Chief Judge Merrick Garland with outstanding advocate Erica Dugue, School Without Walls
The Historical Society’s 12th Annual Mock Court Program was a huge success. Over 170 students from McKinley Tech, School Without Walls, H.D. Woodson, and Maret School presented 5-6 minute appellate style arguments before 14 federal and D.C. Court judges on March 10.
This was the largest program ever. Over 30 attorneys from D.C.’s legal community volunteered their time and met 4-5 times with the students, assisting them in preparing their arguments.
Chief Judge Merrick Garland welcomed the students before they proceeded to their assigned courtrooms with their teachers and attorney mentors to present their arguments. They argued two hypothetical cases.
One involved First Amendment and due process issues arising from a fictional student blog on which students expressed their views on the performance of their teachers, which in turn led to the suspension of the student running the blog.
The second involved Fourth Amendment and due process issues arising from the search by school officials of three students’ cell phones suspected of preparing to engage in a vandalism prank against a rival football school, and their later suspension from school.
Each judge presented an Outstanding Advocate Award to the best student advocate, and Chief Judge Beryl Howell thanked the students for their participation. A pizza lunch followed.
Each of the over 170 students who participated in the Society’s Mock Court Program this year argued before one of the 14 judges who volunteered to hear the students’ arguments and question them about their cases. Three of the judges — Chief Judge Merrick Garland, Judge David Sentelle and Judge Robert Wilkins — sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Chief Judge Beryl Howell, and Judges Ketanji Jackson, Christopher Cooper, Tanya Chutkan, Deborah Robinson, and G. Michael Harvey sit on the U.S. District Court here. They were joined by Judge Martin Teel of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Judge Willliam Bryson of the Federal Circuit, Judges Phyllis Thompson and John Ferren of the D. C. Court of Appeals, and Judge Frank Burgess of the D.C. Superior Court.
Judge Ketanji Jackson
Jim Rocap, Chair of the Society’s Mock Court Program
The judges praised the students for their presentations, finding it difficult to choose the best advocate from all those who argued before them. Nonetheless, the following students received Outstanding Advocate Awards:
From H.D. Woodson High School: Urlick Evans, Dontre Jackson, Erick Mills, Octavia Starkey, and Keval Welch. From School Without Walls: Erica Dugue, Maggie Drelichman, Isabel Uriagereka Herberger, Simon O’Sullivan, and Thomas Townsend From McKinley Tech High School: Christina Cole, Jamir Grayton, and Bernard Myers From Maret School: Lynn Farquhar
[Pictured below, from left to right. Row One: Judge Sentelle and his students, Chief Judge Howell and her students. Row Two: Judge Bryson and his students, Judge Cooper and his students. Row Three: Judge Harvey and his students, Judge Teel and his students. Row Five: Judge Jackson and her students, Judge Ferren and his students. Row Six: Judge Chutkan and a student, Judge Robinson and her students.]
** Group photographs taken by the volunteer attorney mentors. Photographs of individual students taken by Ann Wilkins, Circuit Executive’s Office