JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- The Navy Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps held its inaugural National Moot Court Competition Nov. 12-14 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Fla.
After the final arguments were given, Rear Adm. Nanette DeRenzi, deputy Judge Advocate General of the Navy and commander, Navy Legal Service Command, announced that the team from Stetson University College of Law was the top winner of the 2009 JAG Corps National Moot Court Competition.
The competition was hosted by Region Legal Service Office Southeast and welcomed 23 teams of students representing a cross-section of the highest caliber and most diverse law schools from across the nation.
Joseph Etter, Amie Patty, Brice Zoechklein and team coach, Larry Miccolis made up the Stetson University College of Law team. Duke University School of Law's team members, Andrew Shadoff and Greg Dixson, were recognized by the judges as having the best brief. Nicholas Mahrt, from University of Denver, was named as the best oral advocate.
"The competition first of all has outstanding law students and the competitors have performed today as well as any competitors I have seen in any moot court," said Judge Andrew Effron, chief judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.
The teams argued before panels comprised of a United States federal judge, sitting military jurists from the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Appeals, and the Navy Trial Judiciary.
"The unique thing about this competition is its national scope and its focus on military justice," said DeRenzi. "There is not another competition like this in the country, and the thing that makes it truly a premiere event is the opportunity for the competitors to argue before sitting judges." DeRenzi said most moot court competitions don't offer the chance to argue before sitting judges.
Effron said even though the case is based on the military, the students won't be in the dark about the application of law.
"The problem that has been given to them is one that, although is a military law specific topic, involves general constitutional principals of self incrimination and search and seizure," said Effron. "So they get to apply the legal skills they have learned in law school, have those skills tested in competition with other students, and have experienced judges ask them tough questions and evaluate them in oral arguments."
The competition will also have an effect on the reputation of the JAG Corps said DeRenzi.
"Hopefully the effect of this competition on the Navy JAG Corps Navywide will be an enhanced reputation for professionalism, and nationwide an enhanced awareness of the Navy, what the Navy does and what the Navy JAG Corps role is," said DeRenzi.
Eight schools advanced to quarter-final rounds including Barry University, Duke Law, Florida A&M, University of Florida Levin College of Law, University of Houston Law Center, The John Marshall Law School, Southern University Law Center, and Stetson University College of Law.
Other school participating included: Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law; Duke University School of Law; Florida Coastal School of Law; George Washington University Law School; Georgetown University Law School; Georgia State University College of Law; Harvard Law School; North Carolina Central University - School of Law; South Texas College of Law; Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law; University of Alabama School of Law; University of California Berkeley Law; University of Denver College of Law; University of Georgia Law; University of Southern California Law School; and Yale Law School.
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