BAY MINETTE, Alabama — About 1,400 high school seniors from all of Baldwin County’s public high schools and virtual school witnessed Alabama’s judicial system in action when the Alabama Supreme …
BAY MINETTE, Alabama — About 1,400 high school seniors from all of Baldwin County’s public high schools and virtual school witnessed Alabama’s judicial system in action when the Alabama Supreme Court heard oral arguments for two cases at the L.D. Owen Performing Arts Center on the Bay Minette campus of Faulkner State Community College.
“What you see here is just what you would see if you came to our chambers in Montgomery,” said Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Lyn Stuart, “it’s just that here we have a larger audience.”
A native of Atmore, Stuart is a resident of Bay Minette and served as an assistant district attorney for Baldwin County under David Whetstone.
In 1988, she was elected district judge and was re-elected in 1994. She was appointed to the Circuit bench in 1997 and was elected without opposition to a six-year term in 1998.
She is currently the senior justice on the Alabama Supreme Court, elected in 2000, and was appointed as chief justice this year.
The event was coordinated through Stuart’s office with the Baldwin County Bar Association and officials with FSCC and the Baldwin County School System’s Secondary Education Department.
“We were contacted back in the spring and were able to get this done through the efforts of Secondary Education Coordinator Stephanie Harris and her staff,” said Baldwin County School Superintendent Eddie Tyler. “I think it’s very important for us to be able to participate in this event and to be able to give these high school seniors an opportunity to witness the judicial system in action.”
Stuart, Baldwin County Bar Association President Steven Savarese, Circuit Court Judge Langford Floyd and Patty Hughston, dean of Workforce Development & Technology at Faulkner State, addressed students before the proceedings, which included two landmark cases in Alabama.
The first case, which was attended by students from Spanish Fort, Daphne and Baldwin County high schools, along with seniors from the Baldwin County Virtual School, involved the Fives ST Corp. versus Sompo Japan Insurance Company and Outokumpo Stainless USA.
The case involved contracts between Fives and ThyssenKrupp Stainless, headquartered in Dusseldorf, Germany, which operated a plant north of Mobile. ThyssenKrupp was eventually bought out by Outokumpo Stainless, based in Paris. Sompo Japan Insurance Company, Outokumpo’s commercial insurance carrier, joined as a plaintiff because it holds a subrogation interest under the policy of insurance with Outokumpo.
Oral arguments for Sompo and Outokumpo were presented by Devin C. Dolive of Burr & Forman LLP of Birmingham and Joseph J. Ferrini of Clausen Miller PC of Chicago. Oral arguments for Fives were presented by Matthew H. Lembke of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP of Birmingham.
The second case, which was heard before students from Fairhope, Foley, Gulf Shores and Robertsdale high schools, was a criminal case involving the State of Alabama – argued by Solicitor General Andrew Lyn Brasher – versus Jerry Bohannon, represented by Randall S. Susskind of the Equal Justice Initiative of Montgomery.
Bohannon was convicted of shooting and pistol whipping to death two men outside a bar in Mobile in 2010 and sentenced to life in prison.
“Both of these cases are important cases in Alabama, which you will probably be hearing more about in the future,” Stuart said, adding that it would probably take about a month for the court to render decisions in the cases.
Stuart also addressed students about the importance of serving on jury duty and the importance of registering to vote.
“Many of you here are 18 and if not soon will be,” she said. “I encourage you that if you are called for jury duty, don’t hesitate to serve and as soon as you are able, register to vote and vote as often as you can. These are two of the most important rights of citizenship and I encourage you to take full advantage of them."