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Death Watch: 501 and 502
After a short break, Texas resumes executions
News Story  July 12, 2013, by Jordan Smith
"...Moreover, he's argued that his trial attorneys were ineffective for failing to present mitigating evidence that might have convinced the jury to impose a life sentence instead of death. Those claims have been rejected by the courts..."

The AggreGAYtor: June 28
What happened today in gay? Here’s your QILTBAG recap of queer news.
DAILY Qmmunity  June 28, 2013

Texas Poised to Hit 500th Execution
Texas is on the eve of its 500th execution since death penalty reinstatement
News Story  June 21, 2013, by Jordan Smith
"...McCarthy was first slated to be executed in January, but that date with death was halted by a Dallas County judge in order to consider a claim that minority potential jurors were improperly struck by prosecutors from serving in McCarthy's trial (it was actually her second trial; her initial 1998 conviction was overturned after the courts found that the state improperly included into evidence a statement McCarthy made to police after she had "unambiguously" invoked her right to counsel). In a letter to Dallas County District Attorney Craig Wat­kins, McCarthy's attorney Maurie Levin pointed out that at the time of McCarthy's trial racial discrimination "pervaded" the county's jury selection process..."

Chief Judge: New Panel Will Be Assigned to Consider Death Row Appeal
Execution still slated for tomorrow
DAILY News  June 11, 2013, by Jordan Smith
"...To date, Chester's appeals on this point have been denied. Although experts, and even the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, have agreed that Chester has a low IQ and some deficits in adaptive functioning – two points that clinicians use to determine intellectual disability – the courts (including the CCA) have nonetheless determined that he is not too disabled to be executed..."

Death Watch
Chester to die June 12
News Story  June 7, 2013, by Jordan Smith
"...What remains in question, however, is whether Chester is mentally retarded. To date, the courts have declared that he is not, meaning he has been cleared to be executed, scheduled now for June 12..."

Parquet Courts
Music Review  May 31, 2013, by Luke Winkie
"...Parquet CourtsLight Up Gold (What's Your Rupture?)..."

Austin City Limits Music Festival Lineup Unveiled
Fall free-for-all bags 134 acts minus black metal
DAILY Music  May 7, 2013, by Chase Hoffberger
"...For that, we recommend May’s Chaos in Tejas ad nauseum. ACL outfit Parquet Courts play that one, too...."

Death Watch
No place for mitigation
News Story  May 3, 2013, by Jordan Smith
"...On appeal Parr's defense argued, in part, that Texas' instructions for jurors regarding mitigating evidence are so confounding as to provide no assurance that such evidence – of the extreme violence Parr faced as a child and the squalor he was raised in, including that he grew up without running water and was often fed "baked dirt" for meals – could be effectively weighed. The courts, however, have denied each of Parr's appeals, and the U.S..."

Shaming Girls in Crisis
Lawmakers seek to restrict 'bypass' abortions
DAILY News  May 2, 2013, by Jordan Smith
"...The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that states that require parental notification and consent for adolescents seeking abortion must also create a bypass measure to allow vulnerable teens access to abortion via the courts, without telling a parent or guardian – for the benefit of physically, sexually, or emotionally abused and/or neglected girls whose lives could be threatened by a parent finding out, or girls whose parents are in prison or have been deported..."

One Step Closer to Preventing Wrongful Convictions
Measure gets nod on House floor
News Story  April 26, 2013, by Jordan Smith
"...Phillips also took exception to a provision that would allow courts in future proceedings to use findings of the commission – including whether judges or lawyers participated in misconduct leading to the conviction. "I don't understand why" if the bill is intended to "fix [problems in the system] and to go forward," why the commission would be allowed to go back with "hindsight 20/20 ....."

A glimpse of SXSW 2014
Food Column  March 22, 2013, by Virginia B. Wood
"...The published volume will be on sale at SXSW 2014. The growth of multiple food-related panels, in addition to the development of curated food truck courts and recipe collections, leads me to wonder if and when an entire, stand-alone food component might be added to the Festival..."

Parquet Courts
Final SXSW Live Shots
Music Story  March 22, 2013, by Michael Toland
"...Parquet CourtsMohawk, March 15..."

Civics 101
News Column  February 22, 2013
"...A VISION FOR ROSEWOOD COURTS A community meeting on creating a transformation plan for the Rosewood Courts public housing property and surrounding neighborhood. Boys & Girls Club of Austin, 901 Thompson..."

Point Austin: Underfunded and Overtested
Save Texas Schools builds a groundswell for public education
News Column  February 22, 2013, by Michael King
"...Scott said he thinks there is now significant legislative sentiment for improvement. "There's always that sentiment to wait for the courts; but I get a sense that they want to bring back at least some resources, at least to cover enrollment growth, and fund some intervention programs."..."

Judge: Texas School Finance System Unconstitutional
Now what? Legislators, education advocates and think tanks respond
DAILY News  February 5, 2013, by Richard Whittaker
"...Former Eanes ISD Trustee and now House Appropriations Committee Member Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, wrote that "our children's future should not be placed on hold while the legislature awaits instructions from the courts." She echoed Bridges' belief that the legislature needs to act now...."

Jumping the Shark on Women's Health
For the sake of anti-abortion politics, the governor and the Legislature turned their backs on women's health care – with disastrous consequences. Is there any way to fix this mess?
News Story  January 18, 2013, by Jordan Smith
"...But in 2010, Deuell asked Attorney General Greg Abbott if PP could be excluded as an "abortion affiliate" – and Abbott agreed that it could. State officials spent more than a year crafting language to do just that – and the same amount of time defending their right to do so in federal and state courts..."

Henderson Granted New Trial
CCA gives Travis County defendant a second chance
DAILY News  December 5, 2012, by Jordan Smith

Free the San Antonio Four
And other victims of mass hysteria
DAILY News  November 16, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...Those things did not happen. Not in McMartin, where, after a decade, the defendants were cleared of having injured any of the children left in their care, and not anywhere else across the country: Daycare workers and other adults accused of bizarre incidences of abuse allegedly motivated by depraved obsessions were either overturned by courts of appeals or were paroled and then moved on into quiet anonymity..."

A Tug of War Between Art and Morality
Andrew Shea's 'Portrait of Wally' follows the trail of Nazi plunder
Screens Story  September 7, 2012, by Josh Rosenblatt
"...After seven years she had reclaimed her gallery's holdings, but was unable to retrieve the pictures that had been in her private collection, including Portrait of Wally. The Austrian restitution courts had sent Portrait of Wally to the Austrian National Gallery, mistakenly thinking it was a part of the collection of Dr..."

When Dewhurst Goes Back to Senate
How Cruz and Campbell's run-off wins rewrite the Legislature
DAILY News  August 3, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...But what does it mean for the House? As GOP caucus leader, Taylor was one of the GOP's toughest leaders, and there's undoubtedly going to be a power vacuum in his departure. Moreover, he also steps down as House Elections Committee chair (where he did such a grand job that both voter ID and redistricting are stuck in the courts.) He's not the only exiting committee chair..."

Docket Is Full, but Judges Are Few
Federal judges see a jump in cases as court vacancies go unfilled
News Story  July 27, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...Moreover, the Judicial Conference of the U.S. – the judiciary's policy-making arm, chaired by Supreme Court Chief Jus­tice John Roberts – has recommended expanding the courts to incorporate 53 new permanent district judgeships, including four permanent seats in Texas' Western District, four in the Southern District, and one in the Eastern District..."

SCOTUS Overturns Most of Arizona Immigration Law
Court also outlaws life-without-parole for juveniles
DAILY News  June 25, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...Although the Supremes overruled most of Arizona's immigration law, the court has left in place – for now – a portion of the law that allows police, during the course of a lawful detention, to verify immigration status – the so-called "show your papers" provision of the law. The Supremes ruled that it would be improper to rule on that provision until challenges to it made in state courts have been resolved..."

Dem Results: Few Surprises
Several Democratic incumbents easily secured victory Tuesday night
News Story  June 1, 2012

Point Austin: Primary Lessons
Doggett victory bracing in an otherwise gerrymandered day
News Column  June 1, 2012, by Michael King
"...Since the maps used in the primaries are still conditional and under court appeal, Dog­gett doesn't even know yet where to move to be "in his district." His Austin campaign headquarters, in the 1700 block of East Seventh, is in the new CD 35, and looks directly across the street to Huston-Tillotson University – which is not in CD 35. Neither is Dog­gett's homestead, up the block past the university – and until the courts rule on or direct the final district lines, he and his family can't determine where to live next...."

City Panel To Hear More on Yogurt Shop Murders
Former investigator takes issues with PSC member's comments
News Story  May 25, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...Rossmo – a retired police officer who, in his work as a professor at Texas State University, researches why police investigations fail – in February told fellow commissioners that he was concerned that tunnel vision or groupthink might have infected the APD's investigation of the 20-year-old case. Indeed, finding serious constitutional violation with the way the cases were prosecuted, the courts ultimately overturned both Springsteen's and Scott's convictions..."

Panel Emphasizes Need for Prosecutorial Oversight
Michael Morton's case is one of dozens in which misconduct has been alleged
News Story  April 6, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...Although courts have confirmed that prosecutorial misconduct occurred in 91 Texas criminal cases between 2004 and 2008, not a single prosecutor among those has ever been disciplined for their misbehavior, according to new data compiled by the Innocence Proj­ect. (Allegations of prosecutor misconduct were raised in another 124 cases, but those issues were not ruled on by any court.)..."

Texas Redistricting: A Timeline
News Story  March 9, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...2001 – Democrats and Republicans fail to agree on new maps after the 2000 Census, leaving the matter to the courts...."

Why You're Not Voting Today
How gerrymandering took Texas out of Super Tuesday
DAILY News  March 6, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...One could even argue that it was the Democrats and minority voting rights groups because if they had only accepted the legislative process and started campaigning earlier, rather than fighting the elections in the courts, then none of this would have happened...."

The Texas Map Morass
SCOTUS sends San Antonio court back to the drawing board
News Story  January 27, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, was in Washington, D.C., last week giving testimony in another redistricting trial and said: "I remain hopeful that the final maps will be very similar to the interim maps. After all, the courts are still responsible for protecting the voting rights of all Texans under the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution."..."

D.A. Face-Off
Charlie Baird vs. Rosemary Lehmberg
News Story  January 20, 2012, by Michael King and Jordan Smith
"...If the federal courts ever resolve the redistricting disputes delaying the Texas primaries, Travis County Democratic voters will be nominating a district attorney (no Republicans have filed). Retired District Judge Charlie Baird is challenging incumbent Rosemary Lehmberg, seeking her second four-year term, in what already has the makings of a fiery contest..."

Ultrasound Law Takes Effect
Court gives green light during appeal of anti-abortion law
News Story  January 20, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"..."There is no justification for Texas to have insisted on the immediate enforcement of this intrusive and demeaning law, nor the court of appeals to have granted it without giving us an opportunity to be heard," Nancy Northup, CRR's CEO and president, said in a press statement. "Texas reproductive health providers and the women they serve deserve to be treated the same as anyone else seeking a fair hearing from our courts."..."

Task Force to Abbott: Don't Mess With Texas
Minority and voter representation advocates deplore AG's stalling
DAILY News  November 30, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...She said, "We all know that 65% of the growth of 4.3 million people compared to the last ten years is a result of growth in the Hispanic community." However, the interim Congressional map did not add the three new minority-majority seats the task force sought. However, as NAACP legislative liaison Yannis Banks (reading a statement from state chair Gary Bledsoe) noted, the maps approved by the courts "do not reflect the political overreach of the legislature, but empower geographically connected communities to elect representatives who will address their community problems." Summing up the situation bluntly, he said, "The courts did what they had to do, what the state failed to do."..."

Morton Prosecutor Wrote the Book on Crime
Judge Ken Anderson as a prosecutor leapt to judgment on Morton
News Story  November 18, 2011, by Jordan Smith
"...That Michael Morton did not kill his wife is certain. Prosecuted by Anderson and sentenced to life in prison in 1987, Morton was finally freed last month and declared innocent by the courts..."

School Lawsuits Multiply
Three groups of Texas school districts are suing the state over the public school finance system
News Story  November 4, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...In June, when the Legislature passed the latest round of school finance reforms, there was one question pending in the Capitol press corps: Would school districts sue the state as one bloc, or would the property-rich and property-poor districts file separate suits? Well, guess one more time: Com­mis­sioner of Education Robert Scott, Comptrol­ler Susan Combs, and the State Board of Education now face three distinct legal challenges from three separate groups of school districts. However, among the legal actions is one unified theme: The school finance system is critically broken, and the only way to force lawmakers to fix it is through the courts...."

Last-Minute Appeals on Skinner Execution
Skinner denied access to DNA testing
News Story  November 4, 2011, by Jordan Smith
"...9 for the crime – one he persistently says he did not commit, though he admits he was in the home that night but says he was knocked out by a cocktail of booze and pills and awoke to find the carnage – unless Gray County District Attorney Lynn Switzer (perhaps at the urging of Gov. Rick Perry) or the courts demand that the evidence, which could demonstrate that someone else was at the crime scene, be turned over and finally tested..."

Downton Versus Workman in GOP Primary
House Redistricting Counsel to challenge Travis Republican Rep
DAILY News  October 10, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...Referring to the 2011 House and Congressional maps as a potential gerrymander is a little redundant now that the courts have stepped in. So the week before Downton made his announcement, he was already being name-checked by Democrats in San Antonio because he served as House Redistricting Committee counsel during the gerrymandering process..."

DOJ on Redistricting: Tell It to the Judge
The DOJ refuses to preclear U.S. and Texas House redistricting
News Story  September 23, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...House better hold on to their paperwork. The federal government has rejected calls from the state's Republican leaders to provide preclearance for their controversial redistricting plans, ensuring that the measure will be settled in the courts...."

DOJ Says No to Texas Maps
Feds reject GOP end run around courts for redistricting
DAILY News  September 19, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...The heavily gerrymandered maps are currently in the courts, but Republicans were hoping that Attorney General Eric Holder would effectively curtail that process by ruling that the maps are in compliance with the act. However, in a filing made today in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, Holder kicked the issue back to the courts...."

Two Inmates Set To Die This Month
September could boost Perry's execution tally
News Story  September 9, 2011, by Jordan Smith
"...Supreme Court announcing that it would hear two cases this fall that relate to the right to effective counsel on appeal. Whether Texas courts will see fit to stay Woods' execution until the high court has an opportunity to weigh in on the topic remains to be seen...."

Riding the Pinwheel
The GOP redraws the map of Texas – brazenly sidestepping most of the state's newest voters
News Story  August 26, 2011, by Lee Nichols
"...Arlene Wohlgemuth calls home.) Former Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams recently announced he'll run for that seat. If the courts uphold the new District 25, it will be one in which 74% of the voting-age population is Anglo and in which 55% voted for Rick Per­ry in 2010..."

One Last Visit for Mother and Son?
Michael Arena hopes to see his dying mother, even though he's behind bars
News Story  July 15, 2011, by Jordan Smith
"...The courts, however, have paid scant attention to Stephanie's many and vociferous protestations that her cousins are innocent. "I'm not going to give up, and neither is my family, until [the courts] finally see it my way," she said last year..."

Point Austin: A Bridge Too Far
Doggett and Castro face off in a battle imposed by the GOP
News Column  July 15, 2011, by Michael King
"...Last week, in the opening local round of a contest that effectively began earlier in San Antonio, state House Rep. Joaquin Castro opened his run at the spanking new Congressional District 35, where – if the courts don't scramble the venue first – he will face longtime U.S..."

The Common Law
Specific Performance – Forcing the Sale of Property?
Columns  July 8, 2011, by Luke Ellis
"...You can pursue several different remedies for breach of contract, including monetary damages. There are, however, some situations where courts deem monetary damages as inadequate, including real estate, which courts view as unique (i.e., you can't go out and find an exact property to replace the property that you had under contract)..."

U.S. Enters Death Row Fray
An act of Congress may spare inmate's life
News Story  July 8, 2011, by Jordan Smith
" the International Court of Justice and won its bid to have U.S. courts review each of the more than 50 individual cases that it raised in court – including Leal's..."

'Grooming' on Trial: Science or Supposition?
Is grooming a science? Says who?
DAILY News  June 24, 2011, by Jordan Smith
"...During oral arguments on June 16, appellate attorney Terry Kirk argued that there was nothing to suggest grooming is an actual science – and that the state failed in Morris' case to offer any evidence that it is. Typically, the courts have drawn lines between "hard" and "soft" sciences..."

Tide Turns on 'Titty Tax'
Tax on adult-oriented businesses may be on its last legs
News Story  June 17, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...Have lawmakers conceded that the infamous "titty tax" is dead? During June 9 debate on Senate Bill 1, Reps. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, and Doug Miller, R-New Braunfels, told the House that the surcharge on alcohol-serving, adult-oriented businesses is likely to fail in the courts..."

Will Legislation Save Humberto Leal?
Proposed law enforces international agreement
DAILY News  June 15, 2011, by Jordan Smith
"...Bush penned a memo asking the U.S. courts to give effect to the ICJ ruling, but the U.S..."

BPP Retreats on Arbitrary Imposition of 'Sex Offender' Rules
New rules for "Special Condition X"
DAILY News  June 13, 2011, by Jordan Smith
"...At issue is the agency's imposing very restrictive sex offender parole conditions on inmates not actually convicted of sex offenses. In several high-profile cases, including that of Raul Meza, who was convicted of the 1982 murder in Southeast Austin of eight-year-old Kendra Page, federal courts have ruled that the BPP procedures that impose those restrictions without a hearing violate a parolee's due process rights...."

Show Them the Need
The great GOP wave breaks on the realities of the actual cost of government
News Story  June 10, 2011, by Richard Whittaker
"...Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. about minority underrepresentation in the state House maps, and the current congressional proposals seem likely to follow those to the courts...."

Do Unto Others Y Otros
Texas execution flouts international law
News Story  June 10, 2011, by Jordan Smith
"...Then-President George W. Bush asked Texas courts to take heed of the decision, but that did not happen, and in 2008 the U.S..."

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