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USF Advocacy Competition Impresses Audience

November 04, 2009

Achal Srinath 3L, who competed against Bryan Clifton 3L in this year's Advocate of the Year Competition, earned the 2009 Advocate of the Year Award. Jonathan Shugart 2L won the award for Best Brief.

The competition, which allows students to demonstrate and develop their oral advocacy skills, is an intramural appellate advocacy competition open to all upper-division students who have completed the Spring Moot Court Program.

The issue addressed at this year's competition involved petitioner Alice Waterson, an alleged eco-terrorist being held in federal prison awaiting trial. The government asserts that allowing Waterson to communicate freely poses a risk to public safety. The attorney general has authorized Waterson's communications with her attorney to be monitored during her pretrial detention, but Waterson challenges the restrictions in the United States Supreme Court as violating her Fifth Amendment right to due process and her Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel.

Srinath represented petitioner Waterson and Clifton represented respondent Michael Mukasey and the U.S. government. The students were judged by a panel of alumni judges, including Paul Haakenson '93, Barbara Miller '78, and James Mize '74.

"Both Achal and Bryan did a phenomenal job, and I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that the audience and the judges were blown away by their performances," Advocacy Director Tiffany Danao 3L said. "They both made the USF community proud."