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A woman who says she was first sex-trafficked at the age of 4 has filed a lawsuit against three north Texas hotel chains. Her suit claims the businesses were complicit by "enjoying the profit from rooms rented for explicit purposes."

Sex trafficking is a 100 billion dollar enterprise and it’s is growing. Over a five-year period, cases of sex trafficking reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline in Texas have more than doubled.

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In Texas, judges have oversight over the appointment and scheduling of court appointed attorneys for people who cannot afford to hire their own legal counsel. How does this affect the quality of representation for economically disadvantaged Texans?


How Should Texas Choose Its Judges?

Jul 18, 2019

From Texas Standard:

Texas is one of only seven states where trial court judges are chosen via partisan elections. Gov. Greg Abbott, who is a convert to the idea that this might not be the best way to select judges, signed a law in June creating a 15-member commission to study judicial elections. 

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Texas is one of nine states that picks district court judges with a party ticket vote. And Texas is only one of six states that also selects the justices on its supreme courts and appellate courts with partisan elections. Is there a better way to pick a Texas judge? Some legislators may try to offer new ideas to address that old question.

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Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht and other lawmakers are calling for reform on the selection process for judges on many of the state's courts. 


Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio

Last November's midterm elections unleashed a blue political wave throughout Bexar County, including its judicial benches. Several Republican judges were unseated, and the Democratic victors were sworn in on New Year's Day.


From Texas Standard.

In a Tarrant County courtroom in 2014, Terry Lee Morris stood before State District Judge George Gallagher. Morris was on trial for soliciting sex from a minor, a charge he was eventually convicted of. When he wouldn’t respond to Judge Gallagher’s questions, the judge instructed the bailiff to attach stun belts to Morris’ legs. But as Morris failed to answer questions to Judge Gallagher’s satisfaction, the judge instructed the bailiff to send 50,000 volts to him. He did that three times.

From Texas Standard:

Despite the struggle President Donald Trump has had moving his agenda through Congress, his presidency is still likely to leave a major mark on U.S. law.

Houston Public Media

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony Wednesday in Washington from five nominees for Texas federal judgeships. The state has the most vacant federal judgeships in the country, and one expert at the University of Houston says it could stay that way for a while.

“Describe what a federal judge should do and what a federal judge shouldn’t do,” Senator Ted Cruz had a chance to question the nominees for those vacant Texas judgeships. There’s a total of 12 vacancies on the Texas federal bench. Ten are in district courts, two are on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

From Texas Standard:

In November, state district Judge Judy Kocurek was shot in the driveway of her Austin home – a murder attempt that had been preceded by a phone tip to police. Kocurek was never informed of the threat against her.

Tony Plohetski, investigative reporter for the Austin American-Statesman, said it's unclear how many threats are made against judges in Texas and judges aren’t always informed of the threats to their safety.

 


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