Galveston County lawyers have added their opinion to a case involving Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and special prosecutors — and are citing their own recent Supreme Court victory in doing so.
At issue is whether the lawyers who are prosecuting Paxton in Collin County for securities fraud should be paid at a rate set by local judges, or at lower fee scheduled by county commissioners.
In an amicus brief submitted to Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas on Oct. 25, county attorney Paul Ready argued that judges shouldn’t have the power to control pay.
State law prohibits district court judges from being “given carte blanche to hand-select a prosecutor to stand in an executive role, then wield unlimited legislative spending powers to fund that very prosecution in that judge’s own court.”
Ready cited the decision the Texas Supreme Court made in Henry v. Cox, a dispute between Galveston District Court Judge Lonnie Cox and Galveston County Judge Mark Henry in May. Like the Collin County case, the issue was about which body is in charge of setting the pay of officers of the court.
Fiscal policy decisions are “a quintessentially legislative prerogative,” Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett wrote.
No one specifically invited Galveston to offer its opinion on the Collin County issue, but lawyers generally look for opportunities to write briefs in cases they think they can contribute to, Ready said.
“There are a lot of people paying attention to this case,” Ready said. “Counties of a similar size, that have similar interests and concerns and problems, tend to look out for what’s going on. We have an interest in making sure the law gets fairly applied.”
FOR THEE, BUT NOT FOR ME
Galveston District 2 Councilman Craig Brown was skeptical of a proposal laid out by District 3 Councilman Frank Maceo last week directing the city’s planning commission to look into revising the city’s height and density ordinances.
During the council’s workshop, Brown asked whether Maceo might change his proposal to include only areas west of 45th Street. District 4 Councilman Mike Doherty asked Brown what the difference was between the areas east and west.
Brown — whose district includes parts of the east end of Seawall Boulevard — had a moment of political openness when answering.
“The only difference is I represent those that are affected,” he said.
Maceo declined to take Brown’s suggestion. Brown voted against the proposal later in the meeting.
CALL FOR JUSTICE
Sens. Ted Cruz, John Cornyn and U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, of Dallas, sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday, asking him to help bring justice in the death of a Texas teenager who was killed in Greece earlier this year.
Bakari Henderson, an Austin native, was killed outside a bar in Zakynthos, Greece, in July. He was in the country to do a photo shoot for his personal clothing line.
Multiple people were arrested for his death, but the Austin-American Statesman reported last week that two of the men accused in the killing had been freed on bail, and had returned to Serbia.
“While we appreciate Greek authorities moving expeditiously to investigate this matter, we urge you to utilize all diplomatic means available to ensure that the aggressors do not escape justice,” the letter states.
OUT TO THE BALL GAME
Local and Texas politicians spotted enjoying the Astros’ playoff games: Former President George H.W. Bush, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, U.S. Rep. Randy Weber, Texas City Commissioner Dee Ann Haney, Galveston District 6 Councilwoman Carolyn Sunseri, 306th District Court Judge Anne Darring and former Jamaica Beach Mayor Vic Pierson.
Republicans in D.C. were supposed to release their first attempt at a tax overhaul Wednesday, but early in the day the announcement was moved to Thursday. ... In the first week of early voting, 1,523 people cast ballots. There are about 207,000 eligible voters in Galveston County. ... Early voting ends Friday. Election Day is Tuesday. ... Gov. Greg Abbott said he met with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly during his visit to Washington, D.C. He talked to the two men about the North American Free Trade Agreement.