And again I say, good.
The Fifth Court of Appeals has dismissed a challenge to the payments being made to three sets of special prosecutors appointed in connection with criminal charges against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Collin County taxpayer Jeffory Blackard filed a civil suit late last year challenging the $300-per-hour fees charged by the attorneys appointed to prosecute Paxton over allegations of securities violations. The suit argued that the amounts deviate from the Collin County fee schedule. After the case was dismissed in March, Blackard filed an appeal.
In its opinion issued Friday, the appellate court noted that taxpayers have limited standing to challenge the lawfulness of government acts. But that standing “does not, however, authorize a taxpayer to challenge an order in a criminal case in which he is not a party,” the opinion stated. “Because relator lacks standing to challenge the trial court’s order, we dismiss the petition.”
At a meeting earlier this week, Collin County commissioners approved payments to two other sets of attorneys.
Two attorneys were appointed to investigate a 2004 real estate deal involving Paxton. They presented their findings last month, and a grand jury voted to take no action. Their bill for legal fees and expenses totaled $50,626.
Commissioners also approved a $32,130 interim payment for legal fees and expenses for attorney David Feldman. He was appointed to represent Schaffer, Wice and DeBorde in the Blackard case.
Feldman also represents the trio in a separate case against the attorney general’s office to prevent the release of documents filed in the criminal case. The Dallas Morning News had filed a request in October for all records that prosecutors had given to Paxton’s attorneys. Paxton’s office ordered in January that the records be released. The special prosecutors filed suit against the AG’s office to prevent their release.
See here and here for the background. A copy of the court’s order is at the top link. Having come this far, I would expect Blackard to appeal to the Supreme Court, but as yet there’s no word of that. Even if that doesn’t happen, there’s still plenty of other action happening, as you can see. Ken Paxton is a terrible Attorney General, but he is a fee generator for our state’s lawyers. You have to give him credit for that. The Chron has more.