Military Court of Appeals Hears Oral Arguments at Pitt Law
Photography © CIDDE
The United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces heard oral arguments at the School of Law this spring in the Teplitz Moot Courtroom before a standing-room-only audience of students and faculty.
The Court heard the appellate argument at the School in an actual military case before the Court, United States v. Airman First Class David A. Leedy, USAF. The case concerned an appeal from Airman Leedy’s conviction of knowingly and wrongfully possessing visual depictions of a minor under the age of 18 engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The U.S. Court of Appeals granted review on the issue of “whether the military judge erred in denying appellant’s motion to suppress the evidence seized from appellant’s computer where the affidavit in support of the search did not contain any description of the substance of the images suspected to depict ‘sexually explicit conduct.’”
This event was part of the Court’s Project Outreach, which, as part of its mission, holds oral arguments at law schools, military bases and other public forums throughout the United States. The Court selects cases of interest to law students and faculty.
One of the Program’s central components is the opportunity for a law student to participate in oral arguments. Interested Pitt Law students competed for the opportunity under the supervision of faculty advisor Professor Robert Harper. The School of Law selected a student to deliver an argument as amicus curiae under the supervision of a member of the Court’s bar. Carey Scheible, ’07, helped prepare an amicus brief along with the brief’s primary author, Neal Hamilton, ’07. Scheible delivered a 10-minute oral argument on behalf of Airman Leedy.
At the conclusion of oral arguments, the Court officially closed. However, the judges remained in the Teplitz Moot Courtroom for a question and answer session with the student and faculty audience.
The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces has “appellate jurisdiction over members of the armed forces on active duty and other persons subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.” The cases cover a range of legal issues such as constitutional law, criminal law, evidence, criminal procedure, ethics, administrative law and national security law. Typically, the Court holds its hearings in Washington, D.C.
This was the first such appellate argument by the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces to be heard at Pitt Law.