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Supreme Court holds its own on CU campus

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Chief Justice Sharon Lee makes opening comments Wednesday morning as the Tennessee Supreme Court visited Cumberland University. Lee is flanked by Justice Holly Kirby,right, Justice Connie Clark and Justice Jeff Bivins, far left. DALLUS WHITFIELD / The Wil

LEBANON -- More than 1,000 local students witnessed the Tennessee Supreme Court in action Wednesday, Sept. 30.

Chief Justice Sharon Lee, Justice Jeffrey Bivins, Justice Cornelia Clark, and Justice Holly Kirby heard three cases in Cumberland University's Dallas Floyd Recreation Center, beginning at 9 a.m., as part of the SCALES initiative. The SCALES (Supreme Court Advancing Legal Education for Students) initiative is a program designed to educate young people about the judicial branch.

Many attorneys and judges were involved in bringing the program to Cumberland University - actively going out into local high schools, such as Lebanon High School and Friendship Christian, prior to Wednesday's event.

Attorney E. Marie Farley explained that members of the 15th Judicial District Bar Association, in conjunction with State Rep. Mark Pody and Cumberland University President Dr. Paul Stumb worked to raise funds for the event.

"Dr. Stumb enabled us to all work together to raise funds to pay for this event, including the reception last night and feeding the children today," she said. "I really hope it inspires each of them to know how their government works."

The reception Farley referred to was held on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. in Cumberland University's Baird Chapel to recognize the Justices and thank them for holding court on the historic campus.

Dr. Stumb noted that "15" was a special number for the university - as Lebanon is part of the 15th Judicial District and 15 Tennessee and U.S. Supreme Court Justices graduated from the establishment.

Justice Lee also spoke at the reception. She said that participating in the SCALES program was much easier for them than at their host sites. "We come in, have a reception and hold court the next day," Lee said. "But there are many people who work behind the scenes to make this happen."

The first case heard on Wednesday was State v. Linzey Danielle Smith. The case questioned whether the trooper had probable cause to stop the defendant for failing to maintain a vehicle entirely within a single lane "as nearly as practicable."

The second case, State v. Corrin Kathleen Reynolds, involved vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, reckless endangerment and DUI charges.

The third case, Pervis Tyrone Payne v. State, involved the appeal of a death sentence based on the intellectual capacity of the defendant.

Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at

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