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Posts under ‘Crime and Punishment’

It’s about the domestic violence

You want to do something to reduce gun violence, here’s the place to start. Domestic violence cases have risen sharply across the state, with more than 210,000 wives, girlfriends, husbands and others suffering death or injury at the hands of a family member in the past two years. More than 550 wives or girlfriends were […]

About that lost evidence

Sorry about that. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office has sent notices to lawyers in 10,000 closed criminal cases that evidence, which was kept in storage, may have been lost or destroyed between 2007 and 2016. The bulk of the emails, which were sent Wednesday to lawyers for about 7,750 defendants, caused an uproar among […]

Background checks

This should make you angry. A mistake by U.S. Air Force officials in reporting Devin Patrick Kelley’s past conviction for domestic violence allowed him to buy four guns, including the semi-automatic rifle used in the Sunday shooting at a South Texas church that left 26 dead and 20 others wounded, state and federal officials confirmed […]

Sutherland Springs

I don’t even know what to say. I worry more about some random asshole with a gun more than I do about anything else that could harm me or my family. I’ll say it again, because I keep having to say it, nothing will change until we start electing different people. Continuing to do what […]

More pre-trial diversion

DA Kim Ogg moves forward on more campaign promises. During a press conference Tuesday, Ogg laid out in broad strokes the policy recommendations written by the committees and emphasized that she is seeking participation from experts and Houston’s leaders. “We listen to the community,” she said, flanked by about 30 volunteers including former HPD Chief […]

DA’s office ends trace case prosecutions

Good. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg has stopped prosecuting thousands of so-called trace drug cases, which typically stem from glass pipes seized from users containing little more than residue of crack cocaine, officials said Thursday. The recent change means it is not prosecuted at all, unless there are extenuating circumstances said Tom Berg, First […]

The Observer talks to Kim Ogg

A good read: You decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Jeff Sessions has signaled that he seeks to ramp up the war on drugs. What power does the federal government hold over your policy decisions? I enjoy total discretion under Texas law as to who I charge and with what crime. The federal […]

New county risk assessment system coming

We’ve been waiting. Harris County officials on Tuesday touted their revamped strategy for deciding whether tens-of-thousands of individuals should be jailed before their criminal trials, a process that critics and a federal judge say disproportionately affects the poor who are unable to come up with the money to make bail. On July 29, the county […]

Still a few bugs in the system

A continuing story. While Harris County officials are complaining that a federal judge’s bail order threatens public safety, the county has failed to provide more than 100 low-level defendants with pretrial services aimed at ensuring they make their court dates. The latest revelations come amid criticism from District Attorney Kim Ogg, who accused county officials […]

Dukes pleads not guilty

To all counts. State Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, entered not guilty pleas to abuse-of-office charges Friday in Travis County district court. The 12-term lawmaker pleaded not guilty to tampering with a governmental record and abuse of official capacity by a public servant. Judge Brad Urrutia on Friday set a trial date of Oct. 16. Dukes […]

Former Stockman aide returns to US

The gang’s all here. Federal agents quietly arrested Jason Posey, a former congressional aide who’d been wanted for two months on charges that he helped ex-U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman carry out a criminal conspiracy to bilk millionaire donors, violate elections laws, and illegally divert hundreds of thousands in campaign cash. Posey and Stockman were both […]

There is always some risk

I get the concern, but the alternative was unacceptable and now is illegal. Get used to it. More than 600 people charged with misdemeanors have been released since June 7 when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an emergency motion by the county to block [federal judge Lee Rosenthal’s] order, according to estimates provided to the […]

Ogg joins with other DAs in criticizing new Justice Department sentencing guidelines

As well she should. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg on Friday joined 30 other sitting and former district attorneys in a letter protesting U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent push for harsher sentences in America’s federal courts. “This is a return to a failed policy of a generation ago,” Ogg, a Democrat, said of […]

Special prosecutors named in Temple case

We’ll see how they proceed. The Texas Attorney General’s Office has been tapped to prosecute the murder case against former Alief Coach David Temple in the 1999 death of his pregnant wife. State District Judge Kelli Johnson appointed Lisa Tanner and Bill Turner, two lawyers with the AG’s office, as special prosecutors almost two weeks […]

Paxton tries again – and fails – to get a new judge

Never give up, never surrender, I guess. Attorney General Ken Paxton’s criminal defense lawyers filed a motion Wednesday arguing the judge assigned to oversee his securities fraud trial is ineligible to oversee the case because his appointment was temporary. Legal experts say the argument appears dubious as Paxton’s legal team looks for ways to secure […]

Special prosecutor to be appointed in David Temple case

Seems like the right call. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg is asking for a special prosecutor to handle the murder case against former Alief Coach David Temple, adding new scrutiny to a decades-old case that continues to stir controversy. Ogg filed court papers Friday to withdraw from the case because of potential conflicts of […]

Stockman trial delayed

Alas. Former U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman’s trial on federal corruption charges has been pushed back to next year. The trial, originally scheduled to begin June 5, will now kick off on Jan. 29, 2018, according to an order issued Wednesday by Chief U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal. Stockman’s lawyer had requested the delay last week, […]

Paxton still pushing for a new judge

Still, he persisted, I guess. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawyers are not giving up in their bid to get a new judge in his securities fraud case. Earlier this month, Judge George Gallagher ordered Paxton’s trial be moved to Harris County from Collin County, where Paxton lives, after prosecutors argued Paxton and his allies […]

No new judge for Paxton

Denied! State District Judge George Gallagher will remain on the securities fraud case against Attorney General Ken Paxton, according to a spokeswoman for the judge. It was originally believed Gallagher would have to rule on a request Paxton’s lawyers made this month for a new judge. But the spokeswoman, Melody McDonald Lanier, said Monday that […]

Paxton wants a new judge

He may not get his wish. The judge presiding over Attorney General Ken Paxton’s criminal trial plans to remain on the case, regardless of Paxton’s request for a new judge, his spokesman said. “He anticipates remaining the judge,” District Judge George Gallagher’s spokeswoman Melody McDonald Lanier told the Houston Chronicle Thursday. Paxton’s criminal defense team […]

Paxton’s trial date set for September 12

Mark your calendars. Attorney General Ken Paxton’s newly relocated criminal trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 12. The judge in the case set the trial date Wednesday, a day after moving the proceedings to Harris County. The trial had originally been scheduled to start May 1 in Collin County. The judge, George Gallagher, said in […]

Settle the damn bail lawsuit already

Enough. Harris County commissioners Tuesday voted to add high-profile, conservative litigator Charles Cooper to a growing team of attorneys defending the county and several public officials against a civil rights lawsuit alleging the county’s bail system unconstitutionally jails the poor. Cooper, a former clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist and friend of U.S. […]

Paxton trial moved to Harris County

The circus is coming to town, with none of those morally questionable animal acts to get all angsty about. Attorney General Ken Paxton will face a jury in Harris County on felony criminal charges he committed securities fraud and failed to register with the state as an investment advisor, a district judge ruled Tuesday. District […]

Stockman trial date set

Mark your calendar. Former U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman is set to go to trial June 5 on federal corruption charges. Stockman, a Houston-area Republican, has pleaded not guilty to charges of funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars in charitable donations to himself and his congressional campaign. He was arraigned Monday. The trial is expected to […]

Stockman pleads not guilty

And we’re off. Standing tall, with his hands hanging loosely at his sides, former U.S. Congressman Steve Stockman told a federal magistrate in Houston Monday he understood the criminal charges against him and pleaded not guilty to theft of about $800,000 in charitable donations intended for conservative organizations and associated charges. Upon Stockman’s request, U.S. […]

Steve Stockman claims he’s broke

Pobrecito. Former Congressman Steve Stockman told a federal magistrate Wednesday he can’t afford to pay for a lawyer to represent him against allegations he helped steal about $800,000 in charitable donations intended for conservative organizations. U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Johnson agreed to appoint a lawyer for him and postponed a hearing on his case until […]

Dukes fails to get charges tossed

Too bad for her. A Travis County state district judge denied a motion by state Rep. Dawnna Dukes to dismiss four felony counts against her for tampering with public records. Dukes’ attorneys on March 8 asked Judge Brad Urrutia to dismiss four of her 13 indicted felony charges, arguing that an agreement she signed in […]

A closer look at the Stockman saga

Chron reporter Lise Olson takes a deep dive into the charges against former Congressman and fulltime hot mess Steve Stockman. Steve Stockman was soon to board a plane for the United Arab Emirates this month when his unorthodox life took a sudden detour. The outspoken two-time former congressman from Houston was met at the airport […]

More on the attack on the Paxton special prosecutors’ pay

From Texas Lawyer. As courtroom twists go, this one is practically unheard-of: On the brink of bringing Texas’ attorney general, Ken Paxton, to trial on felony securities fraud charges, the government’s prosecutors are threatening to bail out of the case unless they get paid. Whether one of the biggest criminal cases in Texas finally goes […]

Video fraudsters in trouble again

In California this time. California prosecutors on Tuesday charged two anti-abortion activists who made undercover videos of themselves trying to buy fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood with 15 felonies, saying they invaded the privacy of medical providers by filming without consent. The charges against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt of the Center for Medical Progress […]

Paxton case gets moved out of Collin County

Well, well, well. Attorney General Ken Paxton’s upcoming trials will be moved out of Collin County, the judge presiding over his criminal fraud case decided Thursday. The ruling is a major victory for the prosecutors, who have for months argued that Paxton’s friends and political allies have sought to malign them in the court of […]

Commissioners get testy over bail practices lawsuit

Let’s hash it all out. Tensions flared at Harris County Commissioners Court Tuesday after new Commissioner Rodney Ellis filed legal papers supporting civil rights groups in their high-profile federal lawsuit against the county and its bail system. In a rare public argument before dozens of onlookers at the meeting Tuesday, Ellis’ colleagues — all Republicans […]

Bail practices lawsuit wraps up

It’s up to the judge now. The call by two civil rights groups for an immediate fix to Harris County’s bail system is now in the hands of a federal judge after high-stakes arguments over whether poor people should remain in jail on misdemeanor offenses because they can’t afford to post bail. Key criminal justice […]

More on the Stockman arrest

I’m just going to leave this here. Former U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, a Republican whose district stretched from Houston to Beaumont, allegedly conspired with two staffers to bilk conservative foundations out of at least $775,000 in donations meant for charitable purposes or voter education, according to federal court records. Details of the alleged scam are […]