The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia heard arguments in three cases last Tuesday, May 3, in the Braxton County Board of Education meeting room, with high school students from Braxton and Webster Counties in attendance.
New Justice C. Haley Bunn joined the court on the bench for the first time at the event.
The LAWS (Legal Advancement for West Virginia Students) docket was scheduled to be held in Braxton County in March 2020 but had to be cancelled due to COVID-19. This will be the first LAWS docket since 2019.
Supreme Court Justice Tim Amstead, a graduate of Braxton County High School was instrumental in bringing the learning experience to central West Virginia. “When I served as Chief Justice I was allowed to choose the location for the remote proceedings. I chose Braxton County but COVID delay things,” Justice Armstead told a CN Reporter. “I’m glad they we were able to get this valued learning tool back on track.”
LAWS was established in 1999. Since then, more than 5,800 students in 34 counties have participated. For more information on LAWS, see http://www.courtswv.gov/publicresources/student-resources/LAWS/laws-program.html.
High school students study the cases and the West Virginia court system ahead of the argument docket day with the help of attorneys or judges from their area. This year, Judge Richard Facemire worked with Braxton County students and Judge Jack Alsop worked with Webster County students. Both are judges in the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit serving Braxton, Clay, Gilmer, and Webster Counties.
Students attended the argument for the case they studied and then had an opportunity to meet with and question the attorneys who argued that case. The students also had lunch with the Justices.
The cases heard in Braxton County were State of West Virginia v. Quenton A. Sheffield, No. 21-0114; State of West Virginia v. Scotty Joseph Byers, No. 20-0706; and 12:30 a.m. State Farm Fire & Casualty Company v. Nathaniel Realty, LLC, and Howard L. Shackelford, MD, No. 21-0044.
The LAWS docket was recorded and will remain on the West Virginia Judiciary
YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/wvsupremecourt) so all West Virginia students have the opportunity to watch during their normal class times.