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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Court of Criminal Appeals judge faces arrest warrant

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 10:53 AM

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A 19-year veteran of Texas' highest criminal court has a warrant out for his arrest for refusing to pay a 4 year old $193 speeding ticket, reports the Austin American-Statesman this morning.

The warrant stems from the years-long battle Lawrence Meyers, the longest serving member of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, has fought in Austin after being slapped with a ticket for doing 79 in a 60-mph stretch of I-35 back in 2008. Meyers has repeatedly delayed the case, using legal tactics virtually unheard of in traffic court.

The state's Court of Criminal Appeals is the end of the line for convicts hoping to have their cases reviewed. Each year Meyers hears appeals to re-open cases ranging from death penalty convictions to those accused of lesser offenses.

After being ticketed in 2008, Meyers submitted a not guilty plea but skipped his court date. The case languished for a year until Meyers requested a new court date, and eventually pleaded no-contest. Given 90 days to pay a $200 fine, an Austin municipal court judge issued a bench warrant for Meyers' arrest in early 2011 when the deadline passed and Meyers still hadn't paid up. Meyers then filed a writ of habeas corpus -- in traffic court -- to overturn the judgment, void the arrest warrant, and restart the case. He was granted a new trial, which was delayed six times. A judge refused to grant Meyers' request for a seventh delay, and another warrant for his arrest was issued this summer when Meyers again skipped his court date.

He went back to court August 8, pleaded guilty, and was told to pay $481 in fines and fees. A judge signed his current arrest warrant when that payment deadline blew by and Meyers still hadn't paid.

Meyers tells the Statesman he still hopes for a new trial so he can defend why he was speeding back in 2008.

Elsewhere in Texas this month, a South Texas judge was put back on the bench following his paid, yearlong suspension after being caught on video beating his 16-year-old daughter with belt while dishing out a threatening, abusive and obscenity-laced tirade.

You stay classy, Texas judiciary.  -- Michael Barajas

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