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Connecticut Appellate Court to Hear Cases at the Norwich Free Academy

The Connecticut Appellate Court will travel to the Norwich Free Academy on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008, to hear arguments in one criminal and one civil case. The arguments will be heard in the Slater Museum Auditorium, at 305 Broadway, Norwich.

The court’s visit is part of an ongoing educational initiative of the Connecticut Judicial Branch to acquaint students, educators and the public with the role and responsibilities of the court process. Both arguments are open to the public.

The arguments will commence at 9:30 a.m. in the criminal case, State v. Solomon Barnes. The civil case, Thomas Costanzo v. F. Scott Gray et al., will beginHon. Thomas A. BishopHon. C. Ian McLachlanHon. Robert E. Beach, Jr.Appellate Judges Bishop, McLachlan and Beach at 11:25 a.m. Arguments in each case will
last approximately 40 minutes. The New London County Bar Association has arranged for lawyers to participate in question-and-answer periods following each case. Appellate Court Judges Thomas A. Bishop, C. Ian McLachlan and Robert E. Beach Jr., will hear the cases but will not participate in the question-and-answer sessions.

“We appreciate the opportunity to bring the Appellate Court to the Norwich Free Academy, and we hope that viewing the proceedings will give the students a greater understanding of the workings of the judicial system and the role it plays in government as a whole and in the lives of all citizens,” Judge Bishop said.

Karen Cook, head of the History Department at Norwich Free Academy, said the Court’s visit is a great experience for the school. “At the Norwich Free Academy we value tradition and innovation,” she said. “Hosting the Appellate Court provides our students with an incredible opportunity to witness the modern form of our judicial tradition while experiencing an innovative approach to learning. We are extremely proud and grateful for this opportunity to see our democracy in action and interact with its key players.”

Members of the New London County Bar Association met with students in the days preceding the arguments to provide an overview of the court system and the cases to be argued. “The Bar Association was excited to be asked to participate,” New London County Bar Association President Matthew Berger said. “So many of our members are graduates of Norwich Free Academy and we’re glad to take time off to participate in this important event, as lawyers and alumni. We had too many volunteers, which is always great, and shows how much our members value their connection to NFA, and to the legal system.”

News media organizations may record, broadcast, televise and photograph the oral arguments in compliance with the rules governing cameras in the Appellate Court and the Court’s protocol, which is available on the Judicial Branch’s website at
www.jud.ct.gov. Note that the protocol requires media outlets to make pooling arrangements among themselves if there are multiple requests to videotape, broadcast, televise, record or photograph the same argument. For information, contact Jim Senich, manager of communications at the Judicial Branch, at 860-757-2270, by Tuesday, Oct. 21. Pooling is not required for the question-and-answer periods.

The following items may not be brought into the courtroom: bladed or pointed items, weapons, food and beverages. To facilitate the screening process, it is recommended that guests not bring briefcases, backpacks, pocketbooks or bags.

The Norwich Free Academy was founded in 1854 and incorporated in 1855 by an act of the Connecticut Legislature. It operates as an endowed educational institution and serves as the primary school for Norwich, Canterbury, Bozrah, Voluntown, Sprague, Lisbon, Franklin, Preston and several others. In 2001, the U.S. Department of Education recognized it as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.


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