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UAlbany Competes in Moot Court Nationals

From left, Matthew Laroche, Alison Bain-Lucey, and Professor James Acker.
From left, Matthew Laroche, Alison Bain-Lucey, and Professor James Acker.

(January 30, 2006)

Four University at Albany students participated in the American Collegiate Moot Court Association (AMCA) national moot court tournament at the University of Texas, Arlington, Jan. 20-21.

Alison Bain-Lucey and Matthew Laroche comprised one team, and Patrick Chamberlain and Matthew McLaren made up the other. Seventy-one two-member teams, representing 23 colleges and universities from across the country, took part in the event.

The tournament required teams to argue both sides of a hypothetical case involving a city's decision to deny a church group's application for a permit to use a public park to present a passion play during the Easter season, including posting a large cross in the park and leaving it unattended over the three-day period corresponding to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The reason cited by the city in denying the permit was to maintain a separation of church and state. The reverend leading the church group complained that the denial of the permit violated his rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion.

On the first day of the competition, all teams were required to engage in three rounds of arguments, representing the city and the reverend, respectively, at least one time. The team of Bain-Lucey and Laroche — winners of the Eastern Regional of the AMCA conducted in Fitchburg, Mass., in December — was among the 32 teams that advanced to the second day of competition. Chamberlain and McLaren delivered three strong arguments, but they were not among the top 32 teams that advanced to the second day.

The surviving 32 teams began a single-elimination set of arguments on the second day; after each round, the judges announced which team would advance to successive rounds. Bain-Lucey and Laroche overcame their first three opponents to reach the final four of the tournament. In the semifinal round, Bain-Lucey and Laroche were defeated by the team from Patrick Henry College that advanced to the final and then won the national championship. In advancing to the final four of the tournament — in a competition that began with 71 teams — Bain-Lucey and Laroche earned "All American" status in addition to bringing home the semi-finalist trophy.

Professor James Acker of the School of Criminal Justice helped coach the UAlbany moot court team, with graduate students Adam Lepzelter, Giza Rodick, and Bradley Stevens. Acker said, "I could not have been more impressed with the students and their performances. Each student devoted untold hours of preparation for the event, studied numerous court decisions, and practiced arguments tirelessly. They displayed unflagging enthusiasm and support for one another throughout the entire semester and weathered their triumphs and defeats in the true spirit of a team." The team thanks its many supporters for their support.


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