Texas 10th Court of Appeals to hear three cases at Blinn-Bryan Campus
Court visit allows student to witness the law in action, meet judges, and ask questions
November 7, 2019
The Blinn College District brings the courtroom to campus next week as students and the public have the opportunity to witness precedent-setting cases when it hosts the Texas 10th Court of Appeals on Wednesday, Nov. 13.
The court will sit in session beginning at 10 a.m. in the Bryan Campus Student Center room F-120 (map). The eighth annual event is hosted by the Blinn Legal Assistant Program and the Legal Assistant Student Organization.
The first case, Fredrick Vonsha Robertson v. the State of Texas, will be heard at 10 a.m. and involves the appellant appealing his conviction on possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance. At approximately 11 a.m., the court will hear the State of Texas v. Charles Joseph Meras, involving an appeal on the motion to suppress narcotics that were recovered during a traffic violation stop.
The afternoon session begins at 1 p.m. and will feature Texas A&M University v. John Doe. The case involves an individual expelled from the university on allegations of sexual misconduct who claims his due process rights were violated because he was not allowed to have his attorney cross-examine witnesses.
Additional information on these cases can be found at www.search.txcourts.gov/submission.aspx?coa=coa10.
Each case is expected to last between 40 to 50 minutes, and the public is welcome to attend any individual argument or the entire session. After the morning cases are argued, there will be a brief period for questions from the public, if time allows.
“The primary purpose of traveling to various locations in the district is to educate the public, particularly students, about the judicial system,” Chief Justice Tom Gray said. “We strongly encourage college students to attend to learn more about the role of the intermediate appellate court.”
No video, audio recordings, or photographs will be allowed in the courtroom while court is in session. Individuals attending the session must wear appropriate attire, power off or silence electronic devices, and are not allowed to bring in food or beverages.
The Texas 10th Court of Appeals, consisting of Gray and Justices Rex Davis and John E. Neill, is based in Waco and hears approximately 400 civil and criminal appeals a year from 18 counties in Central Texas, including Brazos County. The court’s 2012 visit to Blinn was its first in more than a decade, and the event’s success each of the last seven years has inspired the court to return.
“Witnessing arguments in real cases makes our course work come to life and has reassured me that this is the career I want to pursue,” said Chyenne Michael, president of Blinn-Bryan’s Student Government Association and former Vice Chair of the Legal Assistant Student Association. “Having the court come to campus is a unique experience that most students don’t get. I have been able to watch proceedings that will help me as I continue my education, which includes attending law school. Who knows, maybe one day one of my cases will come to Blinn College and I will be able to educate students where it all started for me.”
After the arguments are heard, the justices will return to Waco, where they will research the legal issues and precedents, then issue a written opinion.
“Seeing the court in action gives our students a first-hand look at how our legal system and the appellate court system works,” Program Coordinator Robert Stanberry said. “As a result of these visits, hundreds of Blinn students have been exposed to the complexities of the legal field and have been present for arguments with implications on future legal cases.”
Blinn’s Legal Assistant Program equips students for a variety of law careers with an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree or a Legal Office Certificate. Courses are taught by a faculty comprised entirely of lawyers and judges whose classes are structured to promote quality student-faculty interaction. Students who complete the Legal Assistant AAS degree are eligible to sit for the National Association of Legal Assistants certification exam.
Legal Assistants, commonly referred to as paralegals, assist attorneys in law firms, companies, and government agencies. Their duties include attending trials, assisting in testimony preparation, locating and interviewing witnesses, conducting client interviews, and conducting investigations and legal research. Their role is expanding as companies look to hire employees with a broad understanding of legal matters. This proves helpful during purchases, personnel matters, risk management, customer relations, and contract negotiations.
For more information on Blinn’s Legal Assistant Program, visit www.blinn.edu/paralegal.
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