Utah Supreme Court to visit BYU on Wednesday


The Utah Supreme Court will come to BYU on Wednesday at 10 a.m. to hear two active state Supreme Court cases at the J. Reuben Clark Law School.

Every year, the Utah Supreme Court visits BYU to provide law students the chance to see attorneys argue before judges — a valuable opportunity for both law students and undergraduates.

Utah Supreme Court justices hear cases at the J. Reuben Clark Law School in 2012. (Photo courtesy Matt Imbler)

“We spend a lot of time in law school talking about judges and reading opinions,” said Brett Scharffs, associate dean of the law school. “But this event gives students the opportunity to see real judges and real cases, which is a very valuable asset to their education.”

Arguments for the first case, Glaittli v. State, will be heard at 10 a.m. The case challenges whether a state court of appeals erred in holding that the state is not responsible for injuries the petitioner sustained in his boat in the Jordanelle Reservoir. Arguments for the second case, State v. Sessions, will be heard at 10:30 a.m. In that case, the petitioner, who was charged with the sexual assault of his wife, appeals the trial court’s holding that his jury challenges were discriminatory and thus invalid.

“This is an important activity that we do at the law school because we want to make sure that the work we do as an academic institution is the same as it is in real life,” Scharffs said. “This is high-quality, high-level practice. All students can see the actual practice, and it creates an opportunity for meaningful classroom discussion — here at the law school and across campus.”

Seating to hear the cases is limited.

“Anyone who is interested in attending the event is invited,” said Nicole Sofe, academic events planner for the law school. “There will be an overflow room provided as the court fills up. Those who attend must remain quiet during proceedings and may only leave and enter the room when the Bailiff opens the doors.”

The law school will hold a similar event — the annual Rex E. Lee Moot Court Competition — on Friday at 11 a.m. Here, students will argue cases before three guest judges — two federal judges and the chief justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Undergraduate students are welcome to attend this event as well. Both events will be held in room 303 of the law school building.

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