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Blinn students, public see Texas appeals court in action

10th Court of Appeals session offers an up-close look at the legal system

December 3, 2015

10th Court of AppealsBlinn College students had the unique opportunity to see the law in action Wednesday.

The Texas 10th Court of Appeals, which consists of Chief Justice Tom Gray and Justices Rex Davis and Al Scoggins, heard four cases on Blinn’s Bryan campus. The Court is based in Waco and hears civil and criminal appeals from 18 counties in Central Texas, including Brazos County. This marked the fourth time the 10th Court has held sessions on Blinn’s Bryan campus.

For decades, the court was not permitted to travel.

“We’re thankful the legislature has recognized the educational benefit of holding court at places like Blinn,” Gray said during a question-and-answer session with students. “It’s a bit more cumbersome to travel, but the educational value far outweighs that. It’s great to be here to educate the students and the public about what we do.”

Wednesday’s hearings held particular interest for students in Blinn’s Legal Assistant Program.

“Many of our students go on to work for attorneys who are involved in the law on a daily basis,” said Robert Stanberry, Legal Assistant Program coordinator. “When the students get to witness these oral arguments and grasp the appeals process, they become highly-equipped legal assistants. The law touches so many areas of our lives, and we got to see that in action today.”

After arguments were heard, the justices returned to Waco, where they will research legal issues and precedents, then issue a written opinion. Developments of the proceedings can be tracked by conducting a case search at www.txcourts.gov/10thcoa.

The event was hosted by Blinn’s Legal Assistant Program and the Legal Assistant Student Organization (LASO). The Legal Assistant Program equips students for a variety of law careers with an Associate in Applied Science degree or a Legal Office Certificate.

“This is an amazing experience because we get to interact with the justices,” said LASO vice chair Jordan Campbell. “It’s nice to be familiarized with the court system in this manner. Everyone should have a basic understanding of how the court system works, and I think this accomplishes that purpose.”

PHOTO – From left: Justice Rex Davis, Chief Justice Tom Gray and Justice Al Scoggins answered questions from Blinn College students between cases as the Texas 10th Court of Appeals held court on the Blinn-Bryan campus Wednesday.