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By JESSICA R

By JESSICA R. ALLEN

jra020@latech.edu

 

Judges from the Louisiana Court of Appeals, Second Circuit presided over four cases in Howard Auditorium, Center for the Performing Arts, on Oct. 27.

At times, the Court of Appeals travels around North Louisiana allowing college students a chance to watch the court processions in action.

Dr. Jason Pigg, an assistant professor of political science, said the court came to Tech randomly.

“Normally, they are based in Shreveport,” Pigg said. “They just pick any location in northern Louisiana they haven’t been to in a while.”

Dr. Robert Toburen, head of the department of social sciences and a professor of social sciences, said he did not know how the students would feel during the court procession since each lawyer was allotted 20 minutes to be heard.

“I was a little concerned going in that the students might find the proceedings a little on the long side and might lose interest,” Toburen said. “I thought it went very well.”

Four cases were argued in front of the students.

“One involved a reported contract between an 89-year-old man and a 50-something-year-old woman for ‘services to be provided’ and whether that was a valid contract,” Toburen said.

He said the next case was based on charges of hostility.

“Another one involved a dispute between a deputy and a homeowner when the deputy came to repossess some electronic equipment,” Toburen said. “It’s actually an altercation, and each accuses the other of using violence.”

The third case heard was about a person, who was bitten by another owners dog.

“[It] involved a dog in a dog obedience/aggression class,” he said. “The owner of one dog was bitten by another dog.”

The last case was for whether a search was acceptable in a drug case. “[It] involved a backpack on the porch of a third party, not the home of the person who had the drugs, but whether they could search the backpack on the porch,” he said. “It’s a search question to the constitution, basically, whether you can go in without a warrant onto the porch of the house.”

The cases ended up being entertaining for the students, Toburen said.

“The cases that the court decided were quite interesting,” he said. “Colorful -- I would even say -- and kept the students’ attention very well.”

The judges were trying to appeal to the students, Toburen said.

“One of the things that struck me about the court was again, not only that the students might lose interest, but that they might find the court to be a little on the stuffy side or the proceedings a little dry, but there was humor between the judges and the lawyers,” Toburen said. “They made jokes at each other.”

During a case, Judge J. Jay Caraway, of Bossier City, stopped a lawyer in the middle of his sentence and reminded him to suck up to him. The lawyer laughed and informed the judge that he only needed two votes from the panel.

Toburen said the proceedings of the court were not showcased as they traditionally are.

“The court allowed some time for students to ask questions,” he said. “Normally, in the court they wouldn’t have done that, but knowing the students were there, they gave us a chance to kind of discuss and ask questions about the court.”

Amber Grafton, a senior political science and Spanish major, said the court was good for her and other political science majors to watch, and she enjoyed it.

“I think that the Court of Appeals proceedings were beneficial to pre-law students because we were given an opportunity to see how things are done on the appellate court level,” Grafton said. “The cases were actually interesting. I want to know how the rulings turn out.”


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