Conroe, March 29 – The attorneys in The Trial of the 21st Century, the Texas Open Meetings Act (“TOMA”) trial, including the one on the witness stand, have wandered into a field of the most picayune queries. It’s embarrassing.
Despite his testimony before the lunch break that he does not know or understand the constitutional legal standard or analysis for “vagueness,” defense expert witness Alan Bojorquez testified after his meal, “I believe there are constitutional issues with 143 [Section 551.143]. I have already testified about that.”
Special Prosector Joe Larsen pressed forward to attempt to distinguish between “vagueness” in our beloved English language and the same term in a constitutional analysis.
In response to questions from Visiting District Judge Randy Clapp, Bojorquez explained that a public disclosure of a “daisy chain” or “walking quorum” of secret discussions among public officials would make the application of Section 143 invalid. In further response to questions from Judge Clapp, Bojorquez tried to distinguish between the terms “vague” and “over broad.”
Judge Clapp specifically asked, “Is it your opinion that 143 criminalizes constitutionally protected behavior?” Bojorquez responded, “I do, Your Honor.”
On redirect, Craig Doyal’s attorney Rusty Hardin elicited Bojorquez’s testimony that Section 143 of TOMA does not mention a “daisy chain.” Hardin raised the point because a 2005 Opinion of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott specifically discussed “daisy chains” as impermissible methods of communication among government officials under General Abbott’s interpretation of the statute.
Judge Clapp is engaged in the testimony to an impressive degree. It’s always good to see a judge who gives attention to matters before him.