The court heard three cases at the
Marshall University Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts
Center at Marshall. It was the 5th time in eight
years that the Supreme Court had court on Marshall’s
campus. The cases ranged from whether two dogs should be euthanized, negligence
involving alcohol and underage girls and a first degree murder conviction
Alan Gould is director of the John Deaver
which sponsors Constitution Week at Marshall.
Gould said the attorney’s present the facts of the case and summarize their
appeal then each of the justices can ask questions.
“It is not a quote trial as you and I
might perceive of it, what it is, is basically a question and answer period
between the attorney’s and the court, the biggest part of this judicial system
is done by the briefs that have been submitted already, now the court will be
asking questions based upon those briefs,” Gould said.
Hearing cases on campus creates a unique
situation for both those making the appeal and the judges.
“To the litigants involved it’s very
important to them and of course it’s important to the judges because they want
to make sure they get it right. They have a beautiful court room in the
Capitol, but it’s not quite as large as this one,” Gould said.
The five Supreme Court justices hear appeals
of decisions decided in the circuit courts, including criminal convictions on
appeal from magistrate court and appeals from administrative agencies. Marshall
University President Stephen Kopp said it’s great to have the court visit
“I think for the students that were in
attendance today and the general public that were here, it’s a great
opportunity to see how the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals functions and
to actually witness testimony and legal arguments that were presented from both
sides on these very interesting cases,” Kopp said.
The justices chose these three cases specifically
for the appearance at Marshall.
“The Chief Justice selected them because
he thought they would be of general interest and I think from the point of view
of the judiciary and how the highest court in the state does it’s work, I think
it’s important for every citizen in the state to witness the court in action to
understand the legal process and the arguments,” Kopp said.
Chief Justice of the West Virginia
Supreme Court is Menis Ketchum, a native of Huntington. Ketchum said it was
important to the justices to choose interesting cases to hear at the university.
“That’s why we picked the first case
where they want to execute a dog, a neighbor wants to have it euthanized and
the second was underage girls were given alcohol and died and the third was
first degree murder and we just thought that those three would interest the
students rather than some boring contract case,” Ketchum said.
Ketchum said the court hopes it will be
able to continue to visit Marshall, if not every year, then every couple of
years. The justices will release their decision on each of the cases at a later