Tenth Court of Appeals Convenes At Baylor Law School

  • News Photo 3890
    The 10th Court of Appeals will convene in the Jim Kronzer Appellate Advocacy Classroom & Courtroom.
  • News Photo 3891
    Baylor Law School's impressive "home," the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center, was completed in 2001.
Nov. 28, 2006

by Alan Hunt, associate director of media relations, (254) 710-6271

The three justices of the Tenth Court of Appeals, Waco, will visit Baylor Law School on Thursday, Nov. 30, to hear oral arguments in three cases. The hearings, which are open to students and the public, will be held in the Jim Kronzer Appellate Advocacy Classroom and Courtroom (Room 127) in the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center on the Baylor University campus.

The court bench will include Chief Justice Thomas W. Gray, a 1985 Baylor Law School graduate; Justice Felipe Reyna, who is a 1972 Baylor law graduate; and Justice Bill Vance, a 1963 University of Texas Law School graduate who was elected to the court in 1990.

The justices will begin hearing oral arguments at 9:15 a.m. The proceedings will begin with the Appellant and Appellee, who will each have 15 minutes to argue. The Appellant then will have a five-minute rebuttal. Students and the public may come and go quietly and without disruption, even during an argument. However, if this becomes a problem, the court may limit entry and exit to times only when no attorney is speaking from the lectern. Any person attending and their belongings will be subject to inspection, including physical inspection or sweep with a magnetometer for security purposes.

"The first case we will hear on Thursday (03-109-CR, Pena v. State) has had four amicus briefs filed, one by the criminal law professors at Texas, one by the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, one by The Dallas County Criminal District Attorney, and one by Harvey Dale Angel," said Chief Justice Gray. "In this regard it has received more interest than any other case in the eight years that I have been on the court."

"Inviting courts to sit at Baylor Law School is a long tradition that provides our students with a wonderful opportunity to observe experienced lawyers presenting oral arguments to the court in real cases," said Leah W. Jackson, associate law dean at Baylor. "Such experiences can be motivational as well as intellectually stimulating. After attending such proceedings, we often observe students gathered in small groups, debating the cases and critiquing the lawyers. We appreciate the court's willingness to provide our students with such a valuable learning experience."

Law Dean Brad Toben said, ""We have hosted appellate courts sitting for argument at the law center on a regular basis over the years, including the Texas Supreme Court, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and of course, the Tenth District Court of Appeals. I believe the justices will enjoy the change of venue and interaction with our students as much as our students and the faculty will enjoy and appreciate the Court's graciousness in agreeing to sit at the school for the benefit of the Law School community."

Several high profile courts have convened at Baylor Law School in recent years. In December 2003, Gray was sworn in as the new Chief Justice of the Tenth Court of Appeals during an investiture ceremony at Baylor's Umphrey Law Center. A month later, Felipe Reyna, who is a former McLennan County District Attorney, was sworn in at Baylor Law School as a new Associate Justice of the Tenth Court.

Established in 1923, the Tenth Court of Appeals hears criminal and civil appeals from lower courts in 18 Texas counties.

NOTE TO NEWS EDITORS: Following are case synopses for the three scheduled cases to be heard by the court. The synopses should not be relied upon nor used for any purpose other than to provide individuals who will attend the oral arguments with a general understanding of the facts and issues of each case.

03-109-CR, Pena v. State

Pena was stopped by a DPS trooper who found more than 23 pounds of what the trooper believed to be marijuana. The evidence was delivered to the DPS lab for testing and then inadvertently destroyed. The only record left at the time of trial was a single lab report. Pena argues that the due course of law guarantee under the Texas Constitution offers greater protection than the due process guarantee under the federal constitution for lost or destroyed evidence under the standard established by the U.S. Supreme Court in Youngblood v. Arizona, which holds that there is a due process violation only if there is evidence the State acted in bad faith.

06-026-CR, Glockzin v. State

Glockzin was convicted of sexually assaulting his ex-wife's daughter. He contends: (1) the evidence is factually insufficient; (2) the trial court improperly defined the term "sexual contact" in the jury charge in a manner that comported with the evidence but not the indictment; and (3) the court erred by failing to follow this Court's decision in Rodgers, 180 S.W.3d 716, and sua sponte instruct the jury in the charge that it could not consider evidence of extraneous conduct unless it believed beyond a reasonable doubt that Glockzin had engaged in that conduct. The State argues that Rodgers was wrongly decided.

06-050-CV, Ganske v. WRS Group, Ltd.

The Ganskes and WRS entered a settlement agreement which included a mutual release of all claims. The Ganskes later intervened in a lawsuit between Stovall (a former WRS employee) and WRS which was removed to federal court. The federal court granted WRS's summary judgment motion and rendered a take-nothing judgment against Stovall and the Ganskes. WRS then filed a declaratory judgment action in state court seeking a decree that under the settlement agreement the Ganskes are not entitled to recover their costs in federal court. The Ganskes counterclaimed for breach of contract, seeking attorneys fees and court costs. The trial court rendered a take-nothing summary judgment against the Ganskes. The issues on appeal are: (1) whether the Ganskes can recover attorney's fees under the settlement agreement; (2) whether there is a statutory basis for a recovery of attorney's fees; and (3) whether their claim is barred by res judicata because of the prior federal suit.

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