Monthly Archives: September 2013

Galveston Judge DuPuy Pleads Guilty to Abuse of Office, Resigns

DuPuy plead guilty to abuse of office and perjury.  The judge was charged criminally after a local attorney filed a lawsuit seeking his removal from office.

The petition for removal accuses Dupuy of failing to obey an order from a state appeals court, abusing his authority by retaliating against attorneys and threatening the district clerk while attempting to interfere in his own divorce case. Dupuy was suspended by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct days after the indictments were handed down.

Dispute Over Charter Meaning in Rio Grande City Recall

The Monitor reports on a recall petition drive in Rio Grande City, Texas:

Citing concerns over spending, a local business owner is pushing for the recall of the mayor and most of the City Commission, but City Attorney Jacqueline Salinas indicated the man will need to gather far more signatures than he thinks.

 

Confusing Mistake in Texas Ethics Commission Email Regarding Reports Due Before Nov 5 Special Election for HD 50

This notice, a reminder regarding potential pre-election reports due in regard to the Nov. 5 special election for House District 50, was posted on the TEC’s website today and emailed around to filers.  It contains a glaring error.

The notice says that both the 30-Day and 8-Day pre-election reports must be filed “even if there was no activity during the reporting period.” However, that is never true for pre-election reports.  30 and 8 Day reports are only required from PACs and candidates who have activity to report related to the election.  See Texas Election Code sections 254.124 (SPACs); 254.154 (GPACs); 254.064 (opposed candidates).

I called the TEC this morning and suggested they issue a correction so that people who are already burdened enough by the minutiae of Texas campaign finance reporting are not put through the unnecessary trouble of either filing unnecessary reports or having to call the TEC themselves to confirm that the email is in error.  I expect they’ll post a correction.

Hidalgo Councilmen Prevail Against Illegal Injunction Request

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 6, 2013

Contact: Jerad Najvar

281-684-1227

HIDALGO DISTRICT COURT DENIES INJUNCTION REQUEST THAT WOULD HAVE PREVENTED COUNCILMEN FROM VOTING

Ruling reaffirms important legal principle for the Rio Grande Valley

As expected, Judge Jesse Contreras of the 449th District Court of Hidalgo County this afternoon denied Hidalgo Councilman Rudy Franz’s request for an injunction to prevent Councilmen Guillermo Ramirez and Gustavo Sanchez from voting on Council.

The two defendant councilmen have been restrained for more than six weeks, since July 22, after the plaintiffs went from court to court seeking “emergency” temporary restraining orders right before meetings of the Hidalgo City Council.  The councilmen retained Najvar Law Firm on August 22, and were finally able to forcefully argue—in a hearing August 30—why no court has the authority to enjoin them from voting as members of City Council. Today, Judge Contreras agreed with Councilmen Sanchez and Ramirez, holding that the court could not order the councilmen to abstain from voting.

“This case raises an important constitutional issue,” said Jerad Najvar, attorney for the two defendant councilmembers.  “Not only is the entire lawsuit frivolous, but even if they had a valid case, no court has the power to disrupt the legislative process by ordering councilmen not to vote. We are pleased that Judge Contreras agreed with our position, and this is an important ruling for the Valley, where plaintiffs frequently seek these types of injunctions.  The City of Hidalgo can finally get on with its business.”

The case is Palmas, et al. v. Sanchez, et al., No. C-4917-13-K, in the 449th Dist. Ct. of Hidalgo County.

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Cibolo Recall of Four City Council Members Slated for November

Via San Antonio Express News:

Voters in Cibolo will decide the fate of the entire City Council in November, after the council voted 6-1 late Thursday to put the recall vote for four council members on the ballot.

Critics of council members Ron PeddleNancy HaleLarry Carlton and Steve Liparoto secured the necessary 150 signatures on recall petitions to force the vote on Nov. 5. Originally, the four weren’t up for reelection until 2014.

The other three council district seats already were up for reelection, and the mayor’s position is available because Mayor Jennifer Harkin can’t run again due to term limits.

Andre Larkins submitted the recall petitions because he believes the council members haven’t done enough to stop Walmart’s plans to build a 182,000 square-foot store on a 22-acre site between Borgfeld Road, Cibolo Valley Drive and North Main Street.

Council members have said they don’t like the site Walmart has chosen but had to approve a plat of the land for the proposed site because all requirements had been met for approval.

More background here.