Monday, April 28, 2014



I initially could not find the opinion because the AG changed the number from 1160 to 1053. I was looking at the current opinions when I realized those released today contained the opinion in 1053, and not the original 1160 assigned to the case.  Yes, then did post his get a clue post with the same information.

From the Opinion.  AG Abbott refuses to find JP's have no legal authority to sign waivers, but does find a court likely might find they have no jurisdiction.  In fact because the AG will not affirmatively agree with DA Saenz he refuses to address the fee issue.  Why? Because it is happening all over the state and AG Abbott as I predicted did not want to open that can of worms.

"Accordingly, a court would likely conclude that a justice of the peace is not a "judge of a court with

jurisdiction in family law cases" for purposes of subsection 2.204( c) of the Family Code and thus

may not grant a waiver of the 72-hour waiting period after the issuance of a marriage license.

Because your remaining questions concerning related fees are expressly premised on an

affirmative answer to your first question, we do not address them."


The opinion makes clear the state legislature has never defined "court with jurisdiction in family law cases."

"Further, although the Legislature does not define the phrase "court with jurisdiction in family law cases" in the Family Code, references in other
statutes that set forth the jurisdiction of various courts strongly suggest that the phrase does not
include courts with only Title 3 jurisdiction in truancy cases."

Case law which suggests does not supplant the authority of the Texas Legislature.  The fact there is no clear rule is why the AG refused to answer in the affirmative.  AG Abbott knows where this is headed if it were to become a bigger legal issue, a void for vagueness..

But like I have said, the Legislature needs to clean up this mess to include how much any judge can charge for a wedding.

Do you really believe the AG called Saenz on Friday to say the opinion would be delayed just so he could post it Monday morning?  Just another BS  lie story posted by Montoya under contract to Saenz to lie to Cameron county.  You cannot get around this reality.  The AG would have told Saenz the opinion was forthcoming and Montoya would have been at the ready - he was not - why?  because there was no  communication


The Herald's reporter Mark Reagan is showing his extraordinary lack of professionalism in the story.  He is demanding Erin Garcia and DA Saenz comment without a copy of the opinion.  He got it in an update he subscribes to.

It is not yet listed on the AG's web page, but it is no longer pending. [see correction above]

Now really, who is going to comment based on having a reporter who has proven himself over and over again incapable of understanding the simplest of legal concepts, reading the opinion to them?. Why not just release it and then allow Saenz and Garcia an opportunity to digest it before commenting?


I do not know about the fee issue.  Texas does not regulate what judges can charge - so a fee for an expedited wedding by itself would not be illegal.

For me the bigger issue is, depending what the opinion says I will be forwarding it to the Houston Chronicle with the names of the district court judges who charge a fee to sign waivers.

There are two legal issues here - the waiver - which  if signed by a judge improperly is of no legal consequence under the family law code, and the fee.  Without the opinion I cannot comment.  There is no law on fees judges can charge - but if the AG opinion says judges cannot charge for the waivers there are a lot of district court judges in Harris county in a lot of trouble.

AG Abbott may have opened a hornets nest he does not want.

On a final note, who believes on Friday as Montoya alleges that AG's office called Saenz to say the opinion would be delayed, only to have the opinion released on Monday morning.  Another bogus story.

But until I see and read the opinion this is all I can report.

For the record, I believe the AG is wrong- but I will consider his opinion.  The Texas legislature took the power away from county court at law judges.  This means the legislature knew how to take the power away from specific judges.  The fact JP's were not included in that list means under basic statutory construction the legislature did not address the issue.  The law clearly otherwise gives jurisdiction to any judge with jurisdiction in family law cases.

AG opinions are not binding and subject to challenge in court.  Trial judges are free to ignore any and all AG opinions, until upheld by an appellate court.

But once I read the reasoning of the AG I may change my mind - maybe they found something Saenz never referenced.


Anonymous said...

Catch a clue, Bobby.

BobbyWC said...

You apparently are too stupid to see the AG changed the case number on the issue - as the opinion notes it was originally 1160 and not the current number which is why I did not see it, but now that I have it shows Saenz lost again

So you get a clue

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

On Zeke Siva's FB page he is saying exactly the opposite of what you say Bobby. Check it out. He makes some pretty strong statements.

Anonymous said...

A court would likely conclude that a justice of the peace is not a 'judge of a court with jurisdiction in family law cases" for purposes of subsection 2.204( c) of the Family Code and thus may not grant a waiver of the 72-hour waiting period after the issuance of a marriage license."

What is it that you don't understand? No wonder you "choose" not to practice law. Our community is grateful for that. Your analysis was way off, as predicted.