Judges See Ames Moot Court, Laud Students Oratorial Skill

More than 500 people packed the newly remodeled Ames Courtroom last night to hear the final arguments of two teams of third-year law students in the annual Ames Moot Court Competition.

Judge Henry J. Friendly of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals announced the bench's decision in favor of the appellee at the conclusion of more than two hours of oral argumentation. Joining Judge Friendly on the bench in the 67th year of the competition were Judge Patricia M. Wald of the District of Columbia Circuit and Judge Nathaniel M. Jones of the 6th Circuit Court.

For the first time since 1964--and in only the fourth occasion in 35 years--a U.S. Supreme Court Justice did not preside over the competition.

In the hypothetical case of McGuire vs. the State of Ames, two six-member teams of third-year law students debated whether the Constitution permits a state to detain an individual between arrest and trial once a judge finds that the individual is potentially dangerous and that no conditions for release would ensure the public's safety.

In deciding for the appellee, the judges upheld the constitutionality of the hypothetical Ames Statute, which permits the state to detain individuals on the grounds that they are potentially dangerous.


The moot court was without a Supreme Court member in 1964 because inclement Boston weather forced Justice Arthur Goldberg's plane to land in Portland, Maine. By the time he rented a car and raced to Cambridge, the panel had already begun deliberating.

Better Team

Judge Friendly said at the conclusion of the arguments that the better team had been the appellees, while the best briefs had been prepared by the appellants. "The briefs and arguments were of an extremely high caliber," he said, adding, "They were much better than the common run of what the courts see in real life."

Andrew W. Lowie, Michael L. Poindexter, Laurence Shtasel, and Deval Patrick presented the arguments last night. Patrick was awarded the George Leisure Award for the best oral presentation.

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