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DJ Cespedes Wins Advocate of the Year Competition

October 22, 2013

On Oct. 18, Donald “DJ” Cespedes 2L won the USF School of Law Advocate of the Year Competition, the intramural appellate advocacy competition open to all upper division students who have completed the 1L Spring Moot Court Program.

From left to right: Judge M. Lynn Duryee ’79, AYC winner Donald “DJ” Cespedes 2L, Jennifer Sta.Ana 2L, Judge Kandis Westmore ’97, and Justice James R. Lambden.

The Advocate of the Year Competition provides an opportunity for students to develop and showcase their oral advocacy skills. Held in the Moot Court Room, Cespedes and Jennifer Sta.Ana 2L faced off in the finals of this year’s competition, in which 40 students participated.

The distinguished panel of judges included retired Justice James R. Lambden of the California Court of Appeal for the First District,  along with Judge M. Lynn Duryee ’79 of the Marin County Superior Court, and Judge Kandis Westmore ’97 of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

“Both of you were amazingly prepared and amazingly knowledgeable,” said Judge Duryee. “We were so impressed with your abilities to handle the questions that were asked, to turn negative parts of your case into positive parts of your case. Both of you were convincing, and quite charming. All three of us thought it was a quite joy to preside over your case, and we are so impressed with the work that has led up to this case.”

Additionally, best brief was presented to Alexander Bukac 2L, and Alexandra Martin 2L won best brief runner-up.

This year, the Advocate of the Year case involved two issues. First, whether and to what extent there is a clearly established First Amendment right to record police officers during the course of their duty. Second, whether and under what circumstances police officers may lawfully search the contents of a cell phone incident to lawful arrest without first obtaining a search warrant per the Fourth Amendment. Cespedes represented the petitioner, and Sta.Ana represented the respondent.