Hundreds of Washington County students witness three Ohio Supreme Court cases

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MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - Update: 10/18/2017
Hundreds of students sat in a court room Wednesday morning to see the Ohio Supreme Court make decisions on three different real cases.

This is the second time the Ohio Supreme Court has visited Marietta High School in thirty years.

The court stops at different high schools across Ohio to hear cases.

Students have been preparing for the experience by learning about the judicial branch in the classroom the past few weeks.

Some of the students said seeing a hearing and deliberation play out was more than educational.

"Throughout the case the escorts and I got to sit together, so if we had any ideas we could whisper our opinions,” says senior Tess Poulson. “I understand they don't have the verdict yet, but as we were discussing, it just kind of seems like they are defending this man and his title just because of his title. They aren't really focusing on the fact that he abused his wife. They are focusing on his character and what other judges and other people in political positions are saying about him."

Twice a year, the Ohio Supreme Court visits different high schools to argue cases, so students can get a chance to see what the process is really like. Marietta High School was the first school the court visited 30 years ago. For the 30th anniversary, the school was chosen again.

Juvenile Court Judge Timothy Williams organized the event. He says, "Whatever the Supreme Court finds here, that is the final decision. It can't go any higher in the state of Ohio. So it’s a chance for those students in this county that probably would never see that. Most people, adults or students, would never go to Columbus even though they could, and the hearings are open, most people don’t go to listen to that. So it’s a unique opportunity for them to participate and observe it at the local level."

Maxwell Garrison is a senior at Marietta High School and is looking forward to seeing the Ohio Supreme Court. "I think that it’s really good that they're coming down to a school in Appalachia.” He says “because down here we don’t get as many opportunities as students in Columbus or Cleveland and other urban areas. And this gives us a chance to see civics at work, which we don't usually get."

About 600 students from Washington County will come to hear the arguments. The lawyers involved in the cases will answer questions after each case. Tess Poulson is a senior in a government class at Marietta High School. She said they’ve been preparing for this for a while. "So the past couple of weeks we've just been brushing up on the branches of government and the supreme court. And then we had lawyers come in and they just refreshed us on the vocabulary they'll be using so that we can ask proper questions and know what’s going on in the case"

Three different cases will be heard by different groups of students. Williams says, "[It’s] quite a mix. An oil and gas, a criminal case and the disbarment case against a former judge" Garrison adds, "I think the oil and gas case is really interesting especially with this area since we're really affected by fracking and other oil and gas and royalty works"

The first case will start at 9 am and is expected to last thirty minutes.

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