Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The docket sheet of the 445th District Court indicates that today at 9 a.m. Judge Murray will hear the case. 
If you remove all other issues but the meaning of the resignation, the question becomes, as a matter of law can a person rescind their resignation before it is acted on.  It happens all of the time, assuming the organization they are resigning from does not object.  Those in charge of Cameron County GOP have not objected.  Assuming Judge Murray finds Frank Morris is a Public Officer, the question then becomes can the Cameron GOP refuses to accept his resignation - well sort of because if he withdrew it are then they refusing to accept it?  And this is separate from the issue is the local GOP the proper party to sue to enforce the rule?
Anyway after the hearing I will post a story on what happened.  I have two errands after the hearing so it may be about noon.


The case came down, as I said since day one and in today's preview, to whether or not Morris resigned.  Judge Murray doing the job of the attorneys found in his research the code requires a signature [hence the blind leading the blind with Judge Murray showing them the way].  Inasmuch as the emails did not have any signature, Frank Morris never resigned, and the Temporary Injunction was denied.

Judge Murray also denied Frank Morris' Motion for Sanctions.  He gave no reason he just said denied - nothing more. He never said without merit.  On this issue Judge Murray was solid.  If anyone was entitled to sanctions it would have been Hasse for the frivolous motion for sanctions filed by Morris.  Hasse had emails which indicated Morris resigned.  He has a valid question for the court to resolve, hence no basis for sanctions.

In observing the attorneys, Cesar de Leon is by far the better attorney.


Let me do some research - I want to see if this signature issue has been handled by an appellate court.  I suspect Judge Murray has already done extensive research on the issue. For the record, without an appellate court finding an unsigned email of resignation is valid, Murray was correct in deferring to an appellate court for guidance.  Trial judges should not be answering questions of first impression.  This does not mean Hasse will not win on appeal - let me check the research.  Hasse's attorney was sharp on his feet on the issue and noted attorneys no longer sign pleadings because they are electronically filed.  But the law allows for that - but let's see what I can find.


Texas is governor by the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act

The Act if far from clear.  But what is clear, the parties must agree to do business electronically before an electronic transmission is deemed acceptable in court.  Click on Act above.  What is confusing is, in the first part the Act clearly spells out what is an electronic signature, but later on seems to suggest if an electronic document is proven up as authentic is can be used in court. 


Regardless of Judge Murray's ruling either side can take an Interlocutory Appeal.  Judge Murray understood if he denied the Temporary Injunction on the basis of jurisdiction, the court of appeals could have reversed him for that to then deny it on the merits as to the signature issue.

When judges are faced with a jurisdiction issue, they tend to allow the defendant to win on an issue of merit, rather then jurisdiction.  It is the fastest path to resolution of the case.  Judge Murray understands that the COA can still take up the issue of jurisdiction if Tad Hasse appeals.  The COA on its own motion can raise the issue.

During the hearing Judge Murray made clear his issue concerning jurisdiction related to whether or not the State Party needed to join the lawsuit.  He noted that having given them a chance and they did not act on that chance he was moving forward.  But there remains the issue of whether or not the County GOP was an essential party.  The Election Code Hasse relies on clearly states that the organization cannot refuse to accept the resignation.  It has nothing to do with Frank Morris rescinding his resignation.

In the end if Hasse appeals, the COA can dismiss the appeal for want of subject matter jurisdiction, without ever getting to the signature issue.  If they get to the signature issue, the big question will be did Hasse put into the record any evidence the parties agreed to do business electronically, or did Hasse even prove up as authentic the email from Frank Morris.  I was not at the first hearing so I have no idea.

The COA could find jurisdiction and then rule against Hasse finding Morris's electronic resignation does not comply with Texas law.

For the record, Barton and Montoya were not in the courtroom so any information they have is one sided from Hasse.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are so full of it Bobby, you are blind too then idiot! You never said anything of the letters not being signed you bozo! You are beyond idiotic and so is Murray for that matter.....now an email needs to be signed?! The delivery of ones email which needs pass code to use is not evidence of ones intent to deliver??? Stupid, plain stupid! Congress should just halt the search for the missing IRS emails......they were not signed!