NH Supreme Court to Visit Hanover High for First Time
This coming Thursday, Hanover High will host for the first time the NH Supreme Court “On the Road.” The program, started in 2002, brings the NH Supreme Court to different schools around the state, offering students, staff, and community members the opportunity to see the court in action and interact with lawyers and justices. Both the Senior and Junior classes will attend the event.
The program begins with oral arguments from two cases as would take place regularly at the Supreme Court in Concord. Having heard the oral arguments from the first case, the Justices will then leave, and the lawyers on both sides will turn to the audience for a Q and A. The Court will proceed similarly for the second case, after which there will be a Q and A with lawyers from both sides. After this second Q and A, the justices will re-enter the auditorium without their robes and will address questions from the audience.
The two cases on trial consist of one shoplifting related case and one case about driving after suspension of registration. In the first case, a woman was caught stealing items from Kohl’s and was convicted of felony theft since she stole in excess of $1,000 worth of items. The case before the court is about whether or not the theft was a felony, as the defendant argues that many of the items were likely discounted since it was Kohl’s, and the only evidence establishing the value of the merchandise was a form where the prices of the items taken from the price tags were recorded. The second case discusses car registration law. Mr. Keenan, the defendant in the case was pulled over and charged with a misdemeanor for driving a car he controlled when his registration was suspended. The car, however, was registered to his son. So, the question is whether or not for a man to control a car it must be registered to him or if he must merely be driving it.
In preparation for the coming of the Supreme Court, the Attorney General and Solicitor General of New Hampshire both paid a visit to Hanover High School.
Gordon MacDonald, a Hanover High graduate himself, began the hour-long visit by breaking down the basics of the New Hampshire Judiciary. Attorney General MacDonald explained the structure of the lower courts as well as who prosecuted what crimes at the local and statewide level.
Afterward, Solicitor General Daniel E. Will had a more informal conversation with the upperclassmen audience. Solicitor General Will began by asking how many people had read the cases, and in response, most hands in the audience went up. Then, he asked how many people thought the defendant should win, and to his surprise, the majority of the hands in the room went up. After an energetic back and forth between students and the Solicitor General, he asked the same question for the second case. However, in the second case, most students admitted they weren’t sure about who they sided with, so the Solicitor General gave a more general explanation of the case that the state was making before an entertaining question.
After the Q and A with the justices, the majority of students will go back to their regularly scheduled classes with the only exception being students taking Constitutional Law. These students will have the privilege to eat lunch with the justices and ask more direct questions.