New EDTX District Judge Nominee

President Trump’s first EDTX judicial nominee for the new Congress is Sean D. Jordan of Austin. Mr. Jordan is currently in private practice in Austin, and was formerly the principal deputy solicitor general in the Office of the Solicitor General of Texas. At one point prior to that he jumped out of airplanes for a living with the 82nd Airborne.

EDTX Court Status During Shutdown

Chief Judge Gilstrap has previously issued a general order staying all civil actions pending in the Eastern District of Texas in which the United States or an agency, corporation, officer or employee of the United States is a party and that party is represented of record by the United States Attorney (or an Assistant United States Attorney in light of the DOJ’s temporary lack of staff and funding. Effective close of business today a second general order will go into effect deeming all employees within the EDTX including the District and Magistrate Courts and their personnel, the Bankruptcy Court and its personnel, the District Clerk’s office, staff attorneys, court interpreters and coordinator, court reporters and the United States Probation Office, as essential to carry out and support the constitutionally required judicial functions of the Court. Accordingly, all employees will be required to report to work for regular duties and hours unless otherwise instructed. Employees who are off work for any reason will be placed on furlough status for whatever period of time they are not working. The General Services Administration, United States Marshals Service and all courthouse protective services and maintenance contractors are also required to maintain all functions necessary for the continued operation and safety of the courthouses and personnel within the District.

Senate Confirms John Garrison as EDTX U.S. Marshal

In the final hours of the last Congress the U.S. Senate confirmed about 70 nominees for various posts, including John Garrison as U.S. marshal for the Eastern District of Texas. The two pending nominees for vacant judgeships in Tyler and Beaumont were not among them, and there has not been a formal nomination for the third vacancy. All pending nominations have now lapsed, but it is expected the current nominees will be renominated in the near future in the new Congress.

John is a familiar face locally, having joined the Marshals Service in 1990 as a deputy U.S. marshal. He has spent his entire career in the Eastern District of Texas, serving as the district’s sex offender investigations coordinator, judicial security inspector and acting assistant chief. He also served as a member of the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force and the Marshals Service Special Operations Group.

Prior to joining the USMS, John served as a deputy sheriff for the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office in Alexandria, Louisiana, from 1987 to 1989. He served in the Marine Corps from 1977 to 1980.

If memory serves, his experience includes executing warrants at rib joints in Marshall, but we were all a lot younger back then …

Congratulations to John, and we all look forward to continuing to work with you!

2019 EDTX Criminal Bench Bar Conference

The 2019 EDTX Criminal Bench Bar Conference will be held February 12-13, 2019 at The Center for American and International Law (CAIL), 5201 Democracy Drive, Plano Texas.  This conference is specifically designed for CJA Panel Attorneys, US Attorneys, Federal Public Defenders and US Probation, and CLE credit will be available. Registration will begin January 2, 2019, and there is no registration fee for this event.

Reassignment of EDTX Civil & Criminal Actions

Whenever the makeup on a district court’s bench changes, though retirements or the addition of new judges, the docket is reallocated.  Last week saw a significant reallocation of the Eastern District’s cases due to the arrival on the bench of Judge Jeremy Kernodle in Tyler and changes in Senior Judge Ron Clark’s docket.  I wanted to go through the changes and what they mean in the affected divisions.

EDTX Court Closures for National Day of Mourning for President George H. W. Bush

In response to the national day of mourning honoring the memory and service of President George H. W. Bush, the Eastern District of Texas will be closed on Wednesday, December 5th. The Court has advised that where there are trials underway and/or individual District Judges determine that matters scheduled before them on that day should go forward, considering the needs of justice and the service to the public related to the dispatch of the court’s pressing workload, those courts will continue operations on December 5th, as such considerations require and dictate. Please see division specific information below: Beaumont – Closed pending completion of an ongoing trial – Please contact the Beaumont division Clerk’s Office if you have any questions. Lufkin – Closed Marshall – Open – Please contact the Marshall division Clerk’s Office if you have any questions. Sherman/Plano – Closed Texarkana – Closed Tyler – Closed

Marshall/Tyler patent scheduling conferences – November 19, 2018; Time to Trial Analysis

It’s been two months since the September scheduling conferences, so we were back across the street yesterday for scheduling conferences in patent cases, followed by scheduling conferences in … everything else.  The cases discussed below are for Judge Gilstrap’s share of the Marshall and Tyler patent docket.  I also included some observations on how cases are scheduled.

Naturalization Ceremony in Marshall

This morning saw the first naturalization ceremony in the Marshall courthouse in quite some time.  Judge Gilstrap conducted one in Tyler a couple of months back, but it’s not often they make it all the way to Marshall.  It was standing room only, with a monitor and chairs in the hallway for the visiting schoolchildren and overflow guests, with the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) chapter that helps put the event on at counsel table.  The Marshall High School Junior ROTC provided the color guard, and ETBU provided a choral group for the national anthem and “America the Beautiful”.  As my old trombone choir professor used to say, there wasn’t a dry seat in the house.  Or maybe that was just me.  Anyway, for an outfit without trombones they were pretty good.

Judge Gilstrap spoke on the obligations and privileges of citizenship, and shook hands with the new citizens (from thirteen countries) after they received their certificates from the DHS representatives, and an American flag from the DAR. The local bar association provided lunch for the new citizens and their families at Miguel’s across the square, and the Harrison County Elections Office had a table for new citizens to register to vote.

Naturalizations locally are decidedly celebratory events with a great deal of participation by the community.  It was a good day to be an American and welcome our fellow citizens.