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Cunningham and Donahue Emerge Victorious at Moot Court Competition

The Moot Court champion team of second-year law students (standing from left) Brian Cunningham and Patti Donohue argued before the distinguished bench of (seated from left): Kane County Public Defender Kelli M. Childress; The Honorable Rosemary Collins of the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois; and Professor Timothy P. O'Neill, the Edward T. and Noble W. Lee Chair in Constitutional Law from the John Marshall Law School.

The Moot Court champion team of second-year law students (standing from left) Brian Cunningham and Patti Donahue argued before the distinguished bench of (seated from left): Kane County Public Defender Kelli M. Childress; The Honorable Rosemary Collins of the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois; and Professor Timothy P. O'Neill, the Edward T. and Noble W. Lee Chair in Constitutional Law from the John Marshall Law School.

March 20, 2015

DeKalb, Ill.--The Northern Illinois University College of Law hosted its 33rd annual Lenny B. Mandell Moot Court Competition for second-year law students.  The finals, held on February 28, 2015, produced the Moot Court champion team of Brian Cunningham and Patti Donahue as they defeated the formidable combination of Danielle D’Ambrose and Cole DeBlaey.  In addition to being part of the winning team, Cunningham was named best oralist in the final round. 

The teams argued before the distinguished bench of the Honorable Rosemary Collins of the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois; Kane County (IL) Public Defender Kelli M. Childress; and Professor Timothy P. O'Neill, the Edward T. and Noble W. Lee Chair in Constitutional Law from the John Marshall Law School.

“The judges on the final bench for this year's competition were all very knowledgeable of the Fourth Amendment issues presented by the case,” said Distinguished Teaching Professor David Taylor. “That made for vigorous questioning of the students during their arguments.”

The case on appellate review argued by the teams involved a police investigation of a possible break-in that resulted in a questionable search. The questions under review were: whether the Fourth Amendment permits law enforcement officers to conduct a protective sweep of a home without a warrant when the sweep is not incident to the lawful arrest; and whether a law enforcement agent may incorporate specialized experience and knowledge in determining if a container has illegal contraband, thereby justifying a lawful warrantless search under the plain view doctrine.

“We are all very proud of the job the students did, both in the final rounds and throughout the competition. It was a testament to their preparation and skill as advocates,” said Taylor

The Lenny B. Mandell Moot Court Competition was re-named for Professor Lenny Mandell, who retired in 2013 as Associate Dean for Student Services after having served as faculty advisor for the Moot Court Society for 31 years.  He was succeeded in the role as Moot Court faculty advisor by Distinguished Teaching Professor David Taylor.  A longtime advocate and coach of various NIU Law co-curricular trial and appellate competition teams, Professor Taylor also serves as Director of Skills Training.

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For more information, contact:
Melody Mitchell
Alumni Events & Public Relations
(815) 753-9655 or

mmitchell@niu.edu

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