As part of the Supreme Court of North Carolina’s celebration of their 200th year, the Court will hold a special session at the Whitted Building in Hillsborough on Nov. 19, 2019. The Court will hear two cases that morning. The first is about the classification of funds received in a 2000 settlement agreement reached with Smithfield Farms regarding hog-waste. Following a 30-minute break, the second case concerns a defendant’s right to counsel for a post-conviction motion requesting DNA testing in a murder case.
According to Fran Muse, the immediate past president of the Judicial District 18 Bar and a member of the Supreme Court Planning Committee, “The Court's Bicentennial tour only encompasses about 20 counties and the chosen sites were places of historic value. It's an honor for us to host them in Hillsborough.”
After the court sessions conclude, ticketed guests are invited to a luncheon with the justices. Said Muse, “The purpose of the lunch is to provide a unique opportunity for local lawyers to share a meal with the N.C. Supreme Court, and allow the Justices to meet members of the District 18 Bar.”
Multiple agencies including the Clerk of Court, the Sheriff’s Office, Orange County Government, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Judicial District 18 Bar are all involved in the multi-faceted planning necessary for such an event. Kim Tesoro, Chief Executive Officer of the Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce, is on the Planning Committee. She said, “As stewards of strong interaction and good communication between government agencies and local business, the Chamber is excited about this event. Beau Catering, a Chamber business, is preparing the lunch, and the local Hillsborough Garden Club is making the centerpieces for the tables. We enjoy facilitating partnerships like these that showcase the collaborative spirit of the Orange County community.”
Mount Bright Baptist Church is allowing attendees to park in their nearby lot. Given space and safety considerations, admission to the Whitted Building is by ticket only. David Hunt, planning committee member and Deputy Clerk to the Orange County Board of Commissioners, said, “Logistically, it has been a challenging project to make sure the audiences for the sessions represent our community and include people of diverse ages. We are particularly happy that approximately 50 high school and 25 college age students from both the University of North Carolina and Durham Technical Community College are expected to attend. One of the Supreme Court’s goals for the bicentennial celebration is to engage the next generation, and we are pleased to support that endeavor.”
Interested people without a ticket are invited to attend a public viewing party in the Battle Courtroom at the county courthouse at 106 E. Margaret Lane in Hillsborough. The proceedings will also be available via live streaming video at orangecountync.gov/967/Meeting-Videos and Orange County Gov-TV on channels 1301 or 97.6 (Spectrum Cable).
To reserve a seat at any session for your news organization, please contact Noah Oswald at firstname.lastname@example.org. Given security requirements, all requests must be received by noon on November 13, 2019. News media with a confirmed seat will need to arrive 30 minutes prior to the convening time for check in and the set-up of broadcast equipment. No setup will be allowed after court has convened.