The university hosted the Indiana Court of Appeals March 23. During the one hour session, the court heard the oral arguments for the case of Hunt v. State and concluded with a question and answer session from the audience.
The session was part of a program called Appeals on Wheels, which holds appellate court sessions in various locations across Indiana in order to inform the public on court processes.
The event was organized by John Noble, Ph.D.. Noble said that his father Jerry used to work for now-appellate court judge Paul Mathias. Through this connection, the court contacted Noble asking if the university would be interested in hosting an Appeals on Wheels session.
The case was centered on the appellant, Jeffery Hunt, who broke into an elderly couple’s home with his father, attacked the husband with a tire iron, and robbed the couple. For this, he received a total sentence of 120 years in prison. Hunt appealed to get his sentence lowered.
“These are real people,” Noble said. “Stakes are high. This is justice.”
Noble said he was happy with the event, and he hopes that it will be something that can be repeated in the future.
“I thought it went really well,” Noble said. “It was interesting. The judges asked the attorneys to explain the basic facts, and the case itself was a really compelling one.”
Jeff Webb, Ph.D., said that he hopes that students gain a better understanding of how the legal system works.
“The legal system isn’t a bunch of rules and procedures, but its people making arguments and evaluating evidence and in the end, making judgments,” Webb said. “It’s a very human thing, and it’s wonderful to see people interacting with each other over really big questions of justice and equality and fairness.”
“I think it gives us confidence in the competency of our justice system,” Noble said. “No doubt our justice system is flawed and imperfect, but these are people who are trying to do their best.”
Reporters, including journalists, were allowed to record the argument in audio, video or photographic formats, with permission from the Court of Appeals.