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Superior Court visits Williamsport

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Lycoming County Court of Common Pleas Judge Nancy L. Butts, left, talks with PA Superior Court Judge Victor P. Stabile, and Andree Phillips of the Community Theatre League during a reception at the Community Theatre League Tuesday. The reception was hosted by Lycoming Law Association and the CTL before guests of the reception saw CTL's production of "To Kill a Mockingbird." The three justices are seeing cases in Williamsport this week instead of in Harrisburg.

It was not business as usual in Courtroom 1 of the Lycoming County Courthouse.

Most days, President Judge Nancy L. Butts presides there, overseeing a trial or other court proceeding.

On Tuesday, three state Superior Court Judges sat on the bench hearing cases involving a range of issues.

The special session of the Superior Court was hosted by the county court of common pleas and offered a chance for area students and the public to learn more about the appeals process.

Adrianne Stahl, court administrator, noted that the Superior Court occasionally goes to counties around the state for the special sessions. Typically, the court hears arguments on appeal in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh or Harrisburg.

“There are arguments by attorneys from each side,” she said.

More than 20 cases were scheduled to be heard Tuesday by Judges Mary Jane Bowes, Judith Ference Olson and Victor P. Stabile.

Eighteen Loyalsock middle school students and their teachers listened to arguments Tuesday morning.

“It’s an opportunity for the kids to see justice at work,” eighth grade social studies teacher Eric Gerber said. “We spend a lot of time studying the Constitution.”

Andrew Cook, a seventh grade teacher, said his students have been studying government and world history

“It interesting to see how it plays out in the present day,” he said.

Overall, Superior Court decides more than 8,000 appeals a year.

The court was created in 1895 to assist the state Supreme Court in disposing of growing numbers of appeals in the state.

Cases heard before the court are those heard earlier throughout the state at the trial level.

Additional cases are to be heard before the court in Williamsport today.

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