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Court hears arguments at university

By Joe Holloway
March 27, 2013 at 10 p.m.

Students at East Texas Baptist University got to see their state's judicial system at work when the Texas Sixth Court of Appeals convened in the Woods Great Room of ETBU's Ornelas Student Life Center on Wednesday.

ETBU Professor of Political Science Israel Nandamudi said hosting the court was an opportunity for his students.

"It's a great educational experience for our students," he said. "I teach American government and state and local politics here and one of the things we talk about is the judiciary and how it is set up, how many courts we have. When they come here and organize this court, students can see this in action."

He also said he hoped it might help some students make career decisions.

"Hopefully, some of them, it will inspire them to get into the law profession or get into politics," he said. "But, even if they don't go into these professions, if they gain basic understanding about how the court system works, that would be enough."

ETBU senior Kody Smith said he thought, as a criminal justice major, it was an especially pertinent event for him.

"It's a big deal," he said. "It gives us an opportunity to see how the justice system works and specifically, me being in criminal justice, this gives me an opportunity for an in depth look."

The Texas 6th Court of Appeals typically convenes in Texarkana, but Judge Bailey Mosely, of Marshall, who is on the court,said it wasn't unusual for the court to hear oral arguments at other locations to make things more convenient.

"It's very common for us to have our oral arguments at other places than in Texarkana," he said. "We have a 19-county district and Texarkana is on the extreme Northeastern corner of the district. It goes as far west as Fannin County. Southeastern most is Panola County.

"It makes for a pretty good drive for people so we try, when we have oral arguments, to bunch them up geographically and have oral arguments in places that are more convenient to the people engaged in the contest before us."

He said ETBU's Woods Great Room was a suitable venue for the court to be held.

"We meet in places that are set up for us," he said. "Commissioner's courts usually are about right for us, but this is good too."

Mosely, a graduate of Marshall High School who practiced law in Marshall for 36 years before becoming a judge, said he was certainly happy to get to stay close to home.

"It keeps me from having to drive 150 miles round trip to get to work," he said.



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