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December 5, 2012

Blinn College students see Texas appeals court in action

Hearings marked 10th Court’s first appearance in Brazos County in more than a decade


From left: Justice Rex D. Davis, Chief Justice Tom Gray and Justice Al Scoggins of the Texas 10th Court of Appeals speak to Blinn College students prior to holding session on Blinn College’s Bryan campus Wednesday morning. The court, which is based in Waco, held the session at Blinn to provide the public a glimpse of appellate law in action. It was the court’s first visit to Brazos County in more than a decade.

 

Blinn College students got the opportunity to see appellate law in action today as the Texas 10th Court of Appeals heard three 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 first time the 10th Court has held session in Brazos County in more than a decade.

The 10th Court, which hears roughly 400 criminal and civil appeals annually, 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.

“It is a privilege and an honor for Blinn College to welcome the 10th Court of Appeals to our campus,” said Dr. Ted Raspiller, president of Blinn’s Brazos County campuses. “We do a lot for students in the classroom, but we believe the real learning takes place when we can bring the classroom to life with events such as these.”

The hearings held particular interest for students in Blinn’s Legal Assistant Program. Graduates frequently move on to become paralegals, once completing their coursework at Blinn. 

The court heard one criminal and two civil appeals. In Jerry Lee Garner v. the State of Texas, Garner’s attorney argued that because officers did not provide the appellant with a copy of the warrant and the inventory at the time of his arrest in January 2010, the court erred in its denial of Garner’s motion to suppress. The trial court sentenced Garner to 20 years in prison for possession with intent to deliver cocaine in an amount of four grams but less than 200 grams in a drug-free zone.

The state argued that even if Garner was not provided a copy of the warrant and an inventory of items removed from the property, such an oversight did not have an impact on his conviction.

In other cases argued before the court, two parties disputed the ownership of three purebred Beefmaster cattle and a relator asserted that the trial court had no jurisdiction to order the production of a trust.

“These are real cases, argued by real lawyers, that have real consequences,” Justice Gray said.

“The only difference between what we did today and what we do in Waco is allowing the attorneys to turn and explain the parameters of the case to the audience before they present their argument to the court.”

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

“That process can sometimes take several months, depending on the number and complexity of the issues involved in the appeal,” Justice Gray said.

The event was hosted by Blinn’s Legal Assistant Program and the Legal Assistant Student Organization.

 

KAGS HD News report by Jenny Walsh