MODESTO—Faculty and students from Modesto City Schools have been invited to attend an outreach event by the justices of the Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District, who will hear oral argument in two criminal cases: People v. Rowland and People v. Mei.

WHEN: 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 11

WHERE: Thomas Downey High School auditorium,1000 Coffee Road in Modesto. (This event is open to the public, with priority seating reserved for the students and faculty).

MORE: About 400 students from all seven of the district's comprehensive high schools will have the opportunity to see a real Court of Appeal oral argument presented. The students, mostly seniors, include members of the Mock Trial teams who study the justice system and test their knowledge and skills in competitions.

Following the arguments, the students and faculty will have the opportunity to ask questions of the justices. These question-and-answer sessions often become lively exchanges that prove educational for those in attendance. The District’s schools and Transportation and Nutrition Services departments helped organize the event for students.

“The students and staff of Modesto City Schools are excited to welcome the Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District. We look forward to seeing first-hand our justice system at work," said Craig Rydquist, interim superintendent of Modesto City Schools.

Added Richard Baum, principal at Thomas Downey High School: "We are honored to host the Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District, at Thomas Downey High School. This event will be a highlight for the students, staff and school for years to come.”

Six of the eight justices (two positions are currently vacant) sitting on the Court of Appeal will be traveling to Modesto to participate in the event. The three-judge panels for each case are:

People v. RowlandAssociate Justice Charles S. Poochigian, who will be serving at the Acting Presiding Justice, along with Associate Justices Donald R. Franson, Jr. and M. Bruce Smith.

People v. MeiPresiding Justice Brad R. Hill, along with Associate Justices Herbert I. Levy and Kathleen Meehan.

The Fifth Appellate District covers nine counties—Tulare, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne. The court hears appeals from cases that include criminal, civil, family law, juvenile delinquency and dependency, probate and others. Appellate courts do not conduct jury trials or accept additional evidence beyond what was originally considered in the superior court. Rather, they review written records and are bound by the facts as established in the superior court proceeding. The appeal court’s role is to determine whether any legal error has occurred and, if so, whether it changes the outcome of the case.