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10/22/2003 Supreme Court to hold hearings at Linfield College

McMINNVILLE -- The Oregon Supreme Court will hear oral arguments at Linfield College Monday, Nov. 3.

The court will hear three cases: State v. Ciancanelli at 9 a.m.; City of Nyssa v. Dufloth at 10:30 a.m.; and State v. Christine Dahl at 1:30 p.m. All proceedings will be in Melrose Auditorium. To access the court's information on the cases go to:

The first two cases involve free speech protections as they currently exist under the Oregon Constitution. One case involves an Eastern Oregon ordinance that requires dancers to remain four feet from patrons and the other involves the prosecution of Roseburg club owners for putting on a live sex show. The third case being heard that day deals with photo radar statutes which presume that the registered owner of a vehicle was the driver when the offense occurred.

Since 1988 the Oregon Supreme Court has accepted invitations to hold court at Oregon colleges, universities, junior colleges and high schools. Prior to that, the court would hold sessions once a year at the three law schools in Oregon. Since 1988, the court has been in session at 19 high schools and eight colleges and universities. This year the court travels for a second time to Philomath High School. In May it will hold court at West Linn High School and in March will travel to the three law schools.

Howard Leichter, professor of political science at Linfield, was instrumental in bringing the court to the college. While teaching his State and Local Politics class last spring, he took students to meet with Supreme Court Justice Robert D. Durham. During the course of the conversation, they learned that the court sometimes holds oral arguments outside of Salem. The enthusiasm of the students convinced Leichter to pursue an invitation to the court, which it accepted last summer.

"This will give our students the opportunity to see government at work," Leichter said. "Many students are interested in the law and this is an opportunity for them to see law being practiced on a very sophisticated level."

The hearings are open to the public and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. While oral arguments are in progress, no one is allowed to enter or leave the auditorium. Those who wish to attend should arrive at least five minutes before the start of a case and stay throughout that case. The court asks that those attending the session conduct themselves in a mature and respectful manner.