Moot Court heading to Regionals

The regional competition is quickly approaching for Woosterís Moot Court team.

This year, 37 Wooster moot court participants will argue and defend the hypothetical case stipulated by the American Collegiate Moot Court Association State of Olympus vs. William DeNolf Jr., which involves a 15-year-old rape and kidnap suspect, implicated in the rape of another 15-year-old in his familyís RV.

ìItís not your garden variety of rape,” said captain Claire Burgess í10.† The case addresses the Fourth Amendment search and seizure clause as well as the Eighth Amendmentís protections against cruel and unusual punishment.† Moot Court participants are asked to evaluate whether the 15-year-oldís arrest and sentence of life imprisonment without parole violate his Fourth and Eighth amendment rights.

ìYou have to be ready to argue both sides of the case, either the petitioner or the respondent,” indicated captain Tom Loughead í10.† In the regional competition, each team participates in three preliminary rounds ó one as petitioner, one as respondent and one where the position is determined by coin flip.† The top half scoring teams progress to elimination rounds the following day, and the field of competition is narrowed to the top eight, four and two teams. Competitors also have a chance to earn individual oration awards based on individual scoring performance.† The top 10 orators are awarded at the close of the regional competition.

National moot court competition rules were changed this year, which affected Woosterís team.† National rules changed the number of teams that qualify out of the Wooster-based Midwest regional.† According to captain Shane Legg í10, the new rules ìmake us unable to qualify all of our teams out of our regional.”

In order to show the strongest potential teams at the national competition, Woosterís moot court team, under the direction of Professor of Political Science Mark Weaver, decided to split the team into multiple regional delegations.† Four teams, including Scott Smith í10 and Sarah Palagyi í10, will represent Wooster at the Tampa Bay regional Nov. 13 and 14.† Four more teams will be sent to the Upper Midwest regional in St. Paul, Minn. Nov. 20 and 21.† The St. Paul delegation includes Loughead, Alexa Roggenkamp í10, and Kevin Whalen í10.

Finally, 10 teams will remain in Wooster for the Midwest Regional, also on Nov. 20 and 21.† The regional will also feature one hybrid team, which will be comprised of both Ramsey Kincannon í12 and a Denison student.

Participants at the Wooster regional include Burgess and Legg, John McKeegan í10, and Megan Tope í10.† According to Legg, ìwe wanted to send strong teams to all regionals, and we expect to perform well at all of the regionals.”

To prepare for the intensity of the two-day regional tournament, the group meets weekly to rehearse arguments.† ìOur Moot Court team is very active,” says Burgess.† ìWe have a lot of new members.”† ìPractice, practice, practice,” advocates Legg.

The Wooster Moot Court team has strong ties to the local bar association, and local attorneys attend practices.† Loughead says, ìthey help judge and evaluate our arguments before both regional and national tournaments.”† Burgess also advocates producing ìDVD recordings of students” to review the visual aspect of performance.

Historically, Wooster Moot Court has performed as one of the top schools in the nation.† James Owens and Michael McMaster, both í07, took second in the nation at the 2007 competition, and orators Drew Glassroth í08 and Katharine McCarthy í09 took first in the 2008 competition.