Weekly AG Round-Up: Texas joins 20-state coalition in urging Biden, Congress to reconsider packing the Supreme Court

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/.

AG Paxton Joins 20-State Coalition in Urging Biden, Congress to Reconsider Packing the Supreme Court

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton today joined a 20-state coalition in sending a letter to the Biden Administration and congressional leaders, voicing concerns of reports that Congress intends to pack the Supreme Court. The letter states that this action is a clear, coordinated attempt to justify a power grab by the leaders of Congress and the President.

“This obvious attempted overreach is not only unconstitutional, but it would break our system of checks and balances. Our country has a robust history of judicial independence, and it has long stood strong in line with the laws of the nation—not the whim of political objectives,” said Attorney General Paxton.

Read the full letter here.   

AG Paxton’s Law Enforcement Round Up

The Child Exploitation Unit

Jefferson County
Alan Wayne Kay, 52, was arrested for five counts of Promotion of Child Pornography. This case was referred to as a NCMEC CyberTipline Report involving the upload of files of child pornography to a social media account.

Investigators executed a search warrant at Kay’s residence, and numerous devices were seized for examination by the Digital Forensic Unit. Kay was transported to the Jefferson County Jail without incident.

The Human Trafficking Unit

San Patricio County
The Fugitive Apprehension Unit arrested five individuals in Mathis for Trafficking of Persons Under 18 Years of Age and Sexual Assault of a Child.

These arrests stem from an investigation conducted by the Human Trafficking Unit. This case was received as a tip from the Polaris National Hotline, as well as a request for investigative assistance from the Mathis Police Department regarding a minor that made multiple outcries of being trafficked.

During the course of the sex trafficking investigation, it was determined that Viviana Rivas trafficked the child to Francisco Silvas, who sexually assaulted her for the payment of narcotics.

A separate offense occurred when Jason Morales arranged for the child to travel to his residence for the use of narcotics, where she was subsequently sexually assaulted by Michael Bentancur and Manuel Caranza Jr. During the assault, Bentancur displayed a weapon to the victim.

Arrest warrants were issued for the five suspects and FAU executed the warrants. The following five suspects and their respective charges are listed below: 

      • 4/21, Viviana Vela Rivas, 34, Trafficking of Persons 
      • 4/21, Michael Anthony Bentancur, 37, Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child and Violation of a Court Order/Prohibited Substance Item in Community Corrections Facility 
      • 4/22, Manuel Carranza Jr., 37, Sexual Assault of a Child 
      • 4/22, Francisco Carranza Silvas, 34, Sexual Assault of a Child 
      • 4/22, Jason Morales, 35, Sexual Assault of a Child 

The Fugitive Apprehension Unit

Anderson County
Luis Gilberto Castillo was arrested in Palestine on April 19. Castillo had an outstanding warrant for Harboring a Runaway issued by the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office.

The Unit received a NCMEC Intake Report as a lead from the United States Marshals Service in Hidalgo County regarding a missing/endangered 13-year-old female child from Edinburg possibly in the Palestine area.

During the investigation, it was reported that the missing/endangered 13-year-old female child was with Castillo. At the time of arrest, the child was not located with Castillo, and the investigation into her whereabouts is ongoing.

Dallas County
David Gene Peterson was arrested in Rowlett on April 20. Peterson had an outstanding warrant for Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Young Child issued by the Rowlett Police Department. 

AG Paxton Sues President Biden on Executive Order Expanding Environmental Regulatory Power

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton joined a 10-state coalition suing the Biden Administration over a recent Executive Order in which the President established a “working group” of federal bureaucrats charged with calculating the “social costs” of certain emissions.

The end goal of the Administration is to enact new environmental regulations based upon these “social costs.”

“The use of these values will result in the most expansive and expensive environmental regulatory initiative in history and affects virtually every federal agency. These estimates will be used to fundamentally transform the entire regulatory structure of the federal government, as well as the way Texas conducts its business and Texans manage their lives,” said Attorney General Paxton.

“This puffed-up Executive Order was not approved by Congress or the American people, and it flies in the face of the Founders’ vision of state sovereignty and the free market. This is a dangerous act of overreach led by President Biden’s unaccountable environmentalists.”   

Paxton Sues Biden Administration for Disregarding COVID-19 Rules at Texas/Mexico Border

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton today sued the Biden Administration again for encouraging the spread of COVID-19 at the border by allowing illegal aliens, potentially infected with COVID-19, to gather in a congregated care setting.

This action departs from the administration’s own rules for large numbers of illegal aliens and creates an undeniable crisis on our southern border.

The Biden Administration has threatened the health of Texans without justification or explanation of their actions.

While abandoning their own standards, they have failed to enforce the Immigration & Nationality Act’s backstop, a longstanding federal law requiring the detention of aliens arriving in the United States who might transmit diseases of public health significance.

“President Biden’s outright disregard of the public health crisis in Texas by welcoming and encouraging mass gatherings of illegal aliens is hypocritical and dangerous. This reckless policy change stifles the reopening of the Texas economy at a time when businesses need it the most and when our children need to get back to in-person learning as soon as possible,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Law and order must be immediately upheld and enforced to ensure the safety of our communities and the reopening of the strongest economy of the country.”

Read the complaint here.  

Notification of Opinion

Official Request Summary RQ-0403-KP
Authority of a county attorney to file suit to enjoin a violation of a restriction contained
in a properly recorded plat of property within the county.

Official Opinion Summary KP-0368
Property Code chapter 203 authorizes the county attorney to independently enforce land use restrictions in counties with populations over 200,000.

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