Utah Supreme Court to hear cases at the Y

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    By Heather Whittle

    BYU students, faculty and the public will have a chance to see Utah”s Supreme Court in action at the J. Reuben Clark Law School, on Wednesday, where they will hear oral arguments on two cases.

    Traditionally, the court visits the law schools of BYU and the University of Utah each year to hear an oral argument session.

    The five justices are appointed by the governor for 10-year terms. Chief Justice Christine Durham and Associate Chief Justice Matthew Durrant have both taught at BYU.

    “The court sees it has been very educational and beneficial,” said Pat Bartholomew, a spokeswoman of the Utah Supreme Court, of visiting the two school”s campuses. “The benefit is for those who have wanted to see the judicial process at that level. The courts want to provide outreach and information to those who are interested.”

    The court will hear the cases at 10 and 11 a.m. in the Moot Courtroom of the law school.

    Cases are randomly selected, but lawyers and their clients must agree to allow the case to be argued at BYU. The Utah Supreme Court typically convenes in the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City.

    The first case involves a discrepancy between Utah Labor Code and Utah Administrative Code.

    The second case, Hoyer v. State, questions whether Utah”s Division of Wildlife Resources is liable for the deaths of an amateur herpetologist”s seized snakes.

    In each session, both sides will have 20 minutes to argue their case and answer questions from the five justices.

    The Utah Supreme Court”s Official Guide to Oral Arguments states: “The purpose of these arguments is to help the justices, who are already well-versed in the specifics of the case, understand the lawyers” intent more clearly.

    “If there is a single reason for oral argument, it is to clarify for the justices questions they may have regarding your argument, your case, and the impact of the result you seek from the Court.”

    Within a few months after the oral arguments, the justices will submit their public written opinions – either sustaining or overturning the appeals.

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