Students get national accolades at 2020 Moot Court tournament

January 24, 2020
Students get national accolades at 2020 Moot Court tournament


Students Matthew Badagliacca and Matthew Murphy at the Moot Court tournament in Louisiana

Fitchburg State University students earned three awards at this month’s American Moot Court Association National Championship Tournament at the Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, La.

Fitchburg State seniors Matthew Murphy of Milton and Matthew Badagliacca of Fitchburg ranked 16th after the preliminary rounds of the national tournament, winning four of six possible ballots. They also placed 7th nationally in the brief-writing portion of the competition. Fitchburg State students Crystal Aneke of Boston and Samantha Beauchamp of Sutton placed 9th in brief writing.

This season, more than 500 teams competed in 15 regional tournaments for the right to advance to the 80-team national championship event. Fitchburg State hosted a regional match in November.

“The competition this year was as tough as I have ever seen,” said Professor Paul Weizer, the longtime coach of the university’s moot court teams. “Yet, our students once again proved that they can compete with any school in the nation. This was an especially tight knit group who worked harder than any I have previously coached. It was nice to see that hard work rewarded before a national audience.”

The tournament pits teams of students on opposing sides of constitutional issues making arguments to panels of judges in a simulated federal appellate court.

The fictional case argued this year concerned a defendant accused of human trafficking whose cell phone records were collected by investigators and reviewed in order to track his associations and contacts. The students prepared and presented arguments for both sides of the issue as part of the tournament.