courts http://kut.org en Texas Facing 'Judicial Vacancy Crisis,' Report Claims http://kut.org/post/texas-facing-judicial-vacancy-crisis-report-claims <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Texas is in a judicial vacancy crisis </span><a href="http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/TexasJudges-brief.pdf" style="line-height: 1.5;">according to a report</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> released today by the liberal</span><a href="http://www.americanprogress.org/" style="line-height: 1.5;"> Center for American Progress</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> in Washington and Austin-based </span><a href="http://progresstexas.org/" style="line-height: 1.5;">Progress Texas</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p>The report shows Texas has the most vacant federal judge seats of any state, with 10 spots open as of March 19. The report warns those 10 vacancies could grow to 13 if no action is taken, since three more seats are set to open up next year.</p><p></p><p>Those 10 vacant seats translate into backlogged cases, with especially high caseloads along the U.S.-Mexico border, the report notes. The majority of current and future vacancies also happen to be concentrated in the southern and western parts of the state.</p><p> Wed, 02 Apr 2014 16:04:50 +0000 Kelly Krupa 10088 at http://kut.org Texas Facing 'Judicial Vacancy Crisis,' Report Claims Federal Judge Rules NSA Bulk Phone Record Collection Unconstitutional http://kut.org/post/federal-judge-rules-nsa-bulk-phone-record-collection-unconstitutional A federal judge in Washington says the National Security Agency's program for bulk phone record collection violates Americans' reasonable expectation of privacy.<p><a href="http://legaltimes.typepad.com/files/obamansa.pdf">The ruling</a> (pdf), however, has been stayed pending a likely appeal.<p>Judge Richard Leon says the sweeping NSA collection of U.S. phone metadata constitutes an unreasonable search or seizure under the Fourth Amendment.<p>The judge says the <a href="http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=442&invol=735">Smith v. Mon, 16 Dec 2013 20:33:30 +0000 Carrie Johnson, NPR 9380 at http://kut.org Jailed For 'Satanic Abuse' Few Believe Happened, Fran & Dan Keller Free After 21 Years http://kut.org/post/jailed-satanic-abuse-few-believe-happened-fran-dan-keller-free-after-21-years <p><strong>Update</strong>: Dan Keller walked out of the Travis County Jail this afternoon after 21 years in prison. He was greeted with an embrace from his wife Fran, released from her own imprisonment last week.</p><p>As the two left the jail, Dan Keller denied any bitterness over his two­-plus decades in prison.&nbsp;</p><p>“I forgave everybody,” Keller said. “It’s no use to hate somebody … man ain’t supposed to do that. Lord didn’t hate anybody when they put him on the cross. He said ‘I forgive you,’ and I forgave them. It’s an experience I wouldn’t wish on anybody.”</p><p><strong style="line-height: 1.5;">Original story</strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> (Nov. 27):&nbsp;</span>A Central Texas woman is now free after spending more than 20 years behind bars.</p><p>Fran Keller and her husband Dan were both <a href="http://kut.org/post/texas-couple-appeals-sentence-satanic-ritual-abuse">sentenced to 48 years</a> for so-called “satanic ritual abuse” at their Austin-area day care.</p><p> Thu, 05 Dec 2013 23:02:43 +0000 Nathan Bernier 9282 at http://kut.org Jailed For 'Satanic Abuse' Few Believe Happened, Fran & Dan Keller Free After 21 Years Can Texas' Supreme Court Force Google to Unmask Anonymous Bloggers? http://kut.org/post/can-texas-supreme-court-force-google-unmask-anonymous-bloggers <p>Let's say you're angry with your boss. &nbsp;You go online and vent in an anonymous post. It's therapeutic,&nbsp;sure. But now your boss wants to sue for defamation. &nbsp;</p><p>In Texas, courts haven't settled on guidelines for online defamation. But a little-discussed case before the Texas Supreme Court could help determine if the state can force companies like Google to identify anonymous bloggers.</p> Wed, 06 Nov 2013 16:38:25 +0000 David Brown 9097 at http://kut.org Can Texas' Supreme Court Force Google to Unmask Anonymous Bloggers? Why Are Texas Children Suing Environmental Regulators? http://kut.org/post/why-are-texas-children-suing-environmental-regulators <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F112585445" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Texas children are suing the <a href="http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/">Texas Commission on Environmental Quality</a>, claiming the TCEQ should have to protect the quality of the air the same way it&rsquo;s required to protect the quality of water.</p><p>As part of a&nbsp;<a href="http://ourchildrenstrust.org/">nationwide movement</a>, the youth are asking the agency to protect water under the public trust doctrine &ndash; the historic idea that the state is responsible for the quality of a shared resource.</p><p> Thu, 26 Sep 2013 13:24:56 +0000 Mark Gwin 8789 at http://kut.org Why Are Texas Children Suing Environmental Regulators? Texas Couple Appeals Sentence for 'Satanic Ritual Abuse' http://kut.org/post/texas-couple-appeals-sentence-satanic-ritual-abuse <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F107726839" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>In 1989, Fran Keller and her husband Dan wanted to find work with a purpose – something that could bring them closer to their community. They opened a day care in their rented house in Oak Hill, with a desire to take in pre-school age children and toddlers, even those who had a history of behavioral problems.</p><p>But Fran Keller says she never expected to find herself where she is now: serving her 23<sup>rd</sup> year in prison at the Crain Unit in Gatesville, Texas.</p><p> Wed, 28 Aug 2013 23:03:08 +0000 Karen Bernstein 8555 at http://kut.org Texas Couple Appeals Sentence for 'Satanic Ritual Abuse' Alamo Drafthouse, Threadgill's & 27 More Texas Businesses Sued Over ADA Compliance http://kut.org/post/alamo-drafthouse-threadgills-27-more-texas-businesses-sued-over-ada-compliance <p><a href="http://adaptoftexas.org/" style="line-height: 1.5;">ADAPT of Texas</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> and the </span><a href="http://www.texascivilrightsproject.org/" style="line-height: 1.5;">Texas Civil Rights Project</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> held a press conference today announcing the filing of 29 lawsuits against establishments across Texas, including Austin mainstays like the Alamo&nbsp;</span>Drafthouse<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> and&nbsp;</span>Threadgill's. The complaint ? No<span style="line-height: 1.5;">t complying with the Americans with Disabilities&nbsp;Act (ADA).</span></p><p>The ADA, signed into law by Pres. George H.W. Bush in 1990, promises protection against discrimination based on disability. According to ADAPT, the defendant establishments are in violation of the act due to their inaccessible locations.</p><p> Fri, 26 Jul 2013 00:16:24 +0000 Emery Reifsnyder 8416 at http://kut.org Alamo Drafthouse, Threadgill's & 27 More Texas Businesses Sued Over ADA Compliance Five Legal Documents Same-Sex Couples Need in Texas http://kut.org/post/five-legal-documents-same-sex-couples-need-texas <p>A&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">recent&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.facebook.com/lon.watts.90/posts/167898633375920" style="line-height: 1.5;">story of a North Texas man</a>&nbsp;that took social media by storm has<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;unique legal issues for same-sex couples across Texas.</span></p><p>Lon Watts says he was forced to move from his home of 12 years, and was banned from caring for his partner who suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease, after a legal battle with his partner’s family.</p><p> Tue, 16 Jul 2013 18:29:54 +0000 Andres Araiza 8366 at http://kut.org Five Legal Documents Same-Sex Couples Need in Texas Federal Judge Faces Rare Review Over Controversial Remarks http://kut.org/post/federal-judge-faces-rare-review-over-controversial-remarks The story of U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Edith Jones involves a controversial speech to the Federalist Society, calls of racism, last-ditch efforts to stop an execution and now a rare formal disciplinary review by the Judicial Council of the District of Columbia Circuit.<p>The case has been bubbling for the past couple of weeks. Thu, 13 Jun 2013 20:14:50 +0000 Eyder Peralta 8110 at http://kut.org Federal Judge Faces Rare Review Over Controversial Remarks Judge Overturns Ruling Reeling In Texas' Red Snapper Season http://kut.org/post/judge-overturns-ruling-reeling-texas-red-snapper-season <p>A federal district judge <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/708064-southerbn-dist-of-texas-red-snapper-opinion.html">has overturned</a> a federal emergency rule that would shorten the red snapper fishing season to as few as 12 days in Texas – down from a projected 22 days.</p><p><a href="http://www.environmenttexas.org/">Environment Texas</a> Director Luke Metzger says that he is disappointed in the ruling. The federal decision that would have shortened the season was put in place to stop the overfishing of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico.</p><p> Tue, 04 Jun 2013 17:08:52 +0000 Natalie Krebs 7985 at http://kut.org Judge Overturns Ruling Reeling In Texas' Red Snapper Season Zeta Drug Money Laundering Trial Starts Today in Austin http://kut.org/post/zeta-drug-money-laundering-trial-starts-today-austin <p></p><p>Opening statements in a drug money laundering trial get underway in an Austin courtroom today.&nbsp;</p><p>Among the men charged: Jose Trevino Morales. Federal prosecutors call Morales the brother of two top leaders of the&nbsp;Zeta drug cartel, and say he’s involved in a money-laundering scheme for the cartel: hiding millions of dollars in drug money in the horse racing business in Texas and other states.</p><p> Tue, 16 Apr 2013 13:55:00 +0000 Filipa Rodrigues 7372 at http://kut.org Zeta Drug Money Laundering Trial Starts Today in Austin Photos: Inside Downtown Austin’s New Federal Courthouse http://kut.org/post/photos-inside-downtown-austin-s-new-federal-courthouse <p>A new United States Courthouse for the Western District of Texas opened in downtown Austin this week.</p><p>The decidedly modern space, <a href="http://msmearch.com/type/government-and-civic/united-states-courthouse-austin-texas">designed by Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects</a>, is a departure from the stodgy, unimaginative architecture associated with government buildings. The 230,000 square foot building is stark, clean and geometric on the outside. Inside, wood tones warm the courtrooms, natural light works its way into common areas, and a stunning piece of artwork inside the entryway provides more color.</p><p> Fri, 07 Dec 2012 17:45:31 +0000 Filipa Rodrigues & Wells Dunbar 5851 at http://kut.org Photos: Inside Downtown Austin’s New Federal Courthouse In Judicial Picks, Perry Reaches Past Executive Branch http://kut.org/post/judicial-picks-perry-reaches-past-executive-branch <p></p><p>Jeffrey Boyd will become the newest Texas Supreme Court justice, an appointment that scrunches the foreheads of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.texastribune.org/directory/rick-perry/">Rick Perry</a>&nbsp;critics who think it odd that the governor would name his chief of staff to the state’s highest civil court.</p><p>It’s the latest brick in a wall Perry has been building for a dozen years — a period that has seen him appoint 224 Texans to state district and appeals court judgeships.</p><p>His hold on the executive branch is well documented and regularly noted; Perry has been in office long enough to twice go through the entire cycle of six-year executive appointments.</p><p> Mon, 03 Dec 2012 22:00:13 +0000 Ross Ramsey, Texas Tribune 5810 at http://kut.org In Judicial Picks, Perry Reaches Past Executive Branch Cleveland's Convicted Idiot Finishes Punishment; Says She's Learned Lesson http://kut.org/post/convicted-idiot-driver-who-passed-school-bus-holds-sign-shame <strong>Update at 9 a.m. ET, Nov. 14: "It's A Learning Lesson ... Tue, 13 Nov 2012 19:22:50 +0000 Mark Memmott, NPR 5625 at http://kut.org Cleveland's Convicted Idiot Finishes Punishment; Says She's Learned Lesson Mark Norwood Indicted in Second Austin Murder http://kut.org/post/mark-norwood-indicted-second-austin-murder <p></p><p>Mark Norwood, the Bastrop dishwasher who was arrested one year ago for the 1986 murder of Christine Morton, was indicted by a Travis County grand jury on Friday for the January 1988 murder of Debra Masters Baker in Austin.</p><p>“It has been excruciating for all of us who loved Debra to wait for this day. Now, we finally have a face to put with her tragic murder,” Baker’s family said in a statement released by attorney Sam Bassett.</p><p>Norwood's attorney, Russell Hunt Jr., said his client maintains his innocence in both cases. Hunt said Norwood's mother had been subpoenaed to testify before a Travis County grand jury on Friday morning.&nbsp;</p><p>"There's only one reason why" that would happen, he said. "That's if they intend to indict him."</p><p> Fri, 09 Nov 2012 18:24:58 +0000 Brandi Grissom, Texas Tribune 5599 at http://kut.org Mark Norwood Indicted in Second Austin Murder