Ribbon cutting ceremony held for new Judicial Learning Center at state Capitol

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — There’s a new space across the hall from the state Supreme Court Courtroom at the state Capitol that will provide information about the judicial branch of government.

Justice Beth Walker

Chief Justice Beth Walker joined Justices Haley Bunn, Tim Armstead and John Hutchison to cut the ribbon on the new Judicial Learning Center Thursday morning.

Walker said she hopes the new center will inspire the next generation of lawyers and judges by providing more education and access to West Virginia’s court system at the state Capitol building.

“We already visit schools. We already take our court on the road throughout our state, but we thought that having a presence at the Capitol where student and the public can come and learn more about the court system would be great for everyone,” Walker said.

Walker said people often visit the legislative and executive branches at the Capitol, but not so much the judicial branch.

“When folks visit the Capitol, sometimes the Senate, the House, the governor’s office and other administrative agencies are a little more accessible. We have continued to work on making ourselves more accessible,” she said.

The facility is located in a former attorney conference center and includes a lot of interactive tools and language that students and the general public can understand. Walker said it’s a fun and unique combination of traditional displays and digital education.

“There are scales where smaller children can put blocks on the scales and try to ‘balance’ the scales which is what we try to do every day as judges,” Walker said.

There are also touch screens where people can walk through the process of a case. Walker said they can listen to testimony in three or four different kinds of cases and “be the judge.”

Walker said she hopes everyone will walk away with more knowledge about how the state courts work.

“Our courts are here to help them. I hope they can see that,” she said.

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