Carley Palmer ’11 and Mark Weiner ’11 placed first in the UC Davis School of Law’s third annual Asylum & Refugee Law National Moot Court Competition in Sacramento, California, on February 6. In the two preliminary rounds Palmer won Best Oralist, while Weiner placed third in that category.

The moot Supreme Court case, Joseph Turaga v. Attorney General of the United States, involved a man from a fictitious South Pacific island nation, Pacifica, seeking asylum in the U.S. after fleeing the influence of his uncle, who headed a radical faction that took over Pacifica in a coup. The lower court had ruled that Turaga, who had committed terrorist acts resulting in deaths in Pacifica but claimed he had been forced to do so by his uncle, should be denied asylum because of those acts, and that Turaga had also failed to prove that his activities as a student activist opposed to his uncle’s regime would place him in peril upon his return to Pacifica.

The UC Davis competition is the only one in the country to focus exclusively on asylum and refugee law. Among those presiding over the moot’s final round were Judge Carlos Bea of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Judge William Shubb of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

Posted on February 9, 2010