U.S. Court of Appeals

  • Blogs

    September 9, 2014

    Attorney For Death-Row Inmate Slams State Secrecy On Eve of Execution

    As is typical before any scheduled execution, attorneys for death-row inmate Willie Trottie are fighting the clock. As Trottie - a Harris County man convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend and her brother in 1993 - awaits his date with the country's most active death chamber tomorrow, his appellate ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 28, 2014

    Trial Set For Case Against Bellaire Cop Who Shot Unarmed Black Man

    A federal judge has set a trial date for the civil suit against a white Bellaire police officer who shot an unarmed black man in his parents' driveway. A federal magistrate on Wednesday put Robbie Tolan's lawsuit against Bellaire police officer Jeffrey Cotton on course for a September 2015 trial, c ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 17, 2014

    Federal Case Against Cop Who Shot Robbie Tolan Headed Back to Court

    A federal appeals court has sent a civil rights claim against a white Bellaire police officer who shot an unarmed black man in his parents' driveway back to trial court. Issued today by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the ruling revives a claim filed by Robbi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 13, 2014

    Appellate Court Reverses "Crush" Video Decision

    A federal appeals court has reversed a lower court's decision that a law banning the production and sale of animal "crush" videos is unconstitutional, allowing prosecutors to refile charges against a Houston duo accused of recording the torturing of dogs and cats. The decision revives the federal c ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 10, 2014

    Astros Bankruptcy Appeal Won't Get CSN Houston On TV Any Sooner

    Bankruptcy judge Marvin Isgur commands respect. Not because he's a judge, but because of his understanding of bankruptcy law. He's respected by attorneys who appear before him. He's respected by his fellow judges. This is important to know because the Houston Astros have appealed his ruling putting ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 8, 2013

    Texas Abortion Case Might Be the Next Big Supreme Court Abortion Ruling

    em>Planned Parenthood v. Abbott, a/k/a the "Texas Abortion Case," might be the fodder for the Supreme Court's latest pronouncement on abortion. Let's start with the "might": the Supreme Court only takes those cases that it wants to hear (granting a writ of certiorari, in the jargon), so there is the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 25, 2013

    Today in Political Punditry: Ed Whelan Edition

    Conservative legal pundit, Ed Whelan, who writes for the (once) venerable National Review, has a regular feature on his blog called "This Day in Liberal Judicial Activism." Yesterday, his entry was short, sweet and silly: 1987--Culminating an unprecedented campaign of lies, distortions, and vilific ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 26, 2013

    Go Ahead, Keep Clicking that Like Button, the First Amendment is Behind You

    A federal court (the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals) ruled last week that clicking "like" on a political candidate's Facebook page "is the Internet equivalent of displaying a political sign, which the Supreme Court has held is substantive speech." The case came from humble beginnings. Dan Carter ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 30, 2013

    Dallas Suburb Can't Force Illegal Immigrant Renters Out, Court Says

    If you've never been to Farmers Branch, you haven't missed much. It's a neighborhood/suburban bubble/town engulfed by Dallas's urban sprawl, and it's such a bland place you'd probably never have noticed or heard tell of it until the city government enacted a controversial housing law back in May 2 ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 24, 2013

    Jeff Skilling Gets a Ten-Year Shave (off His Sentence)

    Former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling could be released from prison as early as 2017, thanks to a federal judge's approval Friday of a sentencing agreement Skilling and prosecutors hashed out in May, the Chronicle reports. Skilling "had more than 10 years cut off his 24-year prison sentence" for securiti ... More >>

  • News

    October 11, 2012

    Millionaires Clash Over Shadyside Mansion

    Despite all the Tenth Commandment strictures to the contrary, coveting the mansion next door has led millionaire executive Tony Petrello to years of depositions and lawsuits.

  • Blogs

    March 28, 2012

    EPA Can't Block Texas's Clean-Air Rules for Being Too Lax, Appeals Court Says

    The federal Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its bounds when it rejected a Texas clean-air plan it thought was too lax, an appellate court has ruled. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says the EPA was limited to reviewing whether Texas's controversial plan met the absolute minimums o ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 26, 2011

    John Kinsel, Claiming Wrongful Conviction, Is Denied New Trial: "Our Hands Are Tied", Says Court

    Photo by Mandy OaklanderJohn Kinsel's chances of freedom grow slimmer.​A few months ago, we wrote a cover story about John Kinsel, a Texas man sentenced in Louisiana to life without parole for the rape of his girlfriend's live-in daughter. That girl, 9-year-old Alyssa Medlin, testified that Ki ... More >>

  • News

    April 28, 2011

    Doing Time, Wrongly

    Finally, a chat with our cover subject.

  • Blogs

    April 20, 2011

    John Kinsel, Imprisoned For A Crime His Accuser Says She Made Up, Hangs Out At Angola Prison Rodeo

    Mandy OaklanderJohn Kinsel sells his wares at the Angola Prison Rodeo.​Dooney & Bourke knockoff purses and stainless steel crosses line a long row of picnic tables at the Angola Prison Rodeo craft sale. The artisans wait close behind in a parallel craggy row, separated from their wares by a ch ... More >>

  • News

    April 14, 2011

    Life Without Parole

    John Kinsel remains in prison even after alleged rape victim recanted.

  • Blogs

    April 13, 2011

    Cover Story: John Kinsel's Life Without Parole

    ​This week's feature tells the story of John Kinsel, a man who will spend the rest of his life locked up at Angola Prison for a crime his accuser has since said he didn't commit. Alyssa Medlin testified as a nine-year-old that Kinsel -- her mother's boyfriend -- had raped her for years. The gi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 25, 2011

    Eminem's Victory Over Label Could Have Far-Reaching Effects

    Now a Recovery in more ways than one.​Eminem quietly scored a major victory in a case involving download royalties this week. The U.S. Supreme Court threw out an appeal filed by Universal Music Group, the world's largest music empire, against Eminem's former production company F.B.T. Productio ... More >>

  • News

    December 2, 2010
  • News

    October 21, 2010

    Grinding Justice

    Operation Streamline costs millions, tramples the Constitution, treats migrants like cattle and doesn't work.

  • Blogs

    June 14, 2010

    Rep. Pete Olson, Standing Up Against Those Pesky Pollution Rules

    Texas can police its own air, thankyouverymuch.​Republican U.S. Congressman Pete Olson may not officially be the poster boy for the oil and gas industry, but one could argue that he's really bucking for the job. Last week, Olson of Sugar Land announced that he and a few other politicians on Capit ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 1, 2010

    Lawyers Who Filed Racism Suits Against Dillard's Owe The Company $143K, Court Rules

    ​Local attorneys Cletus Ernster III and Damon Chargois were in the forefront of lawyers suing the department store chain Dillard's on claims of racism, a story we wrote about back in 2004.They said their black customers were unfairly targeted by store security, and treated roughly in any incidents ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 1, 2010

    Jeff Skilling Gets Even More Desperate To Prove Houston's Full of Hatahs

    ​Today is the big day before the U.S. Supreme Court for Jeff Skilling, former Enron exec, former Manhattan party animal, current federal inmate.Among other things, Skilling's lawyers are arguing that his federal trial should have been moved from Houston because we all were so affected by Enron tha ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 15, 2010

    Baylor Chooses A Sex-Obsessed Pornographer As Its New President

    ​Baylor has ended its search for a new president, and the straitlaced Baptist school has chosen a famous smut peddler.Kenneth Starr, the out-of-control special prosecutor who felt the need to salaciously include every last sordid detail about Bill Clinton's extra-marital activities, is the new ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 10, 2009

    TDCJ Inmate Wonders What's A Dude Gotta Do To Get His Wicca On In Prison

    ​Charles Roberts -- aka Alabama, aka Hell Boy (according to a lawsuit he filed from prison) -- was recently transferred to Huntsville from Edinburg after he claimed, via lawsuit, that the prison didn't allow him to practice his Wiccan religion. Michelle Lyons, the director of public information fo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 23, 2009

    Fake-Botox Doctor's Conviction Overturned

    Gayle Rothenberg, the prominent Houston doctor who was convicted of using fake Botox on her patients, has had that conviction overturned by the Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals.The appellate court ripped into Rothenberg's trial, saying prosecutors presented evidence -- and the judge allowed it in - ... More >>

  • News

    September 18, 2008

    Language Barrier at Child Protective Services

    For the first year, Baby Raymond lived happily with his family. Then the agency took him away and even though his Chinese-American family fought to get him back, they couldn't find the right words

  • News

    July 24, 2008

    Homeland Security Won't Let a Former IRA Man Out of Prison

    After living in the U.S. for 25 years, Pól Brennan is now stuck on the Texas-Mexico border

  • News

    March 6, 2008

    A Prison Cover-up During Hurricane Rita

    For days after the storm, inmates in Beaumont lived without A/C, electricity or hot meals. Press releases kept saying everything inside was fine. Guards and prisoners agree — that was nothing but B.S.

  • News

    July 5, 2007
  • Culture

    May 17, 2007

    Guantnamo: Pictures from Home. Questions of Justice

    A FotoFest exhibition questions justice

  • News

    April 26, 2007
  • News

    May 26, 2005

    No Pain, No Gain

    Our solution for saving Texas's claim to capital punishment fame

  • News

    October 2, 2003

    Beer Brawl

    Starbucks tries to step on the start-up of Starbock beer

  • News

    February 14, 2002

    Enron's Judge Not

    U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal abruptly recuses herself without explanation

  • News

    August 23, 2001

    Mercenary or Media Martyr?

    A self-proclaimed journalist has had a paying job -- private eye

  • News

    July 19, 2001

    Files Not Found

    Thousands of missing FBI documents in the Timothy McVeigh case? It comes as no surprise to the survivors of Operation Lightning Strike.

  • News

    June 28, 2001

    Naked Shame

    Years ago, courts ruled that routine strip searches in jails were unconstitutional. But for Fort Bend County women, if you got booked, they took a look.

  • News

    April 26, 2001

    We -Store-It, U-Lose-It?

    If Harris County constables execute a writ of possession, Security Storage gets your stuff. How do you get it back?

  • Culture

    February 15, 2001

    Cough It Up

    The man who created Josie and the Pussycats can't understand why his girls don't belong to him

  • News

    December 28, 2000

    (Ore)gone to Hell?

    His body was riddled with police bullets. The case against the cops also may be riddled with holes.

  • News

    November 2, 2000

    Pumped Dry

    Gas station dealers find big oil blocking the way in their struggles against extinction

  • News

    August 12, 1999

    A Civil Action

    Despite the county's outlook, the Oregon police shooting case is still very much alive

  • News

    July 22, 1999

    Civil(ity) War

    Does Houston have to get tougher on street people with new laws?

  • News

    October 8, 1998

    Crushing the Opposition

    Baylor and Fulbright & Jaworski -- with the help of a lame duck judge -- see to it that Bonnie Dunbar won't get a chance to tell all in court

  • Music

    May 28, 1998
  • News

    April 16, 1998

    Tales From the IRS

    Three stories of taxman terror

  • News

    May 9, 1996

    Beneath the Dogs

    A court victory for laid-off Latino workers spotlights the harsh conditions in Houston's surplus of small plastics plants

  • News

    January 25, 1996
  • News

    September 14, 1995


    In a small town south of Houston, they say school prayer is a matter of religious freedom. But even in Santa Fe, freedom for one student can be tyranny for another.

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