“Appeals on Wheels” offers seniors learning experience


Troy Dickens, Web Editor/Business Manager

“It allows them to apply it to real world applications,” Suzie Huppenthal said. ”

Three judges take their places to begin the trial in the auditorium. “Appeals on Wheels” is a group of judges and actors who reenact actual court cases. They go to  different schools like FHS to help students understand what it is like to be in an actual court room.

The case they were covering was Harper v. State , which was about a woman named Robin Harper who called the police about a dispute between her and her husband. The police officers came and talked with her about what had happened and that her husband had left after the dispute. The officers then found the husband with bruises and a stab wound.

The officers went back to Harper’s house and were denied entry into her house. They then handed her a fake restraining order and entered the home. They arrested Harper and while she was trying to put on her shoes she jerked away from the police officers who was trying to take off her wedding ring. She is being charged for resisting arrest, but not for domestic battery.

appeals firealarm
Students stand outside in the cold after the fire alarm went off during the “Appeals on Wheels”. – Photo taken by Kelly Tyner

Harper had a jury trial on April 15, 2013. Harper was found guilty and ordered to serve 365 days. She argues that the evidence was insufficient and that the officer lied to enter her home.

The judges were judge Cale J. Bradford from Marion County, judge Paul D. Mathias from Allen County, and judge Rudolph R. Pyle III from Madison County. They treated the case as if it were a regular case in a real court room.

The beginning of the court case was interrupted by a fire alarm going off. All of the participants made their way outside. Once the alarm stopped everyone went back inside and continued the proceedings. The judges had to repeat some information in order to continue. SMaRT period had to be extended to be able to finish up the case.

The case was adjourned and students were allowed to ask questions about how it is like to be a judge or how they make decisions based on the information they are given, though students could not ask questions about the actual case.

“I thought the trial was awesome because students got to hear and see an actual trial,” social studies teacher Suzie Huppenthal said. “It allows them to apply it to real world applications.”