Date April 3, 2003 Contact: Laura Kiernan
Public Information Officer
271-2646 x359



CONCORD—The New Hampshire Supreme Court will hold a special session at Dartmouth College on April 10 as part of an ongoing public outreach program designed to enhance understanding of the state’s judicial system.

About 400 students from area high schools and Dartmouth College are expected to attend the session during which the justices will hear oral arguments in two actual cases and take questions from the student audience about their work. The outreach program, which is the only occasion when the court convenes outside the Supreme Court building in Concord, is a unique opportunity for the community to have a close-up view of the justices and the appellate process.

The special session will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Hopkins Center Moore Theater, moderated by Supervisory Justice Jean K. Burling of the Grafton 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.

The session at Dartmouth was planned in cooperation with the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for the Social Sciences and Dartmouth’s Center for Women and Gender. The Supreme Court launched the program last year with special sessions at St. Anselm College and Dover High School.

Both events last year were widely praised for the unusual opportunity they gave students not only to see the court in their own 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.

The first case to be heard by the court involves whether the police were required to warn a defendant about her right against self-incrimination before they showed her bank photos that implicated her in a robbery and promised leniency if she cooperated. The police contend that showing her the photos did not amount to interrogation and they argue her subsequent confession was voluntary.

The question presented on appeal in the second case is whether a campground rental establishes a landlord-tenant relationship. In the case before the court, a campground owner was ordered to pay $23,000 to the owner of a camper-trailer because he entered the premises, after she moved out, to remove a dog that was locked inside. The woman contends that under landlord-tenant law, her permission to enter was required. The campground owner contends he is not a "landlord" because a campground involves temporary occupancy.

Prior to the April 10 special 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.

High schools participating in the April 10 event are Hanover, Lebanon, Mascoma Regional, Newport and Stevens High Schools, Tilton School, Rivendale Academy and Kimball Union Academy.


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