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Third Court Seats Go GOP
One Dem remains on influential bench
DAILY News  November 7, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...The Third Court is one of 14 intermediate appellate courts statewide, but the Austin-based court, which serves 24 counties, has statewide impact. In addition to the routine civil and criminal cases it hears, Third Court judges also consider appeals involving state agencies and officials – from utility and environmental regulations to licensing disputes to public corruption cases – that have statewide ramifications..."

Questioning Statistics
Postmarks  November 3, 2012
"...2]: Several years ago, I tried to get traffic and jaywalking statistics from the city in response to police harassment of homeless newspaper vendors. I was told that traffic and misdemeanor tickets are quickly delivered to the municipal courts, where they are no longer subject to the Open Records Act..."

Framing the Guilty?
Houston police thought they had their man – so the evidence was no problem
News Story  November 2, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...Ideally, once misconduct is found, courts should allow for a retrial without the tainted evidence. It's not about letting a guilty person walk, he notes; it's about making sure the process is fair. Final Days..."

Letters at 3AM: Things Like That
Under Obama, we have been subjected to a Patriot Act on steroids
Columns  November 2, 2012, by Michael Ventura
"...... [M]ost courts allowing surveillance are so secret, [Smith] wrote ....."

Don't Stop Thinkin' About Tomorrow
Norman Bel Geddes didn't – and we're still dreaming about his future
Arts Story  November 2, 2012, by Robert Faires
"...Take a gander at his vision for an airliner. It's really a hotel for the sky, built to carry 450 passengers and 155 crewmen on intercontinental trips, with 302 cabins, 13 pantries, three kitchens, two bars, a veranda cafe, three private and two public dining rooms (one of which converts into a dance floor for 100 couples), an orchestra platform, a promenade deck, a gym, four courts for tennis and six for shuffleboard, a doctor's office, a barber shop, a hair salon, two solariums, and a library spread over nine decks, with a massive engine room and hangars for two emergency airplanes..."

Two More Executions Set for November
Death row inmates Mario Swain and Ramon Hernandez both lost appeals
News Story  November 2, 2012, by Jordan Smith

News Story  November 2, 2012
"...› The state-run Women's Health Program excluding Planned Parenthood is apparently ready to go, but Texas isn't so eager to give PP the boot before federal money runs out. State Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek announced Wednesday that the Medicaid-funded Women's Health Program will continue as-is until the courts rule that the PP exclusion violates the law and Medicaid funding ceases...."

Dallas D.A. Says Supremes Should Take Jimenez Case
Watkins asking court to decide standard for actual innocence
DAILY News  October 31, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...The Supremes have previously recognized the existence of freestanding innocence claims – that is, where a claim of innocence stands alone without being tied to some procedural defect or other legally cognizable claim – but have declined to define exactly what it takes to prove up such a claim. State courts are divided on how to answer that, the law professors wrote, and the Supremes should take the Jimenez case precisely because the CCA opined that clear and convincing "evidence of innocence entitles a prisoner to a new trial but that a 'preponderance' of such evidence does not."..."

The AggreGAYtor: October 29
Your daily dose of LGBTQIA news
DAILY Qmmunity  October 29, 2012, by Brandon Watson
"...• Instead of fighting it out in the courts, the AggreGAYtor suggests that gay fraternity Delta Lambda Phi competes with gender neutral “frarority’ Delta Lambda Psi in a ball. The first category is business professor realness..."

Next Execution: Halloween
News Story  October 26, 2012, by Jordan Smith

Fun Fun Fun Fest Preview: Headbanging & Horns On The Black Stage
Music Story  October 26, 2012, by Michael Toland
"...Liturgy (Sun., 2:05pm) Boundary-pushing Brooklyn act courts controversy with its self-styled "transcendental black metal."..."

Greg Abbott Versus the Black Helicopters
After decade of cooperation, AG threatens election experts
DAILY News  October 25, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...In a statement this morning, ACLU executive director Terri Burke wrote, "Given the ongoing discrimination in voting federal courts have recently found in Texas – its adoption of racially biased redistricting plans and a photo ID requirement for voting – I’m not surprised that some state officials don’t want an independent organization to take a look at our elections."..."

Cracks in the Ceiling
An extended Q&A with Ann Richards biographer Jan Reid
DAILY Books  October 25, 2012, by Michael King
"...Jan Reid: I’m not sure it could have been different, because of the Ruiz case, and the courts essentially had taken the reins of the prison system. The Clements Administration had backdoor policy, of paroling a huge number of people every week…..."

Planned Parenthood Out, But Docs Can Still Discuss Abortion in New Texas Women's Health Program
HHSC relaxes abortion gag rule
DAILY News  October 19, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...But should it do so, and decide that the three-judge panel got it wrong, the final TWHP rules contain a poison pill provision: If the courts require the Texas to do something that contravenes state law, the state will fold the entire program – potentially leaving more than 115,000 women without any access to health care. Whether the clause is in keeping with lawmakers' intent is unclear..."

News Story  October 19, 2012
"...Travis County District Courts: In all nine districts, incumbent Democrats are running unopposed. State Board of Education..."

The AggreGAYtor: October 16
Your daily dose of LGBTQIA news
DAILY Qmmunity  October 16, 2012, by Brandon Watson

Your Word Is Your Bond
Travis County moves toward broader pretrial release of the accused, but commercial bondsmen say it will never work
News Story  October 12, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...In all, roughly 32,000 of those screened made it to a full-fledged pretrial investigation, for which staff collects references, conducts a background check, and considers a variety of issues – including employment status and family support – that might suggest whether a defendant will show for court or be rearrested. The agency then makes a recommendation to the courts about whether the person should be granted a personal bond..."

Quote of the Week
News Column  October 12, 2012
"...Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, as the Supreme Court prepared to consider the appeal of Fisher v. the University of Texas at Austin, after lower courts had affirmed the university's affirmative action admissions procedures..."

Council Should Do the Right Thing for Barton Springs
Postmarks  October 9, 2012
"...28]. With or without the city, Save Our Springs Alliance will challenge the permit request in formal evidentiary hearings before the state Texas Commission on Environmental Quality regulators and, if necessary, in the courts..."

The View From Death Row
Next week's scheduled execution, plus the latest on the Rodney Reed case
News Story  October 5, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...That means Yeakel has agreed with federal Magistrate Judge Andrew Austin that Reed has been unable to prove he'd had sex with Stacey Stites prior to her death in 1996. If he can't prove a prior affair, then the DNA found in her connects him to her in death, the courts have ruled...."

Foraging Near Zilker
Food Story  October 5, 2012
"...17) Aussie's Grill & Beachbar In addition to great appetizers and pub fare, Aussie's offers big-screen TVs and beach volleyball courts out back. 306 Barton Springs Rd...."

Judge to DA: Woman Likely Not Guilty in Toddler's Death
Was Rosa Jimenez wrongly convicted?
DAILY News  October 3, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"..."That same jury assessed the sentence. The conviction has been upheld by the appeals courts."..."

The AggreGAYtor: October 2
Your daily dose of LGBTQIA news
DAILY Qmmunity  October 2, 2012, by Brandon Watson

Also Recommended
Screens Story  September 28, 2012
"...The local tabloid publishes photos of local gays and calls for their hanging, while the government mounts legislation that would condemn them to life in prison. This doc closely follows the efforts of David Kato and fellow activists as they build a human rights case in the courts and in the press..."

Point Austin: The Devil and Gov. Perry
'Spiritual Warfare' is no substitute for the earthly obligations of government
News Column  September 28, 2012, by Michael King
"...Most of us (including the U.S. courts) over the following centuries have read Jeffer­son's analysis and the Establishment Clause itself as reassuring religious (and nonreligious) minorities that the government is constitutionally prohibited from favoring any form of religious beliefs in the public arena..."

Report Highlights Inequities in AISD Funding
Title I cash and private fundraising don't align in most local schools
News Story  September 21, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...Harrington suggests that the administration doesn't want to rock the boat with middle-class parents, and that it's fearful those parents will send their kids to charter schools. However, he argues that they must tackle this problem for the long-term good of the district, and TCRP has not ruled out using the courts to force them to do so..."

Point Austin: Chartering a New Course
A thumbnail portrait of the proposed City Charter propositions
News Column  September 21, 2012, by Michael King
"...Arguably, a 10-1 plan would encourage ward politics (and the "independent" commission is a Rube Goldberg contraption invisible on the ballot); the 8-2-1 proponents may be relying too much on "diversity" arguments and the anticipated resistance of an electorate that has six times rejected districting. If both props achieve 50%, the proposal with the most votes win; if neither achieves 50%, districting goes down once again (unless imposed by the courts)...."

Death Row Inmate Hoping for Supreme Intervention
Original defense attorney called no witnesses and presented no mitigating evidence
News Story  September 14, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...The Court of Criminal Appeals last week denied a stay of execution for Robert Wayne Harris, convicted in 2000 of killing two people during a shooting spree at the Mi-T-Fine Car Wash in Irving. Unless the federal courts intervene, on Sept..."

News Story  September 7, 2012
"...› Texas Republicans suffered a double blow last week after D.C. courts rejected both their gerrymandered redistricting maps and their voter ID law for reducing minority voting rights..."

Public Safety: A Growth Industry
As the city grows, so does the public safety budget
News Story  August 31, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...He's among those advocating for $4.3 million in funding for a new departmental Wildfire Division, which would work to mitigate the city's wildfire risk, increasingly high in West and Northwest Aus­tin. For more on that, see "Wildfire Prevention Waiting for Ignition." Municipal Courts: No Room at the Inn..."

Reed and Swearingen Evidence in Question
Two more death penalty cases under appeal scrutiny
News Story  August 24, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...This week we have updates on two capital cases. Each has spent years pending in post-conviction appeals, and in each case, forensic testimony plays a key role – but how the courts will evaluate the science in resolving them remains uncertain. Rodney Reed..."

Ineffective Counsel Blamed in Death Row Inmate's Case
John Balentine was convicted of a triple murder of teenagers in Amarillo
News Story  August 17, 2012, by Jordan Smith

Point Austin: Justice Demands Affirmative Action
In UT admissions case, 'diversity' is important – but justice more so
News Column  August 17, 2012, by Michael King
"...The rest are chosen from a pool in which reviewers also consider such factors as leadership, special achievements or talents, and racial and cultural diversity. The admissions process has been upheld by lower courts as meeting the Supreme Court's standard (established in a 2003 case, Grutter v..."

Death Watch: Texas Goes Through With Wilson Execution
Supreme Court declines to intervene in case of man with IQ of 61
DAILY News  August 8, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...The Briseño factors are not scientific tools, they are the decayed remainder of an uninformed stereotype that has been widely discredited by the nation's leading groups on intellectual disability, including the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. That neither the courts nor state officials have stopped this execution is not only a shocking failure of a once-promising constitutional commitment, it is also a reminder that, as a society, we haven't come quite that far in understanding how so many of those around us live with intellectual disabilities."..."

Death Watch: Texas Set to Kill Mentally Disabled Man
Few hours remain for Supremes to step in
DAILY News  August 7, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...Since then, Texas has failed during several times during legislative sessions to pass a law that would codify the principles from the Supremes' decision in Atkins v. Virginia; lawmakers have instead decided to allow the state's courts to work it out..."

Sucking the Life From Penn State
The baddest beast on the block
DAILY Sports  July 23, 2012, by Timothy Braun
"...It places further damage on the hundreds of thousands of lives, the players, coaches, administrators, and fans of Penn State football that had nothing to do with Sandusky. The real monsters here should be dealt with in civil and criminal courts, not by the righteous behavior of Emmert and the NCAA..."

Junket to Portugal Instead of England
Postmarks  July 16, 2012

Jovita's Defendant Not a Dealer, Lawyer Says
Tatiana Huang came to Austin to attend UT
News Story  July 13, 2012, by Jordan Smith

Appeal Denied, Another Heads to the Chamber
Stockbroker was shot 12 times
News Story  July 13, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...Reportedly, Hearn and three accomplices kidnapped Meziere at gunpoint, forced him into his own car, and took him to an industrial area in the Oak Cliff area of South Dallas, where they shot him a dozen times before taking his wallet and personal items and fleeing in his car, which was found abandoned about five miles from the body. Hearn's execution has been set before but was stayed while courts considered appeals claiming he was mentally retarded and could not legally be executed..."

The 5th Street Posse
Neighbors and cops banded together to shut down this open-air drug market
News Story  July 13, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...Whistler contacted Jack Darby, the man behind the online Austin crime database Krimelabb (also the source for much of the data used in this story, including data on the length and severity of the criminal history of repeat offenders), and the two developed a program that would let the 5th Street Community neighbors track area perps from arrest through disposition. Whistler gathered paperwork from the police and the courts, and she and a core group of neighbors began sitting in district court day after day, watching the process work...."

Jovita's Court Dates Continue
Alleged kingpin will have his hearing July 10
News Story  July 6, 2012, by Jordan Smith

News Story  June 29, 2012
"...Supreme Court on Monday overturned most of the controversial Arizona immigration law, but left in place – for now, at least – the so-called "show your papers" provision, allowing cops to check immigration status. The court said it would wait to weigh in on that provision until state courts have a chance to rule on its legality...."

AISD Weighs Tax Increase
District considers joining already crowded election ballot
News Story  June 29, 2012, by Richard Whittaker
"...4, 2011). The only political consensus is that there will be school finance reforms next session – whether voluntarily introduced by lawmakers or demanded by Texas courts..."

More Details Emerge in Jovita's Case
Detention hearing for Amado Pardo set for June 28
News Story  June 29, 2012, by Jordan Smith

Officer Settles Claim Against Young Driver
Lawsuit followed incident that left Byron Carter dead
News Story  June 29, 2012, by Jordan Smith

Judge Recommends Rejecting Rodney Reed Appeal
Magistrate judge contends that DNA proves Reed's guilt
News Story  June 29, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...Fennell is currently serving a 10-year sentence for kidnapping and sexual assaulting a woman while on duty and responding to a call for service as a Georgetown cop. Reed's case has been wending its way through state and federal courts on appeal since 1999, and, in the intervening years, a mass of evidence has come to light that paints Fennell as a man with a troubling history of violence toward women – a history that Reed's supporters say bolsters their contention that Fennell murdered Stites after discovering that she was having a sexual affair with Reed...."

State Changes Rules for Planned Parenthood
Another twist in the assault on family-planning clinics
News Story  June 22, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...Whether the courts will approve the new rules, of course, remains to be seen; a lawsuit brought by the state's PP clinics is currently pending in federal court that challenges the state's attempts to push its largest provider of WHP services out of the program for good. For more on the case, see "Planned Parenthood Wins Preliminary Injunction," April 30...."

DNA Testing Granted in Skinner Case
It took more than a decade, but Skinner wins fight to test evidence
News Story  June 8, 2012, by Jordan Smith

Cable Beef
Postmarks  May 22, 2012
"...Dear Editor, Got a beef with your cable company? Where do you go? Nowhere – except the courts, thanks to the bipartisan Texas legislators’ "screw you consumers bill" Senate Bill 5 79th (2) that stripped consumers of the right to file a complaint. The Texas Legislature gave Texas regulators rights to grant cable companies – like Time Warner – to operate (forever and ever) and stripped consumers (forever and ever) of the right to file complaints against the same cable companies..."

The Problem of Wrongful Conviction
New registry details nearly 900 cases
DAILY News  May 21, 2012, by Jordan Smith
"...Those cases are detailed in a report attached to the registry. The registry includes 84 exonerees from Texas, and eight from Travis County – including Michael Scott and Robert Springsteen, who have not been legally exonerated, but against whom all charges related to the infamous yogurt shop murders were dismissed after their convictions were overturned by the courts and new DNA evidence linked to an unknown male cast serious doubt on the state's case against them...."

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