Eliminating the Divide in Austin

AUSTIN, TX – In light of the recent controversy over stickers placed on business walls and windows that read “Exclusively for white people,” community leaders in East Austin are pushing to narrow the gap between those that “have” and those that “have not.” Change has occurred over the past 20 years, but that change has benefited some while leaving others on the fringe. According to Nelson Linder with the Austin NAACP, change must include increased job training, job openings, and affordable housing for everyone. “What we call affordable housing in… Read More

Number of civil jury trials declines to new lows in Texas

Article originally published at The Dallas Morning News. You can read the original story here. Number of civil jury trials declines to new lows in Texas by MARK CURRIDEN Judge Patrick Higginbotham of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in 1997 that civil jury trials were headed to extinction. “There are certain elites in this country who don’t trust juries,” Higginbotham, a Reagan appointee from Dallas, said at the time. “The future of our jury system is very much in danger.” Most lawyers and judges scoffed at the suggestion. After all, no state in the… Read More

Larry Jackson Trial: What You Need to Know

1. A criminal trial date has been set for April 20, 2015. Former APD Detective Charles Kleinert has been indicted on charges of Manslaughter. At his arraignment last Friday, December 5, Kleinert pled Not Guilty to the charges. We don’t believe there will be a plea. The trial date is preferential so, barring a plea deal, the trial will take place as scheduled. 2. This criminal trial is historic because it is the first of twenty-five Travis County police shooting cases that has ended with an indictment. An Austin American-Statesman article contends that… Read More

Charles Kleinert Trial Date Set in Larry Jackson Shooting

This morning at the Travis County Courthouse, Charles Kleinert appeared in court for the first time since his historic indictment. He has been charged with manslaughter and could face 2 – 20 years in prison for the shooting of Larry Jackson, Jr. Today, he pled not guilty. Judge David Wahlberg scheduled an April 20th trial with preferential setting, meaning it cannot be rescheduled. Our firm represents Larry’s parents, who were interviewed after this morning’s proceedings along with Attorney Adam Loewy. Austin News stations including Fox News covered the interview, during which Billie Mercer, Larry’s mother, said… Read More

Civil Courts Often Only Source of Justice for Victims of Increased Traffic Deaths Amid Fracking Boom

  NPR recently published a thought-provoking piece about the rising death toll on Texas highways. In the past few years, 18-wheelers and tractor-trailers—hauling huge loads and driven by newly licensed drivers—have been an increased and often deadly presence on the highways. Why? The Texas oil boom. This boom, and the thousands of jobs created by it, was made possible by fracking. Fracking is a controversial process that unlocks oil and gas in shale formations. Texas has certainly seen an economic boost, but, as this article points out, it is not without a price. The… Read More

For Noe’s Family, TASER Case Settlement Means Chance to Move Forward

We were proud to represent Noe Niño de Rivera’s family in their pursuit of justice. We are very pleased with the result—we secured a settlement of $775,000. This settlement represents resolution for the family and could have implications for future TASER cases. The case began when Noe was tasered by Deputy Randy McMillan. A video clip of the incident shows Noe falling and hitting his head on the concrete floor. He was not disobeying, fighting, holding weapons, hitting anyone, or behaving aggressively. Noe was in a coma for fifty-two days. He sustained severe traumatic brain injuries,… Read More

Why is Chief Art Acevedo Silent about the Larry Jackson Jr. Shooting?

Larry Jackson Jr. (Left) and Police Chief Art Acevedo (Right) On July 26, 2013, APD Detective Charles Kleinert tracked down Larry Jackson Jr. and brutally beat him, breaking his ribs and perforating his colon. He then placed his gun to the back of Larry’s neck and pulled the trigger. This is the worst police shooting in the history of Austin and it culminated in a historic Manslaughter indictment in May 2014. The criminal trial of Kleinert will likely take place in Spring 2015. To date, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo has… Read More

The Larry Jackson Jr. Police Shooting Case: What You Need To Know

Larry Jackson Jr., (Left) and Detective Charles Kleinert (Right) On July 26, 2013, Detective Charles Kleinert of the Austin Police Department tracked down Larry Jackson Jr. Detective Kleinert brutally beat Larry, breaking his ribs and perforating his colon. The Detective then placed his gun at the back of Larry’s neck and pulled the trigger. Larry died at the young age of 32 and left behind three children, his wife, and his parents. Here is what you need to know about this shooting: Criminal Indictment and Trial. On May 12, a Travis County Grand Jury indicted Charles Kleinert for Manslaughter… Read More

Council Settles First Part of Jackson Police Shooting Case for $1.25 Million

We commend the Austin city council for their decision to approve a settlement of $1.25 million with the children of Larry Jackson, Jr. Last year, Larry was shot and killed by former Detective Charles Kleinert after a foot chase. Kleinert went well beyond excessive force and murdered Larry—tracking him down, beating him, breaking his ribs, perforating his colon, and finally putting a gun to the back of his neck and pulling the trigger. The council voted 6-to-1 in favor of this initial settlement, which will benefit Jackson’s school age children. The children, who are ten, eleven, and… Read More

On Michael Morton and Civil Rights Cases

The story of Michael Morton is one of the most chilling and shameful chapters in the history of the American legal system. Michael was a 32-year-old ‘Everyman’ living in Williamson County in the 1980s – he was white, married, had no criminal record and worked at a supermarket. Just a typical American living a typical American life. His whole life was shattered one terrible morning upon learning that his beloved wife had been brutally murdered in her bedroom. Michael came home from work to see her but before he could even begin mourning, it was clear that the Williamson County… Read More