12th Court of Criminal Appeals hears oral arguments at TJC for Constitution Day

Oral arguments heard at Smith County Bar Foundation’s annual Constitution Day event

12th Court of Criminal Appeals hears oral arguments at Tyler Junior College

TYLER, TEXAS (KLTV) - Tuesday marks the 232nd anniversary of the U.S. Constitution. To mark the occasion, students and community members at Tyler Junior College had the rare opportunity to see the Constitution at work when it comes to our nation’s legal process.

“The rule of law is important in our country,” said Chief Justice James T. Worthen of the 12th Court of Criminal Appeals.

Worthen and the other two justices sat before an attentive audience inside the TJC student center and heard oral arguments in two local cases. One of them was a civil case, the other a criminal case. The hearings were hosted as part of the Smith County Bar Foundation’s annual Constitution Day event.

“We had two extremely interesting cases,” Worthen said. “The first case involved a Second Amendment case, a challenge to Texas self-defense laws, was constitutional under the United States Constitution."

A second civil case involved 23 dead cows and a leaking pipeline in Rusk County. Opinions in the two cases are expected to be issued within the coming weeks or maybe even months.

“What most people see is in the movies and on television shows,” Worthen said. “They only see what happens in the courtroom and the trial itself, but they don’t get to see what happens after the trial.”

“I’m hoping they walked away with a better appreciation, if not a better understanding, of the Constitution and the value of it,” said Shannon Dacus with the Smith County Bar Foundation. “I also hope they walked away with a better appreciation for the legal process.”

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