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November 6, 2013

Texas 10th Court of Appeals brings classroom to life for Blinn students

Students observed four cases as campus hosted unique court session

Texas 10th Court of Appeals

Blinn College students got to see appellate law in action today as the Texas 10th Court of Appeals heard four cases at the school’s Bryan campus.

The court, which consists of Chief Justice Tom Gray and Justices Rex Davis and Al Scoggins, is based in Waco and hears civil and criminal appeals from 18 counties in Central Texas, including Brazos County. This marked the second consecutive year the court has visited Blinn. Last year’s appearance was its first in Brazos County in more than a decade.

“It’s very special for a court to go out on the road and hold court on a college campus,” said Robert Stanberry, Blinn’s Legal Assistant Program coordinator. “It’s a great opportunity for all students, especially for students in our Legal Assistant Program, to supplement their classroom experience with hands-on learning.”

The 10th Court, which hears roughly 400 criminal and civil appeals annually, recently began scheduling sessions outside of Waco to give the public an opportunity to glimpse the law in action. After hearing the first two cases today, the court took a recess and the justices answered questions from the public.

Boone v. the State of Texas, asked the court to decide whether the tip of an anonymous informant is sufficient for a police officer to stop and investigate a driver. The second, Debarshi Edison Banerjee v. the State of Texas, asked the court to determine whether an officer can investigate all the passengers in a vehicle when another passenger or passengers admit to using marijuana.

Now that arguments have been heard, the justices will research the legal issues and precedents back in Waco, then issue a written opinion.

“Most people do not know or understand what an intermediate appellate court does,” Gray said.

“Thanks to today’s event, more than 100 people got the opportunity to learn a little bit about what we do and why it’s important.”

The event is hosted by Blinn’s Legal Assistant Program and Legal Assistant Student Organization. The Legal Assistant Program trains students for careers as legal assistants, or paralegals. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for paralegals is projected to leap 28 percent between 2008 and 2018, and job opportunities abound in private law firms, courts, government, insurance companies, administrative agencies and corporations.

For more information on Blinn’s Legal Assistant Program, visit: www.blinn.edu/twe/legal/.
Blinn enrolled 18,413 students this Fall and has experienced 31.1 percent growth since 2006. Founded in 1883, the College’s tuition and fees average about one-third the cost of the same classes at most four-year public universities in the state. In addition to its four campuses in Brenham, Bryan, Schulenburg and Sealy, the College teaches online courses, dual credit for high school and prepares students for quick employment through its workforce education, technical training and vocational education programs. For enrollment information and to learn about financial aid opportunities, visit: www.blinn.edu.