BEATRICE – Students from around the area got a chance Friday afternoon to see the Nebraska Supreme Court in action, up close. The court heard oral arguments in two appeal cases from Buffalo and Lancaster Counties, at the Beatrice High School Hevelone Center.
It’s part of the high court’s outreach program, giving high school students a glimpse at the legal system.
Nebraska Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Heavican says it’s always a wonderful experience for the court to interact with the students.
:10 “those folks”
Students from Beatrice, Lewiston, Fairbury, Falls City and Johnson-Brock were among those who watched the court in action, and then got a chance to ask the justices questions. Chief Justice Heavican said although the justices cannot comment directly on specific cases, he says the questions the students have about the legal profession are good ones.
Nebraska is struggling with prison overcrowding. A shift in criminal sentencing under terms of LB 605, includes an assumption that low-grade felony offenders will be supervised when released from prison. Heavican says such legislative policy changes have meant an increase in workload, and budget.
:34 “possibly can”
In the coming legislative session, the Chief Justice anticipates challenges with probation and justice reinvestment, given the state’s budget constraints.
:19 “how do we cut”
This is the first year of a new set of rules in Nebraska courts, allowing for statewide expanded electronic and photographic media coverage of court proceedings.
:26 “you do, too”
During the questions from the students, one of the newest members of the State Supreme Court, Justice Jeffrey Funke said judges have to be careful with their words, and how those words can travel in today’s social media world. He noted there is a lesson in there, for students.
:33 “for your future”
In addition to Chief Justice Heavican and Justice Funke, the court participants at BHS included Justices Lindsey Miller-Lerman, William Cassel, Stephanie Stacy, Max Kelch….and Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, Frankie Moore…who was sitting in for Justice John Wright.