This year's Langfan Family First-Year Moot Court competition took place on April 9 in the MacDonald Moot Court Room. The competitors took on a scenario for the digital age involving a case where a high school senior posted an original rap song on Youtube alluding to drug use within the school community.
Finalists Seantyel Hardy '18 and James Pesavento '18 debated the extent to which public schools can regulate student speech originating outside of school as well as whether a school may punish a student for writing and recording a rap song containing violent and potentially threatening rhetoric and alleging serious misconduct by school faculty members. Hardy argued on behalf of the petitioner and James Pesavento argued on behalf of the respondent.
The panel of judges for this year's competition featured Hon. Michael Chagares of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Hon. Nancy Moritz of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, Hon. Pamela Pepper of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Hon. Jennifer Boal, chief magistrate judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and Hon. Elizabeth Garry, associate justice of the Appellate Division, Third Department of the New York Supreme Court.
Victor Leung '17, chancellor of the Moot Court Board, commended this year's participants saying, "Each and every one of this year's competitors demonstrated a remarkable acumen for legal analysis and oral advocacy throughout the 2016 Langfan Family First Year Moot Court Competition."
After deliberations Hardy was named the winner receiving a $500 prize and Pesavento was the runner-up receiving a $250 prize. The prize money was donated by the Langfan Family.
Leung adds: "Our two finalists should be proud of their impressive and unflappable performance in the final round before our esteemed panel of judges. The Moot Court Board looks forward to seeing all of this year's competitors in future competitions."