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Law Team Reaches Semifinals of National Competition

Image Moot Court Competition Brian Griffin, Tyler Haigh and Anthony Sutton with advisor Thomas Horton (second from left).

FAIRFAX, Va. -- A trial team from the University of South Dakota School of Law reached the semifinals of the 36-team John L. Costello National Criminal Trial Advocacy Competition earlier this month in Fairfax, Virginia, just outside of Washington. Team members included students Anthony Sutton, Tyler Haigh and Brian Griffin.

Sponsored by the George Mason University School of Law, “the Costello Competition stimulates the evolving and unexpected nature of real-life criminal trials by revealing unknown facts and witnesses, as the trial progresses.”

Throughout the tournament, USD represented the Commonwealth of Virginia in prosecuting the hypothetical abduction and rape of a 20-year-old George Mason sophomore through the use of a date rape drug. The competition included such formidable schools as Georgetown, American, Texas, Houston, Virginia, Emory, Cornell, Penn, Brooklyn, LSU, Tulane, BYU, Richmond, William & Mary and other invited teams from throughout the United States.

“We are especially proud of Tyler, Anthony, and Brian, who spent countless night and weekend hours preparing for this ferociously competitive and highly demanding competition," said USD professor Tom Horton, who accompanied the team. "We also would like to thank Professor Ramon Ortiz and former trial team members Andy Fick and Rachel Preheim for giving up so much of their time to help prepare our students for the arduous challenges they successfully surmounted.”


USD’s Knudson School of Law prepares students for leadership in the administration of justice in South Dakota, including in rural areas where the demand is great, and for private practice, public service, business and other law-related endeavors anywhere. Its joint degree program allows students to also earn one of nine master’s degrees within the traditional three-year law curriculum, which includes course tracks in business, commercial, constitutional, criminal, employment, environmental, Indian, real estate and tax law as well as civil litigation and estate planning.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News