By: Logan Becher
Citizens of Cornhusker Boys’ State tried their hand at presenting actual court cases being debated on in the Supreme Court during a session on Thursday. In this session, Staters were split into groups to decide which case they would be presenting and who they were to represent. Once these groups were determined, the towns were also split by County, each presenting the same cases to different judges. The cases selected were Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado, Carpenter v. United States, Collins v. Virginia, and Byrd v. United States.
To begin the session, representatives for the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado presented their cases. This case came to court after the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop refused to bake a personalized cake for a same-sex couple. For Costello County, the judges determined Masterpiece Cakeshop the winner of the case 3-0. Rohan County judges determined Masterpiece Cakeshop the winner by a vote of 2-0.
In the case of Carpenter v. United States, police had reason to believe that Carpenter was involved in criminal action. Police authorities pulled information from his cell provider and then used the information to track his phone location for 127 days, resulting in his arrest. Costello County voted United States the winner 3-0, and Rohan County found United States as the winner with a vote of 2-0.
Collins v. Virginia was a case that came to the Supreme Court when a police officers found a motorcycle violating traffic laws on two occasions. Later finding a similar looking vehicle, a police officer arrested the driver without a warrant, violating the 4th Amendment. Costello County found Collins the winner by a vote of 2-1. Rohan County could not decide a winner, having a vote of 1-1.
The final case of Byrd v. United States was brought to the Supreme Court when Byrd was pulled over, while using a rental car under another name, for violating traffic laws. When stopped, police asked to search the car and found heroin and body armor. Costello County judges decided the United States won this case 3-0. Rohan County decided that Byrd won the case 2-0.
This morning, delegates interested in the judicial system attended a legal school of instruction. Now, the hands on experience begins. Delegates argue cases and engage in mock trial simulations. Later in the week, delegates will have the opportunity to be appointed to the Cornhusker Boys State Supreme Court. They will hear cases in the actual Supreme Court chambers at the capitol.
The Cornhusker Boys’ State Supreme Court was in session in the Nebraska State Supreme Courtroom at the State Capitol. In order to become a member of the judiciary, a CBS citizen must generally be appointed by the sitting Boys’ State Governor.
Citizens seeking a judicial appointment to either the Supreme Court or one of the two District Courts must appear before a nominating committee, typically comprised of each pair of candidates (Nationalist and Federalist) for high political office who survive the primary election. The nominating committee forwards it recommendations to the Governor for final appointment. Once appointed, members of the judiciary are formally sworn-in by a member of the Nebraska Supreme Court. In addition, the Cornhusker Boys’ State Supreme Court traditionally participates in a mock case within the dignified courtroom of the Nebraska Supreme Court.
After a morning session including an explanation of the opportunities in a legal career, the judicial candidates finally got down to brass tacks, or in this case, white powder. The group was divided into four sections, and each was given a primary briefing of the case on which they would participate. The basic facts of the crime presented were that three criminals conspired in an attempt to sell a kilogram of cocaine. After being arrested, they faced time in prison ranging from six to thirty years depending on their previous crimes, misdemeanors, and felonies. The mock defense attorneys’ job was to negotiate a plea deal that would result in the least amount of jail time as possible. The prosecuting attorneys’ job, however, was the exact opposite; their goal was to get the most amount of jail time for the criminals as possible. After a description of the goals, one mock attorney from each of the four groups joined into a trail group to negotiate sentences. The final sentences ranged from no time served to thirty years in prison, a true representation of the actual ranges of real-life crimes.
2016 CORNHUSKER BOYS’ STATE JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS