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Chronicle Endorsements
Recommendations for the county, state, and country
News Story  February 15, 2018, by The Chronicle Editorial Board
"...459th District Court: Aurora Martinez Jones The 459th is a new court, established to handle civil cases, the type all three candidates (Martinez Jones, Greg Hitt, and Maya Guerra Gamble) know quite well through professional experience. The latter two are attorneys who often work in family litigation and fraud cases; Martinez Jones is the only one with judicial experience, as an associate judge in the Travis County Civil Courts..."

Day Trips & Beyond: February Events Roundup
February fun in the Year of the Dog
DAILY Travel  January 31, 2018, by Gerald E. McLeod
"...Sixty-one miles northeast of Austin and a world away, Rockdale is small-town America at its finest. Back in 1918, Monroe Bullock and his brother Ira opened the Rainbow Courts, one of the first “tourist courts” in Milam County..."

Day Trips: River Trail Cottages, Kerrville
Old-fashioned motor court has new life with modern amenities
Columns  December 21, 2017, by Gerald E. McLeod
"...When the cottages opened in 1928 as the Kerrville Motor Courts they were on the eastern edge of Kerrville on the San Antonio-to-El Paso highway. Each of the original eight rooms included a covered area for your car...."

Federally Sanctioned Sexual Assault?
Civil rights loophole at the heart of court reporter's case
News Story  October 26, 2017, by Sarah Marloff
"...She did not specifically address that in her response to me, and both Tracey Calloway, the county's HRMD director, and Hale said it would be "inappropriate to comment on pending litigation." But Earle's July affidavit reads: "Balcombe also signed an 'At-Will Acknowledgement' ... recog­niz[ing] and acknowledg[ing] that Chapters 9 and 15 [of the Travis County Code] do not apply to [her]." Earle did confirm that she adheres to the Travis County Criminal Courts Personnel Manual, which the county adopted this June, and which forbids employee harassment of any nature and promises a Criminal Courts investigation...."

Point Austin: Round Up the Usual Suspects
Targeting immigrants is only one step in an era of repression
News Column  September 28, 2017, by Michael King
"...According to his press release, Paxton is so eager to enforce Senate Bill 4 – that immigrant-bashing abomination still working its way through the courts – that he wants us to report to his office any public officials who might not be toeing the line. "Senate Bill 4 is a commonsense measure that prevents governments in Texas from standing in the way of federal enforcement of immigration law," Paxton effused..."

Fallout From the Lege's War on Reproductive Rights
Texas waits on the full impact of legislative cuts
News Story  June 22, 2017, by Mary Tuma
"...Courts have blocked D&E bans in four states (Oklahoma, Kansas, Alabama, and Louis­iana), and the fetal burial rule is facing litigation in Louisiana and got struck down in Indiana. But those precedents failed to stop Texas legislators, who apparently don't mind wasting taxpayer money on costly litigation..."

Court Rules Texas Congressional Map Discriminates
A federal panel said three districts were mapped to limit minorities
News Story  March 16, 2017, by Michael King
"...The case has been up and down in the federal courts for some time, and the 2011 district lines were temporarily redrawn by the courts for the purposes of the 2016 election. That's the thread on which state Attor­ney General Ken Paxton hung his response to the opinion, arguing in a press release that the 2011 lines are "moot" and "there are no lines to redraw," though he didn't immediately announce an appeal..."

Council: No Rest for the Weary
Zoning debates dominate the meeting that nearly never was
News Story  November 10, 2016, by Michael King
"...• Pick a Zone: Including that group, there are roughly 40 zoning cases posted, although some arrive with already-attached postponement requests. Some of the familiar names returning include: Lantana Tract (several cases); Lenox Oaks/Cactus Rose Mobile Home Park; Bouldin Courts; Plaza Saltillo (several cases); La Mexicana Supermercado; thinkEAST Austin (the Jain Lane project)...."

Prosecuting Sexual Assault
DOJ grant provides $650,000 to jump-start new sexual assault prosecution unit
News Story  October 13, 2016, by Sarah Marloff
"...Trying rape cases in court is exceptionally difficult, and requires both prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys to possess a particularized skill set. The D.A.'s office does have a Family Justice Unit, but sexual assault, stalking, and aggravated assault cases currently go through the district's eight local courts, which see all other cases..."

Austin Campaign Contribution Limits Upheld
Split decision ends blackout period, “dissolution” requirements
DAILY News  July 21, 2016, by Michael King
"...As for the $350 per person contribution limit, Wood said the courts have tended to uphold those limits, and leave to lawmakers the precise amounts permitted. “Courts don’t want to decide ‘that’s too low,’ or ‘that’s too high’ – they leave that to the municipalities or the legislature."..."

Point Austin: Congratulations on the Struggle
The Supreme Court decision rests upon political agitation
News Column  June 30, 2016, by Michael King
"...But in due course, Gov. Rick Perry called a special session, the bill in a different form was rammed through the Legislature, and while the appeals worked through the courts over the past three years, more than half of the state's abortion clinics were forced to close – the inevitable result of the law's sham claim of "protecting women's health."..."

Providers Caution Clinics Won't Reopen Soon
Abortion landscape in Texas will take "years" to rebuild post-HB 2
DAILY News  June 27, 2016, by Mary Tuma
"..."Moving forward, Texas lawmakers should refrain from pushing medically unnecessary policies which erect barriers to a safe and legal medical procedure. If they do, it is now crystal clear that the courts – and the public – will forcefully stand in their way.”..."

Dan Patrick: Ignore Obama's Transgender Policy
Parents of transgender students speak out against Patrick
DAILY News  May 31, 2016, by Mary Tuma
"..."The lieutenant governor ought to stop talking about transgender bathroom access and let the courts sift through the law. It's time now for the state of Texas to stop beating up on transgender people and let the courts answer the question they have asked the court to answer,” said Rudner..."

Learning From Our Mistakes
Free, but not exonerated, Fran and Dan Keller are the victims of a continuing injustice
News Story  March 10, 2016, by Michael King
"...Hampton is the Kellers' (pro bono) attorney, who successfully represented them before the lower and appeals courts and finally persuaded the judicial system to grudgingly, incompletely acknowledge that incarcerating two innocent people for decades was unjust. In the course of that defense, which began in 2012, Hampton has become an encyclopedic authority on the crimes that never happened at Fran's Oak Hill Day Care center..."

Supreme Court to Hear Texas Abortion Case This Week
HB 2 oral arguments start Wednesday
DAILY News  March 1, 2016, by Mary Tuma
"...Hellerstedt (formerly v. Cole), the case filed by abortion providers challenging part of House Bill 2, a draconian set of Texas abortion clinic restrictions, are expected to take place at SCOTUS this week, after nearly three years of bouncing around the lower courts since the bill’s inception in 2013..."

Council: Not Just STRs
Restore Rundberg, nondiscrimination also on the menu
News Story  February 25, 2016, by Mary Tuma
"...• Item 48: A resolution, sponsored by CM Ora Houston, initiating historic zoning for East Austin's Rosewood Courts, and supporting their nomination and inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1939, Rosewood Courts were the first African-American public housing project in the U.S.; last year the complex was denied historic zoning by the Historic Landmark Commission...."

Greg Abbott, Founding Father
Texas governor wants to rewrite U.S. Constitution
DAILY News  January 11, 2016, by Richard Whittaker
"...His track record on those suits was pretty weak, so now he's trying to re-write the rules of engagement to his advantage. Dallas County Democratic Party chair Carol Donovan quickly fired back that "Governor Greg Abbott's continued interference with the constitutional rights of the citizens of Texas have been blocked, time and time again, by the federal courts..."

Houston Prop 1 FAIL
In the wake of HERO's overturn, Houston's vulnerable left vulnerable
DAILY Qmmunity  November 4, 2015, by Andy Campbell
"...Although 13 of the 15 proposed protected classes in HERO are already protected under Federal law (sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, disability, pregnancy, genetic information, family, marital, or military status; gender identity and sexual orientation are not), it doesn't mean that folks who are discriminated against under those circumstances have immediate or easy access to recourse. Federal Courts are already inundated with civil suits, leading to long waits for claimants...."

News Roundup: TCAD Denies Rent Too Damn High
And where are all the voters?
DAILY News  November 2, 2015, by the News Staff
"...Election day is Tuesday, with voting locations available on the Travis County Clerk's elections web site. There are seven state constitutional propositions on the ballot – for more information and Chronicle endorsements, see here, and a single Travis County bond proposition, for a new Civil and Family Courts Complex..."

99 Homes
Orlando real-estate drama is a microcosm of the U.S. financial crisis
Film Review  October 9, 2015, by Marc Savlov
"...The first is Rick Carver (Shannon), an Orlando real estate broker who’s moved from selling homes to evicting behind-payment owners. Sleek, tall, and 100% in control of an otherwise out-of-control system, Carver, with the aid of the local sheriffs and backlogged courts, flips the properties for profit after his wrecking crew does a little creative dismantling..."

News Roundup: Butterflies, Buffoons, & Bastrop
Debacles over courthouses and task forces
DAILY News  September 28, 2015, by the News Staff
"...• Courthouse Collision: Last Wednesday, Sept. 23, District 6 City Council Member Don Zimmerman and D1 CM Ora Houston took to Council's Audit and Finance Committee their 11th-hour proposal to move the Civil & Family Courts Complex project out of Downtown and into the "Eastern Crescent" of the city, perhaps near Lake Walter Long in Houston’s District 1 and County Precinct 1..."

School Finance Before the Texas Supreme Court
The State Supreme Court is expected to make a ruling before the end of the year
News Story  September 3, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...Representing the state, Solicitor General Scott Keller initially argued this is a legislative issue, not one for the courts, and that other state courts have gotten out of the business of regulating school finance. How­ev­er, Justice Debra Lehrmann pointed out quickly that the Texas court has rejected that position, so Keller shifted tack..."

School Finance on Trial
Hearing only expected to last a short two and a half hours
News Story  August 27, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...However, he said, "Whether or not the system is inadequate and inequitable is a separate question to whether or not our school finance system should be improved." The fact the state has failed to reach even the 2011 numbers should be sign enough, and he is pessimistic that the Legislature will act without a Supreme Court ruling. Moreover, he voiced concern that this could be a repetition of the last time the courts tackled school funding: Back in 2006, the Supremes only ruled on part of a previous challenge..."

Breaking the Chains
Slavery may be illegal, but it's not eradicated
News Story  June 18, 2015, by Lizzie Jespersen
"...In Austin and its surrounding areas, the issue is being addressed from all three of these necessary perspectives: nonprofits, legal entities and task forces, and law enforcement. Govern­ment-led human trafficking task forces exist on nearly every level of jurisdiction in Texas, starting on a countywide level with the Travis County courts. Project Phoenix..."

Fun Fun Fun Fest 2015 Lineup Astounds
Wu-Tang Clan, Jane’s Addiction, D’Angelo, and Venom top the list
DAILY Music  May 28, 2015, by Kevin Curtin
"...Also appearing on the festival’s platform for heavy music: a one-off reunion from D.C. melodic hardcore heroes Dag Nasty, gothists Skinny Puppy, metalcore mainstays Converge, New York rockers Parquet Courts, veteran punk supergroup Off!, garage blues upstart Benjamin Booker, folk punks Andrew Jackson Jihad, and shoegazing eardrum abusers Nothing...."

The Education Session
The Lege takes another run at patching school finance
News Story  April 30, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...It's the first serious attempt to shift how the state distributes money in more than a decade. Rather than wait for the courts to force his hand, Aycock took the initiative, and many of his fellow reps have his back...."

Bill of the Week
Rep. Dutton proposes to cut taxes for sexually-oriented business
News Column  April 16, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...Fourth, the amount collected was a joke compared to the real need for funds for survivors of sexual and physical abuse. Fifth, that money couldn't be spent anyway, because the Texas Enter­tain­ment Association (the trade association for strip clubs) was challenging the bill in the courts..."

Permanent Markers
How a trailer becomes brick-and-mortar
Food Story  April 9, 2015, by Virginia B. Wood
"...Inspired by emerging food trends in major coastal cities, a handful of scrappy culinary entrepreneurs began trying the trailer business for themselves. Savvy landlords turned empty lots into food courts, some with more amenities than others..."

News Roundup: Council, Court, and the Lege
Council announces proposal, 5th Circuit hears arguments, and more
DAILY News  January 12, 2015, by the News Staff
"...Judge James Graves Jr. (appointed by President Barack Obama) and Patrick Higginbotham (appointed by President Ronald Reagan) both sharply criticized state logic in defending same-sex marriage bans, with Higginbotham calling the state’s denial of marriage equality based on failure to procreate “ridiculous.” Evan Wolfson, president of national LGBT-rights group, Freedom to Marry, called on the 5th Circuit to follow what nearly 60 states and federal courts (including four federal circuit courts) have now done – end discrimination against gay couples..."

Partisan Races
Looking at the statewide, legislative, and county ballot
News Story  October 16, 2014, by The Chronicle Editorial Board
"...Having Texas' higher courts overrule lower courts, only to have their rulings overturned at the Federal level, has become tiresome. With the Texas Supreme Court in particular so dominated by Gov..."

Contested Territory
Black Austinites claim police suspicion, mistreatment
News Story  September 18, 2014, by Amy Kamp
"...Patricia Wheeler also feels that she, along with her family, has been mistreated by APD. Patricia lives in the Santa Rita Courts in East Austin..."

Playing the Dozens in District 3
Media forum takes on affordability, rail, city farms
DAILY News  September 16, 2014, by Michael King
"...Fred McGhee said he is running primarily to provide better opportunities and a better city for his three young children, and on affordability he said he is the only candidate who has actually preserved affordable housing, through his advocacy for historic preservation of Santa Rita Courts and Rosewood Courts. He said Austin needs to recall its history in the New Deal and anti-poverty programs, and not try to reinvent what has worked for many years..."

ARIC and Privacy
'Unconstitutional on its face'
News Story  August 28, 2014, by John Anderson
"...One of ARIC's functions is to produce "Situational Awareness bulletins," compiled through various sources and analyzed. The day after Sartin wrote the email about the rally, ARIC issued a bulletin, mostly about Occupy Austin's activities – but included was a description of Move to Amend's rally, which the group was calling "Occupy the Courts." The report listed the group's website address, still misspelled as "" There's no indication, however, of how this might connect to any criminal activity. "We Don't keep lists of people"..."

The AggreGAYtor: August 6
What happened today in gay? Here’s your QILTBAG recap of queer news.
DAILY Qmmunity  August 6, 2014, by David Estlund
"...Marriage equality keeps moving up through the nation’s courts, with surprisingly consistent results so far...."

Steve Adler: 'New Way Forward'
News Story  May 29, 2014
"...SA: People in this town complain about "Robin Hood" [i.e., state redistribution of school funding from wealthy districts to poorer ones] as the evil, and that's not entirely accurate. The problem is not that the state is collecting and redistributing funds – because the Constitution, the courts have told us, requires that..."

Chaotic Platters
Music Story  May 22, 2014, by Greg Beets
"...Parquet CourtsSunbathing Animal (What's Your Rupture/Mom + Pop)..."

Lehmberg Answers Springsteen Suit
D.A. argues innocence can not be declared in civil court
News Story  April 11, 2014, by Jordan Smith
"...District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg argues in a new filing prepared on her behalf by County Attorney David Escamilla. Texas courts "that have considered similar requests have held that it is entirely improper for a civil court to issue preemptive declarations of guilt or innocence," reads the motion, filed last week...."

Death Watch: Expert Opinion
Appeal alleges Dr. Death perjured himself at killer's trial
DAILY News  April 4, 2014, by Jordan Smith
"...Ultimately, the courts have agreed with the state, ruling that Hernandez-Llanas has not been able to show that he is retarded and thus protected from execution...."

The 'People's Court'
Pro-pot candidate enters JP race
News Story  February 7, 2014, by Jordan Smith
"...The county's five JP courts are, in essence, the "people's courts," where judges handle all manner of cases, including small civil claims and minor criminal infractions. Indeed, for JP 5, that includes adjudicating tickets handed out for a smattering of low-level criminal charges, including possession of small amounts of marijuana..."

Top 10 National
One hundred lines of album art
Music Story  January 3, 2014
"...1) Parquet Courts, Light Up Gold (What's Your Rupture?)..."

'The Death Penalty Is About Us'
'Dead Man Walking' scribe Sister Helen Prejean speaks in town tonight
DAILY Books  December 3, 2013, by Jessi Cape
"...My second book The Death of Innocents is about how mistakes [are made] and … also how the courts work. That if you have an ineffectiveness of council, a trial, and you’re sentenced to death, and part of the ineffectiveness of that lawyer was that they did not raise an objection when certain things happen when your constitutional rights weren’t respected..."

Death Watch: CCA Dismisses Buck Appeal
Ignores question of racial bias in defendant's trial
DAILY News  November 20, 2013, by Jordan Smith
"...Buck's defense argues that he should be given an opportunity for a new sentencing hearing free of the racially-biased testimony. So far, the courts (and the Harris County D.A.'s office) have declined to agree..."

Are Anonymous Bloggers Protected by First Amendment?
That's the question before the Texas Supreme Court
DAILY News  November 7, 2013, by Jordan Smith
"...But Skeen challenges that Brockman has thus far failed to provide any actual evidence that Trooper is an employee, or, more importantly, that he lives in Texas or has any connection to the state. Without that, she argues, Brockman's threat of a suit in Texas, and seeking Trooper's identity via Texas courts, is little more than a fishing trip in a state that wouldn't even have jurisdiction over any ultimate lawsuit..."

Texas Supreme Court Considers Same-Sex Divorce
Should Austin couple married out of state be granted divorce here?
DAILY News  November 5, 2013, by Jordan Smith
"...According to the state, to allow same-sex couples to divorce without its intervention would be to allow a direct challenge to the constitutionality of a portion of the Family Code and of the Texas Defense of Marriage Act, passed by voters in 2005. Because courts have to recognize the existence of a marriage in order to grant a divorce, the simple act of seeking divorce in and of itself triggers the AG's "inherent" right to defend the law – in these cases, by opposing the dissolution of an out-of-state marriage, Assistant Solicitor General James Blacklock argued before a packed court room Tuesday morning..."

The Government Shutdown Hits
Affordable Care Act takes effect as Tea Party throttles government
DAILY News  October 1, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...The Federal Courts have a grand total of 10 days of operating cash in the kitty. After that, they will require special dispensation from the Department of the Treasury to keep paying staff...."

Legislative Redistricting Proceeds Under a Cloud
2014 primaries will use 2013 maps
News Story  September 13, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...Supreme Court and remains confident that the Legis­lature's maps will be vindicated." However, Texas Democratic Party chair Gilberto Hino­josa took direct aim at Bean's boss, the GOP's presumptive front-runner for governor. He said, "Here we are halfway through 2013, and Greg Abbott has been unable to finalize maps that Federal Courts are willing to say aren't discriminatory."..."

Austin Parks: Trying to Fill the GAP
Group urges City Council to increase parks and rec budget
News Story  August 16, 2013, by Chase Hoffberger
"...Shoal Creek Conservancy Chairman Ted Siff said PARD work orders are backed up into the 300s. His Pease Park Conservancy counterpart Richard Craig reported that the city's having trouble stockpiling the paint for basketball courts' three-point lines..."

An Arbitrary Nation: Part 7
Journalists and political commentators largely ignore the facts they know
Columns  August 9, 2013, by Michael Ventura
"...According to the Constitution, only Congress can make a law, which the courts can then interpret. The president "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed" (Article 2, Section 3)..."

Top 10 Pickathon Highlights
Celebrating 15 years of Portland, Oregon’s woodland festival
DAILY Music  August 7, 2013, by Austin Powell
"...Parquet Courts..."

Letters at 3AM: An Arbitrary Nation, Part 5
Our Bill of Rights guarantees are breaking down in state justice systems across the country
Columns  July 12, 2013, by Michael Ventura
"...In addition, "[t]he European Court of Human Rights ruled that a German car salesman [Khaled El-Masri] was an innocent victim of torture and abuse, in a long-awaited victory for a man who had failed for years to get courts in the U.S. and Europe to acknowledge what happened to him..."

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