NM Court of Appeals Heads to Del Norte High School

October 30, 2013

The New Mexico Court of Appeals and local lawyers will convene at Del Norte High School to bring an active appellate case before a student audience.

Open court is to be held at the school on November 7, 2013, to review State v. Davis, centering on the constitutionality of a State Police helicopter search resulting in the discovery of a marijuana garden in rural northern New Mexico. Volunteer lawyers from the Albuquerque Bar Association prepared the students on the case during class time beforehand.

Oral Argument in the Schools is a regular Court of Appeals program during the academic year, traveling to a different school each year. Cases are chosen for their schoolroom appropriateness and the likelihood that the judges can make a swift decision. Students have an opportunity to ask questions of the judges and attorneys and to predict whether the lower court decision will be affirmed or reversed.

“Oral arguments in schools help show the public that communities, schools, lawyers and courts are engaged in an important public service – educating students about law, lawsuits, the judiciary, and the important role of lawyers and courts in resolving disputes,” said Court of Appeals Judge Timothy Garcia.

“The students understand that the school is transformed into a real courtroom, no different than if the arguments were in our own courtroom, and that in all likelihood, none of their teachers or parents, nor the vast majority of residents in the state, have ever witnessed this process,” Judge Garcia said.

Volunteer lawyers are Lynn Mostoller, Ronald Segel and Andrew Simons of Sutin, Thayer & Browne, as well as Bridget Gavahan, Angelica Hall, James Reist and Jackie Robins.

“We think it important that people are aware of our volunteer time and assistance of the lawyers, particularly because the lawyers do not receive continuing legal education or other credit or recognition for their important service,” Judge Garcia said.

Mostoller and the Sutin firm coordinate these events through the Albuquerque Bar Association. Del Norte High teacher Christine Beverly is directing events at the school.

Sutin, Thayer & Browne is New Mexico’s largest women-owned law firm, providing exceptional legal services in Albuquerque and Santa Fe since 1946.

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