Texas Attorney General’s weekly roundup

Staff Report

The responsibilities, of the Office of the Attorney General, are to serve as legal counsel to all boards and agencies of state government, issue legal opinions when requested by the Governor, heads of state agencies, and other officials and agencies as provided by Texas statutes.

The Texas AG sits as an ex-officio member of state committees and commissions and defends challenges to state laws and suits against both state agencies and individual employees of the State.

Many Texans look to the Office of the Attorney General for guidance with disputes and legal issues. The agency receives hundreds of letters, phone calls, and visits each week about crime victims’ compensation, child support, abuse in nursing homes, possible consumer fraud, and other topics.

To find out more about the Texas Attorney General, visit the official website at https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/.
.

Fugitive Apprehension Unit Arrests 18 Violent Parole Violators in Operation

AUSTIN – Last week, the Office of the Attorney General Arlington and Austin Fugitive Unit Personnel conducted an operation that focused on apprehending and arresting parole violators with violent felony convictions, violent criminal history, and gang affiliations.

The teams focused on parole violators in the Amarillo area, which consisted of both Potter and Randall counties. During the week, 18 suspects were arrested.

The suspects were currently on parole for offenses such as Murder, Assault, Robbery, Possession of Firearm by a Felon, Assault Family Violence, Drugs, and various other felonies, including violent criminal histories.

The Amarillo Police Department assisted with providing intel leading to some of the arrests.?The following suspects were arrested during the operation:  

  • Ruben James Solis, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Burglary of Habitation Felony 2nd Degree in 2018 violated the conditions of his parole by being arrested for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by Felon. 
  • Jeremy Juan Mendoza, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Injury to Child/Elderly/Disabled with Intent Bodily Injury Felony 3rd Degree in 2017. 
  • Tiundrae Delmar Nelson, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Possession of a Controlled Substance PG 1 4-200 Grams in 2006 with a history of aggravated assault. 
  • Michael Wayne Cooper, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Possession of a Controlled Substance PG 1 1-4 Grams in 2018 with a history of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon 
  • Chad Edwin Hooser, Amarillo, Parole Violations for Possession of a Controlled Substance PG 1 1-4 Grams and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon in 2017. 
  • Antonio Ford Arreola, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Possession of a Controlled Substance PG 1 4-200 Grams and Manufacture/Delivery of a Controlled Substance PG 1 4-200 Grams in 2013 with a criminal history of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon 
  • Alan Dale Howard, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Burglary of Habitation in 1994 with a history of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon.   
  • Patricio Garza Guzman, Amarillo, Parole Violation for two counts of Burglary of Habitation in 2009 with a history of Possession of Firearms by a Felon.   
  • Kevin Don Groom, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Murder in 1993.  
  • Andrew Walter Pettis Jr, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Robbery Felony 2nd Degree in 2015. 
  • Justin Guzman, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Indecency with a Child Sexual Contact and Attempted Indecency with a Child in 2015.  
  • Mark Edward Fox, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Theft of a Firearm and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon in 2017.   
  • John Jennings, Amarillo, Parole Violation for two counts of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon in 2002.    
  • Richard Earl Ewing, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon in 2014.   
  • Joseph Johnny Sustaita, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Unlawful Possession of Firearm by a Felon in 2016. 
  • David Ray Nivens, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Assault Breath Impediment Family/Household Member with Two Prior Convictions in 2018.   
  • Ricardo Fernandez, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Burglary of a Habitation in 2016 with a criminal history of Robbery.   
  • Angela Lynn Ramirez, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Injury to Child/Elderly/Disabled in 2016. 
  • Steven Lee Thompson, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Aggravated Robbery in 2012.

The Fugitive Apprehension Unit

Harris County
Leonard Dee Taylor was arrested in Houston on July 23 for failing to comply with his mandated sex offender registration requirements, and a corresponding warrant for Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registration Requirements issued in 2018 out of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Taylor was added to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Top 10 Most Wanted Sex Offender List in May of 2019. In 2003, Taylor was convicted of two counts of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child in Bowie County and was sentenced to twenty years in prison. This arrest was made while working in conjunction with the United States Marshals Service, Gulf Coast Violent Offender, and Fugitive Task Force, and assisted by the Texas Department of Public Safety. 

Smith County
Dakevian Benoit Scroggins was arrest in Tyler on July 24 on outstanding warrants for Capitol Murder issued by the Tyler Police Department and Evading Arrest issued by the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office. Scroggins was added to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Top 10 Most Wanted in July of 2021. In 2014, Scroggins was convicted of Prohibited Weapon in Smith County and was sentenced to 8 years in prison. This arrest was made while working in conjunction with the Joint East Texas Fugitive Task Force, along with the Tyler Police Department and the Smith County Sheriff’s Office. 

Wharton County
Francisco Avalos was arrested in Louise on three outstanding warrants for Sexual Assault of a Child, Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography, and Online Solicitation of a Minor issued by the Victoria County 377th District Court. This arrest was made while working in conjunction with the United States Marshals Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force out of Victoria. 

Paxton Joins $21 Billion Opioid Distributor Settlement

AUSTIN – Following his previous announcement, Attorney General Ken Paxton announced his intention to join the $21 billion opioid distributor settlement in a press conference on Thursday.

The settlement includes up to $1.1 billion awarded to Texas and its subdivisions. Opioid distributors are also creating a national clearinghouse to prevent drug diversion.

Local counties and cities will need to join now to maximize the benefit of this settlement with most of this money going to expert-approved opioid abatement strategies.

“This settlement could potentially change the lives of many Texans if cities and counties act now,” Attorney General Paxton said. “It’s time for us to come together again as only Texans can, maximize our recovery, and take care of our citizens so that we can serve as an example for the rest of the country.”

In addition, with the bankruptcy cases of manufacturers Purdue Pharma and Mallinckrodt, both are expected to emerge from bankruptcy in the upcoming months and provide millions of additional dollars for opioid abatement.

For more information about the settlement, click here.

Notification of Opinion

Official Request Summary RQ-0402-KP
Whether access to a government facility can be conditioned upon obtaining a vaccine issued under emergency usage authorization.

Official Opinion Summary KP-0379
Pursuant to Executive Order GA-38, Texas state agencies and political subdivisions may not condition an individual’s access to a government facility on receipt of a vaccine administered under emergency use authorization and not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Furthermore, pursuant to Senate Bill 968, passed by the Eighty-seventh Legislature, a governmental entity in Texas may not issue a COVID-19 vaccine passport or any other documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination status for any purpose other than health care.

Implicit in this prohibition is that a governmental entity may not issue a COVID-19 vaccine passport and condition entry to a governmental facility on possession of it.

This prohibition is not limited to vaccines issued under emergency use authorization and therefore will also apply to COVID-19 vaccines with full FDA approval.

Notification of Opinion

Official Request Summary RQ-0409-KP
Effect of the Governor’s executive orders on the federal requirements related to face coverings on public transit

Official Opinion Summary KP-0380
Texas Executive Order GA-38 prohibits governmental entities from requiring any person to wear a face covering or to mandate that another person wear a face covering.

Federal orders issued by the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) and the Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”) attempt to require persons traveling on public transit to wear a mask and to require local transit authorities to enforce the federal mandate.

However, a court could conclude that the CDC and the TSA lack statutory authority to issue face covering orders, particularly with respect to intrastate public transit systems.

Furthermore, a court may have a basis to conclude that TSA’s directive violates the Americans with Disabilities Act or is an unconstitutional attempt to commandeer local officials to enforce a federal regulatory scheme.

Given the many concerns regarding the authority of the CDC and TSA to issue the federal orders requiring facial coverings on public transport, we are unable to definitively conclude that those orders preempt the Governor’s Executive Order GA-38.

Notification of Opinion

Official Request Summary RQ-0397-KP
Whether amendments to a contingent fee contract for legal services entered into before September 1, 2019, must comply with chapter 2254 of the Government Code

Official Opinion Summary KP-0378
Effect of amendments to Government Code chapter 2254 regarding amendments to a contingent fee contract

Request for Opinion

Official Request Summary RQ-0422-KP
Authority of Goliad County to erect signage in a highway right-of-way under Transportation Code chapter 394 in particular circumstances

Date Received
Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Official Requestor
The Honorable Rob Baiamonte
Goliad County Attorney
Post Office Box 24
Goliad, Texas 77963

Request for Opinion

Official Request Summary RQ-0421-KP
Whether the teaching of critical race theory violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, or provisions of the Texas Constitution

Date Received
Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Official Requestor
The Honorable James White
Chair, House Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety
Texas House of Representatives
Post Office Box 2910
Austin, Texas 78768-2910

Request for Opinion

Official Request Summary RQ-0420-KP
The meaning of specialty provider and other terms for purposes of implementing Senate Bill 1207 from the 86th Legislature

Date Received
Monday, August 2, 2021

Official Requestor
The Honorable Matt Krause
Chair, House Committee on General Investigating
Texas House of Representatives
Post Office Box 2910
Austin, Texas 78768-2910

Request for Opinion

Official Request Summary RQ-0419-KP
Application of chapter 556 of the Government Code to the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association

Date Received
Friday, July 30, 2021

Official Requestor
The Honorable Briscoe Cain
Chair, House Committee on Elections
Texas House of Representatives
Post Office Box 2910
Austin, Texas 78768-2910

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button