The Court of Appeals was created by a constitutional amendment ratified by voters on Oct. 3, 1906, Martin said. The court typically limits its travels to other venues to once every two years or so.
Twelve judges serve on the court and review cases in three-judge panels, he said. Cases are restricted to 30 minutes 15 minutes per side and are limited to arguments of law.
There is no jury. There is no testimony. The appellate court is limited by what is in the record, Martin said. You cant bring new evidence or testimony. Its not like a trial.
The court has one of the highest caseloads in the nation, with each judge reviewing about 300 cases a year, he said.
Local attorney Chris Townley said he and colleague Steve Ellis are helping Gordon Lee High School students prepare arguments in the mock case of Hulk Hogan v. Worldwide Championship Wrestling, an especially rare treat. Only a few of Georgias 35,000 attorneys get a chance to argue cases in the Court of Appeals.
This is a rare experience for anyone to get to do this, Townley said. Theyre getting to do something most attorneys in the state have never done.
Following the students arguments, the court will preside over two local cases, Martin said. The civil case of Walker County v. Tri-State Crematory revolves around county officials attempt to recoup costs accumulated during the investigation at the business in Noble. The second case is a criminal appeal of Jessica Gonzalez v. Georgia, in which Gonzalez is appealing her Chattooga County drug conviction.
Chickamauga native and Gordon Lee High School graduate Gary Andrews will be one of the judges on the panel. Andrews also served as a judge in Walker County Superior Court from 1980 to 1985.
Joining Andrews on the panel are judges Anne Elizabeth Barnes of Atlanta and Debra Bernes of Marietta.
The Georgia Court of Appeals will hear two cases one between Walker County and Tri-State Crematory, plus a drug case from Chattooga County at the Chickamauga Civic Center on Sept. 6 beginning at 11 a.m. A discussion about the courts history begins at 10 a.m. For more information about the court, visit its website at www.gaappeals.us.
Photo: Gordon Lee High School seniors prepare mock arguments with local attorneys in the case of Hulk Hogan versus World Championship Wrestling before the Georgia Court of Appeals, which is scheduled to convene at the Chickamauga Civic Center on Sept. 6 at 10 a.m. Clockwise, from left, are Kory Flynn, Jackson Sprayberry, Josh Bloodworth, attorneys Chris Townley and Steve Ellis, Caleb Bloodworth and Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Public Defender David Dunn. (Messenger photo/Matt Ledger)
Chickamauga students will participate in mock hearing
Gordon Lee High School senior Jackson Sprayberry was a huge Hulk Hogan fan, but now he is opposing his case in the Georgia Court of Appeals, sort of.
Sprayberry has autographed paraphernalia from the Hulkster at his house, but now he has a court brief in his hand in preparation for a mock argument before a panel of judges. He and his colleague Josh Bloodworth will represent World Championship Wrestling while fellow seniors Caleb Bloodworth and Kory Flynn are defending Hulk Hogan, nee Terry Bollea.
I used to be a huge wrestling fan, but then it got too fake so I stopped watching, Sprayberry said.
The Court of Appeals is touring the state to celebrate its centennial anniversary and one of the stops will be at the Chickamauga Civic Center on Sept. 6 beginning at 10 a.m. The court will also hear two actual cases.
Hogan says the WCW breached his contract by not restricting his participation in pay-per-view events. The WCW said he was abusing his creative control card to keep other wrestlers from advancing in the fictional ranks.
The wrestler also said Vince Russo shouldnt have revealed contract information during one of the events, according to court briefs. The case was argued in the appeals court in February 2005, when the three-judge panel refused to dismiss the case.
Superintendent Melody Day and social studies teacher Bruce Underwood recruited the students, who are being coached by local attorneys including Chris Townley, Steve Ellis, Shawn Bible and Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit public defender David Dunn.
The students will be working under the courts rules, which allow 15 minutes for each side to argue their points of fact and law, Townley said. They are limited to the facts contained in court briefs, and cannot introduce new evidence or testimony.
The seniors seemed eager to argue the case.
Its a good opportunity, said Flynn, who is planning to major in psychology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. His cohort on the defense team, Caleb Bloodworth, plans to attend Furman University with a double major in English and Spanish.
All of the students said some aspect of law studies might be in their future.
Id like to get a degree in law, but I dont know if I want to have a career in law, Sprayberry said. He plans to attend the University of Georgia majoring in either law, psychology, political science, or some combination of the three.
Sprayberrys partner in law, Josh Bloodworth, also plans to go to UGA where the trumpet player hopes to major in music or computer science.
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