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October 30, 2019
Competition finalists and champions stand with three judges
From left to right, finalists, John Brithinee and Amanda Obrycki Brithinee; Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Denise Langford Morris '82; U.S. Circuit Court Judge Helene N. White; Michigan Supreme Court Justice Brian K. Zahra '87; Detroit Mercy Law Dean Phyllis L. Crocker; and 2019 Keenan Competition champions, Paulina Kennedy and Aaron Pattison.

Detroit Mercy Law’s Moot Court Board of Advocates held its annual Patrick A. Keenan Memorial Appellate Advocacy Competition from Oct.18 - 22.

This year, 19 teams of Detroit Mercy Law 3Ls argued Fourth Amendment issues centered on three questions: 1) Whether it is reasonable, for purposes of an investigative stop, for a police officer to assume that an individual leaving a house is the owner of the house when the police have corroborated some information provided by an informant about the owner? 2) Whether it is reasonable, for purposes of a limited pat-down, for a police officer to assume that a possible associate of a drug trafficking gang is armed and dangerous? 3) Whether the exclusionary rule should be invoked when the legal precedent does not provide clear guidance to the police officer?

On Tuesday, Oct. 22, Paulina Kennedy and Aaron Pattison and husband and wife team Amanda Obrycki Brithinee and John Brithinee faced off in the final round of the competition. The Brithinees argued on behalf of the petitioner, and Kennedy and Pattison for the respondent. Judges for the final round were 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 arguments and performances from both teams, the judges named Kennedy and Pattison the competition champions.

Awards were also presented to teams and individuals for their brief writing and oral advocacy skills. Runner-up brief was awarded to Kennedy and Pattison, and the best brief was awarded to The Brithinees. Kristina Dukanac and Amanda McNeil earned a third-place nod. Dukanac was also recognized as the second place oralist, and Arielle Hall won best oralist of the competition.

The competition 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, and other Keenan family members attended the final round of this year’s competition.

student awardees - best oralists

Patrick A. Keenan Competition Best Oralist awardees, from left to right, Kristina Dukanac (Second Place), Amanda McNeil (Fourth Place), Zeinab Bajjey (Fifth Place), Aaron Pattison (Third Place), and Best Oralist Arielle Hall.

Keenan competition awardees best brief
Patrick A. Keenan Competition Best Brief awardees, from left to right, Paulina Kennedy and Aaron Pattison (Second Place), Kristina Dukanac and Amanda McNeil (Third Place), and John Brithinee and Amanda Obrycki Brithinee (First Place).
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