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Posts under ‘Crime and Punishment’

Montgomery County officials indicted over road bond shenanigans

I know I’m a bad person, but this continues to amuse me greatly. A grand jury has indicted Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and two commissioners, charging them with violating Texas’ open meetings law last year while developing a bond package for new and improved roads. Traffic-weary voters in the rapidly growing county approved the […]

Paxton asks appeals court to reconsider

Pretty please? Lawyers for Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday asked a state appeals court to reconsider its recent ruling that upheld the criminal charges against him. The motion did not address the two most serious charges alleging that Paxton committed fraud when he solicited investors in Servergy Inc. without disclosing that he was being […]

Misdemeanor charge dropped against video fraudster Daleiden

Just the misdemeanor charge, not the felony. A Harris County judge has dropped one of the criminal charges against an anti-abortion activist who was indicted after making undercover recordings of a Houston Planned Parenthood facility. David Daleiden, one of the videographers who infiltrated Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, had been charged with the very crime he […]

Paxton moves to dismiss SEC charges against him

We’ll see if he has any more luck with this than he has had with the state charges. Lawyers for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have asked a federal court to dismiss the federal securities fraud charges against him. […] Paxton’s lawyers in the federal case filed a motion Thursday seeking to dismiss the charges, […]

Darlie Routier, 20 years later

Here’s an update on one of the more notorious murder cases in recent history. If it hadn’t been for that crazy Silly String, Darlie Lynn Routier might be a free woman today. At least, that’s what many people believe about the notorious Rowlett woman now on death row after savagely stabbing her 5- and 6-year-old […]

Sonia Cacy

A long-time-coming story of actual innocence. A judge has ruled that Sonia Cacy, a West Texas woman convicted of setting her uncle on fire, is innocent of murder, basing his decision on new analysis of evidence presented at her 1993 trial. “The cumulation of evidence supports Applicant’s claim of actual innocence,” visiting state District Judge […]

5th Court of Appeals refuses to toss Paxton indictments

Sorry, Kenny. A Dallas appeals court on Wednesday upheld Attorney General Ken Paxton’s three felony fraud indictments, a decision he is likely to appeal to the highest criminal court in the state. “We are gratified but not surprised that just three weeks after oral argument, the en banc court of appeals unanimously concluded that Mr. […]

Ellis v. Radack

From the inbox: On Tuesday, Commissioner Steve Radack said during a public session of the Harris County Commissioner’s Court that Senator Rodney Ellis should “shut up” about criminal justice reform. Click here and scroll to the 30 second mark of the Executive Session. Today, Senator Ellis offers the following response: “In an outburst more in […]

Lawsuit filed over Harris County bail practices

This could be a big deal. An advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., challenged Harris County’s bail system on Thursday, arguing in a federal civil rights lawsuit that hundreds of offenders are unlawfully jailed for minor offenses like trespassing and shoplifting simply because they are poor and cannot afford even nominal bail payments. Lawyers for […]

Locke calls for jail administrator

Some strong words from Precinct 1 Commissioner Gene Locke. Harris County Commissioner Gene L. Locke on Tuesday demanded that a certified jail administrator be hired after learning that four Harris County inmates have died after being assaulted by other inmates or suffered blunt force trauma while jailed over the last year. The latest of the […]

Harris County crime lab experiencing DNA testing backlog

These things do happen. Expanded testing for property crimes has helped create a backlog of more than 4,600 DNA cases in the Harris County crime lab, straining its ability to complete the processing of such evidence for sexual assaults and even homicide cases in a timely manner. Officials with the Harris County Institute of Forensic […]

Paxton’s day in appellate court

The grand jury was out to get Ken Paxton, apparently. Lawyers for Attorney General Ken Paxton on Thursday tried to cast doubt on the makeup of the grand jury that indicted him. They’re hoping to overturn a lower court’s decision not to dismiss the securities fraud charges against him. Much of the discussion at the […]

Video fraudsters to go to trial

All righty then. David Robert Daleiden, 27, and his colleague, Sandra Susan Merritt, 63, both of California, have rejected a plea deal that would have effectively put an end to the criminal charges against them, their lawyers confirmed Friday. “I don’t advise my clients to accept responsibility for cases that they haven’t done anything wrong […]

Harris County takes a step towards jail reform

Good. Harris County commissioners voted Tuesday to back a sweeping plan to reform the criminal justice system, a week after the Harris County Jail began shipping inmates to other counties to avoid reaching capacity. Commissioners voted to accept a $2 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation and to allocate more than $3.3 million from general-fund […]

Council approves body camera storage funds

Good. City Council voted Wednesday to spend $1 million to buy servers and other equipment to store video collected by city police officers equipped with body cameras. The vote, passed with relatively little fuss following months of sometimes-contentious public debate, marks the next step in the Houston Police Department’s ongoing effort to equip more than […]

It’s a conspiracy!

Oh, noes! Planned Parenthood is in cahoots with the Harris County DA! Run for your lives! The anti-abortion activist accused of falsifying records to secretly videotape Planned Parenthood officials in Houston is accusing the Harris County district attorney’s office of illegally colluding with the nonprofit. The allegations were raised in court documents filed Thursday seeking […]

HPD rolls out its body cameras

The first wave has been deployed. The Houston Police Department handed out Thursday the first wave of 4,100 body cameras being distributed to all first-line officers over the next 12 to 18 months, initiating a new policy that will require officers to wear the cameras for all law-enforcement related activities. About 200 officers – those […]

More on Paxton’s SEC troubles

The short answer is, he’s gonna lose. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton may have some history on his side, but as of this week the numbers appear to be against him. Paxton, who is trying to become the latest in a long line of Texas officials to beat prominent allegations, unwittingly entered treacherous waters Monday […]

Bland committee makes its recommendations for Waller County jail

Good to see. Waller County needs a new jail, local officers need body cameras to record their activities and the sheriff’s office needs to promote civility, a study committee formed after the death of Sandra Bland said Tuesday. The county came under national scrutiny in July when Bland was found hanged in her jail cell […]

Criminal complaint filed over Uptown land acquisition

All righty then. A consultant who represents property owners in the Galleria area has filed a criminal complaint with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, alleging the Uptown Development Authority and related entities broke state open meetings and disclosure laws in relation to acquiring property for a dedicated bus lane project. The complaint, filed last […]

More troubles for the Planned Parenthood video fraudsters

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Investigators with the California Department of Justice on Tuesday raided the home of David Daleiden, the anti-abortion activist behind a series of undercover videos targeting Planned Parenthood, the activist said. Authorities seized a laptop and multiple hard drives from his Orange County apartment, Daleiden said in an email. The […]

Case against Rick Perry officially dismissed

So there you have it. The criminal case against former Gov. Rick Perry was officially dismissed on Wednesday, weeks after Texas’ highest criminal court ordered that it be dropped. Judge Bert Richardson, who presided over the case in Travis County and now serves on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, signed an order dismissing the […]

Paxton to get full court treatment

The full (sort of) 5th Court of Appeals will decide whether to dismiss or uphold the indictments against AG Ken Paxton. The 5th Court of Appeals announced late Friday that instead of the typical three-judge panel, nine of its 13 justices will hear oral arguments in Paxton’s case on May 12. Four justices stepped aside […]

The pros and cons of merging the crime labs

The calls to merge the city and county crime labs are back, but not everyone likes the idea. Merging Houston’s and Harris County’s crime labs, an idea that was rejected several years ago by the city’s mayor when forensic work was shifted from the police department to a new independent agency, is getting a fresh […]

It’s not easy going green

And by “going green” I mean legalizing pot, at least in Texas. Advocacy groups and lawmakers say marijuana policy reform in Texas could be the fiscally responsible thing to do in light of the state’s decreasing oil and gas revenues. Texas legislators should look to marijuana policy reform to save, and even make, money in […]

Collin County grand jury declines to add to Ken Paxton’s problems

He’s got that going for him, which is nice. A Collin County grand jury looking into a 2004 land sale tied to a business group involving Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has decided to drop its investigation, a lawyer for the McKinney Republican said Wednesday. Since November, two special prosecutors appointed by state District Judge […]

Former Trooper Encinia pleads not guilty in Sandra Bland perjury case

As expected. A former Texas trooper pleaded not guilty to charges he lied about his actions last July while arresting Sandra Bland, whose death in Waller County’s jail three days later sparked a national outcry from civil rights activists. Dressed in a gray suit and tie and flanked by his attorneys, former Department of Public […]

Complaint filed against Sid Miller

Game on. A liberal advocacy group on Monday asked the Texas Rangers to investigate whether Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller used taxpayer money to fly to Oklahoma to get an injection known as “the Jesus Shot” that is supposed to cure all pain for life. The group, Progress Texas, filed a two-page complaint alleging Miller intentionally […]

Paxton prosecutors file their response briefs at the 5th Court of Appeals

In sum: Don’t think about Rick Perry! A Travis County court’s decision to throw out Rick Perry’s abuse-of-power indictments should have no bearing on Ken Paxton’s securities fraud case, the team prosecuting the first-term attorney general wrote in their latest brief filed Monday. “Comparing Rick Perry’s case with Mr. Paxton’s is like comparing Citizen Kane […]

Another look at how long the Paxton case could take

The DMN makes the same comparisons that I have made. Ken Paxton has spent eight months — the majority of his time as attorney general — under indictment. The legal cloud shows no sign of dissipating. How long the case takes to resolve depends almost entirely on decisions made by Paxton and his legal team. […]

Shots fired at Sen. Whitmire’s office

Jesus. State Sen. John Whitmire said Thursday afternoon he believes the gun used in the predawn shooting of his Houston-area office was likely an AR-15 assault rifle. The Houston Democrat’s office was fired on at about 12:30 a.m. Thursday. No one was injured in the shooting, which was first reported by KHOU. “[The bullets] were […]

Is there anything more to the Rick Perry case?

I’m dubious. The special prosecutor in the abuse-of-power case against Rick Perry said Thursday he still hasn’t decided whether to drop the matter a week after the state’s highest criminal court ordered that the indictment against the former governor be dismissed. Special prosecutor Michael McCrum of San Antonio said he and his co-counsel, David Gonzalez, […]

Turner names interim HPD chief

Congratulations, Chief Montalvo. Mayor Sylvester Turner has tapped 36-year Houston Police Department veteran Martha Montalvo to lead the department while his team conducts a nationwide search for a new permanent chief. Montalvo, 56, has served as chief of staff to outgoing Chief Charles McClelland and has held the rank of executive assistant chief since 2004, […]

The effect of the law that was supposed to cripple the Public Integrity Unit

Never tempt the weauxf gods. Or the Senate Republicans. Nearly a year after Texas Republicans cheered the passage of a law to strip the Travis County Public Integrity Unit’s power to investigate elected officials and state employees, the unit’s director says little actually has changed. Though the law took away the unit’s authority to prosecute […]