UND School of Law students take second in National Criminal Moot Court Competition

Two University of North Dakota School of Law students performed well in a recent national competition hosted by the University of Buffalo School of Law., taking second place at the fourteenth annual Herbert Wechsler Criminal Law Moot Court competition, hosted by the University Of Buffalo School Of Law on March 31, 2012.

Amanda Gill, a native of Clark, S.D., and Joel Engel, from Sioux Falls, competed against 26 schools of law from around the country, taking second place at the 14th annual Herbert Wechsler Criminal Law Moot Court competition on March 31.  Other schools that had participants in the event were New York University, University of Michigan and William and Mary.

Both Gill and Engel completed their undergraduate degrees at UND, as well.

Gill and Engel advanced through the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds only to be bested  in the finals when Gill and Engel argued with students from the Catholic School of America Columbus School of Law, located in Washington D.C.

The match, which was dubbed the “Clash of the Titans, took place in front of The Hon. Tracey A. Bannister of the Erie County Supreme Court, The Hon. George Bundy Smith, a justice emeritus from the New York Court of Appeals, and The Hon. Gerard E. Lynch, of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Named after the drafter of the model penal code, the Wechsler moot court competition is the only national moot court competition in the United States to focus on topics in substantive criminal law. Problems address the constitutionality and interpretation of federal and state criminal statutes as well as general issues in the doctrine of federal and state criminal law.

This year’s problem, presented in the case Jackson v. Hobbs, considered if imposition of a life-without-parole sentence on a 14-year old convicted of homicide violates constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

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