From Watauga Democrat by Kayla Lasure
BOONE — In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the N.C. Court of Appeals held a session in Boone on Oct. 23.
The Court of Appeals is an intermediate appellate court that consists of 15 judges. According to the N.C. Court System, the Court of Appeals reviews the proceedings that occurred in the trial courts for errors of law or legal procedure. It decides “only questions of law, not questions of fact,” according to the court system.
The court’s judges regularly sit in its main courthouse in Raleigh with rotating panels of three — making the court’s visit to Boone a special occasion. Attorney Nathan Miller said he couldn’t recall a time during his 11 years of practicing law when the Court of Appeals has traveled to Boone to hear a case.
The court panel for the Oct. 23 session consisted of Chief Judge Linda M. McGee, Judge Lucy N. Inman and Judge Valerie J. Zachary. McGee is a former attorney who worked in Boone at what is now di Santi, Watson, Capua, Wilson and Garrett Law Firm. McGee also told those in attendance Monday that her husband was the first Watauga County manager.
“We have decided that one of the things we would like to do is to be able to have special sessions of court across the state in locations that made a difference to the judges that sit on the court at this point in time,” McGee said. “I’m pleased to say that today is my choice. I had the honor of practicing law here ... I learned so very much from some of you here.”
The session — hosted in the County Commissioners’ Board Room — drew a large crowd as some Appalachian State University classes were in attendance. The panel heard two cases — McCall V. Millionand Round Boys, LLC. v. Village of Sugar Mountain.
McCall V. Million was a case that involved a child visitation dispute among the child’s biological maternal grandmother and the biological father and adoptive mother. The child’s mother died, the father had remarried and his new wife legally adopted the child.
The maternal grandmother was seeking visitation rights with the child, which the father would not allow. Under a state law, the grandmother was awarded visitation rights with the child, with the Oct. 23 case being the appeal from the father and adoptive mother.
As of Tuesday, Miller had not heard the court’s decision. He said typically the Court of Appeals will issue a decision in 90 to 120 days following the hearing.
The second case involved a permitting application to alter a slop-side property adjacent to Sugar Mountain.