Criminal defense attorney Robert Guest at I Was the State used the open records act to break a story covered in these three blog posts on the Austin PD's warrantless surveillance of utility records that's been picked up by local TV news.
Now, data on increased rates of Texas prison guard misconduct, compiled through open records by bloggers at The Back Gate, have received prominent coverage in the Huntsville Item.
These examples should be a lesson to all regular bloggers - if you want the MSM to pick up your work, publish the results of original research. The open records act is your friend.
Meanwhile, over at Defending People, Mark Bennett's impromptu effort to gather dozens of attorney signatures on a complaint against Judge Sharon Keller has been cited in media accounts all over the state, as has the public complaint put together by Scott Cobb at the Texas Moratorium Network.
Criminal justice bloggers are making a difference in how debates over crime and punishment are carried out in this state, and very much for the better. Great job to all these blogs!
UPDATE: Now the MSM are even crashing the blog party! Texas Monthly editor Evan Smith announces on his blog, State of Mine, that TM will call for Sharon Keller's resignation in its December issue. He quotes from reporter Michael Hall's feature article that just went to press:
This is hardly the first time Keller has sacrificed fairness for toughness. In 1998, in her determination to keep convicted rapist Roy Criner in prison, she turned a blind eye to DNA evidence that indicated he hadn’t committed the crime; fellow judge Tom Price said the decision made the Texas court a “national laughingstock.” Well, no one is laughing now. When a man’s life is on the line—to say nothing of the U.S. Constitution—our top criminal judge should behave like one: with prudence, fairness, and a calm hand. It’s time for Keller to go. If the commission doesn’t act quickly, we’ll have to wait until January 2009, when the Legislature—which has the power to oust high judges—reconvenes, or worse, 2012, when Keller is up for reelection. The fact is, we need to do it now. Impeach Sharon Keller.