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Appeals Court To Hold Oral Arguments In Criminal Justice Center


April 17, 2012
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May, Mike Yawn

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The Junior Fellows and Sam Houston State University will host Oral Arguments for the 10th Court of Appeals this Wednesday (April 18). The arguments will be heard in the Criminal Justice Building’s Hazel B. Kerper Courtroom (A-260) at 10 a.m., 11 a.m, 1 p.m, and 2 p.m.

“This is a great opportunity for students and local residents to gain an up-close view of their legal system at work,” Junior Fellow Santiago Casas said. “I hope people take this unusual opportunity to see how the appeals process unfolds.”

The 10th Court of Appeals hears approximately 400 civil and criminal appeals annually and covers 18 counties in Central Texas. The court’s permanent seat is in Waco, but when given the opportunity to partner with a local organization and sit in session in Walker County, Chief Justice (and SHSU alumnus) Tom Gray and Justices Rex Davis and Al Scoggins were eager to make the trip.

With the Junior Fellows taking the lead on local logistics, the justices scheduled four cases on the campus of SHSU. Three of the four cases originated in the Bryan-College Station area, and one case originated in Huntsville. Two of the cases involve drug possession or trafficking; one relates to a DWI charge; and another addresses a murder charge. Collectively, these cases provide the public with prismatic view of our legal system and the appeals process.

“This is an amazing opportunity for the citizens of Walker County,” said Tracy Sorensen, secretary of the Walker County Bar Association. “I appreciate the justices taking the time and initiative to bring their court to us, and I hope that the public will take this opportunity to learn more about the 10th Court of Appeals and the important decisions the court makes in people’s daily lives.”

The arguments are open to the public but because of limited seating, the public is encouraged to arrive early. District Clerk Robyn Flowers will be attending the session and is, in fact, bringing her entire staff. “This is very unusual opportunity for me and my staff to observe the appeals process, and we’re looking forward to it.”

In addition, the Junior Fellows have coordinated with various professors across colleges to open the arguments to law-related classes.

“This is a rare opportunity,” Junior Fellows’ adviser Mike Yawn said. "We’re hoping that people make the most of it.”

“We’re very pleased the justices chose to hear these arguments,” said Junior Fellows’ president Christian Bionat. “We’d like to thank the justices for being so accommodating, the University Police Department and the Walker County Sheriff’s Department for providing security, and the College of Criminal Justice for making their facilities available. It’s great when the community works together to provide opportunities for students and local residents.”

Parking will be available at the University’s Parking Garage, located on Avenue I, across from the Criminal Justice Center.

The Junior Fellows are a student organization that promotes public service, education, and professionalism. They have participated at some level in more than 130 events in the past year, and they provide various programming for the University and local residents.

For more information regarding the 10th Court of Appeals oral arguments, contact Yawn at mike.yawn@shsu.edu or 936.294.1456.



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