BIRIER1 POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE Attorney General apparently feels safer there than in the Texas courts in defending the University of Texas ban on demonstrators, which was challenged during Henry Kissinger’s visit, and in defending a state hospital against a wrongful death suit. On the criminal court side of the legal system, the Texas Court of Appeals is also beginning to distance itself from the federal Justices, sometimes in surprisingly tough language. This area of the law is touchier because of less public support for defendants’ rights. A key case, which may become a landmark in its own right, Brown v. Texas, recently involved the issue of whether the seizure of certain evidence without a warrant was permissible. Brown was ultimately decided on federal law after being sent back to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals by the U.S. Supreme Court, which used the case to cut back further federal protections against unreasonable searches. However, two judges of the criminal appeals court used the case to roundly criticize the high court and their fellow judges who follow it. “Henceforth,” wrote Judge Teague, “persons of this country must look to their State x. . . independent appellate judiciaries for whatever rights, liberties, and freedoms they want to have. . . . this Court and all appellate courts of this great State of Texas constitute an independent appellate judiciary, and do not exist, when it comes to interpreting the Constitution and laws of this State, solely to mimic decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States.” Nevertheless, these cases do not yet constitute a pattern; and Texas certainly has not yet seized the lead of the new states’ rights advocates for individual freedoms. Rather, the newly etched decisions from Texas courts hold out the hope of what may come from the pens of courageous judges willing to decide cases not always popular with the electorate. Actually, such rulings favoring civil liberties would be consistent with Texas’ historical support for individual rights \(although that support has been weaker Texas has had an exclusionary law on the books since 1925 which bans all unlawfully gained evidence from criminal trials. That was 36 years before the rule was imposed on the state courts of the U.S. And years before the famous Gideon v. Wainwright case by Justice Hugo Black in 1963, Texas required attorneys to be appointed for indigent persons in numerous situations. The Texas Constitution of 1876 protected free speech and assembly freedoms long before the U.S. Supreme Court imposed First Amendment guarantees on the states in 1925. Texas’s prohibition on seizing homesteads for debt or garnishing wages comes out of its rugged tradition favoring individuals against the state. Civil libertarians and civil rights advocates yearn passionately and 1/ Delegates to the June 15 Democratic Party state convention were treated to a 56-page “Briefing Book for Democrats,” entitled “Facts, Fairness and the Failure of Reagan,” prepared by the office of Rep. John Bryant, D-Dallas. “The facts are on our side and we have the responsibility to use them,” Bryant wrote in the introduction. The book discusses ten issues, including the economy, education, and defense policy. Articles by Mark Green and Sen. Edward Kennedy on the Reagan presidency are included. 1/ Democratic campaigner extraordinaire Patti Everitt has been named the Executive Director of the Texas Democratic Party. She worked on Jim Wright’s 1980 reelection campaign, and she served as Field Coordinator for Jim Hightower in his race for Agriculture Commissioner. More recently, she’s worked in the Democrats’ Get-Out-theVote project and has coordinated work on the party’s computer data base project, which made voter lists available to Democratic candidates. // Former Observer editor Joe Holley, last seen in Wales, has turned up as deputy editorial editor at the San Antonio Light, signaling, perhaps, a new age of enlightenment in certain sectors of San Antonio journalism. almost desperately for the promise of a new era in Texas courts, an age of hope in which Texas judges, in the words of Judge Sam Houston Clinton in Brown, zealously protect “the special importance our Texas forebears attached to their right of privacy and other guarantees vouchsafed by the Bill of Rights they first declared and then insisted on retaining in every successive constitution.” 1/ The Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers union has called a boycott against Sun Oil Co. and Texaco. About 1,400 oil workers are on strike against Sun Oil in Pennsylvania and Ohio over wage reductions and attempts to weaken the seniority system. About 700 workers are on strike against Texaco in California and Washington. “These two prosperous oil companies . . are using the present-day anti-labor climate to rewrite union contracts without regard to longstanding work practices and standards,” said OC.4W president Joseph Misbrener. v State Reps. Senfronia Thompson, DHouston, and Paul Moreno, D-El Paso, are cosponsoring a corporate income tax bill in the House. Texas is one of only four states in the nation with no corporate income tax, and corporate profits here are the fourth highest in the country, according to Thompson and Moreno. Most leaders in Texas intend to keep it that way, and the bill has no chance of passage. Asked his opinion of the proposal at his weekly press conference, Gov. Mark White replied, without a moment’s hesitation, “I’m against it.” In any form? “I would veto it,” he said. Were any such promises made to high-tech corporations thinking of locating in Texas? “I’ve said on several occasions I’d veto a corporate or personal income tax.” THE TEXAS OBSERVER
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