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Ruling ends case against Texas judge

January 23, 2008|From the Associated Press

HOUSTON — A bizarre legal battle was effectively ended Tuesday when a judge ruled that a grand jury that had indicted a Texas Supreme Court justice over the prosecutor's objections was operating with improperly filed paperwork, the justice's attorney and the grand jury foreman said.

The mistake, made when the Harris County district attorney's office extended the grand jury's term in November, invalidated all indictments issued after that, District Judge Jim Wallace ruled. This includes last week's tampering-with-evidence charge against Justice David Medina and an arson charge against his wife.

Dist. Atty. Chuck Rosenthal dropped the charges, citing insufficient evidence. Angry grand jurors said the move was politically motivated. Foreman Robert Ryan said he had planned to reconvene the panel Wednesday to issue another indictment. Wallace's ruling scuttled those plans, Ryan said.

Prosecutors have said they are still investigating the June 28 fire that destroyed the Medinas' home, damaged two other houses and caused about $1 million in damage in the Houston suburb of Spring.

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