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Posts Tagged ‘Harris County’

Ellis shakes things up

Good. It’s what he should be doing. When former state Sen. Rodney Ellis launched his campaign to succeed the late El Franco Lee as Precinct 1 commissioner last year, he said he would shake up Harris County government. He’s kept his promise. Not even three months into his tenure, Ellis filed court papers siding against […]

Getting underway in Dallas

Candidate recruitment season is on. For Texas Democrats, the road out of the political wilderness winds through Dallas County. It’s here, in the Republican strongholds of the north, west and east, that Democrats hope to unseat up to seven GOP lawmakers. Their operatives were in Dallas this week to interview potential House candidates, raise money […]

One Republican judge doesn’t want that high-priced attorney for the bail lawsuit appeal

Credit where credit is due. One of 15 Harris County judges challenging a federal order altering how bail works for indigent defendants has dropped out of the group that hired a pricey D.C. law firm to appeal the lawsuit. Court at Law Judge Mike Fields, a Republican who has been on the bench since 1998, […]

Collin County would like us to pick up the Paxton prosecutor tab

I’ll bet they would. As Attorney General Ken Paxton’s legal troubles head into their third year, there’s another question aside from whether he’ll beat the rap — who will pay for it all? Taxpayers in Collin County, where Paxton was indicted on three felony charges, have had to pick up the tab. This hasn’t gone […]

There is always some risk

I get the concern, but the alternative was unacceptable and now is illegal. Get used to it. More than 600 people charged with misdemeanors have been released since June 7 when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an emergency motion by the county to block [federal judge Lee Rosenthal’s] order, according to estimates provided to the […]

Paxton gets his new judge

From the Be Careful What You Wish For department: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has received a new judge in his securities fraud case. Harris County District Judge Robert Johnson’s court has been randomly assigned to the case, according to Bill Murphy, a spokesman for the county district clerk. Paxton’s lawyers had fought for months […]

We have the Paxton case

By “we”, I mean Harris County. Attorney General Ken Paxton’s criminal case is officially moving to Harris County. In an order signed Friday morning, Judge George Gallagher vacated several previous orders scheduling hearings in the case and directed the Collin County District Clerk’s Office to transfer the proceedings to the Harris County District Clerk. Gallagher’s […]

SCOTUS will not hear Harris County bail appeal

Let this please be the end of the line. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has denied Harris County’s request to stop the release of misdemeanor inmates who can’t afford to post cash bail. The county had appealed late Tuesday to halt Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal’s directive that it begin releasing some […]

CCA declines to get involved in Paxton judge dispute

That’s that, then. Texas’ highest criminal court has declined to intervene in the dispute over the judge in Attorney General Ken Paxton’s securities fraud case. On Friday, prosecutors asked the state Court of Criminal Appeals to reverse a lower appeals court ruling that supported Paxton’s push to remove the judge, George Gallagher. On Wednesday, however, […]

Fifth Circuit reinstates bail order

Good. Harris County took the fight over its controversial bail system to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, even as county officials scrambled to plan the imminent release of dozens of misdemeanor defendants held behind bars who cannot afford to post cash bail. A federal appeals court ruling earlier Tuesday had greenlighted the release of […]

Paxton prosecutors appeal decision to boot judge

And on we go. Prosecutors in the securities fraud case against Attorney General Ken Paxton are asking the state’s highest criminal court to overturn a ruling backing his push for a new judge. Paxton’s lawyers scored a win Tuesday when a state appeals court ruled the judge, George Gallagher, had lost jurisdiction by changing venue […]

No Astrodome vote this fall

This is a bit of a surprise. [Sen. John] Whitmire filed a bill that would force the county to get voter approval before spending any money on the Dome. “It’s a dream and you shouldn’t spend taxpayer dollars on a dream,” Whitmire said. Whitmire’s bill sailed through the Senate, but hit a brick wall in […]

5th Court rules Paxton judge overstepped

Yet another bizarre turn in this increasingly bizarre case. A state appeals court sided Tuesday with Attorney General Ken Paxton in his bid for a new judge in his securities fraud case, ruling the current judge lost jurisdiction when he changed venue to Harris County in April. The court also directed the judge, George Gallagher, […]

Time for the 5th Court to decide on Paxton prosecutor pay

Do your job, y’all. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s months-long effort to remove the judge in his securities fraud case is coming to a head in a Dallas appeals court. Prosecutors say the 5th Court of Appeals has no jurisdiction to get rid of the judge, George Gallagher, because he has moved the case out […]

Judge Jordan deserves to have his position in the bail lawsuit represented

I have problems with this. The only Harris County judge to fight the county’s defense of its controversial bail system has been notified he will not get his own lawyer to appeal the high-profile federal lawsuit that has divided county leaders. Judge Darrell Jordan – one of 16 criminal court at law judges sued over […]

Ogg joins with other DAs in criticizing new Justice Department sentencing guidelines

As well she should. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg on Friday joined 30 other sitting and former district attorneys in a letter protesting U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent push for harsher sentences in America’s federal courts. “This is a return to a failed policy of a generation ago,” Ogg, a Democrat, said of […]

Special prosecutors named in Temple case

We’ll see how they proceed. The Texas Attorney General’s Office has been tapped to prosecute the murder case against former Alief Coach David Temple in the 1999 death of his pregnant wife. State District Judge Kelli Johnson appointed Lisa Tanner and Bill Turner, two lawyers with the AG’s office, as special prosecutors almost two weeks […]

Appeals court to determine if Paxton gets a new judge

Hold everything. A state appeals court has intervened in the securities fraud case against Attorney General Ken Paxton, putting it on hold as his lawyers try to get a new judge. Hours after Paxton’s team requested that the Dallas-based 5th Court of Appeals get involved, the court on Tuesday issued a stay of all proceedings […]

Harris County bail order halted

Very late in the day on Friday. A federal appeals court granted Harris County a last-minute reprieve Friday in a contentious civil rights lawsuit, calling a temporary halt to a judge’s order that would have altered the way cash bail is handled for hundreds of people jailed on misdemeanor charges. In an order posted after […]

Paxton tries again – and fails – to get a new judge

Never give up, never surrender, I guess. Attorney General Ken Paxton’s criminal defense lawyers filed a motion Wednesday arguing the judge assigned to oversee his securities fraud trial is ineligible to oversee the case because his appointment was temporary. Legal experts say the argument appears dubious as Paxton’s legal team looks for ways to secure […]

Harris County will continue to fight bail lawsuit

Stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Harris County has appealed a federal civil rights lawsuit that challenged the county’s bail system, despite rising legal costs that have neared $3 million. After a heated discussion and a closed-door meeting Tuesday, Harris County Commissioners Court voted 4-1 to appeal the suit and to ask for a delay to a […]

Special prosecutor to be appointed in David Temple case

Seems like the right call. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg is asking for a special prosecutor to handle the murder case against former Alief Coach David Temple, adding new scrutiny to a decades-old case that continues to stir controversy. Ogg filed court papers Friday to withdraw from the case because of potential conflicts of […]

“What are we fighting for?”

That’s the key question for the county in the bail lawsuit. As legal costs mount, surpassing $200,000 per month, pressure is building for Harris County officials to settle a lawsuit over the county’s cash bail system that a federal judge has ruled unconstitutional. Newly available documents reveal that teams of defense lawyers are racking up […]

Bill to eliminate straight-ticket voting passes the House

Here we go again. The Texas House late Friday night gave preliminary approval to a bill that would eliminate “one-punch” voting, forcing voters to make an individual decision on every ballot item, starting with the 2020 election. House Bill 25, approved 85-59, could drastically change Texas politics considering straight-ticket ballots accounted for almost 64 percent […]

May 6 election results

First and foremost, the HISD recapture re-referendum passed by a wide margin. The Yes vote was at 85% in early and absentee voting, and it will finish with about 84%; I started writing this at 10 PM, when 437 of 468 HISD precincts had reported. Turnout was over 27,000, with over 14,000 votes on Saturday, […]

Judicial Conduct commission seeks suspension of JP Hilary Green

Holy moley. In an explosive and rare move, Texas judicial authorities on Wednesday asked the Texas Supreme Court to suspend a Harris County justice of the peace accused of paying prostitutes for sex, misusing illegal drugs and ruling unethically in favor of a convicted con man. The sordid list of accusations against Judge Hilary Green, […]

Final EV report for the May 6 election

Before I get to the numbers, here’s a Chron overview of the Pasadena Mayor’s race that mentions the numbers towards the end. “I believe it’s a pivotal time in this city’s history – that it can either draw together and continue being one city, or it can divide apart and be fractured,” said John Moon […]

Why won’t the county settle the damn bail lawsuit?

Lisa Falkenberg asks the same question I’ve been asking. Now that Chief U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal – it should be noted, a Republican appointee — levelled her devastating assessment of Harris County’s rigid bail system a few days ago, ordering county officials to cease practices that violate misdemeanor defendants’ rights to due process and […]

County considers its bail options

I can think of one, if they need some help. With just two weeks until the 193-page order from Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal kicks in May 15, county officials are working to draft a plan to deal with the hundreds of misdemeanor offenders now behind bars and the new cases filed each […]

Nonprofit VOTE report on voter turnout

For your perusal. NATIONAL TURNOUT Voter turnout exceeded 2012 at a level consistent with the last three presidential elections. 60.2% of the nation’s 231 million eligible voters cast ballots, according to ballots counted and certified by state election boards, compared to 58.6% turnout in 2012. Four in ten eligible voters didn’t vote. Among the most […]

Harris County bail system ruled unconstitutional

Damn right. A federal judge in Houston Friday issued a scathing denouncement of Harris County’s cash bail system, saying it is fundamentally unfair to detain indigent people arrested for low-level offenses simply because they can’t afford to pay bail. In a 193-page ruling released Friday, Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal ordered the county […]

Early voting Day Five: Can we make any guesses yet?

Mike Snyder wonders about the turnout so far in the May elections. When Pasadena last chose a mayor, in 2013, about 7 percent of its registered voters determined who would lead the industrial port city of 150,000. Mayor Johnny Isbell, who won re-election by an overwhelming margin, attributed the paltry turnout to public satisfaction with “the […]

Paxton still pushing for a new judge

Still, he persisted, I guess. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawyers are not giving up in their bid to get a new judge in his securities fraud case. Earlier this month, Judge George Gallagher ordered Paxton’s trial be moved to Harris County from Collin County, where Paxton lives, after prosecutors argued Paxton and his allies […]

Early voting so far

The Chron looks at the first day of early voting and some area races. Early voting began Monday for local elections next month that will determine who leads increasingly diverse Pasadena, the fate of a major school bond referendum in League City and whether Houston’s largest school district pays tens of millions to the state […]