ND Supreme Court Visits UND Law

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News Article

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Campus Unit

School of Law


The North Dakota Supreme Court ventured out of its usual setting Tuesday and instead presided over the Baker Courtroom in the UND School of Law.

A packed courtroom greeted the five justices, who arrived at the school to hear oral arguments for two cases.

The court's presence in the law school served as an opportunity for law students and community members to see the court in action, according to Brad Parrish, assistant dean of student services at the law school.

"They're getting exposure to the practice of law instead of just learning to practice law," he said.

The court has made a yearly visit to the law school since at least 1978, according to Parrish. This connection from the classroom to the real world is an invaluable experience for law students, he said.

"Not many students get the opportunity to interact with the state's highest court at other law schools," he said.

Defining murder

Dozens of students and community members listened as the court heard the case of State of North Dakota v. Dominguez.

In February, Esteban Dominguez, 30, Grafton, N.D., was found guilty of terrorizing and attempted murder for shooting four times at his neighbor David Nelson Jr. in August 2011 in a dispute over stolen tires. Nelson hid and was not hit.

Murder is defined as causing another person's death either intentionally or through or extreme indifference to the value of human life. The jury convicted Dominguez, but he argues that it received faulty instructions. He says through his attorney that the extreme indifference clause is applicable only to actual murder — the victim has to be dead — not attempted murder.

It doesn't make sense, Dominguez says, that a defendant could attempt to show extreme indifference to another person's life in a way that could cause that person's death.

The court adjourned without a decision. Today, it will hear oral arguments in Burgard v. Burgard and judge a mock trial pitting law school students against one another.