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Report from the Court: DC Court of Appeals

On February 6, 11th and 12th graders in Ginger's Constitutional Law class observed oral arguments in a 6th amendment case before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Judge Catharine F. Easterly P'24 and her law clerks met with the class before proceedings to share their journeys to the DCCA and explain the nature of the case.

According to Judge Easterly, "the legal questions on appeal are constitutional (6th Amendment right to confrontation) and evidentiary (hearsay): they revolve around whether the complainant's call to 911 reporting the crime could be admitted into evidence at trial when she didn't appear as a witness." Students found the oral argument fascinating: is a 911 call by a now-deceased individual "admissible" as evidence? What is an "excited utterance?" Was this an "ongoing emergency?" A judgment in Austin v. U.S. is expected sometime in summer 2024.
Earlier this winter, thanks to Tara Graham P'28, the class hosted Dee Farmer, the plaintiff in a seminal Supreme Court case, Farmer v. Brennan (1994), which held that prison officials can be held liable for deliberate indifference in failing to keep an incarcerated transgender female safe in a male institution. We were awed by Dee’s grit, savvy, and humanity. She wrote and filed her own petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, and then went on to file 300+ lawsuits on behalf of other incarcerated individuals. Her activism continues to this day with Fight4Justice, a group she founded.
Co-ed, progressive, college prep school in Washington, DC featuring a challenging curriculum in an inclusive environment for grades 6-12.