Court of Appeals to be held on campus
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012 01:10
Students at the University of Southern Mississippi and interested citizens are invited to attend the court sessions of the Mississippi Court of Appeals when it holds a docket on campus today.
The dockets will be held in the Thad Cochran Center at 11 a.m. and again at 2 p.m. The court sessions are open to the public.
Known as the Court on the Road Program, the Court of Appeals periodically schedules oral arguments on college campuses and other locations as an outreach and teaching tool for students.
“We think it’s a great learning experience for the students, Court of Appeals Judge David M. Ishee of Gulfport said. “Pre-law students are the ones who show the most interest, but I think it’s a great learning experience for everyone just to show what the court does. Very few people have an opportunity to come to appellate courts unless they are a party, so this is a good opportunity for the general public to actually see what goes on.”
The three-judge panel will hear appeals from Hinds and Washington counties.
At 11 a.m. students can bear witness to John Edward McDonald’s appeal of his 2011 drug conviction in Hinds County. He was sentenced to 60 years in prison as a habitual offender.
At 2 p.m. the panel will hear Mike McTiller III’s appeal of his 2011 conviction of aggravated assault in Washington County.
McTiller was also convicted of using a firearm during the commission of a felony. He was sentenced to 15 years for aggravated assault and an additional five years for the firearms enhancement, with these convictions running concurrently.
Expected to last approximately an hour, the oral arguments offer both sides each 30 minutes to make their case.
Attendees are asked to be in their seats 15 minutes before the arguments are scheduled to begin.
“The judges will answer questions from students after the oral arguments but will not talk about the cases that were argued,” said Public Information Officer at the Administrative Office of Courts in Jackson Beverly Pettigrew Craft.
The Court on the Road Program was started by the Court of Appeals as part of its regular calendar for oral arguments in 2005.
This year, Chief Judge Joe Lee has increased the number of college campuses and county courthouse visits that will be made.
“It provides an opportunity for people to see what we do,” Lee said.
Aside from USM, the Court on the Road Program will bring Appellate Court hearings to Mississippi Valley State University on Oct. 9 and Mississippi State University on Nov. 13.
Prior to the hearing today at USM, the court convened at Mississippi College School of Law and University of Mississippi School of Law this past April, at the Adams County Courthouse in Natchez on Aug. 8 and at Jones County Junior College on Sept. 11.