Yesterday, Stephanie Townsend Allala sent out a news release advising that the Texas Supreme Court denied her petition to review her open records case. On August 1, 2014, the Texas Court of Appeals of the Third District rendered a judgment refusing to give Stephanie Townsend Allala the opportunity to determine whether the City had, in fact, recovered all of the records from former city officials that Townsend Allala had requested through an open records request.

On August 1, 2014, the Court of Appeals reversed the previous court’s December 2, 2013 denial of the city’s argument on “jurisdiction.” The City has continually argued that the open records law did not require the City to produce records that it did not have in its possession. The district court issued a ruling that allowed Stephanie Townsend Allala to “discover” whether all of the government officials had turned over all of the required documents. The City appealed the ruling that resulted in the August reversal by the Court of Appeals.

In response, Stephanie Townsend Allala, through her attorney, Bill Aleshire asked the Texas Supreme Court to review the Appeals Court’s decision.

Yesterday, the Texas Supreme Court refused to review the case.

According to Townsend Allala’s news brief, Bill Aleshire “expressed concern about the impact that the refusal of the state’s highest court to hear the case will have upon open government.” Aleshire is quoted in the news release as stating, “Open government advocates will be very worried about whether secret government will easily exist because TPIA (Texas Public Information Act) cannot be used to force a government body to collect public records from officials and employees who choose to keep those records concealed on their personal email accounts.”

For her part, Stephanie Townsend Allala, an elder law attorney, stated, “I am disappointed that the Texas Supreme Court will not review the decision of the Appellate Court.”

Townsend Allala added, “However, I am very proud to have been involved in this case and proud of the many local citizens who provided support.” Thanking her attorney, Bill Aleshire, Townsend Allala added that she “considered the open records and government transparency effort in El Paso to have been victorious in many ways.”

She added that she expects the “loop holes” to be closed in the near future.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

20 replies on “Texas Supreme Court Declines to Review Townsend Allala Case”

  1. Martin,

    Sorry to hear this – I know you guys really wanted to win this.

    On other hand – yay for the 4th amendment.

  2. David K
    Your a fucking idiot! The people of Texas lost on this one you moron.
    The Texas Court of Appeals gutted the Texas open records act stupid.Yep David K(Coward of the El Paso Blogosphere) you show what the Republican side really supports unethical and non transparent government.
    This mean nothing now in it clears the way for Texas elected and non elected official to hid their back room dealing from the citizen by using private e-mail accounts. GOVERNMENT CODE TITLE 5. OPEN GOVERNMENT; ETHICS SUBTITLE A. OPEN GOVERNMENT CHAPTER 552. PUBLIC INFORMATION SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS
    Sec. 552.001. POLICY; CONSTRUCTION. (a) Under the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government that adheres to the principle that government is the servant and not the master of the people, it is the policy of this state that each person is entitled, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, at all times to complete information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created. The provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed to implement this policy.

    (b) This chapter shall be liberally construed in favor of granting a request for information.

  3. Obviously, transparency means nothing to Little Boy David K. He’s a small mind, taking big orders. He’s selfish & prone to tantrums.

  4. I stand by the 4th amendment. Sorry guys, I’m not ignorant to the constitution. You can’t just demand to look at someone’s personal emails without probable cause. Besides, the city of el paso – or any other city – does not have the power to compel anyone to produce private communications about anything. That power lies with the judicial branch of the government. Allala has every right to put this matter before a judge. All she has to do show probable cause and the judge can make Steve Ortega turn over emails via your typical warrant.

    Now, I know all you guys think you are experts, but the Texas Supreme court is a little more knowledgeable than you.

    People should retain their basic constitutional rights even when you don’t like them personally. It’s this whole ideal of freedom that is hard to swallow – I know.. You guys will get over it.

  5. Personal emails, on government time, taking care of government business? I see that you wear blinders DK.

  6. Little bitch David K
    I will stand with the Fifth circuit that has ruled that when elected/non elected officials are conducting official government business on their private e-mail it becomes a public open records. Yep you moron you think your the only one who knows something about the Constitution. Yep Revisionary Constitution lite! To bad Allala can afford to take it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

  7. Hey Guys know this about David K’s in-depth knowledge about the Constitute law which comes from that most scholarly source Wikipedia. Really this is no joke!

  8. A suedo intellectual; is that what your talking about here Thomas? Little Boy DK, wants to be a Rock Star. Such a funny little man.

  9. Thomas, a slight correction: The ones hiding info are the “progressive” Dems. Susie, Steve, Vero, Beto…all Dems.

  10. DK, your blog must be hurting since you’re always on the blog that you claim iis pure nonsense.

    Your knownledge of politics, constitution and business is zero, just like the zero in the number 10 when you and the greasy lips and triple chin lardo mentally masturbate each other.

  11. Vegas
    Wait a minute the Republicans in Texas couldn’t even get passed their own ethics reforms bill this year and they are in total control of Texas government. The sad part is the ethics reform legislation was pretty much sponsored by the Republicans . So that is kind of like calling the kettle black. Sure Susie, Vero, Stevo and others are part of the problem for the use of e-mails to avoid having their back room dealings known publicly under Texas open records act but the Republicans across the state are knee deep in doing the same crap too.

  12. Thomas, I’m only referring to the situation being discussed in the thread. I know it’s not just Democrats who get in trouble. Though I’m no fan of David K, it’s not fair to say that “Republicans support…non-transparent government.”

    If you want to discuss topics outside of El Paso and our crooked officials, then I would point to “You have to pass tgtthe Bill in order to know what’s in the Bill”.

  13. Vegas
    Here once again you are being one side there are a lot of bills voted for in Congress by Republicans that most do not and have never read what they are voting for. My point is it’s no just Democrats that give us poor government. For me I think both parties suck. I at least try to be an equal opportunity offender when it comes to both parties and their supporters. ;0)

  14. Not one blogger in ELP is willing to critique “PROGRESSIVE” congressman bobby beto orourke? Have one of you morons finally figured out that not one of the so called progressives in El Paso are in fact progressive? Baytoe thought nafta was so awesome for el paso that he was all in for the TPP. Hardly a progressive stance…see elizabeth warren for what a progressive looks like and Sherrod Brown…Bernie Sanders etc. Only real morons think el paso is run by progressives. You know Joe muench, Bob Moore, Rick Cabrera and those types. Call them what they are………….. neo liberal. aka corporate democrats….blue dog democrats….wall street democrats.

  15. I think the angry people here lose sight of what the real issue is – illegal search and seizure. Sure – any business conducted by a public official – or employee – should be available to the public. However, the city has no way of searching the private accounts of their elected – or employed – officials to find city business being conducted. There has to be a string to pull (so to speak). Otherwise a city council person has to make every text, email, phone call, personal conversation available to the city so they can determine if it falls into the “city business” category.

    I’m all for transparency, but that’s not what Allala was seeking – she was seeking unrestricted access to Steve Ortega’s personal email. That’s not constitutional at all. She needs probable cause to have a judge grant authorities to perform such a search. You can’t expose people’s personal lives on a hunch.

    And just in case all of you need a swift kick in the ass – Max Powers obtained emails from Judge Escobar’s personal email account where county business was conducted. Have none of you noticed that? All this screaming about an open government was solved by one guy who knew how to do an effective open records request.

    Call me names all you want, but your own ignorance is why you didn’t get what you want.

  16. Once again David K your a fucking idiot. Simple way to fix the problem. Send the e-mails to the Texas Attorney General and have them determine what e-mails were public business. No ones private information is put out in the public and all interest are protected. Sorry unless you are a complete moron Max is getting the e-mails sent to him and is being lead to the e-mails to look for by others. Any elected official using private e-mails to cover up their back room deals in office have serious ethics problems and are scumbags. So bitch boy David K if in the private sector someone uses tactics to circumvent the laws what will happens to them? Asshole when caught they are going to jail so what make these politicians any better there sparky when they are circumventing our open records laws and that is what these pieces of shit are doing.

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