Texas is one of several that are pushing for significant changes up to and including the legalization of recreational marijuana. The nationwide trend continues with states all across the country are changing the way they deal with marijuana crimes, and Texas is no exception to recognizing the senselessness of criminalizing weed.
The U.S. bail system is broken, and in no place is that more evidence than Harris County, Texas, where someone can be held for days, weeks, or even months before they are adjudicated by the courts on something as minor as a drug possession charge. [Read more...]
The “school to prison pipeline” has become a popular phrase lately, but it isn’t just a hot tagline devoid of meaning. Kids who are criminalized at a young age are far more likely to be a fixture in the criminal justice system when they get older. This “pipeline” from school to prison is no more apparent than in Dallas Public Schools, where the Dallas County truancy courts prosecuted 36,000 cases last year alone. It’s this practice—of cuffing, prosecuting, and fining kids at an alarming rate—that has Dallas facing a potential civil rights lawsuit. [Read more...]
There’s no arguing that some crimes are more serious than others. Obviously, in a just situation, someone accused of rape, for instance, will be punished more severely than someone charged with a drug offense. But as this nation’s War on Drugs illustrates, that isn’t always the case. Even when it comes to non-drug offenses, there are instances where a punishment simply doesn’t fit the crime. A recent example comes to us from Waco. [Read more...]
In 2007, change swept the Houston Police Department and the way they handled the mentally ill. Change came after two people with schizophrenia were shot and killed by police only two months apart. In the past 5 years, the changes that were made have proven effective—effective in getting the mentally ill the help they need and improving police relations with them. Houston’s efforts are being held up as an example across the country and they certainly deserve it. [Read more...]
Federal Judge Edith Jones is facing ethics complaints after a speaking engagement in which she said, among other things, that racial minorities are “more violent” than whites and that claims of racial bias in death penalty cases are usually nothing more than “red herrings”. The judge, who sits on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals (which includes TX jurisdiction) is said to have violated several canons in the code of conduct for federal judges. [Read more...]
When you are facing criminal charges, the case against you likely contains details that are crucial to you building a successful defense. In other words, you can’t prepare for battle without knowing what the other side is armed with. Governor Rick Perry now has a chance to sign a bill that would make it easier for you to know the prosecutor’s hand—a bill that is crucial in preventing wrongful convictions and even prosecutor misconduct. [Read more...]
Across the country, the attitude towards marijuana is changing—both among citizens and lawmakers. While almost 20 states have medical marijuana laws in place, two have legalized recreational marijuana and several others have pending legislation addressing both these areas. But, where does Texas stand in the world of marijuana legalization? [Read more...]
Things rarely move quickly in the criminal justice system. But when you are the county’s top law enforcement official, like District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg is to Travis County, you may get a little expeditious treatment.
Two troopers are facing criminal charges for a traffic stop that occurred last summer. The troopers’ dash cam caught the act on video—clearly showing a female trooper searching two women inside of their clothing. The trooper denies wrongdoing and the civilians have filed a lawsuit. [Read more...]