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Good Hope Country Day School Of St. Croix Wins 23rd Annual Moot Court Competition

MOOT COURT COMPETITION: The questions and answers are moot (debatable) for the future attorneys who participated in the 23rd Annual Virgin Islands High School Appellate Moot Court Competition sponsored by the Virgin Islands Bar Association, Westlaw and Viya.

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The 23rd Annual Virgin Islands High School Appellate Moot Court Competition, sponsored by the Virgin Islands Bar Association Thompson West (Westlaw) and Viya (the vibe that connects us), was held on May 16 – 18, 2017.

Nine schools and a total of fifteen teams participated in the three-day competition that saw it two venues: the Almeric Christian Federal Courthouse on St. Croix on Tuesday and the Virgin Islands Supreme Court on St. Thomas on Wednesday and Thursday.

The participating schools from St. Croix were: Good Hope Country Day School, St. Croix Educational Complex High School, St. Croix Seventh-day Adventist School, and St. Joseph Catholic High School.

The participating schools from St. Thomas were: Antilles School, Charlotte Amalie High School, Ivanna Eudora Kean High School, Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School, and St. Thomas Seventh-day Adventist School.

The competition provided an opportunity for high school juniors and seniors in our territory to vie for scholarship prizes by presenting oral arguments in which they analyzed relevant legal issues in a mock appellate court proceeding.

Members of the VI Bar Association mentored the students, advising the teams regarding the substance and presentation of their arguments.

During the first two days of competition, each team presented their arguments to a three judge panel comprised of local attorneys who selected the top two teams from each district.

On Thursday, the final day of competition, the selected teams presented their arguments before a three judge panel comprised of Chief Justice Rhys S. Hodge of the Supreme Court of the VI, Administrative Judge Harold W.L. Willocks of the Superior Court of the VI, and Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller of the U.S. District Court of the VI.

This year the students were presented with a challenging hypothetical case involving a legal action for an injunction to enjoin the Moot University of the Virgin Islands from enforcing its “free speech zone” regulation enacted prior to the commencement address of the Moot President of the United States, Ronald J. Crump.

The Petitioner asserted that the regulation which required that students sign a non-violence agreement was a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech.

The students were also treated to a keynote address by Janelle K. Sarauw, who told them about her life’s journey and encouraged the students to return home after college to contribute to their local community.

Only one point separated the top two teams! The winners of the competition were the Appellee team from Good Hope Country Day School comprised of Jade Bryan, Julian Bishop, and Jada Romer.

Second Place went to the Appellee team from Charlotte Amalie High School comprised of K’Mari A. McClean, Shamari K. Davis, and Rysa A. Bryan.

Third Place was awarded to the Appellee team from St. Croix Educational Complex High School comprised of Aaron Nickie, Aaron Harris, and Ashlee Martinez.

And Fourth Place went to the Appellee team from Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School comprised of Sardline Jean, Lillianna Francis, and Jessica Gibs.

Awards for Best Orator were presented to Julian Bishop of Good Hope Country Day School and Lillianna Francis of Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School for the preliminary round, and Julian Bishop bested K’Mari A. McClean of Charlotte Amalie High School by just one point to win best orator of the final round.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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