The tension between security and liberty is as old as history. Whenever there was a threat to national security, or to any other bottom-line consideration, any remaining freedoms and liberties of the population had been the first to go—as it continues to be the case in many parts of the world today. However, our system is designed in such a way that, for the first time in history, the presence of national security threats and the measures adopted to deal with them do not justify the suspension or limitation of basic constitutional rights. To ensure that, the courts are designed to be the main mechanism that maintains the balance between national security requirements and the protection of constitutional liberties against encroachment by the state.
One day, you may also find yourself mistreated, such as, passed over a job or promotion on the basis of race, religion, gender, or disability; unreasonably searched; cruelly punished; abused by a public official; silenced; or penalized for expressing your thoughts or exercising your most basic freedoms you have been taking for granted. In those times, you need a lawyer who has the necessary experience, legal knowledge, and trial skills to help you have your grievance heard in court. In his career spanning nearly five decades, Robin M. Green has taken part in a number of notable civil rights cases in Texas during one of the most critical times in American history; and under his leadership, our firm will continue to relentlessly advocate on your behalf until the end.
Whatare your rights & obligations?
Civil Liberties versus Civil Rights.
In considering your claim, our first step is to determine whether your issue raises a civil liberties or a civil rights issue. Civil liberties are the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution to protect people from tyranny (such as freedom of speech), whereas civil rights are the legal rights set out by federal or state laws that protect individuals from unequal treatment based on certain protected characteristics (gender, disability, national origin, etc.) in settings such as employment, housing, education or access to public facilities.
According to ACLU, civil liberties include freedom of speech, press, religion, and association; due process; equal protection; and privacy. Civil rights include, for example, voting rights; discrimination based on disability, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion or national origin, and police reform.
While we evaluate inquiries on a case-by-case basis, due to limitations of our time and resources, we often focus on cases where government is involved.
Jobe L. Hammond, IV v. University Interscholastic League and Bailey Marshall, In the 251st District Court of Randall County, Texas; Case No. 22591-C
The Texas regulatory agency in charge of sports denied a student the right to play high school basketball. Mr. Green filed a lawsuit on behalf of the student alleging that the State was violating State laws and administrative rules. Mr. Green asked for an injunction enjoining the State from illegally interfering with the student’s eligibility to play by unfairly applying standards for selection. We tried the case against the Texas Attorney General and the trial court entered the requested injunction in favor of our client. State appealed to the Amarillo Court of Appeals which sustained to trial court’s ruling and left the injunction in place. The student had a successful high school basketball career. However, in all candor, we must report that the student never played for an NBA team.
Wayne Woodward v. The Hereford Independent School District, et al., In the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Amarillo Division; Case No. CA-2-75-111
Mr. Green represented Wayne Woodward, a junior high school teacher whose contract was not renewed because of his activities that were protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. At the request of a student Mr. Woodward had provided her with material regarding the American Civil Liberties Union. The principal of the school found this activity and these expressions offensive and therefore made the decision not to recommend Mr. Woodward’s teaching contract for renewal. Subsequently, the School Board agreed with the principal declined to renew the contract. After trial of the case in the U. S. District Court, Mr. Woodward was awarded judgment for damages and the School District was ordered to reinstate him in his former teaching position. Thereafter, Woodward reached settlement with the School District that allowed for the payment of damages without reinstatement as a teacher. Wayne Woodward left the teaching profession, studied nursing, respiratory therapy, and had a successful career as a physician’s assistant. An article about this case has been written about in at least one historical journal and a soon to be published book.
Walter Knapp v. T.L. Baker, Sheriff of Potter County, Texas, and W.J. Estelle, Jr., Director of the Texas Department of Corrections, In the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Amarillo Division; Civil Action No. CA-2-74-18
Mr. Green filed a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Walter Knapp, a former State Representative who was caught up in a statewide scandal involving public officials from all over the State of Texas. Mr. Knapp had already been convicted of a major felony in Austin, Travis County, Texas and that conviction had been affirmed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Mr. Green was approached by Mr. Knapp’s defense team and was requested to lead efforts to have federal courts set aside the Texas conviction. After a hearing before Judge Halbert O. Woodward, an order was entered granting the writ and releasing Mr. Knapp from prison pending an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. While that appeal was pending, in a dramatic turn of events, Mr. Knapp killed his ex-wife and was on his way to kill the local District Attorney when he was cornered by the police in a college parking lot. He then turned the gun on himself committing suicide. This case, for the several months it was pending and until after Mr. Knapp’s death, made headlines all over the State of Texas and throughout much of the nation. After his death, the appeal was dismissed for mootness.