Tribpedia: Texas Courts

Justice Antonin Scalia Found Dead in West Texas

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at the investiture ceremony at the Texas House on November 11, 2013.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at the investiture ceremony at the Texas House on November 11, 2013.

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, 79, was found dead of apparent natural causes Saturday morning at the Cibolo Creek resort near Marfa, Justice of the Peace David Beebe told The Texas Tribune. Presidio County Judge Cinderella Guevera pronounced Scalia dead after 1 p.m.

Left to right, top to bottom: Paul Green, Rick Green, Eva Guzman, Debra Lehrmann, Michael Massengale, and Joe Pool.
Left to right, top to bottom: Paul Green, Rick Green, Eva Guzman, Debra Lehrmann, Michael Massengale, and Joe Pool.

Three Supreme Court Justices Face Challenges

In all three state Supreme Court seats up for election this year, Republican incumbents face primary challengers on March 1 – but that's where the similarities end. Medical malpractice litigation dominates one race. A second pits two men named Green. And the third features a two-time loser trying again to reach the state's highest civil court.

Democrat Lawrence "Larry" Meyers (top left) will face the winner of the Republican primary for Court of Criminal Appeals Place 2. The GOP candidates are Mary Lou Keel (top right), Chris Oldner (bottom left) and Ray Wheless (bottom right).
Democrat Lawrence "Larry" Meyers (top left) will face the winner of the Republican primary for Court of Criminal Appeals Place 2. The GOP candidates are Mary Lou Keel (top right), Chris Oldner (bottom left) and Ray Wheless (bottom right).

Court of Criminal Appeals Candidates Emphasize Experience

Although the Court of Criminal Appeals is the highest criminal court in the state — and it deals with a number of hot-button issues including the death penalty — its nine judges don’t attract much attention. That can make campaigning for a seat on the court difficult.

The investiture of Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht and Justice Jeff Brown featuring an appearance by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
The investiture of Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht and Justice Jeff Brown featuring an appearance by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Commission Will Address Texas "Justice Gap"

A large number of Texans — mostly middle class — fall into a "justice gap" where they aren't poor enough to receive free legal aid provided to indigents but can't afford basic legal services on their own, according to Nathan Hecht, chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court.

Former Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court Wallace Jefferson speaks with a group of people after oral arguments before the Texas Supreme Court. Jefferson argued on behalf of six plaintiffs who were charged with court fees during divorce proceedings even though all six had filed "pauper petitions."
Former Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court Wallace Jefferson speaks with a group of people after oral arguments before the Texas Supreme Court. Jefferson argued on behalf of six plaintiffs who were charged with court fees during divorce proceedings even though all six had filed "pauper petitions."

Tarrant County Defends Right to Charge Poor Petitioners

The Texas Supreme Court scrutinized the legality of court costs imposed on indigent plaintiffs — in this case, fees the Tarrant County clerk’s office charged six poor plaintiffs pursuing divorces — during oral arguments on Wednesday.

 

A general view of the Twin Peaks restaurant where nine members of motorcycle gangs were shot and killed in Waco, taken May 19, 2015.
A general view of the Twin Peaks restaurant where nine members of motorcycle gangs were shot and killed in Waco, taken May 19, 2015.

Questions Grow About Handling of Waco Biker Cases

More than three weeks after Waco police arrested 177 bikers following a deadly shootout, none have been charged in the killings, nearly half remain in jail and legal experts — including some former prosecutors — wonder what McLennan County is doing.

Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman, plaintiffs in the Texas same-sex marriage lawsuit, pose before a a town hall discussion about the upcoming hearing before the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman, plaintiffs in the Texas same-sex marriage lawsuit, pose before a a town hall discussion about the upcoming hearing before the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Gay Marriage Ban on Precarious Legal Ground

Almost a decade after voters overwhelmingly added it to the Texas Constitution, the clock may be running out on the state's gay marriage ban. A legal challenge will be argued in federal appeals court next month.

Personal injury lawyer Thomas J. Henry of Corpus Christi, (bottom) is backing Democrat Nicholas "Nico" LaHood in the Bexar County district attorney's race against 16-year Republican incumbent Susan Reed (top)..
Personal injury lawyer Thomas J. Henry of Corpus Christi, (bottom) is backing Democrat Nicholas "Nico" LaHood in the Bexar County district attorney's race against 16-year Republican incumbent Susan Reed (top)..

Wealthy Donor Pumps Cash Into Bexar County Race

Corpus Christi personal injury lawyer Thomas J. Henry has poured $694,000 into the campaign of Democrat Nicholas LaHood, who is trying to unseat 16-year Republican incumbent Susan Reed as Bexar County district attorney. Henry plans to give even more, and some folks in San Antonio are wondering what all that cash is for.

 

Gov. Rick Perry leaves the Blackwell-Thurman Justice Center in Austin after his booking on Aug. 19, 2014.
Gov. Rick Perry leaves the Blackwell-Thurman Justice Center in Austin after his booking on Aug. 19, 2014.

Is it Time to Ditch Texas' Key Man Grand Jury System?

When Texas Gov. Rick Perry was indicted last month for allegedly overstepping his authority, the charges came from a type of grand jury that is not the norm in Austin’s criminal courts: one whose members were chosen at random. Usually, it's a "key man" system — one that critics say opens the door to bias in the courtroom.