APA students attend N.C. Supreme Court session
The special session of the N.C. Supreme Court is called to order. The justices were, from left, Associate Justice Anita Earls, Associate Justice Sam J. Ervin IV, Associate Justice Paul Newby, Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, Associate Justice Robin Hudson, Associate Justice Michael Morgan and Associate Justice Mark Davis. Photo by Catherine Hardee / Neuse News
GREENVILLE — A group of students from Lenoir County witnessed a historic event on Tuesday.
Students from Arendell Parrott Academy in Kinston attended a special session of the North Carolina Supreme Court held at the Pitt County Courthouse in Greenville. The session, one of three held this week in Eastern North Carolina, was part of the celebration of the 200th anniversary of North Carolina’s Supreme Court.
The General Assembly granted special authorization for the Supreme Court to hold these sessions outside of Raleigh so citizens all over the state could become more familiar with the court.
The court’s seven justices heard oral arguments in front of a packed courtroom for two cases during Tuesday morning’s session — one civil, one criminal. During oral arguments, each attorney had exactly 30 minutes to make arguments for his or her client. The justices asked questions and attempted to clarify the points of law involved in each case.
The civil case involved a dispute over distribution of assets in a divorce, and the criminal case was an appeal of a murder conviction. APA freshmen Marshall Taylor and Taylor Llewellyn said they felt they learned a lot from the experience.
“It was interesting to see the two lawyers going at it and prove their points. The justices were very serious,” Llewellyn said.
Taylor said the court session gave him a better understanding of the judicial system he had learned about in government class. He also said he will be interested to see how the justices rule on the case.
Chief Justice Cheri Beasley said she was excited to see so many students attend the court session. She said she hoped they had learned about what the Supreme Court does and how cases are decided. Beasley also said she had enjoyed the chance to travel around the state and hold court in different locations.
Following the sessions on Tuesday, the Supreme Court justices attended a luncheon with the local bar association and then held a professional development workshop for local lawyers on ethics before traveling to New Bern to prepare for another special session that was held Wednesday.