Frank Davis (`12) edged out Caela Baker (`12) to take top honors at the 15th Annual New Mexico Court of Appeals Oral Advocacy Tournament, a tradition for students at the end of their first year of law school. Both students argued with poise and confidence for the side opposite that for which they initially prepared a brief.
This year’s question, as it does every year, required a strong command of a complex area of Indian law. The problem involved the question of whether a tribal court had jurisdiction over a tort suit between a member of the tribe and a non-member for actions that occurred within the boundary of the tribal reservation. The students were required to argue two exceptions to the general rule that tribes do not have jurisdiction in such matters; those exceptions were established by the U.S. Supreme Court in Montana v. U.S. and have been further addressed in later Supreme Court, as well as lower court cases of Indian law.
Judging the final round were Chief Judge Cynthia Fry (`81) and Judge Michael Bustamante (`74), both of the New Mexico Court of Appeals, and Dean Kevin Washburn.