A Taylor County jury convicted Joe Flores of injury to a child. Flores will spend six months in prison, plus an additional seven years for parole violation. His case was tried at Hardin-Simmons University as part of a program to spark students' interest in law.
Hardin-Simmons students didn't have to go far to watch a court case today. It came to them.
Director of Legal Studies at Hardin Simmons, Sandy Self shares, "This is the second time we've done this. Judge Wheeler was the one that brought a criminal felony drug case two or three years ago. It went very well. It was such a good opportunity and learning experience that we've been working ever since then to try and get another one."
Hardin-Simmons University feel fortunate to have a criminal court case on campus for students to experience the excitement of courtroom activities. Melissa Hastings, a Political Science major says, "Anytime you get to see something first hand benefits you more so than just hearing a lecture or seeing a powerpoint presentation because it's more real. You don't understand how real it is until you see a witness get up there and she's so affected by what's going on with her family. So you don't really experience it until you see it first hand."
This particular case involves a high-profile felony. Abilene resident, Joe Maria Flores is being charged with injury to a child.
Deserea Chapman, also a Political Science major adds, "It's kind of interesting, especially because I want to go into law, and be a lawyer, myself. It's interesting to see how it's done, to be able to sit in the front row and see everything. I'm looking forward to see how the jury's going to call this one."
With such a large turn out from the students and faculty, Hardin-Simmons plans to bring additional court cases to the students in the future.