Supreme Court To Hold Appeals Hearing In Payson

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The state's Supreme Court judges are coming to Payson for a rare out-of-chamber hearing in late April.

The five judges want to bring the court to communities outside the Valley for a firsthand look at the Arizona Supreme Court's oral argument process. Chief Justice Ruth V. McGregor came up with the Supreme Court road trip to show the public how the courts work. Last October they held hearings in Coolidge.

The court will hold two such hearings annually, starting this year with the hearings here in Gila County, said Gila County Presiding Judge Peter J. Cahill.

"It is quite an honor for the court to come, they normally go to the county seat," Cahill said during an interview Tuesday. "It is like the state legislature coming to Payson to conduct its business."

Payson residents and students will get a chance to interact and watch the state's Supreme Court hear appeals from lawyers on two important cases.

"The causes are usually something interesting," Cahill said.

The five judges will conduct the hearings in normal court fashion. Each attorney will prepare a 20-minute presentation, but the Supreme Court justices will stop the attorneys and ask their own questions relating to the case at hand, Judge Cahill said. It some ways, the appeal hearings resemble a debate.

"It is a lively presentation," Cahill said.

The hearing offers a great way for teachers to get students involved, especially in social study or civic affairs classes, said Coleen Stevens of the Gila County Court Administration office.

The judges will hold a question-and-answer session after they hear the two appeals.

They like getting questions from students and adults, she said. The judges will not answer specific questions about the cases being appealed, but they will take questions from attorneys, as well as Payson residents and students, she said.

The cases that will be heard in Payson have not yet been decided. The court will convene at the Payson High School auditorium at a date still to be determined.

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