Connecticut Supreme Court on Tour: Justices to Hear Cases at Eastern Connecticut
The Connecticut Supreme
Court will travel to Eastern Connecticut State University on Wednesday,
Oct. 29 to hear arguments in two cases. The visit marks the first time
the Justices have held arguments at a Connecticut State University
The Court's appearance at
ECSU is part of an ongoing educational initiative of the Connecticut
Judicial Branch to introduce students, educators, and the general public
to the role and responsibilities of the appellate court system.
"We are excited about the
opportunity to visit ECSU and to educate students about our Court,"
Chief Justice William J. Sullivan said. "We hope that they will walk
away with a better understanding of the process -- and perhaps a desire
to consider law as a career."
"I am pleased that Eastern
has been selected to partner with the Justices of the Supreme Court of
Connecticut to increase public understanding of the legal system," ESCU
President Dr. David G. Carter said. "Whether you study English, biology,
history -- whatever your discipline -- an appreciation of the law will
make you a more well-rounded person."
The Court will hear the
cases -- one is civil, the other, criminal -- in the Betty R. Tipton
Room of the Student Center on ECSU's North Campus. ECSU will
video-record both cases, and the tape will be produced as an educational
video to inform high school and college students, as well as members of
the community, about how the Supreme Court works.
The first case, Mary Ann
Jagger vs. Mohawk Mountain Ski Area Inc., et al, will be heard at 10
a.m. The central issue before the Supreme Court is whether a skier can
make a negligence claim against a ski area for injuries she suffered
after colliding with a ski instructor in December 1999.
The second case, State of
Connecticut vs. John Lutters, will start at noon. The defendant, a
taxi driver, fatally shot a passenger who stabbed him in the neck while
trying to rob him in New Haven on June 15, 2001. Mr. Lutters
subsequently was charged with carrying a pistol without a permit. The
defendant countered that the taxicab was "a place of business" under
state law, which prohibits an individual from carrying a handgun without
a permit, except when the person is within his/her dwelling or place of
business. A judge dismissed the charge, and the state appealed. The
issue before the Supreme Court is whether a taxicab is a "place of
After each session, a
volunteer attorney and two ECSU professors, Dr. Stacey Close, associate
professor of history, and Dr. William Salka, assistant professor of
political science, will moderate a question-and-answer period. Lawyers
involved in the cases will discuss their objectives and strategies.
News media organizations
will be permitted to record, broadcast, televise, and photograph the
question-and-answer periods, but are asked to contact Rhonda Stearley-Hebert
(860-757-2270) by Monday, Oct. 27. The Court has granted ECSU's request
to record the two scheduled oral arguments. If news organizations would
like to make pooling arrangements, please contact Dwight Bachman, Public
Relations Officer at ECSU, at 860-465-5114.
The following items may not
be brought into the courtroom: cellular telephones, pagers, radios,
cassette players, CD players, DVD players, televisions, recording
devices, cameras, video equipment, boom boxes, bladed or pointed items,
weapons, and food and beverages. To help the screening process and
movement in and out of the Betty R. Tipton Room, it is recommended that
guests not bring briefcases, backpacks, pocketbooks, or bags.
For further information,
please contact Rhonda Stearley-Hebert, Manager of Communications for the
Connecticut Judicial Branch at 860-757-2270, or Dwight Bachman, Public
Relations Officer at ECSU at 860-465-5114.