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Posts under ‘Crime and Punishment’

Paxton fires back at prosecutors

Incoming! Lawyers in Attorney General Ken Paxton’s ongoing securities fraud case have fired back against special prosecutors in the latest in a series of back-and-forth court filings. In their Thursday filing, Paxton’s attorneys called the prosecutors’ reply to their motions to drop three felony charges “bombastic and diversionary.” “Attorneys Pro Tem attempt sarcasm and inappropriate […]

Council approves body camera contract

Moving forward. City Council approved a $3.4 million contract Wednesday to equip Houston Police Department officers with body-worn cameras despite some lingering concerns that key pieces of the city’s policy for the equipment have not been finalized. Councilmen Mike Laster, C.O. Bradford and Michael Kubosh along with councilwoman Brenda Stardig voted against the contract with […]

Perry’s day at the CCA

Now we wait to see if he comes out of this a free man or a man still under one or more indictments. Lawyers for former Gov. Rick Perry fought Wednesday before the highest criminal court in Texas to finish off the 15-month-old indictment against him, while prosecutors argued it was far too early to […]

Ken Paxton says Ken Paxton’s arrest video can’t be released

How convenient. I looked into the unusual situation in which the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was asked to rule on its boss. Here’s what happened. Media organizations requested the video of Paxton’s recent booking into the Collin County Jail. His office denied the requests. Talk about a conflict of interest. The lawyers […]

Jon Buice granted parole

This stirs up a lot of emotions. Jon Buice, serving 45 years in state prison for the 1991 gay-bashing murder of Houston banker Paul Broussard, has been granted parole. Buice, 42, was one of 10 youths from The Woodlands who assaulted Broussard, 27, in the Montrose nightclub district. Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles spokesman […]

More prosecution responses to Paxton

Keep ’em coming, y’all. Prosecutors in the criminal case against Attorney General Ken Paxton defended themselves in a court filing Tuesday, calling accusations of misconduct leveled by defense lawyers a gratuitous ploy to direct attention away from Paxton’s felony indictments. “Paxton’s ploy, as any Google search of this case will readily reveal, is merely the […]

Anderson updates pot prosecution policy

Good. Small amounts of marijuana now mean a citation, not a ride to jail, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said Thursday. The county’s top prosecutor outlined changes to a pilot plan for low-level offenders she implemented last year, one that she called a “huge cultural change for Harris County.” Instead of arresting first offenders […]

Another unintended consequence of tort “reform”

From Lisa Falkenberg: At every turn in her ordeal, Laura has felt irrelevant. The Houston mother of two says she was raped in her hospital bed by a doctor who she claims checked his phone afterward while she cried. She reported the rape to nurses who responded with cold skepticism. She had to wait nearly […]

Prosecution responds to Paxton’s motions to quash

They’re pretty harsh. In a 19-page court filing peppered with disdain — one footnote likens Paxton’s defense to an exchange from the 1978 film Animal House — the prosecutors called the attorney general’s legal arguments this week that the judge overseeing his case abused his discretion a “pre-trial shell game” based on a “quicksand-like foundation.” […]

Paxton moves to dismiss the charges against him

To be expected. [Ken] Paxton’s legal team announced late Monday it had filed six motions to quash the three indictments against him, citing problems with the grand jury process. They also raised other objections to the case in four pretrial applications for writ of habeas corpus. A Collin County grand jury indicted Paxton earlier this […]

It’s not just bail reform that we need

The latest from Emily dePrang at the Observer: It’s a Monday morning, a little past 9:00. Half an hour ago, this hallway on the eighth floor of the Harris County Criminal Justice Center in downtown Houston was swarmed with people. Now all the other courtrooms have opened, swallowed their subjects, and closed up again. Only […]

Ground broken on the joint processing center

Good. The majority of suspects arrested by Houston police get booked at one of two city jails, and within 48 hours they are transferred and booked in all over again at the Harris County Jail. Two years from now, officials say, this duplication will be a thing of the past. The central and southeast police […]

Another view of the Temple case

The Press devotes a cover story to the David Temple case and the allegations that then-Assistant DA Kelly Siegler withheld evidence from the defense. In July 2015, visiting Judge Larry Gist issued his damning decree: 36 findings of prosecutorial misconduct in which Siegler either suppressed evidence or disclosed it too late, depriving Temple of a […]

Perry appeal briefs

The latest update on the appeals before the CCA in the Rick Perry matter. The 3rd Court of Appeals this summer tossed one of two counts against Perry, saying the coercion law underlying it violates the First Amendment. The 3rd Court agreed with Judge Bert Richardson, however, that Perry must face the charge of abuse […]

Commissioners Court to get deposed

This ought to be interesting. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and all four county commissioners are scheduled to be deposed Monday in a federal lawsuit filed by former Houston Police Department crime lab supervisors who said they experienced retaliation after exposing problems with a mobile DUI testing program. Amanda Culbertson and Jorge Wong say the […]

Paxton will get his hands on grand jury info

Score one for Team Paxton. A district judge ruled Friday to grant information related to the selection of Collin County grand juries to Attorney General Ken Paxton’s defense team. The ruling by District Judge George Galllagher came over objections by special prosecutors in the case, who filed a motion to quash the subpoenas seeking the […]

What is coercion, anyway?

It could be the defining legacy of Rick Perry’s career, depending on how things go in the courts. The coercion law has been used only sparingly in Texas, according to records for the past five years, and some legal experts call it problematic. Others, however, say its absence will be felt if the Texas Court […]

Defining HPD body camera policies

It’s still a work in progress. Houston Police Department officers would activate body cameras when arriving at a crime scene, initiating a traffic stop and during an arrest or search, according to a long awaited proposal outlining use of the devices that was released Tuesday. But City Council members said they were concerned by a […]

Not so fast with those subpoenas

The special prosecutors in the Paxton case respond forcefully to his legal team’s grand jury-related subpoenas. Special prosecutors in Ken Paxton’s felony securities fraud case are seeking to quash subpoenas his lawyers filed last week seeking information about the grand jury selection process. Paxton’s legal team last Thursday subpoenaed four Collin County court reporters for […]

CCA will hear appeals of Perry’s indictments

It’s on. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday granted requests by both Perry and the Office of the State Prosecuting Attorney to determine whether the indictment against Perry should stand. The court set oral arguments for Nov. 4. […] Each side has until Oct. 21 to file briefs with the Texas Court of […]

More jail troubles

It’s ugly, both in content and in timing for Adrian Garcia. Over the past nine months, the Houston Chronicle has reviewed more than 1,000 disciplinary reports provided by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Nearly half of those internal affairs investigations from 2010 through May 2015 resulted in discipline against jail staff who often brutalize inmates […]

Paxton seeks grand jury information

Ken Paxton’s legal team has filed five subpoenas seeking more information relating to the grand jury that indicted him. The defense seeks a complete transcript and audio recording related to the selection of the grand jurors who indicted him. […] The transcripts would reveal what, if anything, came up about Paxton and possible criminal charges […]

No support for a jail administrator

Not without the consent of the Legislature. The idea of shifting leadership of the Harris County Jail to an administrator may be losing steam, several county leaders said Thursday after reviewing a feasibility study by the sheriff’s office. Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack asked newly appointed Sheriff Ron Hickman in May to look into the […]

DNA mixtures

Grits reports on the latest developments in forensics at a hearing of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, and what it means to the legal system in Texas and elsewhere. First, a bit of background. DNA testing looks at two metrics on X and Y axes: Whether alleles are present at various loci, and the quantity […]

Council approves inmate processing center deal with Harris County

Very good news. An end is in sight for the inefficient process of shuttling prisoners in and out of redundant local lockups after the City Council on Wednesday approved an agreement with Harris County to build a long-discussed inmate processing center. Public officials have discussed the need for a new booking center since the 1990s, […]

Paxton the political advisor

Interesting. The former CEO of the technology firm tied to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s securities fraud indictment told investigators he paid the then-lawmaker to provide information on how to market his product to government agencies, according to a new brief in the case. The disclosure, filed Wednesday by the special prosecutors appointed to the […]

Hickman’s “plan” for an LGBT policy

It’s sort of something, I guess. Lou Weaver grew up respecting the badge. His father was a cop. His father’s friends were cops. And so Weaver never feared the police. That changed when Weaver, who is transgender, was pulled over several years ago on a traffic stop. The officer’s reaction to Weaver explaining that he […]

Still working out Paxton prosecution costs

Collin County is still hoping to do this on the cheap. Collin County officials expect to budget $100,000 to prosecute Attorney General Ken Paxton, but hope to eventually slash that amount by two-thirds. The county Commissioners Court on Monday evening is expected to discuss how much it will cost to pay the three special prosecutors […]

DA’s office responds to Temple case allegations

Their view differs, to say the least. Three months after a judge ruled that a Katy man convicted of murdering his wife did not get a fair trial and excoriated the prosecutor who handled the case, saying she withheld evidence, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office filed objections to the decision, tackling it point-by-point, and […]

CCA gets ready to deal with Rick Perry

The action never stops. The next move in the felony case against Rick Perry belongs to the state’s highest criminal court, which will decide as early as mid-September whether to accept or reject two appeals in the case. The Court of Criminal Appeals’ decision could go a long way toward determining whether Perry, indicted by […]

How much would you pay to prosecute Ken Paxton?

Whatever your answer, Collin County Commissioners Court wants to pay less. Collin County officials want to cap the cost of prosecuting Attorney General Ken Paxton at a fraction of the previously discussed price tag of $285,000, and are questioning whether taxpayer funds can be used to pay for the trial. The Collin County Commissioners Court […]

Paxton’s first day in court

It was a little weird. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Thursday pleaded not guilty to violating state securities laws, while also telling the judge presiding over his felony case that he currently does not have an attorney. Joe Kendall, Paxton’s lead counsel until Thursday morning, appeared in the Tarrant County courtroom with the first-term […]

Will Sandra Bland’s death help lead to bail reform?

That would be a fitting and just outcome if it does. Harris County and the state should reform an unfair bond system that punishes the poor more harshly, according to civil rights leaders, legislative officials and criminal experts who gathered Wednesday in front of the county’s criminal justice center. Reform, they argued, could prevent another […]

Forensic Science Commission to examine bite mark evidence

Good. The board charged with ensuring that reliable scientific evidence is used in Texas courtrooms agreed on Friday to investigate cases in which bite mark analysis was used to secure a conviction. “We’re talking about the whole field, the validity of the field of bite marks,” said Dr. Vincent DiMaio, the chief presiding officer at […]