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Texas 10th Court of Appeals to hear four cases at Blinn-Bryan campus

Court visit allows students to witness the law in action, meet judges and ask questions

October 26, 2016

The Texas 10th Court of Appeals will soon make its annual visit to the Blinn College – Bryan campus, where it will give Blinn Legal Assistant Program students and the public an opportunity to witness precedent-setting cases that directly impact state law.

PHOTO – From left: Justice Rex Davis, Chief Justice Tom Gray and Justice Al Scoggins answer questions from Blinn College students during the Texas 10th Court of Appeals visit to the Blinn-Bryan Campus on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015.

The court will sit in session beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, in Student Center Room E-120 (map). During its session at Blinn, the court will hear Julian Christopher Ferguson v. The State of Texas; McDonald’s Restaurants of Texas, Inc., McDonald’s USA, LLC, and McDonald’s Corporation v. William Paul Crisp, Jr. and J. Nicole Crisp, Individually and as Representatives of the Estate of Lauren Bailey Crisp, and Denise Whitaker, Individually and as Representative of the Estate of Denton James Ward; Erric Bernard Portis, Jr. v. The State of Texas; and Robert Allen Workman, Jr. v. The State of Texas. Information on the cases can be found at: www.search.txcourts.gov/submission.aspx?coa=coa10.

The first case will be heard at 10 a.m., with subsequent arguments scheduled for 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Each of the four cases is expected to take between 40 and 50 minutes, and the public is welcome to attend any individual argument or the entire session. After the 11 a.m. case is argued, there will be a brief period for questions from the public, if time allows. No video or audio recordings or photographs will be allowed in the courtroom while court is in session.

“We want to make it as easy and accessible for the public as possible,” Chief Justice Tom Gray said. “The purpose of holding oral arguments in this setting is to educate the public about what we do.”

The Texas 10th Court of Appeals, consisting of 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. The court’s 2012 visit to Blinn was its first in more than a decade, and the event’s success each of the last four years has inspired the court to return.

“Seeing the court in action gives our students a first-hand look at how our legal system and the appellate court system works,” said Robert Stanberry, Paralegal and Legal Studies Program Coordinator. “As a result of these visits, hundreds of Blinn students have had the opportunity to not only see a real court in action, but have watched proceedings that establish precedent for future legal cases.”

After arguments are heard, the justices will return to Waco, where they will research the legal issues and precedents, then issue a written opinion.

“It’s very special for a court to go out on the road and hold court on a college campus,” Stanberry said. “It’s a great opportunity for all students, especially for students in our Paralegal Program who plan to work in the legal field.”

The event is hosted by Blinn’s Paralegal and Legal Studies Program and the Legal Assistant Student Organization. Blinn’s Paralegal Program equips students for a variety of law careers with an Associate in Applied Science 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 completing the AAS degree are eligible to sit for the National Association of Legal Assistants certification exam, and majors in the program join the Legal Assistant Student Organization.

Paralegals assist attorneys in the delivery of legal services, performing duties that include attending trials, assisting in testimony preparation, locating and interviewing witnesses, conducting client interviews and conducting investigations and 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 Paralegal Program, visit: www.blinn.edu/twe/legal.