Articles Posted in Politics

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This one clearly goes in the "politics" category.GJ Report

The sitting judge of the 380th District court has been indicted.  Judge Suzanne Wooten, who defeated incumbent Charles Sandoval has been charged with seven counts.  This includes Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity (a favorite of the "Special Crimes" division of the District Attorney’s office.  The underlying offense and the other counts are for bribery.

Bribery, PC 36.02 is a 2nd degree felony, carrying with it a punishment of up to a $10,000 fine and up to 20 years in prison.

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bbCongratulations to Scott Becker on his appointment to the 219th District Court in Collin County.  The appointment was announced on the Governor’s website today.

Mr. Becker won the Republican Primary election and was set to take office (no democratic opponent) on January 1, 2011.  However, current sitting Judge Henderson recently announced his retirement.  Most people around the courthouse assumed he would be appointed to the bench, but until today nothing was official.

Mr. Becker’s appointment is to begin on October 5, 2010, and expire at the end of the term January 1, 2011 (when he will become the elected Judge).

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Well, sorry about the crude posts, but I thought my readers would want to know what was going on reporterslive in this case.  After speaking with some courthouse workers (who actually had to work and didn’t have time to sit in the courtroom), I decided to "live blog" from my iPhone at the last minute.  It was a frustrating experience, and I promise to bring a laptop or at least iPad next time.

The quick background:

6 District Clerks in Collin County were indicted on on charges of Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity.  After setting PR bonds, the presiding judge of the court, Judge Rusch removed himself from the case, but the District Attorney did not.  Visiting District Judge Nuns was assigned to the case, and today all six clerks formally pleaded "Not Guilty."

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passed for a future time is taking up is whether or not the defendents get the grand jury testimony.

The defendants also askes for the state to reveal their sources of who thy got their information from.  the state opposed that.  a discussion was had of whistleblowers vs a criminal drug informant.  the judge is going to look into this further.  the parties will probably brief the judge in the future as to their arguments about this.

The judge will rule on this on Sep 27th. 

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All clerks charged were arraigned on the charges and all naturally pled not guilty  Although it wasnt taken up now, but was alluded to was that some of those charged may ask to have the trials severed so that they might all be tried together.

there was also a question by the judge as to whether or not the state needs to put that they are aggregating the $ amounts to calculate the thefts.  personally, Im not sure if that is accurate or not.  The judge also spoke about if they were all tries together, the need for a reeeealy big courtroom.

the judge talked about trial this year vs next year. presumably the defendants want a trial next year vs this year.  because of the change in administration and DAs maybe not being employed anymore.  The juge said that he thinks the trial should be THIS YEAR! 

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Well, the hearing is now over and bith sides rested and closed.  the judge ruled that the arguments dont override the first amendment rights of the press and denied his motion to reatrict the press.  regarding the lawyers and witnesses talking to the press, thats not restricted either.  but the judge said he recomends them not talking to the press but not ordering it.

hes asking for a "gentlemen’s" agreement not to talk to the press (judge).  saying it will not be taken as positive by the court. And he may change this current ruling .  but in the judges statement he said ‘i will be extremely unhappy’ if the lawyers talk directly to the press.

Walpole brings up he massive filing which I was quoted about in the DMN about. The 13,000 page filing.  i said hat t looked more like a press release than a true filing .  hes asking for discovery reaponses not be filed with the court.  judge said he hasnt read it.

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I stand corrected. I’m siting in the hearing now.  Part of the motion was about restricting the press in this case.  I figured this was just about a change of venue.  But so far the only questions asked are about how many articles have been published and the circulation. 

So far, Bill from the CCA has testified. He spoke about his articles and his circulation. Righ now Ed Housewright from the DMN is teatifying over his lawyers objection to his circulation.

Please excuse the typos .  i’m typing this on an iphone.

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The Collin County Observer first broke the story of the looooong investigation of one of the sitting judges in Collin County.  (The other judge investigation was already dismissed).Collin-County-New_Logo_Trans

For most news stories, the story would be about the wrongdoing of the judges being investigated.  But once again, for Collin County, the focus seems to be on the accusers — the Collin County District Attorney’s office. 

You see, the CCO and I have chronicled the empty prosecutions and misguided policies of the DA’s office in the past:

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Frisco City Council has an upcoming contested Election.  Looks like there will be a debate by the candidates tomorrow at Hall Office Park (right near where our offices are located). Wednesday, April 21st, beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Hall Office Park Conference Center located at 2401 Internet Blvd.

The Candidates for Frisco City Council, Place 4:

David Prince – a certified public accountant seeking a second term

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Congratulations to the new (almost) judges of Collin County. 

– Scott Becker will become the next District Judge in the 219th replacing retiring Judge Henderson.
– Jay Bender will become the next judge of Court 6.
– Lance Baxter will become the next judge of Court 3 (assuming he is able to win the general election against Democratic candidate Sajeel Kahleel.)
– David Rippel will become the next judge of Court 4.

Looks like those with short last names starting with B (Becker, Bender, Baxter) had the election covered.  I am pleased this will even out our Judiciary with the overwhelming majority of late letter alphabet judges to take office, the W’s.  (Willis, Willis, Wheless, Wheless, and Wilson).  Maybe one day in the future we can elect a middle of the road last named judge in the N-O range. . . .