Articles Tagged with Texas

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After President Barack Obama was reelected last week, several petitions to secede appeared on the White House website. The petition feature of the site promises that “if a petition meets the signature threshold [of 25,000 signatures within 30 days], it will be reviewed by the Administration and we will issue a response.” The Houston Chronicle reports that by 3:40 PM EST, the petition to allow Texas to secede had already accumulated over 25,000 signatures. At the time of this writing, it has over 77,000 signatures.

Petitions on behalf of other states have received less attention and fewer signatures, but several have met or are approaching the 25,000 threshold, as well. Louisiana (29,000), Florida (23,000), Georgia (22,000), Alabama (21,300), Tennessee (20,700), and North Carolina (20,200) have all accrued a substantial number of supporters.

On more than one occasion, Texans (both officials and non-officials) have suggested that their state “has the right” to secede. Texas Governor Rick Perry has disavowed the online movement to secede, despite having previously acknowledged that secession might be an option. In 2009, the state legislature passed a resolution asserting state sovereignty—a resolution Governor Perry supported—although it has no binding effect on the federal government.


Posted in: Laws, Legal News

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I recently blogged about a roadblock in the Cameron Todd Willingham investigation; specifically, the Texas Attorney General’s Office issued an opinion that the examination was outside the scope of the Texas Forensic Science Commission’s investigative authority. Incendiary, a new documentary about the case, is opening across the United States. Incendiary chronicles the original investigation, trial and subsequent investigation by the Commission. It provides an extraordinary look into the Commission proceedings, the science and the defense attorney’s perspective.  It picks up where Frontline left off, going even deeper into this long and complicated investigation.



Posted in: Legal News, Reviews

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The Texas Attorney Generals’ Office issued an opinion in July that effectively halts the Texas Forensic Science Commission’s investigation of the Cameron Todd Willingham case. Mr. Willingham was executed in 2004 after he was convicted of arson and murder in a 1991 fire that killed his three children. In 2009, the Texas Forensic Science Commission reported findings from a nationally recognized arson scientist that criticized and called into question the arson investigation and findings at trial. The investigation has been profiled nationwide,  with excellent coverage by the New Yorker and PBS’ Frontline (which my colleague Ken reviewed last year).


Posted in: Legal News

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Amazon is no stranger to tax disputes. Thus far, the typical tax claim concerning the online retail goliath involves its obligation to collect sales taxes. Several states have contended that the presence of Amazon Associates within its borders was sufficient to meet the substantial nexus mandated by the Commerce Clause in order for a state to require that a retailer collect sales taxes for purchases by residents within the state. Amazon usually “fixes” that problem by terminating its Associates in the complaining state.


Posted in: Legal News

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In April 2010, Karen McPeters filed a federal class action complaint against Montgomery County, Texas, and LexisNexis seeking to enjoin the county from requiring litigants to file all documents with the court through LexisNexis File & Serve. In the complaint, she alleged that the fees amounted to a poll tax and a denial of due process and equal protection. The Court dismissed her federal claims and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction to hear her state claims, suggesting that they are more properly heard by the state courts. We have pulled the filings for the federal case and posted them to Justia Dockets & Filings. (For free! The irony.) McPeters filed in state court on January 25, 2011, according to Courthouse News.

Courthouse News and 3 Geeks and Law Blog (see also their April post) posted about this case this week, and they have done a great job covering the details and legal analysis—so I’ll leave that to them. I decided to post on about this anyway because I think it’s important that this issue get as much coverage as possible. It highlights the current problems with our pay-to-play legal system in a way that everyone—lawyers and consumers—can understand.


Posted in: Legal News, Technology