Paxton judge cannot remain in the spotlight

Robert Pratt photo Copyright Pratt on Texas

Robert Pratt

Last week I asked our Pratt on Texas legal expert to double-check something in Texas law about changes of venue for a criminal trial. Ted Liggett of the Liggett Law Group found the law about trials being moved from one place to another and provided me with the text.

Turns out we were right about the case being prosecuted against Attorney General Paxton which has been moved by the judge from Collin County to Harris County. He can’t remain as the judge in the case, no matter what pronouncements he chooses to make, unless the Paxton legal team agrees to such.

No doubt this will be an unwelcome development for Tarrant County state District Judge George Gallagher who is relishing the spotlight of the high-profile case.

Article 31.09 of the code governing such says: “If a change of venue in a criminal case is ordered under this chapter, the judge ordering the change of venue may, with the written consent of the prosecuting attorney, the defense attorney, and the defendant, maintain the original case number on its own docket, preside over the case, and use the services of the court reporter, the court coordinator, and the clerk of the court of original venue.”

I mentioned a week ago that I thought it doubtful that the judge can keep the case and the law supports that. On Tuesday the Paxton defense team sent a letter asking the case to be put on the Harris County judge wheel that randomly selects a judge.

Gallagher seems to think he is keeping the case but the Paxton crew says they will not give written consent for him so to do. Good. He can read about the trial at home like the rest of us.

What do you think?...

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