Monday, November 24, 2014

Hometown Team Wins Annual Moot Court Competition

By Charlie Ingrassia
Law Clerk to Hon. Susan F. Hutchinson, Illinois Appellate Court, Second District

The winning team from
Loyola University
During the first weekend in November, the Association convened in Chicago to host its annual moot court competition. The two-day event draws law students from across the country - from New York to California. The competition provides the students with an opportunity to draft an appellate brief and present oral arguments. ALA members serve as judges during the preliminary rounds, while members of the Illinois judiciary mainly comprised the bench for the semi-final and final rounds.

The competitors were asked to argue a challenging hypothetical involving two issues on appeal. The first issue involved whether the trial court erred in denying a defendant's motion suppress evidence of certain statements the defendant made during a search of his home, which included whether the defendant was "in custody" for the purposes of Miranda, whether the defendant's silence should have been admissible as evidence of guilt, and whether the public safety exception to Miranda applied. The second issue involved whether the trial court erred in concluding that a federal agent's testimony was admissible as opinion testimony under Federal Rule of Evidence 701. The hypothetical was fact intensive and required students to address conflicting case law from the federal circuits. It also required the students to address different standards of review and be able to comprehend the deference a reviewing court must afford the trial court based on the issue presented.
The runner-up team from Western
State College of Law enjoys a well-
earned celebratory moment after
the competition.

In the final round, a hometown team from Loyola University Chicago comprised of Jon Puskar and Scott Kater, bested a strong team from Western State College of Law, which is based in Fullerton, California. The Western State participants were Kylie Starr, Lynet Shigg, and Alexander Shaaban. The Association also presented awards for the best oral arguments and best briefs.

Justice William E. Holdridge (left),
ALA President Steven Pflaum (second
from left) and Justice Donald C.
Hudson (right) with the winning participants.
The ALA thanks our many sponsors, which included Neil, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP (platinum sponsor); Sidley Austin LLP (gold sponsor); Adler Murphy & McQuillen LLP, Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth LLC, Forde Law Offices LLP, Hall Prangle and Schoonveld LLC, Law Offices of Michael W. Rathsack, and Quarles & Brady LLP (silver sponsors); and Kavanagh Grumley & Gorbold LLC (bronze sponsor). The Association congratulates all participants for their hard work and the moot court committee on another successful competition. The Association also thanks members of the judiciary, ALA members, and appellate practitioners who served as judges.

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