From left, Superior Court Judge Marvin K. Blount; Dr. Bert Bright, Headmaster of Arendell Parrott Academy and Associate Justice Mark Davis

From by Catherine Hardee

One of North Carolina’s seven State Supreme Court Justices visited Kinston Tuesday as part of a court push to expand public awareness of the court and its role in state government.

Associate Justice Mark Davis attended a luncheon in his honor sponsored by the local bar association at Queen Street Deli. He answered questions from area lawyers and then spoke to about 60 students at Arendell Parrott Academy in the afternoon.

Davis’ visit came two weeks ahead of a special Supreme Court session that will be held at the Superior Court in Greenville on May 14. The session will be one of three held in Eastern North Carolina in celebration of the N.C. Supreme Court’s 200th anniversary.

State statutes restrict the locations where the Supreme Court can hold its sessions, limiting it to Raleigh and one western county, but the legislature granted a special exception for these sessions in honor of the anniversary.

The session in Greenville May 14 will feature oral arguments in at least one civil and one criminal case, Davis said. Fifteen students from Arendell Parrott Academy will join students from across Pitt County in attending the session to witness the court in action.

The sessions will also be live-streamed to allow a wider audience to follow the proceedings.

“I think it’s such a great opportunity for students,” Davis said. “When you take civics classes, you read on the page about the branches of government and the state agencies, but you don’t really get a sense of what they do on a daily basis. By coming in person or by following the live stream, [students] can actually see what our oral arguments are like, and how we go about our job, asking questions of lawyers, what type of legal disputes we hear.”

Davis spoke to a group of APA students Tuesday afternoon, giving them insights into the structure of North Carolina’s appellate court system and how a case works its way through the appeals process and how the Supreme Court deals with a case once it comes before them.

He also answered questions from students about the court, judicial elections and his experiences as a judge.

Court Categories: Supreme Court