Students witness Alabama Supreme Court

Attorney Shay Golden, at podium, briefed students in Cory Wright's advanced-placement government class at Bob Jones High School before they attended a trial with the Alabama Supreme Court. (CONTRIBUTED)
Attorney Shay Golden, at podium, briefed students in Cory Wright’s advanced-placement government class at Bob Jones High School before they attended a trial with the Alabama Supreme Court. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Madison students witnessed an actual court case when the Alabama Supreme Court convened in Huntsville on Sept. 23.

Court was held in the Mark C. Smith Concert Hall at the Von Braun Center.

Huntsville-Madison County Bar Association hosted the court’s oral argument hearing as an educational outreach program. Students in advanced-placement government courses attended from Blake Harvard’s classes at James Clemens High School and Corey Wright’s classes at Bob Jones High School.

Before court on Sept. 22, the bar association sent local attorney Shay Golden to Bob Jones and James Clemens to ‘prep’ students on the case and give a lesson on the court system, John Peck said. Peck works as Public Relations Manager for Madison City Schools.

Alabama Supreme Court heard the case of Schreiner v. State of Alabama in an appeal that challenges one aspect of the law in a drug conviction.

In this criminal case, Gary Paul Schreiner was convicted of a drug crime, specifically dealing methamphetamine. The Court of Criminal Appeals confirmed his conviction. Schreiner is challenging that decision before the Alabama Supreme Court.

Schreiber possessed 150 grams of ‘meth oil’ when he was arrested. Meth oil is the second-to-the-last step in the meth manufacturing process. Meth is crystalized from meth oil through a chemical process.

The issue is whether meth oil is a mixture containing methamphetamine. The trial evidence showed that meth oil tests positive for methamphetamine.

The state supports this argument with deterrence, namely, that the legislature intended to prevent all aspects of meth production, not just the finished product.

In sponsoring the Supreme Court’s trial, Huntsville-Madison County Bar Association wanted students to better understand the structure of courts and the Court of Appeals.

The trial allowed students to consider whether courts should follow the text of the law or read text in context of public policy. Should courts show mercy in criminal cases? Does Alabama need to correct the problem in the courts or legislature?

As students and teachers left the VBC, the bar association treated them to a Chick-fil-A sack lunch.

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