News Archive - April 2011

House tentatively OKs new juvenile justice agency

Texas youths who get crossways with the law could soon find themselves under the supervision of a new state juvenile justice agency whose main mission is to keep young offenders close to home and quickly headed in a more positive direction. Read the story. (Texas Tribune) [04/29/2011]

"Captain America" star Chris Evans headlines movie penned by Houston lawyer Paul Danziger and featuring Mark Lanier cameo

Lanier has a three-scene role in “Puncture,” which had its premiere April 21 at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Read the story. (Texas Lawyer Web) [04/29/2011]

Supreme Court ruling imposes limits on class-action lawsuits

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday bolstered the ability of businesses to channel customer and employee complaints into arbitration, ruling that companies can block people from pressing those claims as a group. Read the story. (Austin American-Statesman) [04/28/2011]

County looks to better indigent defense

Indigent criminal defense programs could be improved and expanded if some Lubbock County requests for state grants gain approval. Read the story. (Lubbock KJTV (FOX) 34) [04/26/2011]

Water bills will determine how the state copes with future droughts, growth

Austin is looking at crucial measures that would help the state deal with serious water demands. Read the story. (Conroe Courier) [04/26/2011]

Eminent domain bill passes Texas House

The Texas House passed SB 18 for Thursday, also known as the eminent domain bill, which reforms Texas eminent domain laws to better protect the private property rights of landowners. Read the story. (Beeville Bee-Picayune) [04/21/2011 ]

Texas Center for Legal Ethics launches redesigned website

The Texas Center for Legal Ethics (TCLE) has redesigned its website, http://www.legalethicstexas.com, to make accessing the organization's resources and training a more intuitive and user friendly experience. Read the story. (PR Newswire) [04/20/2011]

Texas burning 'from border to border'

Texas firefighters on Wednesday continued to battle blazes that have scorched a million acres and have been burning for more than a week, according to the Texas Forest Service. Read the story. (CNN) [04/20/2011]

Senate passes bill to regulate some mortgage servicers

The Texas House on Monday passed a bill that would set up disclosure requirements for some nontraditional mortgage servicing companies that aren't covered by any federal rules. Read the story. (Austin American-Statesman) [04/19/2011]

Bills levy court costs, filing fees to fund indigent legal services

As fallout from the recession continues to decrease funding for indigent legal aid and the Texas Legislature makes tough budget choices, the Texas Supreme Court is supporting legislation to help pay for legal services for poor Texans. Read the story. (Texas Lawyer) [04/18/2011]

Economy project: starting a business

Whether it's driven by layoffs or an entrepreneurial spirit, hundreds of thousands of new small businesses open each year. Read the story. (Dallas KERA (PBS) 13) [04/18/2011]

Free legal aid now available for West Texans affected by the wildfires

West Texas residents who suffered damages as a result of recent wildfires may receive free legal assistance from Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) to get back on their feet. Read the story. (Alpine Avalanche) [04/14/2011]

Susman Godfrey's cycling team "Swift Justice" rides to fight multiple sclerosis

This weekend on April 16-17, 38 partners, associates, staff, family and friends of Susman Godfrey L.L.P. will ride 180 miles from Houston to Austin as part of the BP MS150. Read the story. (PR Newswire) [04/14/2011]

White House launches support campaign for military families

First Lady Michelle Obama kicked off a new White House campaign to support military families Tuesday, calling on a number of heavy hitting participants to help with the launch. Read the story. (Fox News) [04/13/2011]

Texas House to vote on bill limiting eminent domain

The Texas House is taking up a bill that would limit the ability of governments to seize property using the power of eminent domain. Read the story. (Ft. Worth KTVT (CBS) 11) [04/13/2011]

Study praises Texas for prison reforms, but comes with warning

Texas was praised Tuesday for adopting wide-ranging prison reforms that have dramatically cut the state's recidivism rate and warned that repeat incarcerations and criminal justice costs could rise again if the programs are cut. Read the story. (Houston Chronicle) [04/13/2011]

Students vs. lawyers, judges in Law Day Chess Tourney April 23

First- through eighth-graders are invited to compete against area lawyers and paralegals in the El Paso Bar Association's annual Law Day Chess Tournament from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 23. Read the story. (El Paso Times) [04/12/2011]

Event dignifies victims of crime

Mothers Against Drunk Driving North Texas and the Denton County District Attorney's Office will work together Tuesday on a public program focusing attention on National Crime Victims Week. Read the story. (Denton Record-Chronicle) [04/11/2011]

Texas may ban courts from considering foreign laws

Texas lawmakers are considering whether to ban state courts from considering foreign religious or cultural laws, such as the Islamic law of Shariah. Read the story. (Houston Chronicle) [04/11/2011]

"Just Put it Down" campaign launched by Van Wey Law to increase awareness about the dangers of distracted driving

In an effort to stop distracted driving, Van Wey Law is launching "Just Put It Down," a community service campaign and website for distracted driving victims to share their stories. Read the story. (PR Web) [04/08/2011]

Eyes on road, fingers off phone

The Texas House tentatively approved a statewide ban against texting while driving, saying the practice is a hazard more dangerous than drunk driving. Read the story. (Houston Chronicle) [04/08/2011]

DOJ reviewing civil cases in event of government shutdown

Justice Department lawyers are reviewing hundreds of civil cases to determine whether the department's continued participation in the proceedings—including attendance at hearings—accords with the law in the event the government shuts down Friday night. Read the story. (The BLT) [04/08/2011]

Students learn value of perseverance

Assistant county attorney, Joshua Frausto, spoke to students at Step Up to Success, a half-day of career exploration and encouragement for primarily Hispanic students who may be the first generation in their family to attend college, come from single-parent homes, or are the offspring of migrants. Read the story. (Amarillo Globe-News) [04/07/2011]

Senators urged to shield Veterans Cash scratch-offs

John Miterko, who is with the Texas Coalition of Veterans Organizations and represents 35 veterans groups with 600,000 Texas members, warned senators against a plan that would siphon $2.8 million in Veterans Cash proceeds. Read the story. (Houston Chronicle) [04/07/2011]

Child abuse and distracted driving: Two important issues

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Read the story. (San Antonio Express-News) [04/07/2011]

“The Little Voice – Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse”

The Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) has created “The Little Voice – Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse,” a multi-media project to raise awareness about our statutory obligation to report child abuse. Read the story. (The Rusk Cherokeean) [04/06/2011]

Lawyers to feed 200 at April 14 event

Easter will come early for South El Paso children when a group of lawyers will offer free food for about 200 people. Read the story. (El Paso Times) [04/06/2011]

Senate committee aims to vote on budget bill in two weeks

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Steve Ogden said he hopes his committee will consider the budget bills that the House passed in recent days during the week of April 18, or two weeks from now. Read the story. (Austin American Statesman) [04/05/2011]

Senate votes to create new Texas Oil and Gas Commission

The Texas Railroad Commission would be abolished and replaced by a new Texas Oil and Gas Commission under legislation approved Monday by the Senate.  Read the story. (Dallas Morning News) [04/05/2011]

School tax breaks at risk

Faced with a looming budget shortfall, the Senate's most powerful member is carrying legislation that would cap state spending on school property tax breaks that are Texas' primary tool to attract major business relocation or expansion projects. Read the story. (Austin American Statesman) [04/05/2011]

A more complete Alamo experience

A deaf couple's request for a sign-language interpreter may have sparked an effort to make the Alamo more user-friendly for the deaf. Read the story. (San Antonio Express-News) [04/01/2011]