Cody Wisniewski Wins USD School of Law’s 2015 McLennon Moot Court Competition

Cody Wisniewski Wins 2015 McLennon Moot Court Competition

McLennon Moot Court

San Diego (March 19, 2015) – University of San Diego (USD) School of Law second-year student Cody Wisniewski won the 12th Annual Paul A. McLennon, Sr., Honors Moot Court Competition, held March 18 at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice Theatre.

This annual intramural event provides USD law students an opportunity to develop their brief-writing and oral advocacy skills by testing them in an open and rigorous competition. After filing a written brief, participants are given 15 minutes to argue their positions in the first round, and 20 minutes to do so in the semi-final and final rounds. Semi-finalists are required to argue both sides of the issue as they advance in the competition.

In this year’s fictitious case, Calibraska Department of Child Protective Services v. Georgia Pierre, respondent Georgia Pierre filed a complaint against the Calibraska Department of Child Protective Services (CDCPS), a state agency, and Zoe Walters, a CDCPS caseworker. Respondent alleged petitioners committed an unconstitutional search and seizure when Zoe Walters, based on a concerned teacher’s tip, interviewed and physically examined Respondent’s six-year-old daughter, K.P., at her school without a warrant or probable cause. Petitioners argue the search and seizure falls within an exception to the traditional Fourth Amendment requirements of probable cause and a warrant, namely, the special needs doctrine.

In this tournament, the Supreme Court addressed the following issues: (1) Whether the special needs exception to traditional Fourth Amendment requirements should apply in the context of child abuse investigations; and (2) If the special needs exception does apply, whether there occurred a search or seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment in this case.

The final round oral argument was presided over by Judge H. Lee Sarokin, Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit (ret.);
Judge M. Margaret McKeown, Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit;
and Judge Larry Alan Burns, District Judge, United States District Court, Southern District of California.

2015 McClennon Final Round Results

  • First Place: Cody Wisniewski
  • Second Place: Jenna Campbell
  • Third Place: James Hurt
  • Fourth Place: Mellania Safarian

Best Oralists:

  • First Place: Caitlin Macker
  • Second Place: Janae Knallay
  • Third Place: Jenna Campbell
  • Fourth Place: Tony Carvalho

Best Petitioner Briefs:

  • First Place: Dillon Jones
  • Second Place: Phillip Kim
  • Third Place: James Hurt
  • Fourth Place: Sarah Orloff

Best Respondent Briefs:

  • First Place: Jenna Campbell
  • Second Place: Anastasiya Menshikova
  • Third Place: Mellania Safarian
  • Fourth Place: Liz Harland

About the Paul A. McLennon, Sr., Honors Moot Court Competition

The Paul A. McLennon, Sr., Honors Moot Court Competition provides an opportunity for students to develop their brief writing and advocacy skills and to test these skills in an open, rigorous competition. Organized by the Appellate Moot Court Board, the competition consists of several primary rounds, culminating in the final round argued before a distinguished panel of judges. This competition was established by USD Professor Michael Devitt to honor longtime family friend, attorney and naval officer, Paul A. McLennon, Sr.

About the University of San Diego School of Law

Celebrating 60 years of alumni success, the University of San Diego (USD) School of Law is recognized for the excellence of its faculty, depth of its curriculum, and strength of its clinical programs. Each year, USD educates approximately 900 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from throughout the United States and around the world. The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest and taxation.

USD School of Law is one of the 81 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for law school graduates. The law school’s faculty is a strong group of outstanding scholars and teachers with national and international reputations and currently ranks 23rd worldwide in all-time faculty downloads on the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, nonprofit, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.


Patrick Riedling
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