While March Madness in the basketball realm kicks into full force this weekend, so to does MULS’s own version of March Madness—the annual Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition.
Beginning this Saturday, preliminary rounds featuring eleven upper-level student teams will be held at Ray and Kay Eckstein Hall. First (10 a.m.), Second (1 p.m.), and Auxiliary (4 p.m.) rounds will be held Saturday, with Third (10 a.m.) and Fourth (1 p.m.) rounds held Sunday. Four of the eleven teams will advance to the semi-finals, held March 27th, and two teams will advance to the finals held April 3rd. All rounds are open to the public.
This year’s competition centers on the following two issues:
(1) whether Fed. R. Evid. 606(b) bars the use of post-verdict juror testimony of racial prejudice to show that a juror lied on voir dire, and if so, whether that violates a defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights, and
(2) whether attempting to persuade another person to withhold testimony from an official proceeding by exercising her Fifth Amendment right can violate 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b), even if the persuasion is non-coercive and not done by wrongful means.
The background of the case involves a criminal defendant who was convicted of murdering a postal worker in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1111(a), and corruptly persuading a witness (his girlfriend) to withhold testimony in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b). The points of contention involve a jury instruction that defined the term “corruptly persuades” as “motivated by an improper purpose,” as well as the fact a juror came forward the day after the verdict was rendered alleging that two other jurors were racially prejudiced against the defendant.
Competitors will argue both sides of the issue, determined by a coin flip fifteen minutes prior to arguments.
This year’s competitors include:
Todd Allen, Michael Beckman, Carstens, Kelly Cavey, Yours truly, Stephen Cox, Michael Crane, Alexander Golubiewski, Andy Gordon, Krystal John, Kevin Jolivette, Paul Jonas, Brittany Kachingwe, Hans Lodge, Tea Norfolk, Kerri Puig, Kaitlyn Reise, Brendon Reyes, Jessica Shank, Joy Sisler, Martin St. Aubin, and Robert Steele.
Special thanks to the Moot Court Board as well as Professor Greipp for all their help!