'Best friends' win Elon Law's 2017 intramural moot court competition

Anthony DeLucia and Charles Draeger from the Class of 2018 took top prize in a contest that challenged students to argue the constitutional implications of criminal charges related to a fictional traffic stop.

Was it unconstitutional for police officers to search a stopped car suspected of being involved in a robbery, even after learning that the car in question was not involved? What if the driver agreed to the search?

And if that search turned up an unloaded handgun and a water pipe used for drugs? Should those discoveries have been suppressed in the criminal trial that led to the man’s conviction?

Such was the setup for Elon Law’s 10th annual Intramural Moot Court Competition, which concluded Tuesday evening when the two-person team of Antony DeLucia L’18 and Charles Draeger L’18 argued before four judges of the North Carolina Business Court that the evidence should, in fact, have been tossed out in the fictional case.

The duo edged out the team of Ashley Henson L’18 and Rebecca Kilmon L’18, who represented the state and argued in the appellate contest that the evidence was rightfully admitted at trial.

DeLucia was also recognized as the top oral advocate in both the preliminary and final rounds.

Finalists argued the fictional appellate case before four Special Superior Court Judges for complex business cases: the Hon. James L. Gale (chief judge), the Hon. Louis A. Bledsoe III, the Hon. Adam M. Conrad, and the Honorable Gregory P. McGuire.

Elon Law is home to the North Carolina Business Court and Gale’s chambers. The panel heard arguments in the law school’s Long Courtroom, where Gale regularly holds court and Elon Law students practice their trial advoacy skills.

For the winners, Tuesday evening’s final round of the intramural competition was simply the next step toward successful careers in the courtroom. In the year since he enrolled at Elon Law, Draeger has discovered a passion for criminal law.

“It doesn’t hurt to put yourself out there, to learn where you are now and where you can get better,” said Draeger, a graduate of Western Carolina University. “There’s a sense of pride in seeing your own development as a student, and a sense of mission in working on the feedback and constructive criticism you receive.”

Nor was Moot Court on Draeger’s radar until recently. Rather, it was DeLucia who convinced Draeger to compete.

“It was my goal entering law school to compete on moot court since I hope to ultimately become an appeals attorney,” said DeLucia, a graduate of the University of Buffalo. “I convinced Charles to enter with me, as he is my best friend and we have great chemistry as presenters, and we push each other. I thought we’d make the best team.”

Other teams advancing beyond the preliminary rounds included:

Semifinalist Teams

  • Adam Etzel and Richard Williams
  • Haley Mendola and J.R. Bales. 

Quarterfinalist Teams

  • Tia Hudgins and Chelsea Townsend
  • David Wheaton and Charles Sexton
  • Rebecca Anderson and Elizabeth Koeman
  • Olivia Matte and Catherine Bryant 

Selections for membership on Elon Law’s 2017-18 Moot Court Board will be made later this month.

Senior Associate Dean Alan Woodlief, director of the Moot Court Program at Elon Law, praised all of the competitors in the 2017 competition and noted the hard work of Janelle Wendorf L’Dec.’17, student chair of the Intramural Moot Court Competition, and her collegues on the Moot Court Board.

He also expressed gratitude to the dozens of students, faculty, staff, and local attorneys and judges who assisted with the competition.

“Over 50 attorneys and judges helped us by volunteering their time to judge oral arguments and to evaluate and mentor our competitors,” Woodlief said. “Their efforts, and the efforts of our students, faculty and staff who also volunteered, were critical to our success.”

In October, the Elon Law Moot Court Program will host the 8th Billings, Exum & Frye National Moot Court Competition, which will bring to Greensboro over 20 teams from 17 law schools across the country. The Moot Court Program will also field its own teams later this year at other competitions across the United States.

Learn more about the Billings, Exum & Frye National Moot Court Competition.

Learn more about the Moot Court Program’s success in other competitions.