Date:  October 18, 2006                                            Contact: Laura Kiernan
                                                                                                Judicial Branch
                                                                                                Communications Director
                                                                                                (603) 271-2646 x 359

 

  NEWS ADVISORY

N.H. Supreme Court’s Eighth “On the Road” Special Session to be held October 26 at Berlin Junior High School 

             CONCORD – The New Hampshire Supreme Court will hold a special session on October 26 in Berlin before an audience of more than 450 students from North Country high schools who have been invited to participate in the court’s eighth “On the Road” program.

            As part of its two-day North Country visit, the justices will attend a reception on October 25th sponsored by the Coos County Bar Association to be held at the Berlin District Court, 220 Main Street.  While in Berlin, Chief Justice John T. Broderick Jr. and members of the court also plan to meet with representatives of the North Country media, including editors and reporters from area newspapers.  The newest member of the Supreme Court, Associate Justice Gary E. Hicks, who is a North Country native and graduate of Colebrook Academy, will address a meeting of the Mettallak Retired Teachers Association at the Colebrook Country Club at noon on October 25. 

            The “On the Road” program, which provides a unique opportunity for students and community members to see the appellate process up close, will begin with welcoming remarks from Berlin High School Principal Gary Bisson. The moderator for the event, which will be held in the auditorium at Berlin Junior High School at 200 State Street, will be Coos County Family Division Judge James E. Michalik, who also serves as a special justice in Colebrook District Court. The Supreme Court staff has been planning for the event since last spring with Berlin Superintendent of Schools John Moulis and operations manager John Donaldson.

               "We are grateful for the very enthusiastic response we have received from North Country school administrators, teachers, and local attorneys who have volunteered their time to help us organize this important public outreach program," Chief Justice Broderick said. 

            The same protocols used at the Supreme Court in Concord during oral argument will be followed during the session in Berlin. After each argument, lawyers in the cases will take questions from the student audience. Following the court session, the justices will answer questions from the students.

          Prior to the special session, volunteer lawyers will have visited each participating school to discuss in advance with teachers and students the legal issues and proceedings involved in the cases that will be heard by the court.

          The “On the Road” program  was launched in May 2002 at St. Anselm College in Manchester.   Since then, sessions have been held at Dover High School, Dartmouth College, Plymouth State University, Keene State College, Nashua North High School and Philips Exeter Academy. These sessions are the only occasion when the Court convenes outside the Supreme Court building in Concord. More than 3,500  high school and college students have participated in the program. Information about the program, and photographs from the November 10, 2005 session at Philips Exeter, are available in the “Student Center” on the Judicial Branch website.

     
        The 11 high schools participating in the event are Berlin High School; Colebrook Academy; Gorham Middle High School; Groveton High School; Stratford Public School; Littleton High School; White Mountain Regional High School; Woodsville High School; Profile High School in Bethlehem, Pittsburg High School and Kennett High School in North Conway.

      The first case to be heard by the justices on October 26 will be State of New Hampshire v. Smoke Signals Pipe and Tobacco Shop, in which the defendant is arguing that the statute defining drug paraphernalia is unconstitutionally vague. The shop contends objects seized by the police from the shop should have been returned after a judge found them not guilty of selling drug paraphernalia. The question in the second case, State of New Hampshire v. Michael P. Licks, is whether a district court judge should have suppressed evidence obtained after a police officer approached Licks while he was seated in a car outside Club Electra in Lebanon. Licks, who contends he was unlawfully detained by the police officer, was found guilty of driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor.

   Case summaries, prepared by the Court Information Office, are available on the Judicial Branch website at www.courts.state.nh.us/press.

  Seating for the event is reserved, with 25  open seats available to the public on a first-come first-served basis. All participants must be seated by 9:15 a.m. For further information, contact the Court Communications Office at 603-271-2646, ext. 362.

   

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