High School Essay Contest Winners Receive Awards

The Anne Arundel Bar County Bar Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of its annual High School Essay Contest.
1st Place ($500): Alexander McGrath, Severna Park High School
2nd Place ($250): Annabel Mungan, Rockbridge Academy
3rd Place ($100): Hannah Neff, South River High School
The contest was open to all public, private and home-schooled high school students, grades 9-12. More than 170 Anne Arundel County high school students submitted essays for this year's competition. Alexander McGrath, a rising senior from Severna Park High School, earned the first place award, topping his second place finish in last year's competition. McGrath is interested in pursuing a career in the law and has lined up summer internships with the Anne Arundel County State's Attorney's Office and the office of Congresswoman Donna Edwards.

The three winners received their awards on July 7 during a special ceremony in the Historic Courtroom of the Circuit Court in Annapolis. The Honorable Timothy Meredith of the Court of Special Appeals presented the awards. Judge Meredith and his wife, attorney Kathleen Meredith, founded the contest and have sponsored it for the past 17 years. During that time, nearly 2,800 county students have participated in the competition.
In addition to Judge Meredith, several long-standing members of the Anne Arundel Bar Association served as contest judges: Chris Brown, Brown & Getka, PA; Nancy Faulkner, director of court operations for the Anne Arundel Circuit Court; Hon. Glenn Klavans, judge, Anne Arundel Circuit Court; Bill Roessler, retired deputy state's attorney for Anne Arundel County; and Tim Sheridan, court administrator for the Baltimore County Circuit Court.
For this year's essay contest, high school students were invited to express their opinions on the U.S. Supreme Court case Bernard v. Minnesota (Docket No. 14-1470). The students had to consider this question: In the absence of a warrant, can a state make it a crime for a driver to refuse to take a breathalyzer test to detect the presence of alcohol in the driver's blood. The plaintiff in this case argued that a Minnesota law was a violation of his due process rights because the statute made it a crime for him to refuse to consent to an unreasonable warrantless search which, he contended, was not authorized under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
At the time of the contest, the U.S. Supreme Court had not yet ruled on the case. Essay contest winners McGrath and Neff argued that compelling an individual to submit to a breathalyzer test in the absence of a warrant is a violation of the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures. Second-place winner Mungan argued that breathalyzer could be permitted in conjunction with an arrest, which was how the Supreme Court ultimately ruled in their 6-2 decision on June 23, 2016.