Sunday, July 25, 2010

Plaintiff's attorney Chad Ellis - Claims about the case

Chad Ellis, attorney for Heather Delgado and Simona Longoria of Nikki Araguz's late husband's family, claims that Thomas Araguz did not know about his wife Nikki's medical history until April 2010, that he was shocked, had informally separated from Nikki before his death, and that he was in the process of having the marriage annulled before his accidental death on July 3, 2010.

Meanwhile, Fox News 26 in Houston, TX has described Nikki Araguz as someone with a criminal history comprised of petty theft, DWI, and drug posession convictions. The following link includes video of the statements by Chad Ellis and the "prior bad acts" allegations against Nikki Araguz, including the usual mug shot. In the legal business, this is known as "dirtying" a party, so that the court views that party less favorably, even though the history may be unrelated to the current situation and matters at issue. Such a history could be used against Nikki in court as evidence of poor character under court rules - usually called rule 404(b) in jurisdictions that use federal style rule numbering. Here is the link that includes the Fox News interview with attorney Chad Ellis and information about Nikki's name change and birth certificate.

The same Fox news station obtained a video of Nikki Araguz at about age 25, about ten years ago, in which she makes classic ts disclosure statements - see the link below:

In any event, it seems like Nikki Araguz doesn't stand a chance against Texas culture, or against the Littleton v. Prange ruling. In addition, her attorneys should have known better than to have her talk too much in public, even though it is only her court testimony, depositions, affidavits, and supporting evidence that count, like marriage certificate date, vaginoplasty surgery affidavit and date if she has one, and so on, to provide evidence the court might rely upon. That her attorneys had her speak, rather than speaking for her, is evidence of poor legal representation, IMO. Furthermore, the video that includes her own ten year old statements about herself can be used in court as evidence against her too. Altogether, the evidence looks very bad for her case given Texas law and culture.

What we need to hope for most, is that this case never gets into any appeals courts. This is important, because if this issue ever gets to a jurisdiction in the U.S. that is actually favorable, since it will be an issue of "first impression"(term of art) in that other yet to have occurred other "friendly" state, under the law the court in that state will need to take notice of the decisions in states like Texas, Florida, and Kansas, when considering such a case of first impression in the absence of other settled U.S. law. However, such a court would also be able to hear the matter de novo, and consider scientific expert witness testimony and so on. I imagine that appropriate expert witness testimony would reveal that chromosomes are not the ultimate determinant of sex status, and that the only reasonable legal standard is a physiologically/genital standard.

The most ridiculous aspect of the court's ruling in the Littleton v. Prange case is that the appeals court made its ruling purely on presumption, and the presence of a birth certificate, without ever having requested or having been presented with evidence of the Christie Littleton's chromosomal status.

Right now, it seems like the only states that have a chance of being "friendly" with regard to establishing the legal status of ts-people after surgery are Illinois and Michigan, because those are the only two states I know of that have statutes on the books that provide for providing a new/fresh/clean birth certificate after surgery and submission of a surgeon's affidavit to a court. If there are any other states with actual statutes it would be nice to know about them and get links to them, but I have not been able to locate them in any other states after searching their statute databases. Most states that make any sort of changes to birth certificates seem to do them by adding a footnote onto the bottom of them indicating that the sex was changed, but leaving original designation intact as well, calling it can "amendment", and one that makes the birth certificate forever out the person as ts.

I hope Nikki Araguz is at least able to maintain her personal safety. That may be all she has left when this debacle is over.

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