DANVILLE — Danville Area Community College students have a unique opportunity to see the Fourth District Appellate Court in action next week.
On Wednesday morning, the court is moving its proceedings from its courtroom in Springfield to Room 302 at Vermilion Hall on DACC’s campus to give students the experience of viewing a session and hearing a case or two.
“Hopefully, it will give anyone who is interested in law, law enforcement or any field of study related to the legal system some insight as to how court really works,” said Carla Bender, clerk of the Fourth District Appellate Court.
The Fourth District Appellate Court hears appeals cases from circuit courts and administrative agencies from 30 counties in central Illinois, including Champaign and Vermilion counties.
“Our jurisdiction at the appellate court level is to review what happened at the trial court level and decide whether the court made the right decision,” Bender said.
Each fall, the court holds proceedings at the University of Illinois College of Law, Bender said. And recently, it started taking them to college campuses throughout the state in the spring.
“Danville Area Community College will be the third,” Bender said, adding proceedings were first held at Illinois State University and then Quincy University.
She said a local judge reached out to one of the appellate court judges, expressing interest, “and we said, ‘Sure. We’d be happy to come.’”
On Wednesday, following procedure, three of the seven judges will hear a case at 10:30 a.m. and another at 11:30 a.m.
Bender said one is a criminal case out of Livingston County, in which a defendant who was convicted of possession of controlled substance is appealing the lower court’s decision regarding the suppression of evidence that was found during a traffic stop.
She said the other is a civil matter out of Sangamon County regarding an employment issue.
“There won’t be a decision that day,” Bender said, adding the judges will issue opinions on the cases at a later date.
Students will have a chance to meet and talk with the judges at a luncheon immediately following the proceedings.
“We hope this opportunity is beneficial to students, which is honestly the reason we do this,” Bender said. “We believe that the more interest in the system that we can generate among young people, the better our system will be in the future.”