The North Carolina Court of Appeals will pay a visit to the western part of the state Monday, Oct. 3, when it convenes at Western Carolina University.
The court will hear arguments in two cases beginning at 1:25 p.m. in the third-floor theater of A.K. Hinds University Center on the WCU campus. The sessions are open to the public, but no one will be admitted to the theater after the sessions have begun. A reception will follow.
Debra Burke, WCU professor of business law and among the organizers of the event on campus, is calling the visit “WCU’s very own first Monday,” in reference to the day when the U.S. Supreme Court traditionally convenes after summer recess.
“It’s an honor to host a panel of judges on the N.C. Court of Appeals,” Burke said. “Typically, most people are more familiar with how trial courts function from watching TV than the role of appeals courts in our legal system. It will be very valuable for them to witness how appeals courts consider questions of law as they arise based upon the fact patterns of specific cases, and how legal arguments are presented to the panel of judges. Witnessing this process will help them to appreciate the role of judges in ruling on questions arising under state law.”
Scheduled to hear arguments in the cases on the docket are Presiding Judge Sanford L. Steelman Jr., Judge Sam J. Ervin IV and Judge J. Douglas McCullough.
While at WCU, the judges also will meet with students in several political science, business law and criminal justice classes.
The sessions mark the fourth time that the N.C. Court of Appeals has convened on the WCU campus. The court first heard cases in Cullowhee in September 1995. It returned in 2001, along with members of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, marking the first time both state appellate courts formally visited a North Carolina university campus at the same time. Both courts also visited WCU in October 2004.