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Blinn students see the law in action during Texas 10th Court of Appeals visit

2023 marks the court’s 10th visit to the Blinn-Bryan Campus

2023 marks the court’s 10th visit to the Blinn-Bryan Campus

November 9, 2023

Campus transformed into a courtroom during the recent Texas 10 th Court of Appeals visit to the Blinn College-Bryan Campus.

This year marked the court’s 10th visit to the Bryan Campus, with students, faculty, and community members hearing oral arguments involving issues ranging from a property access dispute to Fourth Amendment rights related to the seizure of evidence.

“Holding oral argument is the point at which we as judges have direct interaction with the lawyers. This isn’t TV, this isn’t drama, this isn’t made up. This is two sides that have a significant legal issue,” Chief Justice Tom Gray said. “For the students, it opens the door into a very complicated profession.”

Seeing the law in action was especially beneficial for students in Blinn’s Paralegal and Legal Studies Program and the Legal Assistant Student Organization (LASO), who helped organize the event.

“It was exciting to see the court cases one-on-one. We didn’t have to go all the way to Waco. This is a very different experience where you learn how to approach justice and explain the matter of fact and law,” LASO member Tania Humes said.

Consisting of Gray and Justices Matt Johnson and Steve Smith, the Texas 10 th Court of Appeals is based in Waco. It hears approximately 400 civil and criminal appeals a year from 18 counties in Central Texas, including Brazos County.

“This event is a real-world learning experience for our students. By ruling on these cases, we are going to get case law that could impact future decisions and future legal strategies,” Paralegal Program Department Head Robert Stanberry said. “These live oral arguments are an amazing experience and hopefully this visit will inspire others to love the law. I’m honored that the justices bring this experience to Blinn.”

The first case, Coryell County v. H&S Perryman Ranch, LLC, involved a jurisdiction and property dispute related to driveways that were constructed as part of a real estate development project. The second case, The State of Texas v. Saul Lee Suarez, focused on a murder and aggravated robbery indictment. The defendant requested to suppress evidence recovered during the search of his bedroom as a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. The final case of the day was Corsicana Industrial Foundation, Gander Mountain Company, and JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. City of Corsicana and Navarro County. This case related to the use of sales tax to repay a loan used to develop a retail center and whether payments should continue once the shopping center’s anchor store, Gander Mountain, permanently closed.

The justices returned to Waco to research the legal questions and precedents that relate to each case and will issue a written opinion.

The opportunity to visit one-on-one with the justices also was a unique opportunity for Blinn students.

“Just getting to know them and find out how their legal careers progressed and why they became judges is something I was really looking forward to,” said Scott Wigington, a student in the Paralegal and Legal Studies Program.

Blinn’s Paralegal and Legal Studies Program prepares students for a variety of legal careers with an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree, a Legal Office certificate, and an Occupational Skills Award in Mediation. Daytime and evening classes are available online and on campus, and faculty is 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.

For more information on Blinn’s Paralegal and Legal Studies Program, visit

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