Thursday, April 10, 2014

Off-Site Court in My Own Backyard

On April 9, I had the rare opportunity to bring my colleagues to my hometown, Toledo, for a formal session of the Ohio Supreme Court.  Twice a year we justices leave the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center in Columbus to bring oral arguments to high school students, allowing them to personally hear real cases.  We held our 2014 spring Off-Site Program at the University of Toledo College of Law.

More than 350 high school students from 11 high schools in the Toledo area and dozens of law students from the university observed two civil cases and one criminal case. Local attorneys and teachers prepared the students well. After hearing the cases, the students met with the attorneys who argued the cases to ask questions and discuss the legal issues.  Many students mentioned that this was the most interesting part of their day.

Former Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer started the Off-Site Court Program in 1987 in Toledo as part of his efforts to explain the work of our court.   When we returned for the 68th session this year, oral arguments were held for the first time in the College of Law’s McQuade auditorium.   That happens to be the same place where I gave the valedictory speech for my law school class. Holy Toledo! Who knew I would end up on the Supreme Court 37 years later?  It’s just possible that someone who attended the Off-Site Program might be one of our future justices – it very well could be. 

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