Blame and Innocence
Via Burnt Orange Report, the San Antonio Express News editorialized yesterday that House Criminal Jurisprudence Chairman Aaron Peña is responsible for the death of Sen. Rodney Ellis' SB 263 creating an "Innocence Commission" in Texas, and a columnist lamented the bill's passing. My own editorials about Peña's role in the bill's death drew quite a set of heated responses, see here and here. As partial recompense for this ignominious lapse, I'd like to see Peña's committee address innocence topics in an interim study to show they aren't COMPLETELY inured to the plight of innocent people languishing in Texas prisons.
'Feel-good' legislation ignores real border security needs
The McAllen police chief entirely summed up my opinion of so-called "border security" legislation (HB 13) that's nearing passage in Austin ("Police chief urges sheriffs to remember city departments," McAllen Monitor, May 23):
McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez slammed state and federal legislators during a speech given before the quarterly meeting of the Texas Border Sheriff’s Coalition, held this week in Pharr.Couldn't have said it better myself.
He accused lawmakers of ignoring the needs of the region’s municipal police departments and of passing “feel-good legislation” that allows them to wash their hands of the nation’s border security problems.
When Life Means Life
Meet Harvey Stewart, Texas' longest serving inmate.
When Tuff on Crime is Tuff on Coffers
The Cameron County Jail is a money pit.
TYC's New Gender Segregation
The Texas Youth Commission will begin segregating students by gender at TYC units, reports the Austin Statesman. Like most reforms announced by the agency since it was taken over by a conservator, I can't think of one problem this solves that would have helped prevent any of the abuses that have come to light in the last few months. (Readers, correct me in the comments if you disagree.) Once again, it appears to me TYC administrators hope the Lege and the public will confuse activity with achievement - sadly, that's probably a good bet.
The Houston Chronicle ran an interesting article exploring the TDJC Chaplains program. Said a Muslim chaplain, "Many of these men are going to go back to their communities, and they need to return as an asset, not a liability," he said. "So we talk about family life, citizenship responsibilities, social life, being drug free, etcetera." I also thought this item was interesting about a prison ministry group that's going to help rehab the chapel at the Wynne Unit in Huntsville.
What CrimLaw Blogs Do You Read?
I meant to link to this earlier, but Jamie Spencer at the Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer has asked readers to suggest criminal law blogs in a variety of topics. If you have any input on the subject, let him know.