MADISON -- More than 400 Boone County high school students will have the opportunity to see the state Supreme Court in person when the Justices hear arguments in three cases Monday at the Boone County Courthouse in Madison.

The Court’s visit to Madison is part of the LAWS (Legal Advancement for West Virginia Students) program. LAWS -- a partnership between the court system, schools, the Bar, and the community -- teaches students about the Judicial Branch of government.

Since Chief Justice Robin Jean Davis began the program when she was Chief Justice in 1999,  about 4,750 high school and college students in about half of West Virginia’s counties have participated.

The public also is invited to attend if space permits; priority seating will be given to students.

Teachers whose classes will attend this year previously were invited to a training session with Supreme Court personnel. At that session, teachers received information about the state and federal court systems, suggested exercises for students, and summaries of the real Supreme Court cases their classes will hear. Later, volunteer attorneys from the area met with students to discuss the court system and the cases.

On the day of LAWS, students will hear arguments in the case they have studied then meet with the attorneys who argued that case in a "debriefing" session in the courtroom.

The Supreme Court held the first LAWS program in Beckley in 1999. Other LAWS programs have been held in Clarksburg, Huntington, Wheeling, Summersville, Martinsburg, Parkersburg, Charleston, Romney, Princeton, Lewisburg, Moundsville, Charles Town and Elkins.

The first case will begin at 10 a.m. and the Court will continue until the docket is completed, probably around 12:30 p.m.

Van High School students will hear State of West Virginia v. Antonio Phrophet,
No. 12-1389. Petitioner appeals the sentencing order of the Circuit Court of Berkeley
County, entered Sept. 10, 2012, upon his conviction of two counts of murder in the
first degree and one count of arson in the first degree, following a trial by a jury of his
peers.

Sherman High School students will hear State of West Virginia v. Thomas L.
Fitzwater, No. 12-1487.Petitioner appeals the sentencing order of the Circuit Court of
Fayette County, entered Oct. 29, 2012, upon his conviction of one count of
possession with intent to deliver and sentence to a term of two to thirty years.

Scott High School students will hear State of West Virginia v. Rebecca F., No.
13-0311. Petitioner appeals the sentencing order of the Circuit Court of Berkeley
County, entered Jan. 14, 2013. The circuit court sentenced the petitioner to eight
terms of incarceration of five years, one for each count of identity theft.

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State of West Virginia
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