30.06 Ruling Letters

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Papa_Tiger
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Re: 30.06 Ruling Letters

#181

Post by Papa_Tiger » Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:57 pm

ELB wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:50 pm
I'm seeing news stories that Austin was fined $9000 for "violating Texas open carry laws." :confused5 :confused5

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/guns/20 ... udge-rules
A Travis County judge ruled Thursday that the city of Austin violated open-carry laws when it stopped a licensed resident from carrying firearms at City Hall.
https://www.texastribune.org/2019/01/17 ... dge-rules/
"At issue is whether certain government agencies are exempt from the state's open carry law, passed in 2015, which allows Texans with a license to openly tote their handguns in a hip or shoulder holster."
Journalism and journalistic integrity are dead. Can't even report the basic facts correctly.

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Re: 30.06 Ruling Letters

#182

Post by Pawpaw » Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:03 pm

Papa_Tiger wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:57 pm
Journalism and journalistic integrity are dead. Can't even report the basic facts correctly.
:iagree:

Today "journalistic integrity" is even more of an oxymoron than "military intelligence".
Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence. - John Adams

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Jusme
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Re: 30.06 Ruling Letters

#183

Post by Jusme » Fri Jan 18, 2019 6:22 pm

ELB wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:50 pm
I'm seeing news stories that Austin was fined $9000 for "violating Texas open carry laws." :confused5 :confused5

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/guns/20 ... udge-rules
A Travis County judge ruled Thursday that the city of Austin violated open-carry laws when it stopped a licensed resident from carrying firearms at City Hall.
https://www.texastribune.org/2019/01/17 ... dge-rules/
"At issue is whether certain government agencies are exempt from the state's open carry law, passed in 2015, which allows Texans with a license to openly tote their handguns in a hip or shoulder holster."
ETA:
https://freebeacon.com/issues/city-of-a ... urt-rules/
The City of Austin violated the state's open carry law on six occasions, the court indicated, and ordered the city to pay a fine of $1,500 for each violation.
I guess they copy off of each other.

It saves reporters a lot of time to just cut and paste. You know how tedious it can be doing actual research. :smilelol5:
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Re: 30.06 Ruling Letters

#184

Post by ELB » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:37 pm

The Texas Attorney General filed an appeal of the decision of the trial court in the Austin City Hall case on 01 August 2019.

The appeal is filed in the Third Court of Appeals, which handles Travis and 19 other counties.

The appeal case number is 03-19-00501-CV. The online status can be checked at http://search.txcourts.gov/CaseSearch.a ... 03&s=c

Just put in the appeal case number in the right spot and click the search button.

No indication as to exactly what is being appealed. The Texas AG won a judgment against the City of Austin requiring it to pay some fines.
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Re: 30.06 Ruling Letters

#185

Post by ELB » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:48 am

The appeal trundles on. Court records and exhibits from the trial court have been filed with the clerk of the Third District Court of Appeals. The Appellant's (Ken Paxton's) brief is due to the court 12/06/19. I assume this is where he will lay out exactly what is being appealed.
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Re: 30.06 Ruling Letters

#186

Post by ELB » Fri Jan 17, 2020 6:30 pm

On 09 Dec 2019 the Attorney General submitted his brief in support of his appeal of the trial court's rulings in the case Paxton v City of Austin.

The link to the brief is here: http://search.txcourts.gov/SearchMedia. ... 8e1ee2e1df

The brief is long and I have not read the entire document yet, but here's where he summarizes what he's after:
Summary of the Argument
The trial court correctly found that the City violated S.B. 273 on 6 occasions,
but it nevertheless misconstrued the law in other important respects.

First, the court took too narrow a view of what kind of notice comes within the
law’s scope. An interdictory circle containing a handgun is a “communication” or
“sign” within the meaning of § 411.209(a). Whether viewed as a communication or
a sign, that symbol conveys the message with which Texas Penal Code § 30.06 is
principally concerned—that entry onto property with a handgun is forbidden. Neither
word requires recitation of specific verbiage to come within the statute’s ambit.
The trial court’s contrary reading mistakes the ordinary definition of those words
and their surrounding phrases, and ultimately produces a statute that does not do the
one thing it was designed to do.

Second, the court took too broad a view of where a municipality is permitted to
ban handguns. The fact that a license holder may not bring a handgun onto the
“premises of a government court” does not mean that the City may prohibit handguns
from an entire building just because it uses a portion of that building a portion
of the time to host a government court. Statutory cross-references demonstrate that
a license holder is barred from carrying a handgun in an entire building only if that
entire building is used as a government court. A license holder is not barred from
carrying a handgun in an entire building because a portion of that building is being
used as a government court. The trial court reached the opposite conclusion by flouting
basic rules of English grammar and ignoring the surrounding statutory context.

Third, and entirely independent of its misunderstandings of the law’s substantive
provisions, the trial court applied the wrong law when determining the number
of violations and calculating the appropriate civil penalty. The City has affixed an
interdictory circle to the door that welcomes visitors to City Hall 365 days per year.
And security officers provide oral notice day in and day out that handguns are absolutely
prohibited. The City did not meet its burden to rebut the presumption that it
has continuously violated the law for more than two years. Accordingly, the City is
liable for far more than the six violations the trial court found. Moreover, each day
of violation after the first one—whether there were 500 or 5—should have led to a
$10,000 fine. The City properly owes more than $5 million in civil penalties, not the
paltry $9,000 the trial court ordered.

Finally, because the trial court erred in assessing the appropriate civil penalties,
it must also reexamine the proper amount of attorney’s fees.
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Re: 30.06 Ruling Letters

#187

Post by C-dub » Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:15 pm

OUCH!!!

I am a little confused by the issue surrounding the typical "no guns" sign. The silhouette inside a red circle with a slash through the gun. Are they saying it is similar to or the same as a 30.06 and 30.07 even though it doesn't have the wording to accompany it?
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Re: 30.06 Ruling Letters

#188

Post by DocV » Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:50 pm

C-dub wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:15 pm
OUCH!!!

I am a little confused by the issue surrounding the typical "no guns" sign. The silhouette inside a red circle with a slash through the gun. Are they saying it is similar to or the same as a 30.06 and 30.07 even though it doesn't have the wording to accompany it?
Yup. That is confusing. I think, think I say, that passage refers to:
The trial court denied the Attorney General’s motion for summary judgment and most of the City’s plea. CR.388. In a letter, the court explained its decision grant- ing the City’s plea with respect to the interdictory circle posted at the entrance to City Hall. First, the court concluded that the universal sign of prohibition—a hand- gun inside of a circle with a line slashed through it—was not a “sign” or “commu- nication” for purposes of § 411.209(a) because it did not contain specific wording.
if so, the quote in ELB's post is merely stating the slashed handgun sign is indeed a sign that violates S.B. 273.
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Re: 30.06 Ruling Letters

#189

Post by ELB » Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:57 pm

Another extract:
Issues Presented

1. Texas Government Code § 411.209(a) bars “communication[s]” or “sign[s]” wrongfully communicating that a license holder may not bring a handgun onto government property. Does that proscription include posting a sign that depicts a gun inside an interdictory circle—the universal symbol of prohibition?

2. Texas Penal Code § 46.03(c)(3) prohibits license holders from possessing a handgun “on the premises of any government court.” Does that permit a municipality to prohibit handguns from an entire building where only a portion of that building is being used to hold a court meeting?

3. Texas Government Code § 411.209(c) imposes cumulative civil penalties for each day of a “continuing violation.” Where uncontroverted evidence shows a pattern of violations over a three-year period pursuant to an ongoing policy, must the Attorney General nevertheless introduce affirmative evidence for hundreds of individual days to show a “continuing violation”?
xii

4. Texas Government Code § 411.209(b)(2) requires a court to impose heightened civil penalties—a minimum of $10,000 each—for any “subsequent violation” of the law. Where a court finds multiple violations, may that court nevertheless impose fines of less than $10,000 each?

5. Where a trial court misconstrues the substantive law defining liability, undercounts the number of violations, and assigns the wrong civil penalty for those violations that it finds, should that court reassess its attorney’s fees determination?
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Re: 30.06 Ruling Letters

#190

Post by ELB » Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:06 pm

The law about government entities illegally barring licensed carry provides for up to $1500 fine for the first violation and up to $10,500 fine for subsequent violations. I had a question about that in one of the threads on this issue, about what constitutes a second/subsequent violation.

IIRC someone responded that the first citizen complaint/AG investigate/AG sues and obtains fines would be the first violation, and the if the government entity still didn't remove the prohibition, a second round of complaint/investigation/suit/judgment would be the second violation and the higher fine would kick in.

However, in the brief I linked above, the AG is arguing that the first day of violation (e.g. an improper sign) is the first violation and gets the lesser fine, but each day that the sign remains up after that is a separate violation to be tolled at the higher fine rate. He says the court's interpretation in this will affect not only SB273 but other laws that assess fines as well.
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Re: 30.06 Ruling Letters

#191

Post by ELB » Sun Jan 19, 2020 7:10 pm

Having read the entire brief once and some parts more than once, here is my summary:

(Recall that the City had a 30.06 sign posted until Cargill’s 1st complaint. The city took it down But replaced it with a circle-slash over a handgun symbol, which the AG calls them “interdictory circle.”)

1. The AG says that for the purposes of Government Code Section 411.209, The interdictory Circle is a sign that communicates to licensed carriers that they may not enter with a handgun and therefore the City is violating the law, contrary to the trial court’s ruling. I think a careful reading shows that he is NOT saying that the sign meets the requirements of Penal Code 30.06, just that for the government to post it violates the law in the Government Code.

2. The trial court ruled incorrectly that licensed carry can be prohibited in an entire building when only a part of the building is used for court. The reasoning on this is long and I’m not going to try to summarize it here, but he points out that this is particularly absurd in the case of Austin’s city hall because the courts that meet there are minor courts that meet for a few hours at a time, a maximum of 12 days per year during business hours — and possibly less since one of the court’s doesn’t always meet on every scheduled date. (One of the courts meets after normal business hours when no one is allowed in the building except the court).

3. The trial court grossly miscalculated the fine that Austin should pay in two ways. One, the court erred in assessing fines only for those days that The AG could prove a licensed carrier was denied entry on a day that no courts were in session. The AG argued that once the violation occurred it was up to the city to document they have stopped, this is how it works with other civil fines in Texas. AND the City testified they enforce the policy every day. Therefore every day since the complaint amounts to a separate violation, which totaled 577 days (IIRC) at the time of the trial. Two, the trial court erred in assessing only $1500 for each of the six violations that the court did recognize. After the first violation the law provides for a minimum fine of $10,000 for each subsequent violation, so minimum $51,000 if you use the trial court’s count, or $5.7M if you use the correct count of violations. (And with higher fines, higher attorneys’ fees should be assessed.)
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“The only thing more enjoyable than seeing your opponent lose an election they rigged is seeing them lose an investigation they rigged.” Author unknown but dead on the mark.

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