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11th Annual Grand Moot Court Competition draws distinguished federal judges

Four Pace Law students argued before a distinguished panel of federal judges, recently, in the final round of the 11th annual Grand Moot Court Competition. A packed house of faculty, students, friends and family looked on in Pace Law’s Gerber Glass Moot Court Room as the students were grilled by the Hon. Denny Chin of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; and three judges from the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the Hon. Edgardo Ramos, Hon. Loretta A. Preska, and Hon. Cathy Seibel. 

The Grand Moot Competition is the culmination of the Advanced Appellate Advocacy course.  This year, 32 students who finished at the top of the 1L Moot Court Competition were selected to participate in the course.  As part of the class, each of the students submitted a brief and argued in two rounds in the initial phase of the competition on December 1, 2012.  Based upon their brief and their oral argument scores, eight students were selected for the semifinal round, with the top four advancing to the final. 

The problem, Silver v. United States, concerned a fictional appeal by a defendant, Joel Silver, who was charged with possession of child pornography based upon images seized from his home computer pursuant to a search warrant.  After his motion to suppress the images was denied, Silver pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 162 months in prison and directed to pay $217,000 in restitution to the victim depicted in the materials.  The appeal presented two issues that have divided the Circuit Courts of Appeal: First, whether a prior conviction for and possible evidence of a sexual offense against a child is sufficient to establish probable cause to search a defendant’s home computer for child pornography; and second, whether a court may order a defendant convicted only of possession of child pornography to pay restitution to the victim depicted in those materials. 

Arguing the case for Silver were Alena Eydlish and Matthew Pellegrine.  Nicole Murdocca and Heather Graham argued on behalf of the government.  Each of the competitors proved themselves staunch and articulate advocates for their clients.  Three of the four finalists-- Nicole, who was named best oralist; Alena, who received the best brief award; and Matthew-- will go on to represent Pace at the National Moot Court Competition this Fall. Heather will be a member of the Prince Evidence Moot Court Team. 

Special thanks to Professor Louis Fasulo and his assistant Loretta Musial who helped make this year’s event a tremendous success. 

Thanks, as well, to Barbri who donated gift certificates to all the competitors.

Finally, a special thank you to Professors Michael Berg, Joshua Scheier, Danielle Shalov, and Itamar Yeger who taught this year’s class and helped prepare the students for the competition.