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Joe's Dad and Brenda's Husband.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

First Assistant Criminal District Attorney for Rockwall County Craig Stoddart Republican Nominee for Fifth Court of Appeals' Jim Moseley's Old Seat

William Shakespeare famously complained of "the law's delay," But he never said anything about the rapid dispatch of business when a political committee knows its will, and the Republican precinct chairs of Dallas, Collin, Grayson, Hunt, Rockwall and Kaufman counties did not dawdle in naming First Assistant Criminal District Attorney for Rockwall County Craig Stoddart to uphold the GOP banner in this year's November race for the seat in Texas's Fifth Supreme Judicial District Court of Appeals in Dallas formerly held by Jim Moseley.
Stoddart will be in an unusual position until January 2, 2015. He is the justice presumptive-- if the Democrat defeats him





Stoddard is an appellate prosecutor of 22 years' experience, not just in Dallas, but in many other state appeals courts including Texas's highest criminal court-- the Court of Criminal Appeals. He appears to have little or no civil appellate experience. He got a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of North Texas in 1986, and his law degree from Texas Tech in 1990.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dallas's Fifth Appellate District to Be Short Handed until 2015; New Justice Will Likely Be Chosen by Six GOP County Chairpeople.

Justice John Moseley of Dallas's Texas State Fifth Supreme Judicial District Court of Appeals-- not the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals headquartered in New Orleans-- resigned to go into private practice, but did so between the time he had been chosen a candidate for re-election and the time of the actual regular election. This means that the governor doesn't choose the replacement for the end of the term. The replacement will be the winner of the election. The Republicans and the Democrats will get to choose candidates through the party chairs of the six counties that make up the district. As a practical matter, one of the justices of that court for next term is going to be chosen by the six county Republican chairs of the district.

Hat tip to D. Todd Smith of Austin. The Texas Lawyer has a good story on this, too, but they only let three stories per month outside of their pay wall.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

If You Like this Blog, Please Tell the ABA for the Blawg 100 Issue.

We're proud of what we do here, and our reporting about candidates for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and about the Ninth Court of Appeals in Beaumont show that we are covering things that are otherwise hard to find. Please let the American Bar Association know you like what we do here.

Associated Press 2014 Style Guide and Media Guide Is Newly Out

You can be an acceptable, even good legal writer without this book, but I find it to be a handy, quick tool to guide me where advice from higher sources is unclear or even contradictory. It is relatively up-to-date. AP's got to solve novel style disputes many times a year. And, if you think about it, AP style almost never looks weird because we live in a sea of it. The good American newspapers you read use it, traditional news organization pay attention to it, and they have a bias for clarity and consistency. Clarity and consistency are things that nearly every piece of legal writing needs more of.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Friday, June 20, 2014

Supreme Court of the United States Justices Cannot Agree How to Pronounce "Certiorari"

From the American Bar Association Journal. I was taught to pronounce it sir-shir-RARE-ee, but intend to follow up with Latinists and forensic lexicographers with a recommendation later.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Can't Charge a Stone Broke Defendant Attorneys' Fees

After having been convicted of two count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, Ruben Ramirez had two complaints:
  1. that the evidence in his case should have been suppressed and
  2. that he should not have been charged fees for the lawyer appointed for him as a indigent.
The Fourth Court of Appeals in San Antonio disposed of the first complaint quickly-- no reason to suppress drugs from a place Ramirez
  1. didn't have a possessory interest in,
  2. didn't have a right to be in,
  3. didn't control and have the right to keep other people out of,
  4. didn't take any normal precautions to protect his privacy,
  5. didn't put to any private use, and 
  6. didn't have a claim of privacy consistent with historical notions of privacy.
The second claim seemed a little harder. Ramirez filed an affidavit of indigency-- a pauper's oath-- at trial. There never was a finding that he his status changed. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. 25.06(g) says that attorneys' fees may only be charged to a person who has some capacity to pay, which is not Ramirez.
Justice Marialyn Barnard, writing for a panel that also included Chief Justice Catherine Stone and Justice Patricia O. Alvarez, affirmed the trial court's judgment after modifying by getting rid of the attorneys' fee judgment.