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The Brief: Sept. 9, 2014

Rick Perry's attorneys were back on Monday with a new filing in which they pursue a different path to quash the felony indictments handed down against the governor last month while relying on many of the same arguments as before.

Governor Rick Perry's legal team includes, l to r, David Botsford, Tony Buzbee, Ben Ginsberg and Bobby Birchfield.  Not pictured is former Chief Justice Tom Phillips.

The Big Conversation

Rick Perry's attorneys were back on Monday with a new filing in which they pursue a different path to quash the felony indictments handed down against the governor last month while relying on many of the same arguments as before.

But as the Tribune's Terri Langford reports, there are reasons for this dual track strategy. She writes:

Although the new filing bears some of the same arguments offered in a writ of habeas corpus filed a week ago by Perry’s defense team, lawyers observing the case say there’s a reason to file both.

“They say the same thing but they’re very different things,” explained Philip H. Hilder, a Houston defense attorney. “The writ is saying the judge doesn’t have the authority to move forward on the indictment, while the motion to dismiss is acknowledging that the court has the authority to act on indictment but it ought to be dismissed as a matter of law.”

In effect, the lawyers are asking the judge to toss the indictments no matter how he rules on the court's authority to proceed.

The Houston Chronicle's Patrick Svitek quotes Brian Wice, the attorney who handled the appeals for former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, as saying multiple filings are an attempt to leave "no stone unturned procedurally. ... What this document does is to provide Judge (Bert) Richardson with yet another procedural vehicle to terminate this case in the governor's favor without it ever seeing the inside of the courtroom"

But, as Langford writes, the order with which these filings are addressed could matter a lot.

The judge’s decision on the motion to quash cannot be appealed by the defense, Hilder said. His decision on the writ can be and an appeal could freeze action on the case for months.

“The danger of filing the writ here is the losing party will appeal, and that is going to slow matters to a grinding halt for a while,” Hilder said, adding that all action in the trial court would stop until the appeals court makes its ruling on the writ.

The Day Ahead

•    Special election in Senate District 28 where six candidates — four Republicans, a Democrat and a Libertarian — vie to succeed Lubbock Republican Robert Duncan. A runoff will result if none of the candidates garners a majority of the vote.

•    The House Higher Education Committee meets at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Extension to look at ways to improve and innovate at the state's institutions of higher education. (agenda)

•    The House Insurance and Land & Resource Management committees hold a joint meeting at 10:30 a.m. in the Capitol Extension to look at ways to better prepare the Texas coast for tropical storms. (agenda)

•    The Senate Business & Commerce Committee meets at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Extension to review the condition of the state's windstorm insurer of last resort, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association. (agenda)

Trib Must-Reads

Video: Program Unites Veterans Behind Bars, by Alana Rocha and Justin Dehn

Rice University Stays In Top 20 in U.S. News Rankings, by Bobby Blanchard

Joe Allbaugh Gets Piece of Pot Business, by Jay Root

Railroad Commissioner Targets a Russian Threat, by Jim Malewitz

Voters Have Pick of Six in Senate Special Election, by John Reynolds


Abbott, Davis trade ethics charges over book and video, Houston Chronicle

Texas slated to open defense of voter ID law, closing arguments Thursday, Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Regulators blew chances to bring labor scofflaws in line, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Oil company lawsuits squeezing local government budgets, Houston Chronicle

Volatile West Texas district's Congress race is one to watch, The Dallas Morning News

Scott Turner backed by national tea party group for Texas House leader, Austin American-Statesman

Report: Rep. Scott Turner backed policies at odds with tea party group, Austin American-Statesman

LBJ’s Mad Men, Politico

Quote to Note

"If a Republican says it, a Democrat has to disagree. And if a Democrat says it, a Republican has to disagree. And we’re in really sorry shape. Politicians are not serving you well."

— Outgoing Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson assessing the rhetoric that has made finding a solution to the border crisis difficult, if not impossible

Today in TribTalk

Houston recycling plan will hit minorities hardest, by Robert Bullard

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa and Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri, on Sept. 10 at The Austin Club

•    The full program has been announced for the 2014 Texas Tribune Festival, Sept. 19-21.

Students at the Fest: Check out the full #TTFstudents program at the Tribune Festival featuring exclusive events, a private lounge and more. Register for just $50, or volunteer and attend for free!

•    A Conversation With U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, on Sept. 24 at the UTSA Downtown Campus in San Antonio.

•    A Conversation With Kathie Glass, 2014 Libertarian Nominee for Governor, on Oct. 2 at The Austin Club

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Energy Environment Politics Greg Abbott Rick Perry Wendy Davis