On Saturday, October 31, members of the Law School community gathered in the MacDonald Moot Court Room for the final round of the 2015 Cuccia Cup Moot Court Competition. After weeks of preliminary rounds, it came down to the final teams comprised of Claire O'Brien and Branka Cimesa, arguing on behalf of the petitioner, and Zellnor Myrie and Jared Hoffman, who argued on behalf of the respondent.
In the end, it was O’Brien and Cimesa who were named this year’s Cuccia Cup champions. Both members received $500 each, and Myrie and Hoffman received $250 each. Prize money was donated by the Cuccia family.
The theme for this year’s competition was corruption as teams took on two questions: what constitutes an "official act" for the purposes of federal corruption charges; and whether a defendant must show prejudice when asserting an ineffective assistance of counsel claim based on trial counsel's failure to object to a structural error.
The final teams presented their final debates in front of an esteemed panel of guest judges: Hon. William Fletcher, United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Hon. Robin Rosenbaum, United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, Hon. Elizabeth Wolford, United States District Court for the Western District of New York, Hon. Brenda Sannes, United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, and Hon. Barry Albin, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
Additionally, at the end of the competition, the Moot Court Board announced the winners of the Louis Kaiser Best Brief Competition: Victor Pinedo and Nicholas Jacques, who each received $500 donated by the Louis Kaiser family.
Justin Ndichu '16, the 2015 Moot Court Board Chancellor comments, “It’s been a phenomenal couple of weeks of intense competition and we’re thrilled to congratulate not only the winners and finalists, but all Cuccia Cup competitors on their achievements.”
The Cuccia Cup is Cornell Law School’s only internal competition in which competitors argue in teams of two. Students who participate in the Cuccia Cup help fulfill part of the requirements to join the Moot Court Board.