Detroit Mercy Law holds annual Patrick A. Keenan Appellate Advocacy Competition


University of Detroit Mercy School of 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, 3Ls Paulina Kennedy and Aaron Pattison and husband and wife team Amanda Obrycki Brithinee and John Brithinee competed 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 United States Circuit Court Judge Helene N. White and Detroit Mercy Law alumni, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Brian K. Zahra and Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Denise K. Langford Morris.

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. Second place brief was awarded to Kennedy and Pattison, and best brief was awarded to The Brithinees. 3Ls Kristina Dukanac and Amanda McNeil earned a third place nod. Dukanac was also awarded second place oralist, and 3L 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.


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