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Posts under ‘Crime and Punishment’

No new judge for Paxton

Denied! State District Judge George Gallagher will remain on the securities fraud case against Attorney General Ken Paxton, according to a spokeswoman for the judge. It was originally believed Gallagher would have to rule on a request Paxton’s lawyers made this month for a new judge. But the spokeswoman, Melody McDonald Lanier, said Monday that […]

Paxton wants a new judge

He may not get his wish. The judge presiding over Attorney General Ken Paxton’s criminal trial plans to remain on the case, regardless of Paxton’s request for a new judge, his spokesman said. “He anticipates remaining the judge,” District Judge George Gallagher’s spokeswoman Melody McDonald Lanier told the Houston Chronicle Thursday. Paxton’s criminal defense team […]

Paxton’s trial date set for September 12

Mark your calendars. Attorney General Ken Paxton’s newly relocated criminal trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 12. The judge in the case set the trial date Wednesday, a day after moving the proceedings to Harris County. The trial had originally been scheduled to start May 1 in Collin County. The judge, George Gallagher, said in […]

Settle the damn bail lawsuit already

Enough. Harris County commissioners Tuesday voted to add high-profile, conservative litigator Charles Cooper to a growing team of attorneys defending the county and several public officials against a civil rights lawsuit alleging the county’s bail system unconstitutionally jails the poor. Cooper, a former clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist and friend of U.S. […]

Paxton trial moved to Harris County

The circus is coming to town, with none of those morally questionable animal acts to get all angsty about. Attorney General Ken Paxton will face a jury in Harris County on felony criminal charges he committed securities fraud and failed to register with the state as an investment advisor, a district judge ruled Tuesday. District […]

Stockman trial date set

Mark your calendar. Former U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman is set to go to trial June 5 on federal corruption charges. Stockman, a Houston-area Republican, has pleaded not guilty to charges of funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars in charitable donations to himself and his congressional campaign. He was arraigned Monday. The trial is expected to […]

Stockman pleads not guilty

And we’re off. Standing tall, with his hands hanging loosely at his sides, former U.S. Congressman Steve Stockman told a federal magistrate in Houston Monday he understood the criminal charges against him and pleaded not guilty to theft of about $800,000 in charitable donations intended for conservative organizations and associated charges. Upon Stockman’s request, U.S. […]

Steve Stockman claims he’s broke

Pobrecito. Former Congressman Steve Stockman told a federal magistrate Wednesday he can’t afford to pay for a lawyer to represent him against allegations he helped steal about $800,000 in charitable donations intended for conservative organizations. U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Johnson agreed to appoint a lawyer for him and postponed a hearing on his case until […]

Dukes fails to get charges tossed

Too bad for her. A Travis County state district judge denied a motion by state Rep. Dawnna Dukes to dismiss four felony counts against her for tampering with public records. Dukes’ attorneys on March 8 asked Judge Brad Urrutia to dismiss four of her 13 indicted felony charges, arguing that an agreement she signed in […]

A closer look at the Stockman saga

Chron reporter Lise Olson takes a deep dive into the charges against former Congressman and fulltime hot mess Steve Stockman. Steve Stockman was soon to board a plane for the United Arab Emirates this month when his unorthodox life took a sudden detour. The outspoken two-time former congressman from Houston was met at the airport […]

More on the attack on the Paxton special prosecutors’ pay

From Texas Lawyer. As courtroom twists go, this one is practically unheard-of: On the brink of bringing Texas’ attorney general, Ken Paxton, to trial on felony securities fraud charges, the government’s prosecutors are threatening to bail out of the case unless they get paid. Whether one of the biggest criminal cases in Texas finally goes […]

Video fraudsters in trouble again

In California this time. California prosecutors on Tuesday charged two anti-abortion activists who made undercover videos of themselves trying to buy fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood with 15 felonies, saying they invaded the privacy of medical providers by filming without consent. The charges against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt of the Center for Medical Progress […]

Paxton case gets moved out of Collin County

Well, well, well. Attorney General Ken Paxton’s upcoming trials will be moved out of Collin County, the judge presiding over his criminal fraud case decided Thursday. The ruling is a major victory for the prosecutors, who have for months argued that Paxton’s friends and political allies have sought to malign them in the court of […]

Commissioners get testy over bail practices lawsuit

Let’s hash it all out. Tensions flared at Harris County Commissioners Court Tuesday after new Commissioner Rodney Ellis filed legal papers supporting civil rights groups in their high-profile federal lawsuit against the county and its bail system. In a rare public argument before dozens of onlookers at the meeting Tuesday, Ellis’ colleagues — all Republicans […]

Bail practices lawsuit wraps up

It’s up to the judge now. The call by two civil rights groups for an immediate fix to Harris County’s bail system is now in the hands of a federal judge after high-stakes arguments over whether poor people should remain in jail on misdemeanor offenses because they can’t afford to post bail. Key criminal justice […]

More on the Stockman arrest

I’m just going to leave this here. Former U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, a Republican whose district stretched from Houston to Beaumont, allegedly conspired with two staffers to bilk conservative foundations out of at least $775,000 in donations meant for charitable purposes or voter education, according to federal court records. Details of the alleged scam are […]

Steve Stockman gets busted

Well, lookie here. Former U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, has been charged with violating federal election law. Stockman conspired with former congressional employees to funnel money intended for a charity to his campaign, according to a sworn statement from an FBI agent unsealed Thursday. He is also accused of making false statements to the Federal […]

County will use public defenders at bail hearings

Good. Harris County commissioners on Tuesday approved a pilot program to make public defenders available at bail hearings, a step aimed at retooling a criminal justice system that has increasingly drawn criticism for jailing thousands of poor, low-risk offenders. Within months, county officials anticipate that two public defenders will be present at bail hearings for […]

Paxton prosecutors ask for delay

Delay for pay, as it were. The special prosecutors handling the securities fraud case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton are asking to put off his trial until they can get paid. On Thursday, the prosecutors proposed moving the trial, currently set for May 1, to 60 days after a Dallas appeals court settles the […]

Back to Buzbee

Looks like we’re not done with this yet. Prominent Houston lawyer Tony Buzbee on Monday accused Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg of “playing politics,” saying prosecutors are trying to revive a DWI case against him that has already been expunged. Buzbee said Ogg’s office has filed a sealed motion seeking to reopen the criminal […]

Bail practices lawsuit gets going

The first day in court for this lawsuit was Monday. Neal S. Manne, a managing partner at Susman Godfrey, told Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal in his opening statement Monday that ODonnell and hundreds of other poor people charged with minor crimes do not get a fair chance to win pretrial release here […]

County approves defense attorneys for bail hearings

Long overdue. Harris County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to develop a pilot program that would make public defenders present at bail hearings, a move aimed at reducing what officials say is the unnecessary jailing of thousands of defendants because they can’t afford bail or are unfamiliar with the legal process. The pilot could lead to […]

Paxton beats SEC rap again

Not a surprise. A federal judge has again thrown out securities fraud charges against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, effectively ending one of two legal battles that have dogged Paxton for close to a year. U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant on Thursday dismissed the case “with prejudice,” making a final judgment on the charges that […]

No decision yet in the Temple case

Give it two more months. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said Monday it will be at least another 60 days before a decision is made on whether to re-try the murder case against former Katy football star and Alief coach David Temple. Temple’s conviction was tossed out last year after the state’s highest court […]

Cutting ICE

Another campaign promise gets fulfilled. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez has ended a controversial partnership with federal immigration authorities that trained a team of county deputies to determine the immigration status of jailed suspects and hold those selected for deportation. Gonzalez, a Democrat who took office in January, said he will reassign 10 deputies trained […]

Ogg launches her pot prosecution reform program

We’ve been waiting for this. The Harris County district attorney’s plan to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana drew reactions swift and strong Thursday from both sides of the debate. District Attorney Kim Ogg made the announced Thursday backed by a bevy of local officials, including Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, Sheriff […]

Paxton prosecutors want change of venue

At this point, who can blame them? The prosecutors in Attorney General Ken Paxton’s securities fraud case are asking for a change of venue, arguing they cannot get a fair trial in Collin County. The prosecutors say Judge George Gallagher should move the case out of Paxton’s home county because he and his associates have […]

Whose career would you like him to destroy?

Because that’s the kind of casual offer Dear Leader makes. President Donald Trump invited a wave of speculation Tuesday when he volunteered to “destroy” the career of a unnamed Texas state senator in response to a state sheriff’s complaint about the lawmaker. Trump’s remark came during a meeting with sheriffs at the White House that […]

Dukes indicted

Boom. A grand jury has indicted state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, on abuse-of-office charges, the Travis County District Attorney’s office said Wednesday. She could face up to 28 years in jail and fines of up to $138,000. The first indictment charges 13 counts of tampering with a governmental record, a felony punishable by up to […]

Professional Integrity

I like this. Former judge David Mendoza has been tapped to lead the newly created division of professional integrity for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. He will be advising the 700 employees in the district attorney’s office – including prosecutors, investigators and other staff – on ethics and professionalism, District Attorney Kim Ogg announced […]

Paxton’s trial date set

Mark your calendars, and stock up on the popcorn. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s trial on criminal securities fraud charges is set to begin May 1. Jury selection will be held April 20-21 and April 27-28, according to a recent order by George Gallagher, the judge presiding over Paxton’s case. He also scheduled a hearing […]

Dawnna Dukes case to go before grand jury

Awesome. Travis County prosecutors and Texas Rangers will present evidence to a grand jury that state Rep. Dawnna Dukes abused the power of her office, Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore told the American-Statesman. Among possible charges: abuse of official capacity and tampering with public records, Moore said. Dukes was sworn into office for a […]

Ogg to review Temple case

We’ll see how this goes. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said Wednesday she will personally lead a review of the case of David Temple, whose conviction of murdering his pregnant wife was overturned by the state’s highest court amid findings of prosecutorial misconduct, before deciding if her office will retry the former Katy football […]

Chron favors a jail administrator

I remain unconvinced. Next month, we’ll have a new sheriff in town. Ed Gonzalez will take command of the largest sheriff’s office in Texas, the third-largest in the nation, with more than 4,600 employees responsible for serving and protecting the estimated 4.5 million people who call Harris County home. It would be nice if our […]