Ieshia Champs has been appointed Assistant County Attorney to work in the Children’s Protection Practice Group. Champs was sworn in on January 9 at the Harris County Attorney’s Office at 1019 Congress in downtown Houston.
Champs previously interned with the County Attorney’s Office and received national attention when she graduated from the Thurgood Marshal School of Law at Texas Southern University and a photo of her and her five children went viral. Champs, who has experienced periods of homelessness and who is raising her children as a single mother, graduated from law school with honors before passing the Texas bar and beginning her career as an attorney with the County Attorney’s Office. Read More
A revised Harris County ordinance regulating Sexually Oriented Businesses (SOB’s) went into effect January 1, 2019, and will apply to areas of unincorporated Harris County.
The regulations include additional sections on prohibited conduct by employees, contractors and customers of SOB’s. Among the revisions is a specific prohibition against using “an anthropomorphic device or object”—a so-called sex robot—for sexual activities in a business. The ordinance has also been rearranged into sections based on SOB type to make reading and enforcement easier. Read More
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan has obtained a court order to require the cleanup of an unlicensed automotive salvage yard that has been damaging the environment by allowing automotive fluids to contaminate the ground and water near the business.
District Court Judge Caroline Baker ordered Aloysius Ikwuezunma on October 26 to cease operating an automotive wrecking and salvage yard at 5607 Charrin Drive in north Harris County until he obtains a license from Harris County. Read More
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan’s effort to stop the sale of a fraudulent medical treatment has been upheld.
The Fourteenth Court of Appeals in an opinion issued last week affirmed an injunction obtained by Harris County Attorney Ryan that halts the promotion and distribution of a fraudulent medical treatment known as the “Miracle Mineral Solution.”
After Ryan filed a lawsuit in 2017, District Judge Randy Wilson ordered Shane Hawkins D/B/A Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, Chapter #119 to stop promoting or selling the “Miracle Mineral Solution.” This alleged medical treatment was called a “health sacrament” of the church and was touted as a cure for 95 percent of human diseases. The solution, also marketed as MMS, is actually a sodium chlorite product used in disinfectants and as an industrial bleaching agent. Read More
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, joined by the Texas Attorney General and the City of Houston, obtained a judgment for over $2.1 million in civil fines and penalties against the owners of Texas Tobacco smoke shop for selling synthetic marijuana.
Synthetic marijuana, known on the streets as “kush,” is a designer drug, typically manufactured overseas, that is marketed as a “safe” and “legal” alternative to marijuana. Synthetic marijuana is not marijuana at all but a dried leafy substance that is sprayed with powerful, added-in hallucinogenic chemicals (called synthetic cannabinoids) that are dangerous and highly addictive to the user. Kush is often sold in colorful packets, with names such as Spongebob and Zilla, in order to appeal to children, and is the second most abused drug by high school students, after marijuana itself. It is also illegal in Texas.
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, and Attorney General Ken Paxton have obtained a $2.16 million judgment against Happie Hippie Smoke Shop for selling dangerous, illegal synthetic drugs.
Judge Michael Landrum of the 113th Civil District Court signed a default judgment on April 14th awarding the State $2.16 million in penalties and $17,224 in attorneys’ fees finding 108 violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The court ordered the operators to halt all activities related to the production, transfer, possession, or sale of controlled substances, including synthetic cannabinoids.
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan has won a major victory in the County’s lawsuit against Volkswagen, preventing federal law from stopping state and county claims.
Harris County and the State of Texas can proceed with their case against Volkswagen for violating air emissions because a judge has determined that the company’s recall of autos to change emission control devices is not preempted by federal law.
Volkswagen claimed the state and county could not continue the case involving tampering with emission control devices on its diesel-fueled cars, because federal – and not state -- law prevailed. However, state District Judge Tim Sulak of the 353rd District Court in Austin signed an order Wednesday finding that because the recalled vehicles were already on Texas roads, the state is not pre-empted by the federal government in enforcing environmental laws. Read More
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan is fighting to keep the opioid lawsuit filed on behalf of Harris County in a state district court.
Ryan is opposing an effort by opioid drug distributors to move the lawsuit to federal court. He has filed a motion seeking to have the case returned to state district court.
Three distributors—McKesson Corporation, Amerisource Bergen and Cardinal—moved Harris County’s lawsuit to federal court. They are also seeking to have the lawsuit transferred to a federal court in Cleveland, Ohio. If they are successful, Harris County’s motion to return the case to state district court will be ruled on in Ohio, not Houston, and the case will remain in Cleveland, Ryan said, resulting in a substantial delay in proceedings. Read More
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan has filed suit to shut down a Southwest Houston strip club promoting prostitution and human trafficking.
The lawsuit against the owners and operators of the Chicas Locas club at 6440 Southwest Freeway was filed Tuesday following a lengthy investigation by the Houston Police Department’s Vice Division-Human Trafficking Unit. Investigators discovered women were being recruited from Cuba and Colombia under the guise of a casting call for models and dancers. Instead of providing work as promised, the victims were forced to dance as strippers and engage in commercial sex at Chicas Locas to pay off their debts to their traffickers.
The investigation also confirmed that prostitution was occurring frequently inside Chicas Locas and was being facilitated by the club’s managers. During a 16-month period, undercover officers made over 40 prostitution cases and promotion of prostitution cases at Chicas Locas. Read More
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, joined by the Texas Attorney General and City of Houston, obtained a judgment for more than $2.5 million in civil fines and penalties against Fantasy Smoking & Accessories for selling synthetic marijuana.
Synthetic marijuana, also known as kush, is a designer drug, typically manufactured overseas, that is marketed as a safe and legal alternative to marijuana. Synthetic marijuana is not marijuana at all but instead is a dried leafy substance that is sprayed with powerful hallucinogenic chemicals that are dangerous and highly addictive to the user. It is often sold in colorful packets, with names such as Spongebob and Zilla to appeal to children and teenagers, and is the second most abused drug by high school students, after marijuana itself. It is also illegal in Texas. In June 2017, 16 people were hospitalized after overdosing on kush in Hermann Park. Read More