Judge Throws Out Texas Voter ID Law Again

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Alexandra HartAugust 24, 2017 2:20 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

A Federal judge has ruled against Texas’ Voter ID law, dealing Republicans another blow on the issue.

Texas Public Radio’s Ryan Poppe has more:

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos in Corpus Christi ruled that Texas’ 2011 Voter ID law violated both the U.S. Voting Rights Act and parts of the U.S. Constitution because the law targets black and Latino voters.

The court saw the original 2011 law as the most restrictive voting law in the country, which required voters posses one of seven government-issued IDs before being allowed to vote.

State lawmakers this past session attempted to fix the original law by making it less restrictive, but Judge Ramos said those revisions, too, violated the U.S. Voting Rights Act.

“It limited the number of IDs that could be used to vote and those IDs were generally less available to African-American and Latino voters in Texas and the court said that had not substantially changed,” said Jose Garza, plaintiff’s attorney with the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus.

Texas’ Attorney General plans to appeal the judge’s order to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court.

An Austin couple wrongly convicted for child sexual abuse decades ago has been awarded $3.4 million in compensation, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

Dan and Fran Keller spent more than 21 years behind bars after being accused of holding satanic rituals at their day care facility. The Kellers’ case made national news back in 1991 at the height of the so-called “Satanic Panic” – a time when fear swept the nation about secret cults preying on children at day care facilities.

In 2015, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the Kellers’ convictions, but wouldn’t go so far as to declare them innocent. Then, in June of this year, Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore dropped all charges and declared the Kellers “actually innocent.”

Fran Keller told the Statesman that she and her husband can finally try to begin returning to a normal life.

“We’re buying a house, a new vehicle, gonna take trips, and help other people,” Keller said.

The pair has struggled to find work because of their age and criminal convictions, despite being declared innocent.

“I really would like an apology from the state, but since we’re not going to be getting it verbally, this will be good enough,” Keller said.

The $3.4 million comes from a state fund set aside for those wrongly convicted of crimes. That fund pays $80,000 per year of wrongful imprisonment.

A woman whose car plunged from the 7th story of an Austin parking garage last month is suing the owner and operator of the facility. Forty-nine-year-old Christi Bowmer is seeking more than $1 million in damages from GTT Parking LP and owner Sheldon Kahn.

She alleges the company, which operates the Littlefield Garage in downtown Austin, was negligent for not upgrading the garage’s cable barriers.

The incident is the second time in a year that a car has gone over the side of the garage.