HUNTINGTON, IN -- Indiana District Court of Appeals judges James Kirsch, John Sharpneck and Ezra Friedlander heard oral arguments in an appeals case Wednesday afternoon at Huntington College. The case involved controversy over unemployment benefits to an employee who was discharged from employment for what the employer called "gross misconduct."
The employer contends that the discharged employee should not be eligible for unemployment compensation. The state claims that the employee did not violate employment standards set by the company and therefore should be eligible for unemployment compensation.
"What struck me was the willingness of the judges to make it convenient for students and others to easily attend the hearing," said Dr. Ann McPherren, associate professor of business and economics at Huntington College. "Only a small number of appeals cases involve oral arguments, most consist of appeals court review of the written record of the case," McPherren explained. "After the hearing, the judges invited listeners to ask questions of them or of legal counsel who had participated in the hearing."
McPherren attended the hearing with nine students from her public policy class. She said students were intrigued to see the judicial process in action, and surprised by the relative informality of the discussion between counsel and judges. Students commented on the obvious preparation and prior review of the record by the judges which led to rather short arguments by counsel.
The event was part of a state-wide initiative by the judiciary to provide educational opportunities to college students. The hearings provide students an opportunity to witness firsthand the internal workings of the state's judicial system.
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