NY's Second Highest Court to Hold Session at Albany Law School, Moot Court Competition that Night

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Third department justices are pictured

A longstanding tradition between Albany Law School and New York’s second highest court returns!

On Thursday, April 21 at 1:30 p.m., the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department will use Albany Law School’s Dean Alexander Moot Courtroom as its bench.

The session is a unique opportunity for law school students to see the appellate process firsthand, the session is free and open to the public, but proper court decorum—including no talking and no hats—is required.

Attorneys enter the DAMC on the fourth floor; students and other guests should enter on the fifth.

Third Department Justices hearing arguments will be:

  • Hon. Michael C. Lynch ’79
  • Hon. Christine M. Clark ’96
  • Hon. Stan L. Pritzker
  • Hon. John P. Colangelo
  • Hon. Eddie J. McShan

Albany Law has hosted a session of the Appellate Division, Third Department annually since 1995, only pausing for the COVID-19 pandemic. The first session was held on Oct. 11, 1995, which was the first time in more than 85 years the court sat at a location other than its home courtroom.

That initial session was the beginning of a program where the Appellate Division, Third Department held sessions throughout its 28-county jurisdiction.

The Domenick L. Gabrielli Appellate Advocacy Competition is also slated for April 21 starting at 6:30 p.m. The intraschool competition offers second-year students at Albany Law School the opportunity to practice written and oral advocacy skills in intramural competitions before alumni judges.

“It’s incredibly exciting for the Gabrielli competition to fall on the same day as the Third Department’s visit to campus. Having the opportunity to see practicing attorneys present their arguments before esteemed Appellate Justices ahead of our competition is sure to be an inspiring, exhilarating, and enlightening experience for each law student involved in the competition,” said Jenna DiBenedetto ’22, Chair of the Domenick L. Gabrielli Appellate Advocacy Competition.

“The last two years have been a true lesson in adapting the Moot Court program on the fly. It’s an absolute honor to have two time-honored Albany Law School traditions connect, on campus and open to everyone,” said Teagan Dolan, Executive Director, Anthony V. Cardona ’70 Moot Court Program. “Watching the incredible Justices and attorneys conduct court just hours before we watch our peers showcase the skills they have sharpened throughout the semester is sure to be an unforgettable day.”

Domenick L. Gabrielli Appellate Advocacy Competition is open to all those who wish to observe.

The problem this year is focused on the federal qualified immunity statute - 42 U.S.C.S. 1983. The appeal being argued in front of the United States Supreme Court (hypothetically of course) arises when a 2L at New Scotland Law School, Michael Scott, has an encounter with a New Scotland State Trooper, Trooper Dwight K. Schrute, regarding Scott filming Schrute and other officers during a DWI stop of a third party. The competitors dealt with the split-circuit issue of whether or not the right to record police officers in public acting in their official capacity is a clearly established right protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which if so, would preclude the Defendant from the protections of qualified immunity. The secondary issue is whether or not the force used by the Defendant-Officer was unreasonable and excessive under the circumstances, precluding the Defendant from the benefits of qualified immunity.

Finalists: Deana DiBenedetto & Allison Magnarelli versus James Ashley & Evan Levesque (all Class of 2023)