Altheimer Moot Court Competition Prize Round to Be Held Friday

From left, second-year law school students Jessica Boykin, Walker Hawkins, Asia Cruz and KenDrell D. Collins.
Photo by Kathryn Sampson

From left, second-year law school students Jessica Boykin, Walker Hawkins, Asia Cruz and KenDrell D. Collins.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The prize round of the Ben J. Altheimer Moot Court Competition will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, March 10, in the School of Law E.J. Ball Courtroom.

The legal and campus communities are invited to join the law school for this battle of wits and reasoning hosted by the University of Arkansas School of Law Board of Advocates. All attendees are welcome at a reception following the event.

The competition allows second-year students to hone their appellate writing and oral advocacy skills. Students who excel in this competition have the opportunity to represent the University of Arkansas the following year in external moot court competitions.

The teams will represent the Petitioner, Michel Fernando (Asia Cruz and Walker Hawkins) versus the Respondent, Murano Unified School District (Jessica Boykin and KenDrell D. Collins).

A brief writing and oral argument competition began in January, continuing into preliminary rounds where all teams for argued both petitioner and respondent, before panels of distinguished members of the local bar. The two teams in the final round of competition have honed their skills over three rounds of oral arguments in front of guest judges.

Judges for the prize round include the Honorable Steve Leben, judge, Kansas Court of Appeals; Dale A. Whitman, dean emeritus, University of Missouri School of Law; and the Honorable Joe J. Volpe, magistrate judge, United States District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas.

Friday's oral arguments will take about an hour, followed by deliberations by guest judges resulting in critiques of the students' presentations. In addition to a decision on the case, the judges will also announce their award for best oralist and best brief.

The question for this year's competition revolves around a high school student who was suspended for his activities on a Facebook Group. The case considers whether the student's suspension is a violation of his First Amendment Speech rights as they relate to these activities.

The issues are: Whether student speech made on an internet forum may be governed by Tinker v. Des Moines. More specifically, should the Court adopt an approach which asks geographically if the speech occurred in a school setting (such as on the grounds of the school or on a field trip) or if all student speech is governed by the Tinker line of cases - that is, whether all student speech that foreseeably could reach campus should be governed by Tinker and its progeny. If Tinker applies, the analysis then movers to whether the student's internet speech can be regulated by the school district.

The 2017 Altheimer Competition co-chairs, J.R. Baxter and Taylor Bish, were supported by the 2016-17 Board of Advocates chair Corey Anderson and members Ty Barnes and Bryan McQuiston. Kathryn Sampson, professor and director of competitions and capstone courses, serves as faculty advisor, supported by Carl Circo, Ben J. Altheimer Professor of Legal Advocacy.

Contacts

Darinda Sharp, director of communications
School of Law
479-575-7417, dsharp@uark.edu


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