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Posts Tagged ‘Harris County’

Getting ready for the new voter ID universe

It’s a scramble. With roughly two months before early voting starts, Texas election officials are facing the difficult task of training thousands of poll workers and educating the public about court-ordered changes to a voter ID law – all while under an intense microscope. That process is expected to be exacerbated by the sheer size […]

More focus on bail practices

Something needs to be done, whether via the ongoing lawsuit or other means. Sandra Thompson, a University of Houston law professor, has spent hundreds of dollars bailing her cousin out of jail for minor offenses. “I get steamed under the collar when I think about this issue,” Thompson said. “I’m really mad and I’m ready […]

Bail practices lawsuit update

There was a hearing in court this week, and the judge was skeptical. U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal declined Thursday to rule on whether Harris County should be dismissed from a lawsuit intended to force officials to reform a tough bail system in which more than 70 percent of jail inmates are being held pretrial. […]

More on the latest voting rights lawsuit ruling

Coverage from the Chron: In contrast to the discourse over the voter ID law, it’s not clear there are many political stakes over the law [Judge Robert] Pitman tossed out Friday. There are enough Hispanic and Latino voters in every county in Texas to mandate Spanish-language assistance at polls across the state, so Friday’s ruling […]

Endorsement watch: The early work continues

The Chron continues its way-early rollout of general election endorsements by giving their blessing to four Justice of the Peace candidates. Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1, Place 1: Eric William Carter The Democratic candidate Eric William Carter, 33, is our choice to replace vacating Judge Dale Gorczynski. This quick yet soft-spoken graduate of South […]

Have we reached a tipping point on flood mitigation?

That’s a question that is alluded to but not directly addressed in this story. “This is how the land is supposed to act,” said Mary Anne Piacentini, executive director of the Katy Prairie Conservancy, a nonprofit land trust. “It’s supposed to absorb water and filter out pollutants. It’s not supposed to send it roaring into […]

Endorsement watch: Still not wasting any time

The Chron makes a Civil Court endorsement, way ahead of when they normally do this sort of thing. Harris County Civil Court at Law 1 doesn’t handle the big-money issues that are bread and butter for white-shoe law firms. But for the people who do come before that court, the cases can feel as important […]

Who’s willing to pay for more flood mitigation?

I have three things to say about this. Harris county’s four commissioners said Wednesday they could support either a property tax increase or reallocation of funds in the county budget to better fund flood control projects after a series of storms and floods this spring destroyed property and claimed the lives of more than a […]

Transgender rights are about more than bathrooms

There’s also drivers licenses. A Texas appeals court ruled last week that a transgender man isn’t entitled to change the gender marker on his driver’s license from “female” to “male.” However, LGBT legal experts say they don’t expect the decision from the 14th Court of Appeals, which covers the Houston area, to have much practical […]

Did Steve Radack really say that?

Apparently so. Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack recently said some people want to get flooded so they can cash in, and he’s not backing down from his comments. Radack says this was one minute of a 90-minute community meeting in Cypress last Thursday night. However, to the audience of flood victims, it didn’t go over […]

Legislation to ban the jailing of rape victims proposed

Hard to argue with, I must say. The controversial jailing of a rape victim to ensure her testimony could lead to a new state law protecting victims’ rights to an appointed attorney. State Sen. Joan Huffman is joining with Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson and Sheriff Ron Hickman to push for new legislation to […]

Harris County sued over disabled voting access

This ought to be interesting. Harris County, which includes Houston, has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act because many of its polling places are inaccessible to voters with disabilities, a new lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice alleges. Many polling places in Harris County, which were surveyed by the justice department during elections […]

Jailed rape victim’s lawyer calls for special prosecutor

To investigate the actions of the DA’s office that led to her incarceration. Prosecutors broke the law when they jailed a rape victim in order to secure her testimony against her attacker, the woman’s attorney claimed Monday in a letter to Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson. Attorney Sean Buckley said he believes prosecutors illegally […]

More on the jailed rape victim

The Chron pens a harsh editorial. Although a spokesman for the district attorney’s office has admitted this miscarriage of justice should never have happened, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson defends the prosecutor involved in the case. She says the prosecutor tried to find a suitable place for the sexual assault survivor to stay after […]

July finance reports for county candidates

Most of the interesting race in Harris County this year are the countywide races. Here’s a look at how the candidates in these races have been doing at fundraising. District Attorney Friends of Devon Anderson PAC Kim Ogg Name Raised Spent Loans On Hand ================================================ Anderson 253,670 55,392 0 368,907 Ogg 143,311 34,417 69,669 108,872 […]

Harris County DA drops charges against video fraudsters

Disappointing, to say the least. Criminal charges against the anti-abortion activists behind undercover recordings of a Houston Planned Parenthood facility were dismissed Tuesday. David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, the videographers who infiltrated Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, had been charged with tampering with a governmental record, a second-degree felony charge that carries up to 20 years […]

Falkenberg talks to DA Anderson about jailed rape victim

Worth reading, as you would expect. I’m going to quote from the conclusion: [Assistant DA Nick] Socias appeared to have diligently tried to help, but he seemed to be trying alone. Anderson’s office said she wasn’t informed about the situation until near the end of trial. She should have been involved from the start. The […]

Roadside drug tests

Maybe this isn’t such a good idea. A Houston police officer pulled Barry Demings over as he headed to work in Beaumont and plucked a spot of white powder off the floorboard of Demings’ year-old Ford Explorer. Demings had just detailed the SUV – and wondered later if a speck of soap upended his life. […]

Why would you even think to put a rape victim in jail?

I am outraged. The 25-year-old rape victim, frightened and long-suffering from mental illness, agreed in December to testify against the Houston man who brutally assaulted her in 2013. She hoped to put him behind bars for life. But that decision landed her in the Harris County jail for more than a month over the Christmas […]

What it will take to win the District Court of Appeals benches

I’ve mentioned a couple of times that one place on the local ballot where Democrats could potentially gain some real ground is with the district Courts of Appeals. There are no competitive Congressional or State Senate races, the one competitive State House race in HD144 would be Democratic-favored in any Presidential year, and the countywide […]

We’re outsourcing inmates again

We never learn. Harris County, in the latest move to keep its swelling jail population in check, is pursuing an agreement with neighboring Fort Bend County to send inmates to the suburb’s jail. A Harris County Sheriff’s Office spokesman called the measure precautionary. If it is approved by commissioners at their meeting Tuesday, it’s not […]

Miles wins SD13 nomination

And so we gathered again to pick a nominee to fill an open slot on the ballot, though at least this time the “we” who did the actual picking did not include me. I went to observe, say Hi, gather intelligence, and just generally enjoy the process. if you didn’t know anything about that process […]

America’s deadliest prosecutors

Fascinating. In anticipation of the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark death penalty decision, Gregg v. Georgia, today the Fair Punishment Project released a new report called America’s Top Five Deadliest Prosecutors: How Overzealous Personalities Drive the Death Penalty. The report identified America’s five deadliest head prosecutors out of the thousands that have held that office across the […]

Today’s the day for SD13

Feels like we’ve been here before, doesn’t it? Today is the day for the Senate precinct convention in SD13, in which a nominee for that office to replace Sen. Rodney Ellis will be chosen. There are 96 precinct chairs in total across Harris and Fort Bend Counties, and we know the basic process by now. […]

First baby affected by Zika born in Texas

Won’t be the last, unfortunately. A baby boy born with microcephaly in Harris County is the first Zika-affected infant in Texas, the Texas Department of State Health Services announced Wednesday. The baby’s mother contracted Zika in Colombia, and the baby was infected in the womb, according Umair Shah, executive director of Harris County Public Health. […]

Chron overview of SD13

Not much new here. Amid frantic wooing of Democratic precinct chairs, the unconventional sprint to succeed state Sen. Rodney Ellis is boiling down to an argument over tenure: Is it better to move a seasoned legislator to the Senate, or preserve House experience by sending a relative newcomer to the upper chamber? State Rep. Senfronia […]

Another view of Democratic goals for 2016

Sounds about right. Some Democrats say Clinton has a chance at winning a majority in Texas, where interest is heightened because U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro has been mentioned as a possible Clinton running mate. Castro said Friday that he isn’t being vetted as one. They’re looking for Trump’s rhetoric to help […]

Endorsement watch: The Chron for Rep. Thompson

The Chron endorses Rep. Senfronia Thompson in SD13, though they spend most of their time attacking Rep. Borris Miles. In 2008 [Rep. Miles] was indicted (and later acquitted) for deadly conduct in a bizarre scenario that had him accused of crashing a holiday party at the St. Regis Hotel flashing a gun, threatening the host, […]

Endorsement watch: Labor for Thompson, the Mayor for Miles

From the inbox: The Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO today announced their support of Senfronia Thompson for State Senator District 13. “Our unions screened two candidates for Senate District 13 — Representatives Senfronia Thompson and Borris Miles,” said Zeph Capo, President of the Area Labor Federation. “Both candidates have been steadfast allies in […]

Mixed signals on voter registration

It’s mostly good news, but it could be better. While nonpartisan groups say funding is lagging to sign up Latinos to vote in the November election, voter registrations — likely fueled by Donald Trump’s salvos against people of Mexican heritage — are well ahead of 2012 along the Texas border and in the state’s largest […]

Building a better mosquito trap

I love this story. Harris County officials are teaming up with tech-giant Microsoft to find and research mosquitoes that could carry the Zika virus or other mosquito-borne diseases, the county public health department said Tuesday. As part of “Project Premonition,” 10 traps will be placed across Harris County. Each trap can transmit data on when […]

More on the SD13 race

From the Trib: In the span of a month, a Texas Senate seat will have been vacated and effectively filled, an unconventional turn of events that has Houston Democrats scrambling to replace one of their most venerated legislators. The highly abbreviated contest is unfolding in Senate District 13, where Rodney Ellis is vacating his seat […]

SD13 nomination process update

Two possible candidates have taken themselves out of the running. State Rep. Garnet Coleman and former City Councilman C.O. Bradford have decided not to run for Rodney Ellis’ state Senate seat, citing a desire to retain seniority in the state House and concerns about the electoral process, respectively. That leaves state Reps. Senfronia Thompson and […]

Maldonado and Jordan win court nominations

Last night at the quarterly Harris County Democratic Party County Executive Committee meeting, HCDP precinct chairs selected the nominees for the two newly-created judicial positions. It was a long meeting – it took some time to sign all the precinct chairs in, and there was some normal business to conduct before we got to the […]