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FIRST-YEAR LAW STUDENTS COMPETE IN CLOSING ARGUMENT COMPETITION

Abstract

Thursday, February 20, 2003

WRITER: Kristine Fortunato, 706/542-5172 CONTACT: Kellie Casey, 706/542-2739, krcasey@uga.edu

FIRST-YEAR LAW STUDENTS COMPETE IN CLOSING ARGUMENT COMPETITION

ATHENS, Ga. - First-year law students at the University of Georgia got a taste of the courtroom on Valentine's Day as they faced off for the 2003 J. Ralph Beaird Closing Argument Mock Trial Competition. In the competition, student advocates present the closing arguments of a mock trial before a judge and jury.

The students argued the fictitious case State of Georgia v. Percival W. Snodgrass in which the defendant claimed he had committed murder in self-defense. The jury decided in favor of the defendant, represented by Kimberly D. Grant. The state was represented Erik S. Johnson.

School of Law alumnus and one of the jurors of the competition, Western Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge David R. Sweat commended the students on their handling of the case. "They argued the facts and used them persuasively. They helped the jury to analyze the facts and apply them to the law."

The all School of Law alumni jury panel also included Director of the Legal Aid and Defender Clinic Russell C. Gabriel, Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney Ken W. Mauldin, Solicitor General for Athens-Clarke County Ralph W. Powell Jr and Athens-Clarke County Probate Judge Susan P. Tate. Callaway Chair of Law Ron L. Carlson served as the presiding judge of the mock trial.

A total of 32 first-year law students participate in the annual J. Ralph Beaird Closing Argument Mock Trial Competition each spring, with the top two advocates advancing to the actual mock trial competition before a judge and jury. The competition is funded by the J. Ralph Beaird Closing Argument Award Fund which became fully endowed earlier this year.

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