In an unusual fight between the Texas governor and the Texas judiciary system, a judge has ordered a temporary stop to the draconian new policy from the governor's office that would leave hundreds, if not thousands, of inmates at risk stuck in jails and prisons. Using scare tactics and the strong arm of law enforcement plus the Prison Industrial Complex, the governor attempted to keep citizens confined-- even if they were medically insecure, not even sentenced yet, youth with families who could take them in.
Fortunately, we have nonprofit attorneys who wear Superman capes:
On Wednesday, we filed suit with co-counsel ACLU-TX and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law on behalf of plaintiffs Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Capital Area Private Defender Service, NAACP Texas and the Harris County Criminal Court at Law judges to challenge the Governor's Executive Order GA-13. GA-13 sought to unconstitutionally limit judges' and local officials' discretion to release people from jail. Last night, a judge granted our request for a temporary restraining order, prohibiting enforcement of the order.
For weeks, we've been working to reduce the risk of outbreak in Texas jails, and the Governor's order was a dangerous move to limit successes on that front. As the judge in our case agreed, the governor's order was an unconstitutional overreach and only threatened to undermine public safety and community health. This is an important victory in the fight to protect people in local jails - those confined and those who work in them - as well as the wider community from a COVID-19 outbreak.
Thank you for standing by us in this fight. We hope you and yours are keeping healthy and safe.