Political Science and Criminal Justice

Moot Court Competition Turns 30

The Political Science Department is home to the Moot Court Competition which marks its 30th anniversary in its present form. CSU, Chico’s Moot Court Competition is based upon the model from law schools and from the undergraduate Moot Court Competition Nationals. Students in this program are provided a fact situation and citable authority about a month before the actual competition. During that month they prepare their arguments, author an appellate brief, and go about honing their presentation to be made in a single elimination tournament in May.

In that tournament up to 32 teams (64 students) compete in this weeklong, single elimination tournament. On Monday night they make the argument from the side that they are assigned for that night and which is also the side that represents their appellate brief. If they prevail on Monday night, they go onto Tuesday night, and on Tuesday night they are required to switch sides. If they win on Tuesday, they go on to Wednesday and switch back, etc. With half the teams being eliminated each night, by Friday there are two teams left for the championship. Those arguments are traditionally made at the Chico City Council Chambers, and at that event the champions are awarded a plaque, as are the semi-finalists. There is also an award for the best brief in the competition.

Students in this program have competed in the Nationals competition. Professor Dane Cameron sat as the Chief Justice for the Nationals Finals the year before last in Long Beach and will be doing so again in 2011/2012. Having served on the National Moot Court Competition Board of Directors for years, Professor Cameron has participated in fashioning the rules and providing input with regards to problems that are addressed in the National arguments. Now that Cameron is off the Board of Directors, he is free to coach teams who might participate in the Nationals.

In spring 2011, the Moot Court Competition took place the week of May 2 with final arguments being heard on May 6 at City Council Chambers. The 2011 competition involved a Latin Cross which is standing in a city’s war memorial cemetery, and was based upon a case that has recently been decided by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal.

Moot Court Champion for 2011 was Rachelle Allison-Lamb. Finalists were Jeffrey Nordlander and Nathan Brady.

Political Statements is the official newsletter of the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice at California State University, Chico.

With over 1,000 total majors, the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice is one of the largest departments at Chico State. Students choose courses from a rich curriculum, providing close student-faculty contact in each of the following majors of study: U.S. politics, legal studies, criminal justice, international relations, and public administration. The department also offers a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Arts in Political Science.

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