Maine Supreme Court Visits Orono High School

Wayne Harvey

Updated 1 year ago

A basketball court became a court room Monday in Orono.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court began their annual tour of Maine high schools to hear cases.

A trio of cases were heard in front of not only the Justices, but Orono High School students and faculty.

“We prepare these cases just as if we we’re going to hear them in our courtrooms,” said Maine Chief Justice Leigh I. Saufley “And then we have the arguments right here so the students can hear the arguments, and once that is completed, we take the case under advisement, there will be an opinion issues in these cases and the students will learn how the case came out.”

Not only did the judges and attorneys prepare for the hearings, so did students in the “How to Argue” class at Orono High School.

They went through the cases and wrote notes for the other students to understand what was going to be argued.

“The cases were kind of hard to understand,” said Orono High School Senior Tiffani Pinkham. “So my teacher broke them down for us, that was a little bit better, and they’re breaking them down more, so it’s easier to understand them today.”

“It was actually more interesting than I thought it would be,” said Orono High School Senior Saskia Van Walsum. “I thought I wouldn’t be able to understand a word they were saying, but I think it helped having talked about it beforehand in class.”

Three cases were heard in front of the students. It was the first of three high schools to serve as the one day home of the Supreme Court. Nokomis and Cape Elizabeth are next.

Once this tour of schools is done, the court will have visited 26 different high schools around the state.

The plan is to keep brining the court to the classrooms in the future, because the judges get as much out of it as the students.

“The reason we do this is so the students get an understanding of what appellate law is all about,” said Chief Justice Saufley. “They never see it in the movies, they don’t see it on television, and they would rarely have an opportunity to actually come to a courtroom and see an appellate court at work. This way we bring the cases and the lawyers to the students.”

The judges heard three cases ranging from Tax Assessment, to subject matter jurisdiction, to a drug case.

Once the decision is reached, the students will get a link so they can know how the cases turned out.


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