The Field Review - Local

Past 404th District Judge and Past 404th District Judge Candidate Battle Free Speech Claims

Did the title catch your attention? Good… now we will explain what it means.

Currently, past candidate for the office of the 404th District Court Judge in Cameron County, Texas has filed a lawsuit claiming defamation.

However, the past 404th District Court judge is not the one that was filed on. Instead, said past judge is prosecuting the past candidates claims.

Who’s the past candidate? Prior Cameron County Magistrate Louis Sorola is suing multiple people, to include his prior staff, over claimed free speech associated with political expression.

Who is the past Judge? Elia Cornell Lopez. Interestingly enough, in the year 2020, it was disclosed that the Federal government was investigating said past judge. This was reported by KRGV.

Currently, the defendants are admittedly asserting their freedoms under the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution and the Texas Bill of Rights, Section 8.

The hang up? The appeals court rendered an opinion which summarizes Sorola made a claim related to being accused of “abuse of official capacity.” Now, the Texas Supreme Court will consider the plaintiffs and the defendants petition on the matter.

Currently, the defendants have filed their petition.

The plaintiff, at this point, has an extension to file the reply before the end of June 2022.

The question may become, whether public records showing wrongdoing could be considered “abuse of official capacity,” by themselves? And if so, when should the Texas Citizen Protection Act (TCPA) kick in? Then it may become, how could such a claim so related to admitted conduct be libel, slander, or defamation?

Even more interesting, in overview, is seeing a history of political candidates provide contextually grueling speech towards their opponents without lawsuit or fear of the same.

We will have to wait to see how the Texas Supreme Court decides.

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