Detroit Mercy Law hosts annual Patrick A. Keenan Appellate Advocacy Tournament Virtually

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October 21, 2020

University of Detroit Mercy School of Law’s Moot Court Board of Advocates hosted the annual Patrick A. Keenan Appellate Advocacy Tournament October 16-20. For the first time, the tournament took place virtually. 

The Keenan Tournament provides students with the opportunity for hands-on learning through a simulated appellate court experienceUpper level sstudents compete in teams of two attorneys and represent either the petitioner or respondent. 

This year’s competition examined two criminal law questions: (1) whether a "move on" order, alone or with some physical enforcement by a police officer, is a seizure for purposes of the Fourth Amendment, and (2) whether 18 U.S.C. § 111, which criminalizes “assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees” of the federal government, is a specific intent or general intent offense.   

Prior to oral arguments, each team researched the issues and drafted a brief in support of their arguments.  Peter Lochbiler and Victoria Padula earned the best brief award.   

Each team also competed in oral argument rounds.  James Murray earned the best oralist award.  In the final round, Nadine Dabaja and Deja Davis, on behalf of the petitioner, and Amanat Sandhu and Sabrina Mangiapane, on behalf of the respondent, argued before Michigan Supreme Court Justice Brian K. Zahra ’87, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Denise K. Langford Morris ’82, and United States Circuit Court Judge Helene N. White. 

Following strong performances by both teams, the judges noted that this was one of the best moot court competitions they have judged.  Ultimately, they named Dabaja and Davis as the tournament champions and Sandhu and Mangiapane as the runners-up. 

The Keenan Tournament is held annually in honor of the late Patrick A. Keenan, a beloved Detroit Mercy Law professor who taught at the School for over 30 years. Keenan’s wife, Marge, their children Karen and Vince, and other Keenan family members attended the final round of this year’s competition.  

Picture of Keenan CompetitorsLeft to right, top row:  Michigan Supreme Court Justice Brian K. Zahra '87; Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Denise Langford Morris '82; U.S. Circuit Court Judge Helene N. White; finalist Amanat Sandhu.
Left to right, middle row: finalist Sabrina Mangiapane; finalist Nadine Dabaja; finalist Deja Davis; Professor Julie St. John
Left to right, bottom row: Bailiff Fatmeh Cheaib 2L, Bailiff Narissa Ayoub 2L.

Keenan family at the end of the eventLeft to right, top row:  Michigan Supreme Court Justice Brian K. Zahra '87; Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Denise Langford Morris '82; U.S. Circuit Court Judge Helene N. White; finalist Amanat Sandhu.
Left to right, second row: finalist Sabrina Mangiapane; finalist Nadine Dabaja; finalist Deja Davis; Professor Julie St. John
Left to right, third row: Karen Keenan Semone with her daughter; Vince Keenan with his daughter and son; Bailiff Fatmeh Cheaib; Bailiff Narissa Ayoub
Left to right, bottom row: Margaret Keenan, Professor Keenan's wife, with other Keenan family members. 

 

 

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