Date: October 24, 2003 Contact: Laura Kiernan
Court Public Information Officer
(603)-271-2646 x359

NEWS ADVISORY

SUPREME COURT TO HOLD SPECIAL SESSION OCTOBER 30

PLYMOUTH STATE UNIVERSITY

CONCORD—The New Hampshire Supreme Court continues its public outreach program on October 30 with a fourth "On the Road" special session during which the court will hold oral arguments before an audience of more than 600 high school and college students.

The event will be held at Plymouth State University in the Hanaway Theatre at the Silver Cultural Arts Center. After hearing oral arguments, the justices will take questions from the student audience about their work. The outreach program is the only occasion when the court convenes outside the Supreme Court building in Concord to hear actual cases.

The project includes briefings by volunteer lawyers who meet in advance with all the students attending the event to discuss with them the cases that will be heard by the court. The "On the Road" sessions, which have been attended by more than 1,000 students since the project began, are designed to enhance public understanding of the judicial system.

The special session, which will begin at 9:30 a.m., will be moderated by Chief Justice Walter L. Murphy of the Superior Court. Chief Justice Murphy, who recently announced he plans to retire in December after 20 years on the bench, practiced law for many years in Plymouth and was the first varsity football coach at Plymouth State.

All the formal protocols of courtroom procedure will be followed during the special session. There will be 10 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.

The Supreme Court launched its "On the Road" program at St. Anselm College in Manchester in May 2002, followed by special sessions at Dover High School and Dartmouth College.

The events have been widely praised as a unique opportunity for students not only to see the court in their own community but also to speak with the justices about the court. Lawyers who argue the cases before the court will also take questions from the student audience after oral arguments.

The first case to be heard by the court Thursday (State of NH v. Joseph J. Turmel, No. 2002-0589), involves whether a state trooper was justified in stopping the defendant’s car, asking him questions and conducting a search without a warrant. The state trooper had observed the defendant sharing a cigar or "blunt"—commonly a cigar emptied and filled with marijuana—with his passenger.

The question presented on appeal in the second case (HippoPress, LLC v. SMG d/b/a/ SMG Operations & a., No. 2002-0786) involves whether it is a violation of free speech for the operator of the city-owned Verizon Center to give one newspaper, in this case the Union Leader of Manchester, exclusive rights to sell newspapers inside that arena.

High schools participating in the October 30 event are Plymouth Regional, Laconia, Kingswood, Pembroke Academy, Pittsfield, Newfound, Moultonborough, New Hampton School, Franklin, Lin-wood, Gilford, Interlakes, Alton, Laconia Christian, Bishop Brady, and Sant Bani. In addition, students from the Plymouth State University Criminal Justice Department and the College of Lifelong Learning in Littleton will attend.

Summaries of the cases to be heard by the Supreme Court are available at www.courts.state.nh.us/press.