Bothell student earns top honors for brief writing at AMCA competition

  • Friday, February 9, 2018 8:30am
  • Life

Dawson Honey and Brianna Schmidt of the College of Wooster earned national champion distinctions due to a first-place finish in the brief writing competition (respondent category) at the American Moot Court Association National Championship Tournament.

This was announced at the awards banquet following two days of oral competition, held earlier this month (Jan. 19-20) in Dallas at the University of North Texas College of Law.

Wooster teams have now captured four national championships in brief writing over the last six years, twice in the petitioner category and now twice as respondents.

The championship was the culmination of a months-long process for Honey, a junior from the Seattle area (Bothell), and Schmidt, a sophomore from Wooster, Ohio. All of the competitors were presented with the case – a fictitious narrative of a homicide, in which the guilty verdict was largely based on a brain scanning technique the local police department used to determine that the individual was at the scene, and the ensuing sentence of 30 years of solitary confinement – last May.

The case was divided into two issues relating to U.S. Constitution law. Honey addressed the 5th amendment, whether the usage of the functional brain mapping exam violated the self-incrimination clause. Schmidt dealt with the 8th amendment, and as the respondent, argued the sentence for the petitioner had valid justification.

After writing a one-page summary of each issue during the summer that got them thinking about potential arguments, Honey and Schmidt spent hours during the fall semester researching and citing similar cases, finalizing their arguments and proofreading before submitting the brief.

Coming off a third-place finish in the 2017 AMCA brief writing competition, also in the respondent category, Honey and Schmidt had high hopes. When it was revealed that they won, Honey and Schmidt were pleased.

“I was extremely, extremely overjoyed. It was a really wonderful moment,” Schmidt said in a press release.

Honey agreed, stating in a press release that it was “very elating, to say the least.” He also noted that “using the experience we gained from last year, and also building upon that, we were able to create a brief, that personally, I was very happy with. There was a part of me that wasn’t surprised we won, but another part of me that was.”

Honey and Schmidt credit their success to a variety of factors, including having similar goals, work ethics and passion for moot court, as well as for “anticipating your opponents’ argument and finding new and interesting angles to break away from a standard mold of arguments,” according to Honey.

Wooster nearly added another championship in oral advocacy, the marquee AMCA competition. Juniors Jordan Griffith of Columbus, Ohio, and Cameron Steckbeck of New Hope, Pa., won their first three elimination rounds to advance to the semifinals, in which they fell to the eventual national champions from Patrick Henry College on a close 3-2 decision. Griffith and Steckbeck improved upon last year’s “Sweet 16” performance while repeating as All-Americans.

Also notable, junior Coral Ciupak and senior Shelley Grostefon advanced to the elimination rounds of the oral competition portion and thus were among the top-44 teams at the tourney, and in the petitioner category of the brief writing competition, Wooster also did well with sophomores Elizabeth Main and Emily Stoehr earning ninth-place honors.

All told, there were five Wooster qualifying teams (and 10 individuals), which marked the third-largest contingent from any school at the AMCA nationals.

More in Life

Northshore Wall of Honor to recognize new inductees

Northshore Wall of Honor inductees to be recognized Aug. 16.

Parker Lang. Photo courtesy of Vicki Moore
Bothell’s Parker Lang saved nearly 30 lives after losing his own

Vicki Moore reflects on the positive impacts her son made through his organ and tissue donations.

‘Hometown Hero’ fights cancer with community support

Bothell firefighter, volunteer and “rad dad” Kirk Robinson is battling metastatic melanoma.

Kenmore hosts Play Day

Play Day set for Aug. 11.

HUD awards Snohomish County $10 million for youth homeless

They are among 11 organizations nationwide that will try to “get young people off the streets.”

Cascadia College names new vice president

Kerry Levett will be the new vice president of student learning and success.

Bothell neighbors plant seeds for vegetables and community

Residents of 13th Place started a community garden in a neighborhood project.

UW Bothell prof offers after-sunset exams during Ramadan

Student: “Fasting is rewarding at the end of the day, but really physically and mentally draining.”

Kenmore wins statewide excellence award

The city was recognized for its economic development strategy.

State Supreme Court ruling highlights petition requirements

The deadline for initiative petitions to be submitted is 5 p.m. on July 6.

Evergreen Academy students in Bothell host farmers market

Hundreds attended the annual farmers market, where students sold products from the school’s garden.

My Favorite Martins

Steve Martin and Martin Short discuss bringing their two-man comedy extravaganza back to Seattle.