The University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law claimed a national title with its final-round victory Oct. 17 over the University of Florida Levin College of Law in the St. Mary’s University School of Law’s annual Lone Star Classic mock trial competition.

Nicholas Gurney, from the University of Florida, was named Best Speaker of the competition.

The Classic, which was held Oct. 15-17, is an invitational mock trial competition for ABA-accredited law schools across the nation. St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, has hosted it for 15 years.

“The University of Maryland claimed the title after three years of participating in the Lone Star Classic and making it to the semifinals each of those years,” said Ramona Lampley, Associate Professor at St. Mary’s Law and associate director of the Classic. “The judges all commented on the strength of advocacy from the participating teams this year.”

This year’s mock trial “problem” was a case in the imaginary state of Lone Star. In the case, a business man was found dead in his home on Valentine’s Day. He had been shot in the back, and his second wife was been charged with murder. Evidence showed that the couple was having marital problems and the husband wanted a divorce. The defendant alleged that she shot her husband in self-defense because she believed that her life was in danger.

The 2015 competition featured 16 law schools: SUNY Buffalo Law School, Campbell University School of Law, Charleston School of Law, Samford University Cumberland School of Law, Emory University School of Law, Faulkner University Thomas Goode Jones School of Law, University of Florida, Georgia State University College of Law, University of Houston Law Center, University of Maryland, Pepperdine University School of Law, South Texas College of Law, St. John’s University School of Law, University of Texas at Austin School of Law, Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law and American University Washington College of Law. As the host, St. Mary’s doesn’t compete in the Classic.

Three preliminary rounds were held at the Bexar County Courthouse and the Bexar County Justice Center. Four teams – Maryland, Florida, Charleston and Campbell – advanced to the semifinals in the Law Classrooms Building on the St. Mary’s campus. The final round was held in the law school’s high-tech courtroom.

Local judges and attorneys served as judges for the competition. The Honorable John W. Primomo, United States Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Texas; Richard Durbin, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas; and Donna Coltharp, Deputy Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Texas, judged the final round.

An awards dinner was held after the preliminary rounds:

Most Professional Team: Texas Southern University
Best Opening Statement: Tina Andrews (University of Texas)
Best Direct Examination: Michael Reid (Pepperdine)
Best Cross-Examination: Leyna Palmer (Georgia State)
Best Closing Argument: Benjamin Garmoe (Maryland)
Best Overall Advocate: Alexander Houthuijzen (South Texas)

The Lone Star Classic Committee was composed of Professor David Schlueter, Director; Associate Director Lampley; Assistant Directors Clair Strom, Rebecca Fischer and Austin Griffith; and Committee Member Tifini Cigarroa, who is Chair of St. Mary’s Law School’s Board of Advocates.

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