Judge denies transgender widow Nikki Araguz’s motion for a new trial — after finally reading it

Judge Randy M. Clapp

Meghan Stabler reports that Wharton County District Judge Randy M. Clapp has denied transgender widow Nikki Araguz’s motion for a new trial.

Stabler, a board member for the Human Rights Campaign who’s been monitoring the case, said even though the motion was filed 10 days ago, Clapp hadn’t read it when he arrived in court for a hearing this morning. Clapp called for a recess so he could read the motion, then returned and promptly dismissed it, Stabler said.

In May, Clapp issued a summary judgment saying Araguz isn’t entitled to death benefits from her husband, fallen volunteer firefighter Thomas Araguz III. Clapp ruled the Araguzes’ marriage was invalid since she was born male.

In light of today’s decision, Araguz’s legal team plans to appeal Clapp’s decision to Texas’ 13th circuit court in Corpus Christ, Stabler said.

Araguz is now being represented jointly by Haynes & Boone, Katine & Nechman, and Frye & Associates.

—  John Wright