Minnesota Supreme Court to hear oral argument in Thornton Auditorium tomorrow

The Minnesota Supreme Court will hear an oral argument at 11 a.m. tomorrow, March 12, in Thornton Auditorium of Terrence Murphy Hall on the university’s Minneapolis campus.

As a learning tool for law students, various courts from time to time conduct actual hearings at law schools in Minnesota. This marks the first time that one of these hearings will be held at St. Thomas.

Those who would like to attend the hearing must be seated in Thornton Auditorium by 10:45 a.m. Once the justices enter the auditorium, no one will be admitted into the room. An overflow room will be available if necessary.

Seven justices, 11 law clerks and one marshal from the Minnesota Supreme Court will attend the hearing. Following the oral argument, the justices will participate in a question-and-answer session with law students and others in the audience.

The St. Thomas School of Law, which opened in August, hopes to schedule two court visits each year. In addition to the Minnesota Supreme Court, visits will be made by the Minnesota Court of Appeals, the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. district judges, and from time to time a tribal court.

The case being considered here tomorrow involves a man charged with first-degree murder after he shot and killed the man with whom his wife was having an affair. The man charged with murder claimed he acted in the heat of passion and not with premeditation, and asked the district to submit the lesser-included offense of manslaughter to the jury. The district court denied the motion and the man was convicted of first-degree murder.

The issues being appealed are: first, whether the district court abused its discretion in refusing to instruct the jury on manslaughter; and second, whether there were erroneous evidentiary rulings that denied the man a fair trial.

Briefs for the case are on reserve in the St. Thomas law library.