Last week, the 23rd Annual Denis Cleary Moot Court competition wrapped up its quarter-finals with the conclusion of the four cases of Utah v. Strieff (2016). Only four teams still remain, all composed of seniors, and each team will face one another in the semifinals, which will take place one after the other on April 26th or April 27th, still to be determined.
The case: Ewing v. California (2003). This one is especially interesting, as it has spiked controversy all over the country. In 2000, Gary Ewing, who had a long history of criminal convictions, stole three golf clubs, each worth almost $400. Already on parole from a nine year prison term for a robbery and three burglaries, Ewing was arrested and then charged with and convicted of felony grand theft. California’s “three strikes” law required a 25 years to life sentence for a third committed felony, so Ewing received this sentence. The case was brought before the Supreme Court in 2003, with Ewing arguing that such a sentence was grossly disproportionate to the crime committed, and thus a violation of the Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishments. The Court found that there was no such violation in a 5-4 decision.
The following teams will be facing off come late April, with the petitioner, Ewing, on the left and the respondent, the state of California, on the right:
Zoe Dettelbach ’17 and Grace Pacelle ’17 vs. Tyler Lee ’17 and Peter Gramaglia ’17
David Craft ’17 and Austin Pinard ’17 vs. Maya Calabria ’17 and Millie Ball ’17
Good luck to all the participants!