Local students see state Supreme Court in action

 from the Supreme Court of Appeals

photo by April Harless

The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia heard arguments in two cases today, April 9, at the Morgan County Courthouse in Berkeley Springs as part of the Legal Advancement for West Virginia Students (LAWS) program.

Since 1999, the Supreme Court has held an argument docket at a county courthouse about once a year and invited students from that area to attend. Teachers and volunteer attorneys help prepare students. This year students from Berkeley Springs High School, Paw Paw High School and Blue Ridge Community and Technical College attended the argument docket and a reception that followed at The Country Inn.

“It gave me a better understanding of what judges do and how cases work, said Katie Caperton of Berkeley Springs High School, one of four Teen Court students to attend. “I was surprised by the direct questions. We learn about the court system in class and teen court. It was really interesting to see it.”

Matthew Rubeck said he was surprised by the complexity of the cases compared to Teen Court. “It’s not obvious the person did something wrong”in the Supreme Court cases, he said.

“It’s a different environment than the one we are usually in,” said Kennedy Shires. “We get to see stuff we don’t normally get to see,” said Cadence Carpenter. Other students who are not involved in Teen Court also found the arguments interesting.

“I think they gave us a good overall view,” said Courtney Moreland of Paw Paw High School. “It was a great learning experience. It showed how you have to act in a courtroom and prepare for it. They were interesting cases.”

Two college students who plan to be attorneys said the experience was exciting.

Katelyn Chambers wants to be a prosecutor. Shamera Dupree wants to be to be a criminal defense attorney.

“It was amazing,” Dupree said.

This year for the first time the LAWS docket was recorded and will remain on the West Virginia Judiciary YouTube Channel so students in the rest of West Virginia can watch during their normal class times, if teachers so choose.