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Louisiana Supreme Court to Hear Oral Arguments at Loyola on Monday

By Loyola University on Fri, 10/18/2019 - 11:25

Justices continue tradition of "riding the circuit"

All rise! In an exciting learning opportunity for law students, the Louisiana Supreme Court will hold oral arguments at the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law next week. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on three cases, including one case involving use of a non-unanimous jury in a criminal case in which the crime occurred before Louisiana law was changed to require unanimous juries and the constitutionality of the court’s actions.

For more than 20 years this honored tradition of holding oral arguments away from the Court has been called “riding the circuit.” In the court’s early history, before transportation made it possible to travel easily to New Orleans, the Louisiana Supreme Court was constitutionally required to “ride the circuit” to ensure citizens statewide would have access to justice.  Supreme Court Justices traveled to parishes throughout the state to hear oral arguments.

Arguments will begin promptly at 2 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, in Room 308 of the law school. Arguments will last approximately 40 minutes per case. Out of respect for the Court and the attorneys involved, guests will only be allowed to enter and exit the room 1) before arguments begin, 2) for a short period of time between arguments, and 3) at the conclusion of all arguments.

On the docket are cases addressing various issues:

  • State of Louisiana v. Valentino Ramon Hodge: various issues involving use of a non-unanimous jury in a criminal case in which the crime occurred before Louisiana law was changed to require unanimous juries and the constitutionality of the court’s actions.
  • State of Louisiana v. Donovan Alexander: Propriety of a ruling to suppress certain statements made by defendant.
  • In re: Laura J. Johnson: attorney disciplinary hearing regarding alleged theft by attorney of client’s funds.

In preparation for oral arguments, Loyola and Judge Adrian G. Duplantier Professor of Law Madeleine M. Landrieu will provide her students case briefs and host a pre-session discussion with students highlighting the major issues of the cases. The prep session and jambalaya lunch will start at noon, in the College of Law’s new Advocacy Center, located on the first floor in the Law Library.

“We are grateful to host the Court on its first stop among the four Louisiana law schools,” said Dean Landrieu. “The Court’s commitment to allow oral arguments to be shared with the general public allows greater participation in the process.”

“Loyola has long stood for justice,” said Distinguished Professor of Law Monica Hof Wallace, executive director of the new Law Advocacy Center at Loyola. “Seeing it in action in our own halls inspires our students to reach higher, to be better, to understand that advocating for others is both a responsibility and a privilege.”