Friday, May 30, 2008

Texas Courts Make Questionable Decisions

Yesterday, Texas courts made a couple of decisions that were controversial to say the least. One involved a lawsuit against the makers of Vioxx, and the other involved the FLDS cult headed by the jailed Warren Jeffs (pictured above).

A Texas jury had awarded the wife of Robert Ernst a $253 million dollar verdict against Merck and Company. The jury felt the drug Vioxx was responsible for Ernst's death. Texas law lowered the verdict to $26 million, which was still a respectable amount for the widow and a significant deterrent for the company.

But a three-judge appellate panel decided the jury was wrong. They decided there was no evidence against the drug company and reversed the verdict. Their decision completely wipes out the $26 million judgement.

One thing that makes this look bad is the fact that all three judges had received large campaign donations from the law firms representing the drug company. Whether it was or not, this gives the perception that this was a verdict that had been bought and paid for. If it's not already, it should be illegal for law firms to give money to judges and then appear before those judges with a legal case.

The widows attorney said he is considering appealing the case to the Texas Supreme Court. That sounds like a waste of time to me. The Texas Supreme Court has established a reputation for its corporate-friendly verdicts, not to mention the fact that several of the justices have ethical problems of their own (including taking contributions from law firms that appear before them).

In the other case, the Texas Supreme Court decided that Texas authorities did not have a right to remove the young children from the FLDS cult compound in West Texas. They have ordered the state to return the children to the cult compound.

They did this in spite of evidence that several under-age girls had given birth to babies. There were also pictures of cult-leader Warren Jeffs kissing 12 and 13 year-old girls (see above). Evidently the court is quite happy to send these children back into an abusive environment.

Whether the original warrant was justifiable or not, there should be a way to protect these children, especially the young girls, from sexual abuse.

I find both of these verdicts questionable.


  1. I think judges overturning decisions in favor of a campaign donor is an expected consequence of electing judges.

    As far as the FLDS decisions, from what I've read the state has to show probable cause for each child taken. A decision I agree with. It appears once CPS steps into the picture, you have to prove your innocence.

  2. Mornin' Sugar,

    I'm glad to see I'm not the only one advocating that the state protect the children FIRST and figure out the legalities later. Very unliberal of me to think such a thing but I don't give a hoot about politics where children are concerned.

    I think pedophiles with a proven track record ought to have mandatory life sentences. Bugger a bunch of rehab. All kinds of statistics show that pedophiles don't ever change their spots in any permanent way. Protect children FIRST and put the pedophile away for life.

    But, then...I'm an odd duck anyway.

    I also have some unliberal views on guns and own them...and will continue to own them until, know the rest of THAT one.

    Maybe it's only Texas Democrats with this particular affliction. Probably because in Texas, democrats are on the endangered species list more often than polar bears.

    btw...corey tells me we are going to miss a great party during the Austin convention...dang! We're back in the Ozarks right now and there's no way we can get back to Texas in time to meet and greet.

    Take lots of pics for me, will ya? And post 'em first thing!

    Menopausal Mick

  3. AA-
    You and I will just have to disagree on this one. We can argue about it over a beer at the blogger's party.

    I totally agree with you about the sex abuse and about gun ownership (although I don't own one). I guess we're not good liberals!
    Sorry to hear you won't be at the blogger's party. It should be a good one.


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