Securities Regulation Daily Judge transfers Texas AG’s case, can no longer preside over it
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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Judge transfers Texas AG’s case, can no longer preside over it

By Jay Fishman, J.D.

The Texas Court of Appeals, upon granting Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s request for a writ of mandamus, vacated the Texas District Criminal Court judge’s orders issued after he transferred the case to a different county. The court, however, denied Paxton’s writ of prohibition request because the court did not have jurisdiction to issue the writ since there was no pending appeal (In re Warren Kenneth Paxton, Jr,. May 30, 2017, Fillmore, R.).

The court, in deciding the writ of mandamus issue, emphasized that it was the state of Texas, and not Paxton, that motioned for a change of venue. And that once a judge transfers the venue, Texas precedent allows the judge only one option—to vacate the transfer order during the period of the court’s plenary power—which the judge did not do. Therefore, said the court, absent vacating the transfer, any orders the judge made after the April 11, 2017 transfer are void and must be vacated. And moreover, the judge’s April 12, 2017 orders to select a jury and hold a trial were not only void but an abuse of his power.

Original case. Paxton was initially charged with felony counts of securities fraud and rendering services as an unregistered investment adviser. In 2016, he won a reprieve in the SEC’s federal securities fraud cases against him but was not able to get the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to hear his pretrial habeas corpus claims (Ex Parte Warren Kenneth Paxton, Jr., October 12, 2016).

The case is No. 05-17-00507-CV.

Attorneys: Philip H. Hilder (Hilder & Associates, PC) for Warren Kenneth Paxton, Jr. Nicole W. DeBorde (Deborde Law Firm) for The State of Texas.

Companies: The State of Texas

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