A great spirit of cooperation across the county
Shortly after taking office I had an idea to have a first ever county-wide “moot court” competition with all five schools in the county competing. A moot court competition is simply a legal exercise between two teams of two students each whereby an oral argument is made in open court about a hypothetical problem. The teams are graded on many criteria, including their ability to think on their feet, their presentation and their grasp of the legal issues in the case. We contacted the superintendents of all five schools and to our great pleasure each readily agreed to participate.
We wrote a hypothetical problem involving the search and seizure issues of the Fourth Amendment and a meeting was held at the Courthouse in January 2019 with representatives from all five schools. Each school then invited students to participate and the response was excellent. Next week we will have 18 teams comprised of 36 students participating in our first ever Milam County Moot Court competition! This is the first time that all five schools of the County have ever participated in the same event.
During the last several months the students have learned how to make an oral argument presentation to a panel of three judges. Some of Milam County’s best lawyers volunteered to help tutor the students including, Hollis Lewis, Benton Watson, Jenny Gebhart, Craig Brown, Assistant DA Brian Price, County Attorney Kyle Nuttall and James Walker. The teams will finish practice Monday and competition will begin Tuesday, April 23, at 8:45 a.m. in the Milam County Courthouse. The teams will be judged by a distinguished panel of judges including District Judge Youngblood, DA Bill Torrey, Judge Isaacs, Judge Hoelscher, Judge Northcott and Judge Waggoner. Melanie Reed, Michelle Morgan and Curtis Chubb are going to help with getting the teams to the right courtroom and keeping the competition on schedule.
The Cameron Rotary Club, the Rockdale Lions Club, the Cameron Lions Club and the Rockdale Rotary Club have all agreed to work together to sponsor scholarships for the winning team and the runner up team. The winning team will receive a $1,000 scholarship and the runner up will receive $600. We thank them profusely for their generous donations as it could not have been possible without their help. The Rockdale Reporter, The Cameron Herald, KMIL and KRXT will each cover this exciting competition.
So why all the excitement about a county-wide moot court? First, interested students of the County have been given a brief glimpse into one small aspect of the legal world. Maybe this event will help them decide if a career in law is appealing to them. Secondly, it is a small step in uniting this fine County.
If our county is to prosper, we must have in kind cooperation on both sides of the river. Old worn out lines of division are not healthy and obstruct economic development in the county. We accomplish so much more when we work together. Remember what happened when citizens from Rockdale, Cameron and Thorndale joined together to form a “Milam County” economic committee? A bid for the Amazon H2 headquarters was consummated. We were the only county in the nation that made such a bid. And guess what? We were recognized on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and many new businesses started looking at Milam County. In the very near future we will likely hear of another new business coming to the County, due in part to the exposure we got by working together.
So yes, we have a new positive spirit of cooperation in the county. Thanks to the schools and all of those that have worked so hard for making this possible. Know that this is just the beginning and that there is much more to come!