Houston Public Media: In Latest Development About Bail System Lawsuit, Misdemeanor Judges Withdraw Appeal

Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan said in a statement he supports the newly-elected judges in their effort to resolve the case “on terms they find acceptable.”

Ryan added his office is “confident” the parties “will be able to reach a settlement that maximizes the number of misdemeanor detainees who are eligible for prompt release from jail without secured bail and that also provides due regard for the rights of victims and protection of the community while preserving the independence of the judiciary.”

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Alleged plot to eliminate Third Ward voters with ‘registration challenges’ isn’t what it seems

According to Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, Chairman of the Harris County Republican Party's Ballot Security Committee Alan Vera, matched addresses against a data base to find things like a post office box, for example.  And that's not a good enough reason to submit a challenge.

“Many people have for instance post office boxes because they get a lot of mail or they have some personal reason for not wanting their personal address out there for the public,” Ryan said.

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Harris County files nuisance property lawsuit against Motel 6 in Spring

The Harris County Attorney’s Office has filed a lawsuit against the Motel 6 at 19606 Cypresswood Court—located near Cypresswood Drive and I-45—labeling the property a nuisance building and claiming it harbors habitual crime.

The lawsuit, filed Oct. 18, states the motel’s owner—who could not be reached for comment—has failed to make reasonable efforts to reduce the number of prostitution and drug crimes that allegedly take place at the motel.

The lawsuit also states, between Oct. 17, 2016 and Oct. 17, 2017, law enforcement—including Harris County Precinct 4 constable’s office and Harris County sheriff’s office—received more than 320 calls for service at the motel.

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Waste pits cleanup still could be a year away from starting

The EPA estimates it could be a year before cleanup of the San Jacinto Waste Pits begins, as officials negotiate a plan with the potential responsible parties to tackle the $115 million project.

Such a plan is "obviously a significant piece of work and we need to work out all the details with the parties before signing an agreement," said John Meyer, EPA Region 6 Superfund Branch chief, at a Monday night meeting in The Highlands.

The meeting was the first held since the Environmental Protection Agency announced in October the removal of tons of toxins from the waste pits, which came about two weeks after the agency confirmed that a concrete cap used to cover the pits since 2011 had sprung a leak during Hurricane Harvey's floods.

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Harris county attorney shuts down Alief smoke shop accused of selling Kush

Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan is taking steps to shut down a store that was believed to be illegally selling synthetic marijuana.Ryan obtained a restraining order Wednesday against the owners of the Smoke & Tote Shop at 12127 Bissonnett Street.

They were told to cease operations. Investigators said the store was participating in criminal activity. Ryan also ordered the Lock Lim Management Trust, the owner of the shopping center in which the store is located, to take steps to close the store immediately.

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Whooping Cranes Battle Pits County Against State

Earlier this month, the office of Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan filed a friend of the court brief in support of The Aransas Project's petition.

The Harris County friend of the court brief argues that the Fifth Circuit embarked on a fact-finding mission in conflict with federal rules of procedure and undermined the decision-making authority of district court judges in a way that could affect future lawsuits initiated or defended by his office.

Terence O'Rourke, special assistant to the Harris County attorney, characterized his office's opposition to the state in litigation as "highly unusual."

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Courts Prepare for Unaccompanied Minor Cases

Texas Lawyer recently published an article examining the impact of unaccompanied minors who have crossed the border into Texas on the courts.

In July 2014, our Office hosted a CLE to help equip attorneys with information they need to represent these migrant children. That CLE is still available online for those who would like to learn more about the non-profit groups that have taken on these cases, and how to volunteer to represent these children. The CLE includes a message from Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht about the importance of this kind of pro bono work in our profession. 

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County program helps groups target unwanted businesses

Sometimes, all it takes is a letter from the Harris County Attorney's Office to end chronic criminal activity in a community. Other times, it takes a civil lawsuit against the business or property owner where the activity is occurring.

"When we grab a-hold of their purse strings, people tend to come around," Assistant County Attorney Fred Keys said about the office's nuisance abatement program.

Management districts in six parts of Houston provide funding for the program, which has been successful in shutting down massage parlors involved in human trafficking, illegal gamerooms and after-hours clubs that attract drug dealers and prostitutes.

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2014 Election Law Tele-Town Hall Audio Now Available Online

On Saturday, October 18, Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan hosted a tele-town hall to brief election judges on their responsibilities during the 2014 election. Election judges and alternate judges were able to pose questions to a team of experts from the Harris County Attorney's Office, the County Clerk's Office, and the Voter Registrar Department of the Tax Assessor Collector's Office. 

CLICK HERE to listen to the town hall discussion in its entirety.

Mayor honors community leaders at Hispanic Heritage Awards Ceremony

From CultureMap Houston:

"The Mayor's Hispanic Advisory Board chairman Roland Garcia welcomed the crowd of more than 400 to the event that was chaired by Lauren Soliz and Lenora Sorola. KTRK Channel 13's Erik Barajas and Univision 45's Rebecca Suarez served as emcees of the evening that celebrated Houston's rich diversity and cultural heritage. 

The heavy-hitter crowd included Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, HISD board president Juliet Stipech, city councilman Dave Martin, Harris County treasurer Orlando Sanchez, Port Commissioner Theldon Branch, Metro chairman Gilbert Garcia, Hispanic Advisory Board co-chair Yolanda Black Navarro, Judge Jim Sharp and Judge Barbara Hartle."

CLICK HERE to read the entire story.

Judge makes findings of fact in case denying challenge to county game room regulations

United States District Judge David Hittner signed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law on September 9th in support of his August 4th judgment upholding Harris County’s game room regulations. The Offices of Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan and City Attorney David Feldman defended the constitutionality of the regulations in a trial conducted last month.

A local game room owner filed suit against Ryan and other county and city officials in an effort to stop enforcement of regulations aimed at shutting down illegal gaming operations. The suit also named Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia and Houston Mayor Annise Parker as defendants for their respective roles in enforcing the regulations.

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