Big Rapids High School will host the Michigan Supreme Court on Oct. 23 as a part of the Supreme Court’s Community Connections program. Students will have the opportunity to speak with attorneys, analyze the case and experience viewing a real trial case.
Ferris junior Sean O’Brien in the political science program said he thinks it’s important that students are educated about the judicial system because it is vital to the society that all citizens are aware of the workings of the law. “It is important to understand how things work and what certain laws are and how they are carried out,” O’Brien said.
The case students will be observing is Lejuan Rambin v. Allstate Insurance Company. In Rambin v. Allstate, Rambin was riding a motorcycle he believed belonged his friend, Andre Smith; however, Smith had stolen the motorcycle from its rightful owner. Rambin claimed he was unaware the motorcycle was stolen. While driving the motorcycle, Rambin was injured after colliding with an uninsured vehicle.
In trial court, it was ruled that the insurance agency that insured the motorcycle did not need to provide injury recovery because the vehicle was stolen. The Court of Appeals reversed the ruling because Rambin didn’t know the motorcycle was stolen.
The oral argument begins at 11:30 a.m. The Court will decide whether to grant leave to appeal or take some other action. Each side has 15 minutes to argue their case.
The Supreme Court normally hears oral arguments at the Michigan Hall of Justice in Lansing; however, the “Court Community Connections” program has brought cases to 12 locations across the state since its establishment in 2007. The initiative began as a public education program aiming to help high school students understand Michigan’s judicial system.
Students will watch as the attorneys argue their case to the seven Court justices. Following the argument, students will meet with the attorneys for a debriefing.
The objective of the Michigan Supreme Court Community Connections program is to increase students’ awareness of Michigan’s judicial system. They are assisted by an attorney educator and asked to analyze the case presented to them. Also, they examine the structure and roles of judicial branches and more.
The Michigan Supreme Court has other programs that promote learning for community members. Constitution Day, Junior Appreciation Day, Law Day and Michigan Adoption are all part of their outreach programs.
The Michigan Supreme Court is the state’s highest court. They hear and decide cases that are important but have no clear relative law, or that have great public significance.