Illinois appellate court to hear cases at four college campus locations

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The Illinois Appellate Court for the Third District will be hearing oral arguments at four  educational campus locations in the coming weeks as part of an ongoing Judicial Education program initiated by Supreme Court Justice Thomas L. Kilbride.

Ordinarily, oral arguments in the Third District are heard at the historic courthouse in Ottawa.

On Friday, September 17, two cases will be heard by appellate judges at Kankakee Community College beginning at 10 a.m. Students and the community are invited to observe lawyers on either side presenting their cases to a panel of three judges.

Afterwards, the appellate judges will be available for questions from the audience about the judicial and appellate process.

“More than three years  ago, I heard Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor talk about the lack of civics education in our schools, and the need to explain the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary in our overall constitutional structure,” said Justice Kilbride. “At that time, I decided I would do my part to explain the judicial system in Illinois to pupils and students at every level. Since then, I have gone to numerous schools, including elementary, high schools and colleges.

“This is a continuation of those efforts, attempting to bring to community college and four-year college communities a real time demonstration of how the system works.”

The Illinois Appellate Court in other districts has held venues for oral arguments at law schools in the state, but this may be the first time in Illinois that appellate oral arguments will be presented for the general student populace and the community.

“Kankakee Community College is excited to host the Appellate Court,” said Dr. John Avendano, KCC president. “It is an excellent opportunity for students to observe the judicial system in action and to gain an intellectual understanding of the process.”

In addition to Kankakee Community College, appellate oral arguments are scheduled to be held at Lewis University in Romeoville on Friday  October 1; at Augustana College in Rock Island on Thursday October 7 and at Bradley University in Peoria on October 26.

At each location, arguments will be heard in one civil case and one criminal case.

The civil case to be heard at Kankakee Community College is West Bend Mutual Insurance v. Wanda Norton. It involves a dispute between an insurance company and an uninsured motorist claim arising out of a traffic accident.

The criminal case to be heard at KCC is People of the State of Illinois vs. Dymarion Porter. It involves the appeal of a first degree murder conviction in Joliet.

Justice Kilbride thanks officials of Kankakee Community College, the parties in each of the cases and their attorneys, Presiding Justice William Holdridge and all the justices of the Third District Appellate Court for their willingness and cooperation in making the educational program possible.

“It is important for a community to see how cases proceed through our court system,” said Justice Kilbride. “It is important to see how judges listen to all sides in a case, and apply the existing law to the facts in a particular case to achieve a proper legal outcome rooted in the fair and impartial administration of justice.”

Following the arguments, the judges of the appellate panel will take the case under advisement and issue their written ruling at a later date.