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Posts under ‘Legal matters’

Judge Richardson will stay on the Perry case

Good to know. The way is cleared for Judge Bert Richardson of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to continue presiding over former Gov. Rick Perry’s criminal case, under an order by the judicial region’s presiding judge. The order was necessary to allow Richardson to rule on a pending effort by Perry’s lawyers to dismiss […]

HERO petition repeal trial starts

It could actually be over before it really starts, though I would not expect that. For the next three to four weeks, the Harris County Civil Courthouse will be the stage for the trial over Houston’s controversial equal rights ordinance. If everything works out according to plan, opening statements will begin next Tuesday. That is, […]

First hearing in Abbott’s immigration lawsuit

No clue what will happen with this. Saying South Texas is where the “rubber meets the road” on immigration issues, a federal judge used a folksy reference Thursday to note his court is the right place to decide whether to block President Obama’s recent order protecting millions of immigrants from deportation. “Talking to anyone in […]

SCOTUS will take up same sex marriage

This is it. The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it will take up four cases challenging state bans on same-sex couples’ marriages — a long anticipated move that could lead to nationwide marriage equality. The cases ask the justices whether Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee bans on same-sex couples’ marriages and bans on recognition […]

HERO repeal petition trial will be heard by a jury

Let’s get on with it. A state district judge ruled Tuesday that the lawsuit surrounding the city’s embattled equal rights ordinance will go before a jury trial rather than a bench trial, a decision that conservative opponents of the law are hailing as a major victory. Critics suing the city over its equal rights ordinance […]

City does a 180 on campaign finances

Not all losses in court are created equal. City officials will argue that the city’s election ordinance is unconstitutional as part of a strategy to strengthen their position in a lawsuit that could shape the early stages of this year’s mayor’s race. After defending the city Monday in civil court, City Attorney David Feldman said […]

Judge or jury ruling on HERO should come soon

From the other big lawsuit action on Friday. A district judge offered little insight Friday as to whether he will grant a jury trial to conservative critics who have sued the city over its controversial equal rights ordinance. During a brief but lively hearing in the 152nd District Court in Houston, Judge Robert Schaffer said […]

The Fifth Circuit finally hears the same sex marriage appeal

I am very cautiously optimistic. Signaling significant doubt about the constitutionality of Texas’ ban on same-sex marriages, two federal appeals judges on Friday questioned a state attorney’s argument that marriage is a “subsidy” that the state has the right to grant and withhold. In sharp exchanges with two judges of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court […]

What do we expect from the Fifth Circuit and SCOTUS on same sex marriage?

Some people are very optimistic. Same-sex marriage will arrive in Texas before Easter, according to an attorney for two couples who are challenging the state’s marriage bans in federal court. Daniel McNeel Lane Jr., of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in San Antonio, made the prediction as he prepared for oral arguments in the […]

First HERO repeal petition hearing today

Have I mentioned that this is a really busy month for big ticket courtroom action? Conservative opponents suing the city over its equal rights ordinance are pushing, along with several City Council members, for the upcoming case to go before a jury, a move the administration said is unprecedented and would defy election law. After […]

The Fifth Circuit hears the HB2 arguments

Maybe it’s not a slam dunk for HB2, though I refuse to get my hopes up. In a long line of tough questioning Wednesday over a new Texas abortion law, federal appeals judges here questioned whether part of a provision requiring abortion facilities to meet hospital-like standards should be struck down. The possibility that the […]

Meet the judges

Not a bad panel, all things considered. Judges Patrick Higginbotham of Dallas, Jerry Smith of Houston and James Graves Jr. of Jackson, Miss., will sit on a panel that will hear appeals from state officials in Texas and Mississippi of lower-court rulings that overturned the two states’ gay marriage bans. In the Louisiana case, U.S. […]

First city campaign finance lawsuit action this week

As you may recall, City Council candidate Trebor Gordon filed a lawsuit last month alleging that the city of Houston’s campaign fundraising blackout period was illegal. This week, a federal judge is expected to rule on a request for a temporary injunction that would suspend that ordinance. In court filings, Gordon argues that the abridged […]

Profile of Bert Richardson

The Chron has a nice story about Bert Richardson, the well-regarded judge in the Rick Perry trial, though they manage to completely avoid addressing a key issue regarding him. When Gov. Rick Perry was asked whether the criminal case against him could mar his potential presidential bid, he waved off the idea by saying he […]

Trib overview of the same sex marriage appeal

Less than three weeks till the appeal is heard by the Fifth Circuit. Fourteen states allowed same-sex marriage when Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman filed a lawsuit late last year challenging Texas’ constitutional ban on marriages that are not between a man and a woman. The couple, married in Massachusetts in 2009, lives in […]

Landfill opponents win in Hempstead lawsuit

Good news. A jury on Thursday found that Waller County commissioners met illegally in closed sessions among themselves and with developers of a controversial landfill proposal over more than two years before agreeing to host the project. After a three-week jury trial that was the talk of this rural county, the 12-member jury sided with […]

Buc-ee’s wins logo legal challenge

Don’t mess with the beaver. A lawsuit between two beaver-loving Texas-based businesses was dismissed before it even reached the courtroom, with the bigger company coming out victorious and the other left logo-less. Back in early July the lawyers for popular Texas roadside chain Buc-ee’s filed a lawsuit against Frio River Grocery. Lawyers for Buc-ee’s argued […]

Same sex marriage will have to wait for the Fifth Circuit

Bummer. A federal judge has refused to permit immediate same-sex marriages in Texas, saying he expects they will be allowed some day but he doesn’t want to act precipitously. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia on Friday rebuffed a request by same-sex couples Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes of Plano and Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole […]

Lawsuit filed against Comcast over residential WiFi hotspots

This ought to be interesting. Two San Francisco-area residents are suing Comcast for plugging their home’s wireless router into what they call a power-wasting, Internet-clogging, privacy threatening network of public WiFi hot spots. The class-action lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court on behalf of Toyer Grear and her daughter Joycelyn Harris, claims Comcast […]

Microbreweries file lawsuit over distribution rights

Interesting. Three Texas breweries filed a lawsuit against the state on Wednesday seeking to to overturn a 2013 law they say violates the Texas Constitution by forcing them to give away their territorial distribution rights for free. In their complaint, filed in state district court in Austin, the heads of Live Oak Brewing in Austin, […]

Hempstead landfill trial update

It’s complicated. For many in the courtroom, a judge’s promise Friday that the Waller County landfill trial would conclude “before Santa Claus comes” was welcome news. Earlier in the week, they had lamented the possibility that the trial – one over an issue that has divided the rural county for the past two years – […]

Everyone wants to get in on the fracking fight

Come on in. National environmental groups joined forces with grassroots activists in Denton on Thursday, seeking to defend in court the first municipal fracking ban adopted in Texas. The Denton Drilling Awareness Group, a citizens group that fought to put the ban on the November ballot, and Earthworks, a national nonprofit organization based in Washington, […]

Abbott files his suit

As expected. Leading a 17-state charge up a steep legal hill, Attorney General and soon-to-be-Gov. Greg Abbott Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s moves to expand legal protections for undocumented immigrants. The lawsuit, the 31st Abbott has filed against the Obama administration during his 12-year tenure, fulfills his gubernatorial campaign pledge to […]

What will the clerks do?

Some of Texas’ county clerks are making plans to accommodate same-sex marriage license applicants in the event that federal judge Orlando Garcia lifts the stay on his ruling that tossed out the state’s ban on same-sex nuptials. Some other clerks are planning to be jerks about it. Jeff Nicholson, chief deputy for Tarrant County Clerk […]

Denton responds to fracking ban lawsuit

Game on. One day before its first-in-Texas ban on hydraulic fracturing is set to take effect, Denton called the oil and gas extraction technique a “public nuisance” that the North Texas town has the right to regulate. “Those activities have caused conditions that are subversive of public order and constitute an obstruction of public rights […]

Voter ID plaintiffs want Fith Circuit to get on with it

Some more unfinished business for the courts. Some plaintiffs challenging Texas’ voter ID law want a federal appeals court to speed up its consideration of the case, looking to sort it out before the next wave of elections in the state. In a court document filed Wednesday, the plaintiffs note that 5th U.S. Circuit Court […]

Hempstead landfill fight goes to court

An update on a story I’ve been following for a few years. For the last two years, Waller County and the city of Hempstead have been pitted against each other in a high-profile legal battle over a proposed landfill in the city’s outskirts, a project many in the area see as both an economic and […]

Abbott responds to motion to lift same-sex marriage ruling

He’s against it. Try not to be surprised. Texas officials want a federal judge to uphold the state’s same-sex marriage ban, calling a request by gay couples to be allowed to immediately marry “untimely” and “out of order.” “The plaintiffs offer no explanation for why they waited so long to file their motion,”Attorney General Greg […]

Bell fundraising lawsuit to be heard in January

A busy legal calendar just got a little fuller. A judge in January will hear likely mayoral candidate Chris Bell’s request to block Sylvester Turner’s plan to transfer money from his officeholder account to his mayoral account when the fundraising period opens on Feb. 1. Judge Elizabeth Ray of Harris County’s 165th Civil Court will […]

Fifth Circuit sets their schedule

Mark your calendars. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments about the constitutionality of Texas’ tough new abortion restrictions on Jan. 7. The law passed in 2013, known as House Bill 2, banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, placed heavy new restrictions on clinics and doctors who perform the procedure and […]

Texas same-sex marriage plaintiffs ask for stay to be lifted

I wish them luck. Two same-sex couples have asked U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia of San Antonio to allow gay marriages to begin taking place immediately in Texas. On Monday, couples Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes of Plano and Nicole Dimetman and Cleopatra De Leon asked Garcia to lift a stay he imposed this winter […]

Supreme Court re-upholds strip club tax

Technically, they declined to re-review it, but practically speaking I figure it’ll amount to the same thing. The Texas Supreme Court on Friday declined to review whether a $5-per-patron fee at live nude entertainment clubs is an occupation tax in disguise, letting stand a lower appeals court ruling that found alcohol-serving Texas strip clubs must […]

Yet another lawsuit against Texas’ ban on same sex marriage

And then there were ten. Texas now has at least 10 pending lawsuits challenging the state’s bans on same-sex marriage — believed to be the most of any state. An Austin lesbian widow is the latest to challenge the marriage bans after her late partner’s family sought to exclude her from the estate — an […]

Lawsuit filed over Pasadena Council districts

Good. For 41 years, Alberto Patiño has lived in Pasadena and seen a lot of changes there. Now Hispanics like him make up more than 60 percent of residents and about 40 percent of eligible voters. Patiño wants that reflected on city council. “I feel that we should have more representation on City Council that […]