Friday was another busy day. There was a series of meetings that covered a range of subjects: pulling together the details of our upcoming pro bono event, finishing plans for the law school’s first annual networking event and discussing the upcoming Arkansas Bar Association’s Arkansas Rule of Law Conference with Prof. Judges. I also had a conversation with Prof. Schneider around the administrators’ evaluation. The Provost requires that each Dean solicit members of their unit to fill out an IDEA (Individual Development and Educational Assessment) online evaluation. This year for the first time, the law school evaluation will go to both staff and faculty. Prof. Schneider and I visited a little about how that would work.

In the middle of all that, I forgot that I had an appointment with Johnetta Cross Brazzell, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. I was late when I arrived, but we had a very good meeting. We discussed a possible collaboration between Students Affairs and the School of Law after I’d updated her on the goings-on in the law school.

Early afternoon Friday there was a surprise visit from a Jonesboro alum, Val Price, his daughter Mollie Price, and her two friends, Alanna Rapp and Katie Branscrum. Their visit was a nice break from the morning’s rush, and it was wonderful to chat with them.

Later that afternoon was the final round of the moot court competition. The participating judges comprised quite an amazing bench. The judges were Justice Robert Brown of the Arkansas Supreme Court, Justice Annabelle Clinton Imber of the Arkansas Supreme Court, and Judge Lavenski Smith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit—who, I’m proud to say, happens to be one of our alums. Charlotte Brown, Justice Brown’s wife, was in attendance as well. The four competitors were Marie Claire Butt and Tim Steadman for the Petitioner (United States of America), and Kevin Vogeltanz and Lee Warden for the Respondent (Jessica Spano).

In the case, Jessica Spano, a single mother of two, was overheard allegedly making a drug transaction in exchange for a hand gun. When she was arrested, she remained silent and calmly went with the detective to the police station. The competitors argued the following two issues: (1) whether the use of a defendant’s post-arrest, pre-Miranda silence at trial as substantive proof of guilt violates the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination; and (2) whether “use” as employed in 18 U.S.C. §924(c) includes bartering for a firearm, as well as the active employment of the firearm in relation to a drug-trafficking offense. It was a very hot bench. All the students were excellent. In fact, the judges had a very difficult time reaching a decision in terms of the winning team because of the quality of all the advocates. Mary Claire Butt was selected as the outstanding oralist, and she and her teammate Tim Steadman were the winners of the competition. But again, all four competitors were just terrific and we congratulate them. Thanks to the judges for their participation. We appreciate the time they took out of their busy schedules to come to Fayetteville to judge our competition. Our final round would not have been as good without them. Again, many thanks.

That evening I had a quiet dinner at Momma Dean’s. If you don’t know about Momma Dean’s, it’s a little soul food restaurant in South Fayetteville just past 15th Street that has been written up in Citiscapes Metro Monthly magazine. Dinner that evening was catfish, fried okra, greens and peach cobbler. Momma Dean catered the Academic Deans Group Luncheon when it was the law school’s day to host it and she is catering our Administrative Professionals Day luncheon. I know it will be great. Check Mamma Dean’s out and tell her I sent you. (To read a review of Momma Dean’s, click the image on the right)