Today on Greenville’s Furman University campus, students and the public had a unique opportunity to see their legal system in action. The South Carolina Court of Appeals turned a university auditorium into a courtroom, hearing three current cases.
But it was also a teaching exercise, led by Furman’s President Rod Smolla, who is also a legal scholar and First Amendment expert. He introduced the cases and helped with a Q&A session after each hearing. Smolla was a law school professor and dean for about 30 years, and he has tried a case in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Four Court of Appeals judges, The Honorable John Cannon Few (Greenville), The Honorable Aphrodite Konduros (Greenville), The Honorable James E. Lockemy (Dillon) and The Honorable Paul E. Short, Jr. (Chester) heard three different cases in the Watkins Room of the University Center.
The three cases heard on appeal are (1) State v. Rivera, where Raymondeze Rivera was sentenced to life for the murder of Asha Wiley in Anderson Country; (2) Burke v. Anmed Health, where the plaintiff was awarded $250,000 in monetary damages following a medical procedure; and (3) Morris Communication v. City of Greenville, which examines the city’s right to remove or relocate non-conforming billboards without paying the sign owner.
The South Carolina Court of Appeals was created to hear most types of appeals from the circuit court and the family court.