By Hannah Neumann
The defense for student government internal vice president Lawren Kinghorn began its argument on Tuesday evening in the McCahill, Hardy v. Kinghorn lawsuit.
Deadline for print was moved to an earlier time due to weather, and the hearing was still in session at press time. For the full version of this story, visit baylorlariat.com.
The Student Court began its hearing of the case on Feb. 17, in courtroom 127 of the Baylor Law School, with the plaintiff’s case-in-chief. The plaintiff’s case-in-chief is the portion of a trial whereby the party with the burden of proof in the case presents its evidence. The term differs from a rebuttal, whereby a party seeks to contradict the other party’s evidence.
The location was moved to Draper Hall for Tuesday’s hearing, as the bar exam was taking place in the Law School.
The plaintiffs rested their case on Feb. 18, during the second continuation of the hearing, and the defendant made a motion for a directive verdict. The motion was not granted by the court, as they did not feel comfortable closing the case at the time.
The defendant in the case, Kinghorn, a Katy junior, was the first witness called Tuesday evening.
Throughout the hearing, it has been alleged by the plaintiff that the Senate Executive Council and Kinghorn were targeting members of the senate who voted for the concealed carry bill, which was authored by plaintiff, Woodinville, Wash., senior Gannon McCahill, Kinghorn stated in her testimony that she had no bias on the topic.
“I am a strong believer in my Second Amendment rights,” she said. “I have been in various conservative and republican organizations. Issues I had with the bill were merely procedural.”
Further allegations by the plaintiffs, McCahill and San Antonio junior Chase Hardy, said Kinghorn has used her position for social purposes more so than for legislative purposes, and that she abused her power to single out individuals in regards to attendance.
“In my constitutional duty there is some social duty,” Kinghorn said. “However, I would not consider that more important than my legislative duty.”
In regards to attendance, Mandeville, La., senior E.J. Valentine, a current senator, has been used as an example to illustrate the SEC’s bias against certain individuals. With a substantial attendance deficiency, Valentine was granted a small sanction, while McCahill was asked to resign.
“When E.J. was called before SEC we had a large influx of new senators,” Kinghorn said. “The SEC made a decision to be lax because we didn’t want to seem unfair to those who didn’t know the rules and expectations of being a senator yet.”
Kinghorn said during this time, senators with attendance deficiencies were granted little to no sanctions, on the basis that they hadn’t yet been fully trained or informed of the policies. Kinghorn said it was after this time of lenience that McCahill was brought before the SEC for attendance, and that the rules had been established countless times by then.
Following McCahill’s initial refusal to the SEC’s request for his resignation, the SEC held an impeachment hearing for McCahill. It has been alleged by the plaintiff’s attorney and accepted through witness testimony that fellow Alpha Tau Omega fraternity brother and plaintiff in the case, Hardy, was not permitted to vote, as his confirmation was moved on the agenda to take place after the hearing, contrary to normal procedure.
Kinghorn was crossed examined by sophomore Elliott Riches, the plaintiff’s attorney in the case, who claimed that according to precedent, Hardy should have been confirmed prior to the impeachment hearing.
Kinghorn said according to the Senate by-laws, there is no written rule detailing an order for agendas, and that the confirmation was moved to the end to allow other items on the agenda to be moved up.