Carter judges student law briefs

Staff report

SIDNEY — Gary J. Carter, magistrate of the Shelby County Common Pleas Court, recently served as a regional brief judge for the American Bar Association Law Student Division, National Appellate Advocacy Competition.

Carter scored seven legal briefs, prepared and submitted by teams of students from seven law schools in the Portland, Oregon, region. The briefs were identified to the judges by only a number, to avoid any possibility of bias.

This year’s competition case involved a mentally disabled young couple who were accused, arrested and jailed after a neighbor’s house was burglarized. It was later determined that someone else did the crime, and the couple were both exonerated. The couple filed a lawsuit in federal court against the city in which the police department was located. The issues were as follows:

1. Does the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) authorize a claim against a city for the failure of its police officers to modify their investigation and arrest procedures when confronting a person with a known mental impairment?

2. Does the ADA require a city to modify its interview procedures when doing a “noncustodial station house interview” of a person with a known mental illness?

Teams of law students argued both sides of these legal questions in their briefs. Students will orally argue these issues at six regional competitions over three weekends in February and March. The winners of those competitions will argue at the national finals from April 5 to April 7 in the U.S. District Courthouse for the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C.

Carter said that he enjoyed grading the briefs, and that they were very thorough and well done.

Staff report