Texas Rep. Gene Wu avoids arrest after judge grants writ of habeas corpus

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — The saga over whether or not or not Democrats who fled for Washington, D.C. to keep away from voting on a Texas voting invoice could be arrested took one other flip Wednesday.

Texas Rep. Gene Wu (D-Houston) stays a free man, for now, after a District Court docket Choose granted an order referred to as writ Habeas Corpus, which is able to permit Wu to be launched if he’s arrested till a decide decides whether or not the civil arrest warrants for 52 Texas Democrats is authorized or not.

“We will do everything we can to make sure the right to vote for all Texans is protected,” Wu mentioned, following Wednesday’s court docket proceedings. “We will not go down without a fight.”

On Tuesday, 52 civil arrest warrants have been filed in response to Home Democrats who’ve refused to return to the Texas Capitol in an effort to interrupt quorum and forestall the Republicans’ voting invoice from transferring ahead.

Wu’s attorneys challenged the constitutionality of the warrant issued, arguing that it was unlawful.

“There was no quorum, so they could do no business, so the warrant is illegal and the warrant to arrest violates the Texas constitution,” mentioned considered one of Wu’s legal professionals, Stanley Schneider.

Jason Vaughn, coverage director of Texas Younger Republicans mentioned Gov. Greg Abbott promised to proceed to name particular periods till the payments on the agenda, together with the Election Integrity Invoice, are voted on.

“At some point, they’re going to have to come back and get the job done,” Vaughn mentioned. “We’re three or four (House Democrats) away from quorum now. It’s time to get to work. So let’s put this aside. There are plenty of things we can work on together and let’s get the job done.”

Choose Chris Morton, of the 230th District Court docket, appeared to rule in Wu’s favor, for now, saying that he’s involved that Lawyer Basic Ken Paxton wasn’t notified in regards to the arrest warrant filed.

Thus, Morton granted a writ of Habeas Corpus, permitting Wu’s lawyer’s to ask the decide to launch the lawmaker till it’s determined if his detention was lawful.

Will probably be as much as a decide to determine if the warrants issued by the Texas Home of Representatives are authorized. Wu is a free man till a decide makes that decision.

Whereas the Texas Home voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to authorize regulation enforcement to trace down Democrats and convey them again to the state Capitol, the writ issued Wednesday was solely with reference to Wu.

“We are here to make some good trouble. This is a reminder to Governor Abbott that we still live in a democracy and that we are here as Democrats, as public officials, to defend the right to vote, the freedom to vote, as our most fundamental right that we have as Americans, as Texans,” Wu mentioned after court docket.

Harris County District Lawyer Kim Ogg mentioned on Wednesday that it is a constitutional situation, not a prison case.

“Our criminal courts should not be used to determine and decide political differences,” Ogg mentioned. “The legislature has a responsibility to work together and while I personally support what the democratic representatives have done, as the District Attorney of Harris County. I’m bound to follow the law. I reported in Representation of the people of Texas in case courts later find this to be a criminal matter.”

Ogg mentioned she anticipates extra challenges can be filed within the coming days.

“Representative Wu is a free man. He doesn’t have to worry at this time about being arrested and locked up in the chambers in the House of Representatives,” mentioned lawyer Brent Mayr. The order issued by the decide additionally trumps the warrant in order that nobody can take him into custody proper now.

Wu’s attorneys plan to return to court docket subsequent Wednesday.

When requested if Wu deliberate to return to Austin, he had a really emphatic reply.

“Hell no.”

The subsequent court docket listening to is scheduled for Wednesday, August 18.

As of Wednesday, the Texas Democrats haven’t been charged with against the law or face a advantageous. The civil arrest warrants would solely permit for the Texas Division of Public Security to return the representatives to the State Capitol.

MORE ON THE TEXAS LEGISLATURE:

Texas Democrats nonetheless accepted particular session per diem, paperwork reveal
Texas Home orders arrest of lacking Democrats as weekslong stalemate over voting invoice continues
2 extra Houston lawmakers arrested in DC throughout march for voting rights

For updates from court docket, comply with Roxie Bustamante on Fb, Twitter and Instagram.

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Jobber Wiki writer Frank Lengthy added to this report.