It's not TV: Indiana Court of Appeals panel to hold hearing on Ball State campus

Topic: College of Communication Information and Media

October 23, 2008

A three-judge panel from the Indiana Court of Appeals will hear an appeal from Marion County Superior Court on Oct. 28 at Ball State University. The hearing, free and open to the public, begins at 2 p.m. in Pruis Hall.

The appellate court has made previous visits to hear oral arguments at Ball State. Michael Spillman, a telecommunications instructor, said each visit represents a great chance for students to learn how the judicial system works.

"Most of our students have never been in a courtroom, and their idea of a court probably has been shaped in large part by what they have seen on TV," he said. "What's particularly interesting about appellate cases is that there are no witnesses.  It's just the attorneys presenting their cases and answering questions from the judges.  Some of those questions come fast and furious and can be pretty pointed."

The court will hear oral arguments in the case of Melissa Christian v. state of Indiana. In February 2008, Christian was found guilty of public intoxication, a class B misdemeanor. Her appeal argues that she was on private property when arrested in May 2007 and therefore wrongly convicted. At the time of her arrest, Christian was found trying to break into a truck.

Oral arguments in the case should last an hour, after which Justices John Baker, Elaine Brown and Paul Mathias will take questions from the audience. Appointed in May, Brown is the newest member to the state's appellate court, the second highest court behind the Indiana Supreme Court.

For more information, contact Mike Spillman at 765-285-3749.

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