Friday, May 2, 2008

2 Strikes

I sort of figured the 3rd Court of Appeals would deny the motion to recuse Judge Clawson.

Strike 2, Mr. Macias.

Macias loses appeal to have judge removed
By Chris Cobb: The Herald-Zeitung

State Representative Nathan Macias lost a second legal battle Thursday in his ongoing effort to stop a visiting district judge from presiding over his contest of the March 4 primary election results.

In a brief decision, the Texas Third Court of Appeals in Austin denied Macias’ bid to have Judge James Clawson removed from his case. The decision comes about a week after Clawson ruled he would stay on the case despite an objection filed by the current District 73 representative.One of Macias’ attorneys said the legislator now has two options: continue to fight Clawson’s appointment in the Texas Supreme Court, or move forward with the challenge of the election results according to the timetable Clawson set on April 22.

Clawson had set a pretrial hearing for May 14 followed by a May 19 trial date.

Macias is contesting his 17-vote defeat in the Republican Primary to challenger Doug Miller. “This is all part of the technical legal process,” Macias said in response to the appeals court’s decision. “We are weighing our options at this time. In the meantime, we are beginning to prepare our case, beginning with the election night irregularities — the last box not arriving until more than four hours after the polls closed and the last count not ending until after 4 a.m.”

Macias’ lawsuit claims more than 200 voters illegally cast ballots in both the Republican and Democratic primaries and that more than 1,000 people might have voted twice in the Republican primary. One of the numbers listed in the petition was that of Macias’ chief of staff Travis Sabine, a Kendall County voter. A check by the Herald-Zeitung of voting lists obtained from the Texas Secretary of State indicates Sabine voted once.“We clearly stated in the petition that we weren’t claiming every single one of those was true, but we were showing the tremendous potential for voter irregularity,” Macias said.

The lawsuit also alleges numerous clerical errors and possible voter fraud tainted the election.

On April 16, Macias filed an objection to having Clawson hear the case. Clawson disregarded that motion on April 22, and two days later Macias filed with the appellate court to have the objection upheld and Clawson’s ruling overturned. On Thursday, the appellate court issued a brief two-sentence ruling that, after reviewing the case, they had denied Macias’ motions.“I’m pleased with the quick response of the court and hopeful we can go to trial as Judge Clawson scheduled,” Miller said. “My desire remains to resolve this case as soon as possible so that the will of the people can be upheld.”

Miller’s attorney Bob Heath said he was pleased with the appeal court’s ruling. “I think they did the right thing. We’ll be ready to go according to the court’s schedule,” Heath said.

Attorney Trey Trainor, a member of Macias’ legal team, said the decision was a little unexpected.“It’s a little shocking that the Third Court didn’t recognize the rights that every civil litigant has in the State of Texas.”

The eventual winner of the nomination will face Democrat Daniel Boone in the general election.