POMEROY — The Ohio Supreme Court will hear oral arguments April 20 at Meigs High School as part of the court’s twice-a-year off-site court program.
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and justices Paul Pfeifer, Terrence O’Donnell, Judith Ann Lanzinger, Sharon Kennedy, Judith French and William O’Neill will hear oral arguments beginning at 9 a.m. at the school. Cases will include Donald Caster v. City of Columbus and Kimberly Jacobs, chief, Columbus Division of Police (Case Number: 2014-1621), State v. Matthew Ailim (Case Number: 2015-0677) and State v. Demetrius Jones (Case Number: 2015-1427).
This is the 72nd time the court will travel outside of Columbus to hear oral arguments.
“The off-site court program helps to educate the public about the justice system,” O’Connor said. “When the court travels to different counties across Ohio, students and community members can watch the court in action and observe how the judicial branch works. It’s not only an opportunity for the students and citizens … but a welcomed change of scenery for the justices. I know all the justices enjoy the interaction with students, the bench, bar and the public.”
In addition to Meigs High School, Eastern and Southern high schools will also participate in the off-site court program. After established contact with Meigs County Probate and Juvenile Court Judge Scott Powell, Gallipolis-based attorney and Gallia County Prosecutor candidate Jason Holdren has reached out to Gallia County high schools in an attempt to get government and social studies classes to also experience the interaction with the Ohio Supreme Court.
“This is a unique opportunity to see something that very few people in Ohio witness,” Holdren said. “This is your state government at work and students should take the opportunity to witness it when they can, especially when it’s just a short drive away.”
This is the first time the Ohio Supreme Court will hold off-site court in Meigs County. Judge Powell extended a formal invitation to the Supreme Court and is hosting the event along with the Meigs County Bar Association.
“The off-site court program is a wonderful opportunity for rural counties such as Meigs County,” Judge Powell said. “Without this program, Meigs County wouldn’t have the access to not only meet these important state officials, but witness them actually perform their judicial roles. I hope the students and citizens … truly appreciate the historical value of this event, as it will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Since 1987, the off-site court program has been used to enhance students’ understanding of the Ohio legal system by providing opportunities to observe proceedings in person and to interact with justices, attorneys and court staff.
Students and teachers receive curriculum material to study before oral arguments, including summaries of the specific cases to be argued. Local attorneys team with educators at each participating school to explain Ohio’s judicial system and to review case materials.
Before oral arguments, students will participate in a question-and-answer with the justices. After hearing the cases, students will meet with the case attorneys for a debriefing and discussion of the legal issues.