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Last Tuesday’s devastating terrorist attacks on the East Coast had an effect on operations at courts and law schools in Texas. While most of Texas’ courthouses remained open Tuesday, several went down to skeleton crews, giving some employees the option to head home. In Austin, the Texas Supreme Court stayed open on Sept. 11, although most of the staff was let go for the day, says Osler McCarthy, staff attorney for public information. Oral arguments scheduled for Sept. 12 were canceled because air flights were canceled. The Court of Criminal Appeals, which shares the building, closed at 1:30 p.m. last Tuesday. Gov. Rick Perry issued a 30-day stay delaying the execution of Jeffrey Eugene Tucker, who was scheduled to die on Sept. 11. He granted the stay because the U.S. Supreme Court was closed. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans closed Tuesday at 3 p.m., says Geralyn Maher, calendaring clerk for the court. The 4th Court of Appeals in the Bexar County Justice Center in San Antonio, and Dallas’ 5th Court of Appeals in the George Allen Civil Courts Building, were evacuated around mid-morning for security reasons as was the county courthouse in El Paso where the 8th Court of Appeals is housed. The Earle Cabell Federal Building in downtown Dallas was evacuated mid-morning. The building houses the Dallas division of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The Department of Justice’s office in downtown Dallas also closed around noon Tuesday, although some employees chose to stay. The attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., led to tightened security in downtown Dallas. Law enforcement officers were posted around federal and other government buildings and streets were blocked off. In Houston, the state courthouses remained open, but some judges adjourned jury trials, says Jack Thompson, administrator of district courts. Around the state, some law schools canceled classes on the day of the attacks. Among the closures were St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, South Texas College of Law in Houston and Texas Wesleyan School of Law in Fort Worth. Faculty members at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in Dallas were given the option to call off class and a number did so. A big screen TV was set up in the lobby of the Underwood Law Library building for students to view. The University of Texas School of Law in Austin was providing financial assistance to those students who needed to get home due to loved ones being directly affected by the tragedy. Classes were held, but a meeting and conference were canceled. The University of Houston Law Center also held classes on the day of the attack. The day after, it hosted a discussion forum on the international implications and the civil liberties issues of the incident. The Student Bar Association of Baylor Law School in Waco organized an all-day blood drive for Sept. 13 at the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center. At South Texas College of Law, unexpected deliveries are not being accepted and one of the school’s two entrances has been closed. And at Baylor University in Waco, a lecture by former Attorney General Janet Reno, scheduled for Sept. 13, was canceled.

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