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Court Hearing On Removal Of 'Occupy Dallas'

Tents at camp
Tents at camp

By BJ Austin, KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX – Occupy Dallas and the city will be in court again Tuesday. The city wants to remove Occupy Dallas campers from behind City Hall - citing a breach of the agreed-upon permit. But before arguing that, Occupy Dallas attorney Jonathan Winocour will ask that the whole thing be moved to "state" court.

Winocour: We believe this case would be more properly heard by a state court judge given that the issues that have arisen as a result of the city's allegations that Occupy Dallas is in breach of the settlement agreement are really issues that sound in state law.

Winocour says a "state" court needs to clarify what the agreement between the city and protesters actually demands.

The city claims protesters violated an agreement NOT to use City Hall bathrooms, and not to put-up permanent signs at the campsite: two of several breaches that could prompt eviction.

Judge Boyle could send the case to state court, or consider First Amendment arguments and rule herself on whether Occupy Dallas stays or goes.

Madden Not Seeking Re-election

Another influential North Texas legislator says he's not running for re-election next year.

Republican Jerry Madden from Richardson told the Austin-American Statesman he's leaving the state legislature to use his knowledge of the criminal justice system elsewhere.

The 10-term lawmaker chairs the House Corrections Committee. Madden has been instrumental in expanding rehabilitation programs for offenders and reforming the Texas Youth Commission after a sex-abuse scandal.

Other legislative committee chairs from North Texans who say they won't seek reelection include House Judiciary Chair Jim Jackson of Carrollton; Senate Education Chair Florence Shapiro from Plano; and Senate Jurisprudence Chair Chris Harris of Fort Worth.

American Eagle fined $900,000 for lengthy tarmac delays

The Transportation Department is fining a regional affiliate of American Airlines $900,000 for keeping passengers cooped up on planes for over three hours in Chicago earlier this year.

The department said Monday that American Eagle Airlines had tarmac delays of more than three hours on 15 flights arriving at O'Hare on May 29. A total of 608 passengers were aboard the delayed flights.

American and American Eagle are owned by AMR Corp. of Fort Worth, Tex.

Coming on the eve of the busy holiday travel season, the fine is a clear warning to airlines that the government won't tolerate similar incidents.

American Eagle says the delays were caused by airport congestion resulting from poor weather. The airline says it has apologized to passengers and offered travel vouchers.

Texan convicted of trying to help al-Qaida

A Texas man accused of attempting to sneak out of the country to join al-Qaida has been convicted of trying to help the terrorist organization.

Barry Walter Bujol Jr. was convicted by a Houston federal judge on Monday of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and aggravated identity theft. He faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing.

Bujol, who is a U.S. citizen, represented himself at his trial, which was heard by a judge instead of a jury.

Prosecutors say Bujol sought to join al-Qaida and to provide it with money, restricted U.S. military documents and GPS equipment.

But the 30-year-old said he never intended to help al-Qaida and wanted to leave the U.S. because he disagreed with its foreign policy.

Dallas woman shot, common-law spouse held

Dallas police say a woman who was shot three times in the back has survived surgery and her common-law husband faces charges.

Police say the couple's twin 4-year-old boys were at the home but not hurt during the nearly three-hour standoff that ended Sunday night when the suspect surrendered.

Police say 32-year-old Ruben Obregon is held on an aggravated assault charge. Online jail records Monday did not immediately list details on Obregon's case or any attorney for him.

Dallas police initially said 33-year-old Maria Martinez was shot six times, but investigators later determined that she had been shot three times.

Martinez managed to get to a nearby apartment after being shot. She was hospitalized in critical condition.

Sometimes Island seen again during Texas drought

The Texas drought has revealed a bit of property that's known because sometimes you see it, sometimes you don't.

So-called Sometimes Island is now part of a peninsula jutting out about three-quarters of a mile into Lake Travis.

The Austin American-Statesman reports Monday for the first time since the 1960s the lake is so low that visitors can walk from Mansfield Dam Park to Sometimes Island. The island's name came about because the land is only exposed during droughts.

The chief park ranger, Dan Chapman, says the peninsula is pretty brushy and unappealing.

The area was part of a farm on which cattle grazed before Mansfield Dam was finished in 1941.