Wait for it … you’ve surely guessed – yet another delay in county’s supreme court case
By Ian White
THE ATTORNEY representing county judge Mark Henry and his fellow commissioners in their case against district judge Lonnie Cox has won yet another delay in putting his argument to the state’s supreme court – and this time it’s for the hoariest old excuse in the post-typewriter age, a computer glitch.
After a string of excuses including a past dental appointment, a post-deadline long weekend and moving to a new firm while somehow remaining at the same desk, Houston lawyer Terry Adams once again asked the court for more time to prepare his paperwork in the case pitting the county’s executive and judiciary against each other.
Adams, left, took the case, in which the county’s law-court judges and executive officers are at loggerheads over who should run the Galveston justice center’s administration department, to the supreme court early this year after the state’s first court of appeals upheld a ruling against his clients that was handed down by visiting judge Sharolyn Wood in June last year.
Adams wrote to the supreme court late on Monday afternoon, saying his office computer had died at the weekend and destroyed all the work he had done preparing his clients’ case so far – the hi-tech equivalent of the errant schoolboy’s pathetic last-ditch “dog ate my homework” bid to foil a teacher’s deadline.
It seems the justices are somewhat more lenient than the not-so-gullible average teacher, however, and on Tuesday they granted Adams an eight-day extension of time in which to file his final paperwork in the case from Thursday’s previous deadline until Friday, November 4.
It was the second time this month Adams had requested an extended deadline. On October 7, he cited work in another supreme-court case when asking for his time to be extended from October 10 to Thursday’s October 27 deadline.
He had already persuaded the court three times to grant him extra time to prepare paperwork in the case, successfully presenting delay motions on April 29 for 15 extra days from May 3 to May 18, on July 11 for 35 days from July 18 to August 22 and on August 18 for 16 days from August 22 to September 7.
Those requests delayed his major document, his brief on the merits of the case, while the subsequent requests are holding up the justices’ receipt of his reply to the merits brief of his opponent, Galveston attorney Mark Stevens, who is representing Cox.
This time, Adams wrote: “The requested extension of time is necessary because the undersigned experienced a serious computer and external hard-drive malfunction this past Saturday afternoon when the power went off at his law firm which caused him to lose the current version of the reply brief on the merits that he has been working on diligently. The undersigned has not been able to retrieve the brief and he has been working hard to reconstruct the brief to the point where it was before being able to move forward.”
In the past, Stevens has usually objected to Adams’ delaying tactics but this time he did not do so.
In an exclamation of exasperation, he reacted with the line: “Backup files, anybody?”