Texas law limiting legal and medical contact overturned, called unconstitutional

Legal news for Texas government attorneys. A federal judge overturned a law, which was called unconstitutional.

A federal judge overturned a law that barred medical professionals and lawyers from contacting victims during a period of time following arrests or accidents.

Austin, TX—A Texas law barring medical professionals and lawyers from contacting accident victims within a specific time frame was overturned on Friday, March 26, 2010 by a federal judge. The judge ruled that the law was unconstitutional and infringed on free speech rights, as reported by the Houston Chronicle.

The U.S. District Judge Lee Yaekel overturned the law that prohibited medical professionals from contacting victims within 30 days of an accident. Lawyers were also barred from contacting people within a month of being arrested. Legislators approved the law last year, which was aimed at unethical solicitations. Yaekal also killed the request to prohibit lawyer’s written solicitation of people who have bee arrested or received a court summons. The judge stated, “While a criminal or traffic (defendant) may be shaken by his arrest, what he needs is representation, not time to grieve.” In addition Yaekal stated there was no evidence “to suggest that medical treatment after 31 days is as effective as early medical treatment.”

The Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot is reviewing the ruling and has 30 days to appeal. Euless Republican, Rep. Todd Smith, drafted the bill and hopes that Abbott will appeal. Smith stated the appeal is necessary “because we must protect the public from unethical and intrusive business practices by a small minority of unscrupulous lawyers and chiropractors.”

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for Texas government lawyers.