Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Regarding the Texas Judiciary

A few items in the news.

All from the Texas Tribune.

- Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Launches Final Appeal in Securities Fraud Case.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is appealing the securities fraud charges against him to the state's highest criminal court, in one last bid to dismiss the case before it potentially goes to trial.
Paxton's attorneys filed the appeal Tuesday with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, asking the Austin-based court to do away with the three felony indictments facing the attorney general. The case, now more than a year old, centers on allegations that Paxton misled investors in private business dealings from before his time as attorney general.

"Ken Paxton has been charged with a crime that simply doesn't exist, using a grand jury that was improperly impaneled," Paxton lawyer Bill Mateja said in a statement. "This petition was filed with the Court of Criminal Appeals to not only correct the lower court's mistake but to end this improper prosecution."

- Tiny Nordheim Sues State Over Drilling Waste Dump.

A tiny South Texas town is continuing to fight plans for an oil and gas waste site half its size, even after state regulators gave developers the go-ahead to build it.

A citizen's group in Nordheim — population 316 at last count — is suing the Texas Railroad Commission, challenging the petroleum regulator’s decision to permit a facility that would store waste including drill cuttings, oil-based muds, fracking sand and other toxic oilfield leftovers.
Filed late last month in Travis County district court, the lawsuit argues that the commission's three members erred in May when they unanimously approved the development by San Antonio-based Pyote Reclamation Systems.

Lawyers: Fetal Remains Rule Could Lead to Lawsuit.

Texas' proposed rules requiring the cremation or burial of fetal remains "will almost certainly trigger costly litigation," reproductive rights lawyers say.
In a letter to the Texas Department of State Health Services, lawyers with the Center for Reproductive Rights on Monday argued that the new rules — proposed at Gov. Greg Abbott's directive — are "plainly in violation" of the legal standard abortion regulations must meet to be deemed constitutional.

Paxton Says "Frivolous" Campus Carry Lawsuit Has No Merit.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday called a lawsuit brought by three University of Texas at Austin professors against the state’s campus carry law “frivolous” and said the professors have no valid reasons for opposing guns on campus.
Paxton filed a brief in response to the lawsuit Monday, saying the professors' request to block the law — which went into effect Monday — before the first day of fall classes is unconstitutional.
. . . UT Austin professors Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore and Mia Carter filed a lawsuit opposing the state’s campus carry law last month. They asked a federal court judge to grant an injunction that would block students from carrying guns into university buildings before the first day of class, which will be Aug. 24. Paxton's brief opposes the request for an injunction, saying it would be unlawful to ban concealed carry of guns on campus. A hearing on the case is scheduled for Thursday.

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