U.S. Fourth Circuit judges to hear arguments at WVU College of Law

A panel of judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will convene at the West Virginia University College of Law Feb. 19.

The judges will hear arguments in three cases beginning at 9 a.m. and the public is invited to attend. Security screening and seating begins at 8 a.m. and photo ID is required. Bags, backpacks, cell phones and other electronic devices are not allowed in the courtroom.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for anyone interested in the law to see a federal appellate court in action,” said Gregory W. Bowman, dean of the College of Law. “We are extremely grateful for the court’s willingness to conduct its business at West Virginia University and provide our students with this wonderful learning experience.”

The court will hear one civil case and two civil rights cases.

In Bianca Johnson v. Andrew Holmes, Johnson and other African-American plaintiffs allege that Holmes used race as a consideration in a police stop and search. Holmes is a police officer in Albemarle County, Virginia. The judge in the federal district court in Virginia ruled in Holmes’ favor, citing insufficient evidence of racial profiling.

In John Doe v. Wallace Loh, Doe is challenging his expulsion from the University of Maryland for sexual misconduct, alleging Title IX gender discrimination and lack of due process. Loh is the president of the University of Maryland, College Park. The federal district court judge in Maryland found Doe’s expulsion was in accordance with the university’s policies and procedures.

The case of Elton Cansler v. Alan A. Hanks deals with what jury instructions are proper when the case involves an allegation of excessive force by police. Hanks, a police officer in Fairfax, Virginia, used a taser to subdue Cansler, who has cerebral palsy. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Hanks, and Cansler is challenging that verdict and the instructions the district court judge gave the jury.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit hears appeals from the nine federal district courts in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina and from federal administrative agencies. Based in Richmond, Virginia, it is one of 12 regional appellate courts in the federal judicial system.

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