This is your Friday update, which provides a quick look at the week ahead and some developments being tracked by El Paso Matters.
Next audience in Walmart Shooting Set: 409th District Court Judge Sam Medrano Jr. scheduled a further status update on the Walmart mass shooting case at 9 a.m. Oct. 11 in his courtroom. A San Antonio judge this week dismissed an attempt by the El Paso District Attorney’s Office to remove Medrano from presiding over the case against a gunman accused of killing 23 people on August 3, 2019. Medrano had scheduled a hearing status update for September 13. , but that was delayed after the prosecutor’s office filed a motion to recuse him on September 9. This motion barred him from taking any action in the case until the removal attempt was decided. The October 11 hearing is expected to have little to do with the capital murder charges against the accused shooter. Instead, it will likely focus on an email allegedly written by the widow of one of the victims. The email contained a number of allegations, including that complaints had been filed with state court officials accusing Medrano of inappropriate behavior. John Briggs, the former lead prosecutor handling the case, said during the recusal hearing that he believed the email was actually written by Rosales’ legal counsel, Roger Rodriguez.
El Paso federal judge officially ends Tigua’s gambling fight: The nearly 30-year legal battle over gambling between the Tigua Indian tribe of El Paso and the state of Texas ended quietly this week. The state and the tribe, officially known as Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, filed a joint status report with U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone on Tuesday, saying they had no unresolved issues in the latest gambling lawsuit, which the state filed in 2017. Cardone later signed an order “to dismiss the case in its entirety.” The United States Supreme Court ruled in July that the Tiguas bingo games offered at the Speaking Rock Entertainment Center, 120 S. Pueblo Road in the Lower Valley, were conducted lawfully. The state and tribe have been arguing over the game in federal court since April 1993. The state had prevailed in most cases over the decades until the High Court ruling in July.
UTEP achieves fundraising record: University of Texas at El Paso President Heather Wilson announced that UTEP raised a record $38.9 million in gifts and donations in fiscal year 2022 at the annual convocation, or state of the university address on Wednesday. UTEP plans to use the money for scholarships, fellowships and facilities, and to support faculty. The institution set its previous fundraising record of $26.9 million in fiscal year 2021. The speech also included praise for increased research activity and student engagement.