Daniel Vandergriff argues in Fourth Circuit

Third-year law student Daniel Vandergriff argued an appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in the case of Bostick v. Stevenson on Friday, Oct. 30.

“Daniel did an outstanding job on behalf of Roger Bostick, a client of the Appellate Advocacy Clinic,” said Clinic Director John Korzen, a Wake Forest law professor.

Mr. Bostick was convicted of murder in a South Carolina state court.  In a petition for habeas corpus, he contends that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to consult with him regarding an appeal, in violation of his Sixth Amendment right to effective counsel.  As a result of trial counsel’s inaction, Mr. Bostick has never been able to appeal his conviction and 30-year sentence.  The United States District Court for the District of South Carolina entered summary judgment against Mr. Bostick’s claim, holding that it was procedurally barred.

A panel of Judge Roger Gregory, Judge Dennis Shedd and Judge Allyson Duncan heard argument in the Fourth Circuit courthouse in Richmond, Va.

“Daniel did a great job of explaining why Mr. Bostick’s claim is not procedurally barred and also why it has merit,” Korzen said. “The panel was hot, asking more than a question per minute, but Daniel was up to the task.”

Afterwards, the presiding judge, Judge Gregory, praised Daniel’s argument and stated, “Wake Forest was very well-served today.”

Two fellow third-year law students, Megan Bode and Ellie Trefzger, helped to prepare Daniel for the oral argument, grilling him in three practice arguments and doing supplemental research.

Two graduates of the class of 2009, Brian Conley and Matt Monteith, drafted the Brief of Appellant and Reply Brief of Appellant last spring.

The Appellate Advocacy Clinic is a two-semester course open to third-year law students. Contact Professor Korzen for more information about the clinic.