Students speak with Judge David Furman during a luncheon following the hearings. Photos by Sue Rollyson

On Tuesday morning, Nov. 7, the students of Roaring Fork High School were exposed to a seemingly rare opportunity. A Division of the Colorado Court of Appeals heard two oral arguments in the high school auditeria, where students and some general members of the public were able to observe and ask questions. Students from Basalt High and Carbondale Community School were also present. 

“The events with high school students are part of the Colorado Judicial Department’s Courts in the Community program,” reads a press release, “developed to give high school students first hand experience in how the Colorado judicial system works and illustrate how disputes are resolved in a democratic society.” 

The judges covered two cases. First, The Sentinel Colorado v. Kadee Rodriguez, an appeal filed by the Aurora newspaper questioning a trial court’s decision not to release records from an executive session held by Aurora City Council. Second, The People of the State of Colorado v. Bradley Todd Clark stemmed from an arson case. Clark argues that the trial court should not have admitted testimony that he was previously arrested for allegedly starting a dumpster fire in 2007.

The school auditeria was filled with students interested in the appellate court process.

Colorado Court of Appeal Judge David Furman, Chief Judge Gilbert M. Román and Judge Terry Fox listen intently to oral arguments.