Live!: Wyoming Supreme Court Roadshow Comes to Casper College
Courtroom television dramas show it all -- bad guys, good guys, plot twists, GQ- and Vogue-model-quality attorneys, slightly less attractive judges, some whiz-bang forensic technology, a social issue, and a dash of romance -- all in an hour including commercials.
And then there's the real thing, Wyoming Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Kite said.
"We go where we're invited to the schools around the state for purposes of bringing the court to the people, and hopefully helping those students get a feel for what the Supreme Court is doing and what it's really like as opposed to the kind of thing they see on TV and think is real," Kite said Tuesday.
Thursday, Casper College will host the Wyoming Supreme Court for a real-hearing with real court justices, and real attorneys presenting real arguments in two real civil cases, one of which concerns the legal aftermath of a Casper man who was dragged under a vehicle for nearly a mile on Dec. 30, 2007.
Kite underscored the educational importance of holding court 185 miles from the justices' home base in Cheyenne.
"The condition of civics education and understanding in our society today is not what it used to be," Kite said. "We're always concerned about that because democracy depends on an educated citizenry."
A lot of the local citizenry including area high school and college students will be attending Thursday's event, said Maya Russell, Casper College political science and criminal justice instructor. Russell worked with local attorney Craig Silva and college officials to host the court session, she said.
"This is just such a wonderful opportunity for our students as well as our community members to give them a better understand of what court looks like, live," Russell said.
The hearings in the two cases will feature their own drama, but not the kind of drama shown through pop culture and popular shows such as "CSI," Russell said.
That lesson occupies much of her teaching, and she hopes the Supreme Court visit will drive home her concerns, she said.
"We often talk about and discuss "the CSI effect" which is we put conditions through television everything is presented at rapid speed and resolved on the spot, and obviously that's not realistic at all," Russell said.
IF YOU GO:
The Wyoming Supreme Court will conduct two hearings for two civil cases beginning at 9 a.m. at Wheeler Hall in the Music Building at Casper College. Doors open at 8:30 a.m.
Both hearings are one hour each, with attorneys for both sides speaking for 30 minutes. A short break is scheduled after the first hearing. The second hearing will be an hour, too. A question-and-answer session will follow the second hearing.
The same rules of behavior and security govern the hearing at the college as if it were held in the Supreme Court building in Cheyenne: Talking by the audience is not permitted. Food and drink in the auditorium are prohibited. Cameras and recording devices are prohibited. However, the justices may waive the prohibition on cameras and recording devices during the question-and-answer session.