwartz and Megan Byrnett.
- Runner-up best oralist: Western New England College School of Law, Thomas Marino.
Semifinal and final-round judges in the competition included: Martha Craig Daughtrey, 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; Robert L. Echols, district judge, Middle District of Tennessee; Sidney A. Fitzwater, district judge, Northern District of Texas; Julia Smith Gibbons, 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; William J. Haynes Jr., district judge, Middle District of Tennessee; Gilbert S. Merritt, 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; Aleta A. Trauger, district judge, Middle District of Tennessee; Bernice Donald, district judge, Western District of Tennessee; and A.A. Birch, justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court.
The First Amendment Center works to preserve and protect First Amendment freedoms through information and education. The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of free-expression issues, including freedom of speech, of the press and of religion, the right to assemble and petition the government.
The First Amendment Center, with offices at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and Arlington, Va., is an operating program of the Freedom Forum and is associated with the Newseum. Its affiliation with Vanderbilt University is through the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies.
Press contact: Gene Policinski, 615/727-1303 (office); 615/579-5560 (cell phone)