Date: September 24, 2002 Contact: Laura Kiernan
Court Public Information Officer
(603)-271-2646 x359

 

NEWS ADVISORY

SUPREME COURT TO HOLD SPECIAL SESSION OCT. 2 AT DOVER HIGH

 

CONCORDóDover High School will host more than 450 high school and college students on October 2 at a special session of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, during which the justices will hear oral arguments in two actual cases and take questions from the student audience about their work.

"Bringing the Supreme Court into our communities, especially reaching out to our schools, is one of the most important things we can do to enhance public understanding of the judicial system," Chief Justice David A. Brock said. The Dover High School event is the second in a series of special sessions the court launched last spring designed to give students around the state a first-hand look at the court.

In one of the cases to be heard in Dover, WMUR Channel 9, The Boston Globe and the New Hampshire Association of Broadcasters are challenging the constitutionality of a blanket ban on television and radio coverage and photographs of court proceedings involving the murder of two Dartmouth College professors. In the second case, a teenage defendant is challenging a police search.

Dover High School Principal Eric D. Ely, freshman dean Patrick Boodey, and audio-visual aide Melissa Doucette, as well as other Dover High administrators and staff, have worked closely with the Supreme Court staff in organizing this important public outreach program.

Last May, the Supreme Court held a special session at St. Anselm College in Manchester to coincide with nationwide celebrations of "Law Day." That event, which was also the first time the modern court had held oral arguments outside its courtroom in Concord, was widely praised for the unusual opportunity it gave students not only to see the court in their community but also to speak with the justices. Lawyers who argue the cases before the court will also take questions from the student audience after oral arguments.

Prior to the Oct. 2 session, volunteer lawyers from the New Hampshire Bar Association will visit each of the participating schools to brief students on the legal issues in the two cases and about court procedure. Each student receives background materials on the cases and information relating to the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Brock, Associate Justices Joseph P. Nadeau, Linda S. Dalianis and James E. Duggan will hear the two cases before the court. Justice John T. Broderick Jr. is recused from both cases but will participate in the question and answer session with students.

The special session will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Frederick C. Walker Auditorium at Dover High, moderated by Supervisory Justice Bruce E. Mohl of the Strafford County Superior Court. All the formal protocols of courtroom procedure will be followed. There will be 25 seats available to members of the public on a first come first serve basis. All visitors must be in their seats by 9:15 a.m.

In addition to Dover High School, the high schools participating in the October 2 event are Spaulding, Somersworth, Farmington, Oyster River, Winnacunnet, and Portsmouth High Schools, Philips Exeter Academy, St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Coe-Brown Academy, Portsmouth Christian Academy, and Merrimack Valley High School. A group of home schoolers and students from the New Hampshire Technical College in Stratham are also expected to attend.

Summaries of the cases to be heard by the Supreme Court are available on the main Press Releases page.