Aleksey Koval ’10 was recently one of seven Ukrainians who participated in a foreign delegation, touring Texas to meet with various justices from around the region.
An article published by News-Journal.com of Longview discusses the delegation and the activities the Ukrainian group took part in while visiting Texas . The group of officials discussed various topics with a number of local and regional judges from Texas, comparing and contrasting the Ukrainian and American Judicial systems. The delegation resulted in a learning experience for each party.
Koval was an economics and international relations double major and a member of Chi Phi fraternity on campus. He also played on the hockey and tennis teams, and was a member of the International Student Association.
The full article is below:
Lone Star tour: Ukrainian delegation meets justices from state, federal levels
Saturday, December 8, 2012 4:00 am
By Glenn Evans
Seven Ukrainians met 37 judges Friday as a foreign delegation visiting Northeast Texas added a legal element to its week-long Texas tour.
“This is perhaps a very unique day for Gregg County to have so many judges from so many courts,” said 188th District Judge David Brabham, shortly after black-robed jurists from every level of the Texas judiciary system filed into his courtroom.
From local justices of the peace to members of the Texas Supreme Court and Texas Court of Criminal Appeals – the state’s highest respective civil and criminal venues – the representatives presented a unified front for the young professionals in town from the East. U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, even made an unannounced appearance, adding a former state appeals court jurist to the mix. A federal judge or three rounded out the show of judicial solidarity from every level, minus only the U.S. Supreme Court.
“I’ll only be able to say good things, because I haven’t seen any bad things,” Ukrainian attorney Diliaver Akiieo said through translator Ludymila Huntsman after a brief presentation in the 188th.
Akiieo, who counsels his country’s legislative branch, said it was not easy to compare the Ukrainian and American judicial systems.
“We have a Roman German system of law, and the American system uses case law,” he said, distinguishing his country’s foundation on ancient codes from the U.S. system’s reliance on decisions previous courts have reached.
“You have federal, district, state (courts) … We have only two systems: common courts and specialized courts. The specialized court includes economic crimes, economic law and administrative law. The rest of it, everything, goes into the common system including criminal law, civil law – everything else,” Akiieo said.
The two systems do share a vertical nature, he added, meaning cases can progress from trial to appellate levels.
“The top is the constitutional court that doesn’t have hearings of cases,” he said. “But it only is responsible for interpreting the constitution.”
Except for the no-hearings part, the highest court in the Ukraine resembles the U.S. Supreme Court, which can require oral arguments at its discretion. Akiieo added that his country’s courts also remain open to the average citizen.
“It’s a constitutional right of every citizen in the Ukraine to be able to go to court to protect their rights,” he said.
In Texas, through Kilgore College’s Small Business Development Center, the seven Ukrainians and their translator got the full Lone Star treatment, eastside style.
That has included tours of area police and fire departments, Longview City Hall, industries such as Capacity of Texas and Trinity Rail. They tried on Stetsons at Cavender’s Boot City in Longview and might have met an East Texas ghost or two at Jefferson’s Excelsior House, or a ghostly inmate during tours of the Marion and Gregg county jails.
The entourage ate breakfast Friday at Longview Regional Medical Center and lunched at Good Shepherd Medical Center before retreating to the Longview lockup and Brabham’s courtroom for the afternoon.
Today, they are slated to sample the Christmas spirit at the Hometown Hallsville Holiday before departing Sunday from East Texas Regional Airport.
They’ll take bits of the West back home to the East, including the teal-accented boots Alina Beskrovna bought at Cavender’s.
“I was hoping for a discount, a Ukrainian discount,” she quipped in the courtroom.
Akiieo expressed one slight regret – he hadn’t ridden a horse.
“Not yet,” he said. “Maybe tomorrow.”