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WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2014  01:54:18 PM

Fort Hood hosts second annual moot court competition

Email   Print   Share By Sgt. Jordan Johnson, Sentinel Assistant Editor
May 9, 2013 | Leisure
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Abron Hester, junior, Harker Heights High School, makes his argument to a panel of five judges during the finals of the second annual Lawrence J. Williams Moot Court Competition at the Lawrence J. Williams Judicial Center May 1. Hester, who has plans on becoming a military attorney, said debating on Fort Hood was a great experience and will help prepare him for his future. Photos by Sgt. Jordan Johnson, Fort Hood Sentinel
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Kylee Burgin, Copperas Cove High School, speaks to the judges during the finals of the second annual Lawrence J. Williams Moot Court Competition at the Lawrence J. Williams Judicial Center May 1.
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Capt. Joshua Fix (right), administrative law attorney, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), presents the team trophy to Abron Hester (left) and Haley Boyton (center) in the second annual Lawrence J. Williams Moot Court Competition during the recognition of the competition winners at the Law Day Luncheon in the Grande Ballroom at Club Hood May 1.
Fort Hood and the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate hosted the finals of the second annual Lawrence J. Williams Moot Court Competition at the Lawrence J. Williams Judicial Center May 1.

The finals saw two teams, each consisting of two members, make arguments for a case in which they were assigned.

“Two teams of students from local high schools each argued one side of the case,” said Joshua Fix, administrative law attorney, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). “One team was arguing for the petitioner. In this case, the petitioner was the government. The other was arguing for the respondent. In this case, the respondent was Mr. Juan Garcia, a foreign national who is pending potential deportation. That is what the subject matter of the argument was about.”

Finalists were given the case and told where to find information about the subject, but everything else was on the students, Fix said.

“They’re given the case and they’re referred to reading materials,” Fix said. “They had to read all about the background on their own. The case itself had more than 40 pages in the record of appeal and they had references to dozens of court cases – combined to total hundreds of pages of background reading. They could go over that in whatever format was best for them.”

With so much material to read, learn and remember, plenty of dedication was needed by the participants in order to be successful. The case itself was very complex, but participating in the competition was memorable, said Abron Hester, junior, Harker Heights High School and one of the finalists from the winning team.

“It was a very complicated case,” Hester stated. “We looked through so many case laws. We looked through Supreme Court cases, looked at circuit court cases. We had to compare these laws and write cases for both sides, so we really understood what it was like to work for the government, to petition for the government, and what it was like to defend an immigrant who’s going to be deported. It was a really interesting experience.”

For Hester, it was his first experience in the competition. However, his partner, Haley Boyton, junior, Harker Heights High School, competed in last year’s as well, and said this year’s case presented more of a challenge.

“The case was a lot more complicated than last year’s. Last year, it was simplified a lot more,” Boyton said. “This is a real, intense case. When we were preparing for it, it really didn’t make a lot of sense. Then, as the competition went on and time went on, we really started to understand.”

Both Hester and Boyton felt the work they put into the competition will help them in their futures, they said.

“We can actually use this in life; the arguments we’ve made, the understandings we’ve learned will help us more properly understand what it’s like to be a resident versus a citizen, and the proceedings that go through for deportation, legalization and all that,” Hester said.

“I feel like this case is a lot more beneficial to us than the last case was because it is real and the arguments are there more so than the last case,” Boyton said. “The last case kind of had strange arguments, but this case is real and it felt like you were doing a real lawyer’s job and you felt more accomplished at the end because it was a lot more complicated.”

The amount of work put in by not only Hester and Boyton, but all the participants in the three-round competition, left Fix with a satisfied feeling, he said.

“It’s a great privilege to be able to work with students who are willing to put in the extra time to learn about these issues and to develop these skills at this very young stage in their life,” Fix said. “This is something that’s traditionally done by law school students in law school, and it’s difficult at that point, so it’s wonderful to see high school students who are so engaged and so eager to learn that they are willing to take time out of their already very busy schedules to do this.

“It’s really a privilege to be able to teach the next generation of attorneys, leaders – people who may one day represent us in the state or federal government,” he added.

However, the feelings of appreciativeness were not one sided. Both members of the winning team expressed their gratitude towards the captain.

“I’d like to especially thank Capt. Fix,” Boyton said. “He went through a lot for this. Some of it was stressful for him; you could tell. He handled himself great.” “Without him (Capt. Fix), this wouldn’t exist,” Hester said.
 
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