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Posts Tagged ‘drugs’

HPOU wades into the DA race

They’re all in for incumbent Devon Anderson. The already intense race for Harris County district attorney became more heated Wednesday with the Houston Police Officer’s Union attacking Democratic candidate Kim Ogg, saying that during her time at Crime Stoppers she violated the privacy of victims she was supposed to help support. The 5,300-member group is […]

Anderson proposes her own pot prosecution reform plan

It’s a trend. A move to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana emerged Wednesday as a major issue in the contentious race for Harris County District attorney with both candidates claiming ownership of the idea. At a news conference, Republican Devon Anderson, the incumbent, said that beginning Monday, non-violent first offenders carrying less […]

The debate over handling drug cases in the DA race

An update from the Chron. Incumbent Devon Anderson and challenger Kim Ogg have somewhat similar thoughts on dealing with misdemeanor marijuana possession, but are on polar opposites when it comes to trace amounts of crack cocaine, a perennial debate in Harris County. On marijuana, both are proposing a diversion program, which offers the opportunity for […]

Ogg proposes marijuana prosecution reforms

I like the sound of this. Kim Ogg, the Democratic nominee for Harris County district attorney, said Friday she will ticket and enforce community service for, instead of arrest and jail, thousands of people arrested each year in Houston for low-level marijuana possession. “We can save up to 10 million dollars a year, folks,” Ogg […]

Steve Stockman does something I support

I know, I’m as shocked as you are. Texas Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Friendswood, has recently backed a bill to require federal officials to comply with state marijuana laws, which was introduced in April and has since garnered support from Congressmen on both sides of the aisle. The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2013, introduced […]

Moving the focus back to un-crowding the jails

This is a positive development. Newly appointed Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson on Wednesday pledged to curb the increasing number of low-level felons being sentenced to serve misdemeanor time in the county jail rather than going to prison, known as a “12.44a” sentence, saying she will encourage her prosecutors to push rehabilitation. There has […]

Whitmire weighs in on Harris jail population

State Sen. John Whitmire has pushed back on some of the explanations given for the recent uptick in the Harris County jail population, beginning with the claim that it’s due to state jails taking longer than usual to pick up new inmates. Noting the state prison system has “7,000 empty beds today,” Whitmire said that […]

Kim Ogg to run for DA

That didn’t take long. Kim Ogg, a former prosecutor, anti-gang investigator and crime prevention leader, told supporters Saturday that she will run for Harris County district attorney. In an email, Ogg said she would announce Monday that she would run in the Democratic primary in the spring. Voters will choose a district attorney in November […]

We have to worry about jail overcrowding again

Not good. After a nearly two-year hiatus, the Harris County jail population is nearing capacity, prompting officials to again consider whether to ship some inmates to out-of-state lockups. The latest jail population report shows the total number of detainees dropped significantly from 2009 to the end of 2011, when the population finally dipped below the […]

Pot policy

From Hair Balls: Rehman Bhalesha was raised around marijuana. That’s not to say that he dealt, or that he pushed, or that he used. He didn’t have to. Weed, growing up, turned wherever he went. “Living in South Texas, you really see the substance flood high school and college campuses and neighborhoods, without any regulation, […]

If we need more courts, we should ask for more courts

I’m not sure why there hasn’t been more of a push to deal with this. As Harris County’s population continues to swell, more people means more crimes. And that results in more work for the county’s 22 felony courts. But no court is busier right now than the 209th, which is overseen by Michael McSpadden, […]

No increase in jail population as yet

Good to hear. When Harris County District Attorney Mike Anderson toppled incumbent Pat Lykos in last year’s Republican primary, some county budget hawks got fidgety. The campaign’s central issue, after all, was Anderson’s opposition to a Lykos policy that treated cases with drug residue of less than 1/100th of a gram as misdemeanors. Lykos was […]

Trace cases to be prosecuted as felonies again

So says our new DA. Newly elected Harris County District Attorney Mike Anderson said Thursday he will prosecute as felonies drug cases that involve trace amounts of crack cocaine, reversing his predecessor’s stand on the so-called “trace cases.” “If there is enough evidence to test in a lab, then we’ll take the charges,” Anderson said. […]

Once again on bail and jail overcrowding

Grits returns to a familiar topic. Harris County has successfully reduced its jail population in the last couple of years to the point where they no longer must ship inmates to jails in Louisiana and other Texas counties due to overcrowding. And despite Chicken-Little pronouncements from the police union and tuff-on-crime zealots, the sky didn’t […]

On locking up prostitutes

It doesn’t make much sense. Busted 32 times in 17 years for prostitution in Austin and other places, Beatryce Hall’s rap sheet reads like a frequent-flier ticket for Texas prisons: 11 times in 11 years. Many of those trips were courtesy of a 2001 Texas law that allowed prosecutors to charge prostitutes with a felony […]

Armstrong gives up the fight against USADA

Wow. With stunning swiftness, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Thursday night it will strip Lance Armstrong of his unprecedented seven Tour de France titles after he dropped his fight against drug charges that threatened his legacy as one of the greatest cyclists of all time. Travis Tygart, USADA’s chief executive, said Armstrong would also be […]

Inmate outsourcing on the way out

This is unequivocally good news. Dropping inmate numbers at the Harris County Jail will let the county end its nearly 5-year-old practice of shipping overflow inmates to Louisiana and other Texas counties within days, Sheriff Adrian Garcia said this week. The jail population has fallen 31 percent since 2008, to 8,573 inmates. The jail has […]

Lykos v Anderson

I obviously don’t have a dog in the Republican District Attorney primary fight, but I like a good high-profile political battle as much as the next junkie, so stories about it are interesting to me. [DA Pat] Lykos argues she is a reformer with three years of improvements under her belt while Mike Anderson, a […]

More on Lykos versus the cops

Here’s another Chron story about the recent dust-up between Harris County DA Pat Lykos and six Harris County police groups that don’t like her policy that trace amounts of crack will not be prosecuted as felonies. Two points that are worth highlighting from the story: State District Judge Michael McSpadden has presided over Houston’s criminal […]

Lykos versus the cops

Various law enforcement unions are not happy with Harris County DA Pat Lykos. Leaders of six Harris County police organizations Tuesday announced a vote of no confidence in District Attorney Pat Lykos, saying she has “shirked her duty” and has turned down viable cases for prosecution. The no-confidence vote – a rare public fissure in […]

Getting smarter about crime, state prison edition

Some good news on the criminal justice front. Texas has a new swagger that comes from a recently released U.S. Justice Department report showing the growth of the state’s prison population is slowing to the extent that three new prisons slated for construction have been scrapped. At the same time, the state is becoming the […]

More on the new DA drug policy

Mark Bennett notes the new policy for dealing with trace amounts of drugs as announced by the Harris County DA’s office and suggests there’s little to be concerned about. What we’re really talking about here is a small number of people—the Harris County Sheriff’s Office guesses that 750 or fewer people are in Harris County’s […]

Getting smarter about crime

The news that Harris County DA Pat Lykos has changed the office’s policy to no longer will file state jail felony charges against suspects found with only a trace of drugs is good news indeed. Lykos said the move “gives us more of an ability to focus on the violent offenses and the complex offenses. […]

Operation Border Star

During the 2007 legislative session, $110 million was appropriated at Governor Perry’s urging for border law enforcement agencies to combat drug smuggling and gang activity. How’s that working out? The state’s $110 million Border Star program, designed to help local authorities combat violent crime and drug smuggling, has been ineffective and a waste of resources, […]