Residents encouraged to attend court session at WVU School of Law

MORGANTOWN — WVU’s College of Law dean encourages area residents to sit in as a panel of judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit   convenes at the WVU College of Law on Tuesday.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for anyone interested in the law to see a federal appellate court in action,”  Gregory W. Bowman, dean of the College of Law, said in a press release from WVU Today. “We are extremely grateful for the court’s willingness to con-duct its business at West Virginia University and provide our students with this wonderful learning experience.”

The judges will hear arguments in three cases beginning at 9 a.m.

Security screening and seat-ing will begin at 8 a.m., and photo ID is required. Bags, backpacks, cell phones and other electronic devices are not allowed in the courtroom.

The court will hear one civil case and two civil rights cases, according to the release.

In Bianca Johnson v. Andrew Holmes, Johnson and other African-American plaintiffs allege Holmes made a police stop and search based on race. Holmes is a police officer in Albemarle County (Va.). The judge in the federal district court in Virginia ruled in Holmes’ favor, citing insufficient evidence of racial profiling.

In John Doe v. Wallace Loh, Doe is challenging his expulsion from the University of Maryland for sexual misconduct, alleging Title IX gender discrimination and lack of due process. Loh is president of the University of Maryland, College Park. The federal district court judge in Maryland found Doe’s expulsion was in accordance with the university’s policies and procedures.

The case of Elton Cansler v. Alan A. Hanks deals with what jury instructions are proper when the case involves an allegation of excessive force by police. Hanks, a police officer in Fairfax, Va., used a taser to subdue Cansler, who has cerebral palsy. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Hanks, and Cansler is challenging that verdict and the instructions the district court judge gave the jury.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit hears appeals from the nine federal district courts in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina and from federal administrative agencies. Based in Richmond, Va., it is one of 12 regional appellate courts in the federal judicial system.

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