The Catholic University of America

Catholic University Law Student is recognized with
Best Advocate Award at first Capitol City Challenge

Jon Bourdon, a fourth-year evening student at the Columbus School of Law, was named the Best Advocate at The Capitol City Challenge, sponsored by The Stephen S. Weinstein Trial Advocacy Program and the Mock Trial Honor Society of American University's Washington College of Law.

The ten law school competition was held March 27 to 29, 2009, at the Superior Courthouse for the District of Columbia.

"Jon's award was well-deserved. Although we did not win the overall competition, we did very well in the preliminary rounds," said CUA law Professor Louis J. Barracato, one of the team's two coaches.

The Capitol City Challenge is a new offering from American University's law school. In addition to testing rhetorical and analytical skills, it invites students when presenting their cases to utilize modern, 21st century courtroom technology.

The subject of the mock trial case was "interesting, complicated and bizarre," said Bourdon. It involved the kidnapping, battery and false imprisonment of a young woman who suffered from Stockholm Syndrome, a psychological response sometimes seen in abducted hostages, in which the hostage shows signs of loyalty to the hostage-taker, regardless of the danger or risk in which they have been placed.

Competitors were expected to prepare and present the case from both the prosecution and defense sides, switching their respective roles at the next trial.

Bourdon was on the prosecution team with CUA law classmate Amanda Boddie (2D). Patrick Hughes (2D) and Ellen Brandau (2D) competed as the defense advocates.

The Capitol City Challenge judges included some of Washington D.C.'s finest litigators and jurists. Maryland's Deputy Attorney General Katherine Winfree served as one of the judges for the final round.

"It was an honor to be selected for the best advocate award. The competition was tough and we only had two weeks to prepare," said Bourdon. "The entire team scored well and received high praise from the evaluators. I know that Pat, Ellen and Amanda will bring a win home for CUA next year."

Team members extended special thanks to Professors Barracato and Leary for their support, and also to CUA law lecturer John Sharifi for his service as co-coach.