Runner-Up Best Oralist
Akeel St. Jean
The finalists, from left to right: Caleb Karpay '14, Meg Hindle '14, Kristin Burnworth '14, and Akeel St. Jean '14.
The judges, from left to right: Honorable George Levi Russell, III, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland; Hon. Paul V. Niemeyer, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and Hon. Andre Davis, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
In the County of Dillon, in the state of Texarcana, a joint federal-local Drug Interdiction Task force is investigating potential drug trafficking involving a local shipping warehouse, Garrity Shipping. A tip leads police to a woman in East Dillon by the name of Tyra Collette who lives with her son Landry and owns a local bakery.
The police noticed that the car parked outside her home has a “LoneStar” navigation decal in the window. The police called “Lonestar” and subpoenaed a year’s worth of Ms. Collette’s information, including: her vehicle diagnostic history, all prior requests for driving directions and GPS locations. The police also started actively tracking her using “LoneStar’s” GPS capabilities.
Police tracked Ms. Collette’s movements for thirty days and noted her comings and goings including: trips to and from her bakery, dates with her boyfriend and trips to the Garrity Shipping warehouse that was under investigation. After one of her visits to the warehouse, an undercover police officer found a bag of cocaine underneath where her car had been parked.
The Task Force took this information and received a warrant to search Ms. Collette’s home. At her home they did not find drugs, but they find three semi-automatic weapons, including an AR-15. All of her weapons had recently been classified as assault weapons by a Dillon County ordinance outlawing their ownership.
Ms. Collette was charged with violating the assault weapons ban. She asked the trial court to suppress evidence of the weapons arguing that:
Ms. Collette was convicted for violating the assault weapons ban. The Texarcana Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction. But the Supreme Court of Texarcana reversed the Court of Appeals and ruled against Dillon County. The County appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which granted certiorari. Today, the Supreme Court is hearing oral argument in the case.