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Appellate Court on Tour at Fairfield University

The Connecticut Appellate Court will travel to the Kelley Theatre of the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University on Friday, October 17, 2003, to hear three criminal cases before an audience that will include students from Fairfield College Preparatory School and Fairfield University. Chief Judge William J. Lavery, Judge Anne C. Dranginis, and Judge C. Ian McLachlan will hear the cases.

Chief Judge Lavery, a graduate of both Fairfield College Preparatory School and Fairfield University, said he looked forward to helping students understand the appellate process in Connecticut. "We believe that this session will provide them with the opportunity to see how the court works," Judge Lavery added.

The Court's appearance at Fairfield University is part of an ongoing educational initiative of the Connecticut Judicial Branch to acquaint students, educators, and the general public with the role and responsibilities of the court system.

Fairfield College Preparatory School Principal Robert Perrotta, who helped coordinate the event, said, "We are very pleased with the opportunity to sponsor the hearing of three cases by the Connecticut Appellate Court. This is a wonderful opportunity to teach our students about the inner workings of the Court."

Dr. Perrotta, who also is an attorney, added that attorneys from the Bridgeport chapter of the Connecticut Bar Association will visit the preparatory school before the actual court hearing. The attorneys will give junior and senior students an overview of the judicial process in Connecticut, the part the Appellate Court plays in the process, and an overview of the cases that will be heard.

The first case, State of Connecticut vs. Ricardo Mills, will be heard at 10 a.m. The defendant was convicted following a fight that led to the death of another man in Waterbury on September 16, 1996. Mr. Mills has appealed that conviction, contending that the trial court erred when it prohibited the jury from hearing about the victim's prior convictions.

The second case, to be heard at 11 a.m., is State of Connecticut vs. Kathleen Wyatt. Ms. Wyatt was convicted following her role in a collision that killed a motorcyclist on October 24, 1999, in Wallingford. On appeal, the defendant questions, among other issues, the propriety of the admission of the tests used to establish her blood-alcohol content.

The third case, State of Connecticut vs. Guadalupe Leon-Zazueta, will be heard at 1 p.m. The defendant is appealing his conviction for possessing illegal drugs and claims that there was insufficient evidence that the drugs found in a Meriden residence were possessed by him.

In all three cases, the defense and the prosecution will each have 20 minutes to present their case. The judges will not decide the cases from the bench; typically several weeks elapse between arguments and the court's decision on a case.

Metal detectors will be set up at the entrance to the Quick Center. To facilitate the screening process, it is recommended that guests not bring laptop computers, briefcases, backpacks, pocketbooks, or bags. Seats are available for the general public.

For information, contact Rhonda Stearley-Hebert, Manager of Communications, at 860-757-2270.


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