Earlier this year, I had the honor of conducting a mock trial for a group of homeschool students in the Wheeling area. Now I’m hoping to expose some of those same students to the appellate process.
On Wednesday, September 6, the Supreme Court will be hearing arguments at historic Independence Hall in Wheeling. This is part of the LAWS program, which is meant to reach out to high school students by bringing real court proceedings to venues throughout the state. Students are introduced to appellate practice, read the briefs, discuss the issues, and then attend the oral arguments for themselves. It’s meant to be an immersive, hands-on experience.
There are two cases that will be argued on September 6.
First, the court will hear a criminal case involving a kidnapping. State of West Virginia vs. Blickenstaff, No. 16-0666. The defendant argues that the trial court erred by admitting expert testimony from the manager of a women’s center and by admitting proof of a prior, unrelated crime involving the same victim.
The second case is Hansen v. Keeling, No. 16-0799. The defendant argues that the trial court overstepped its bounds by making prejudicial remarks from the bench and unfairly interrogating witnesses. WVSCBlog will be following this case so keep an eye out for an argument preview in the coming weeks.
I’ll write again after the arguments. I’ll let you know how my students reacted to the experience and maybe, just maybe, I’ll let you know how they would decide these cases themselves!