Two third-year University at Buffalo Law School students, Benjamin Nelson and Kate Hartnett, are the winners of the 2014 Desmond Moot Court Competition.
They opposed two other third-year UB Law students, Nicole Komin and Josh Siliano, in the final round of the contest, in which they argued two First Amendment cases currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Three State Supreme Court justices – Associate Justices Erin M. Peradotto and Gerald J. Whelan and retired Senior Associate Justice Sameul L. Green – served as judges. R. Anthony Rupp III and Lawrence J. Vilardo of Connors & Vilardo coached the students in writing appellate briefs and preparing oral arguments.
The cases involved a question of “true threat” in which a defendant was charged after posting violent-sounding rap lyrics on Facebook and a question of whether a judicial candidate should be punished for soliciting campaign funds through a mass mailing.