Friday, May 16, 2008

Local DAs in two counties keep no-billing TYC abuse cases

One of the main criticisms of the Texas Youth Commission's current structure has been the location of facilities in rural locales, making it hard to hire staff, nearly impossible to find specialized services, requiring overuse of "telemedicine" instead of on-site doctors, and boosting transportation costs during times of high gas prices.

Yesterday in the Houston Chronicle, columnist Lisa Falkenberg suggested another problem with placing TYC facilities in rural areas: Insular, "friendly" small-town grand juries and prosecutors may be unwilling to charge TYC employees with abuse ("Are some grand juries too friendly?," May 15). Her story focuses on a no-billed case from December in Crockett:

A guard pins an unruly teen inmate against a wall in a small room at a Texas Youth Commission facility in Crockett. The youth isn't going anywhere.

His ankles are shackled, his wrists bound to waist chain. A pair of guards loiter nearby. One sporting a blue letter jacket displaying the letter "C" seems to find the scene humorous and smiles broadly as he walks away.

Then he turns back. Without hesitation, "C" reaches for the inmate's ankle restraints and yanks his feet out from under him. The inmate, unable to brace himself, falls flatly on his face, blood from his busted chin staining the floor. The guard who has been restraining him lands on top of him.

"C" leaves the room and appears to nonchalantly describe to a group of employees congregating in a reception area outside how he yanked the inmate's chain. A supervisor inspects the inmate. A staffer mops up the blood. "C" is fired a short time later.

Surveillance video captures the whole ordeal, which happened on Dec. 20.

The new TYC special prosecution unit was amazed when the Houston County grand jury returned with a no-bill, since all the elements of the offense in the statute were plainly visible on the video:
[Inspector General Bruce] Toney and Gina DeBottis, head of the Special Prosecution Unit, fear that in some counties, "friendly" grand juries and hesitant district attorneys are reluctant to punish TYC employees, either because they're neighbors or part of an institution that's vital to the community's livelihood.

"Maybe it's the small town or county attitude of, 'Hey, that's my neighbor, I grew up with him, I grew up with her, I'm not going to see them go to jail over a juvenile that's done nothing but cause trouble all his life,' " Toney said.

Whatever the cause, Toney says any reluctance to indict hinders his office's efforts to protect youth from abuse.

"Why do they even need us?" Toney told me. "If we can't get the good, valid cases true-billed, then there's really no need for us to exist."

District attorneys in two counties identified as problematic dismissed accusations of unfairness. Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney Rene Guerra, whose county no-billed 10 official oppression and assault cases involving TYC employees in January alone, says that he believes his grand jurors acted appropriately.

Some of this is just a lack of "want to" by local DAs. That's what's held up any prosecution of the original TYC sex abuse allegations in Pyote,, and now we see that DAs in Houston and Hidalgo County similarly aren't too aggressive about prosecuting abuse cases.

Grand juries in Texas are largely tools of the local DA's office. There's an old courthouse saying that a prosecutor can get a ham sandwich indicted if they like. So when you see ten abuse cases dismissed in a single month in Hidalgo County, that speaks to the DA's own commitment as much as the grand jury's judgments about the facts.

The DAs, for their part, say the Lege created a new bureaucracy with the TYC special prosecutor that "doesn't need to be there." But would anybody even know about such cases being silently no-billed if these new oversight offices weren't there? It's only because the Lege created new oversight mechanisms that the public even has the opportunity to know what's happening and debate the topic.

Now certainly I don't want special prosecutors or local DAs to become the enforcers of TYC's human resources policy, but the incident described by Falkenberg is a straight up assault, and a rather sadistic, self-congratulatory one at that.

At least the fellow was promptly fired. A couple of years ago at TYC, I'm not sure that would have been the outcome.

76 comments:

doran williams said...

Grits. This post deserves some attention from everyone. I have a couple of questions, and an observation.

As far as you know, have any of the abuses of juveniles in the custody of TYC been reported to Child Protective Services, and if so, how were the reports handled by CPS?

As an observation, these no-bills speak pretty plainly to the suggestion on another thread that the Exclusionary Rule is not really necessary because prosecution of cops who make illegal searches and arrests, in violation of the 4th Amendment, will deter the practice.

The person putting that theory forward pointed to the British practice in support of it, which in itself is absurd. If bloody violence against juveniles is not prosecuted locally, there is really no reason to conclude that violations of the protection of the 4th Amendment would be prosecuted.

Anonymous said...

No big. Sounds like Evins on any given day. Valley politics is as corrupt as or more than anything you'll ever see in East Texas. The last one they fired and arrested down here is reportedly back at work and no charges are further pending.

Anonymous said...

This is not over, I would not want to be in these staffs shoes come January 01, 2009. This is when they (SPU) can bring forth charges again against these staff, or they (SPU) still have the option to take these cases before a Grand Jury in Austin regardless of the County where the case derived from. It's not over yet; SPU stands for Special Prosecution Unit

Anonymous said...

Grits, this situation has been going on for about 100 years, literally.

I have run across exactly these sorts of incidents going all the way back to the 1910s. Typically, though not always, the institutional staff and the locals support one another no matter what. And remember that the kids (and the critics) are often from cities.

In at least one case I found relatives of an elected state rep from Gatesville working at the facility for delinquent boys.

During the early 20th century, boy inmates were used as convict laborers on local farms... owned by individuals who worked at Gatesville and who often didn't even bother to pay their bills to the institution.

This is a long standing historical problem.

BB

Anonymous said...

119 years of child abuse and still going strong. In the 70s this kind of stuff happened all the time. The red necks back then would get mad because M vs T made them write a report in some cases after beating a state boy. In all fairness at the red neck level, the state boy may have needed the beating, but in actuality the environment generated by the program culture promoted the behavior to cause the beating.
The red necks would long for the good ol days when they could beat state boys at will without having to use skill sets they did not have, writing. In all fairness some staff holding dorms were good people but they were way outnumbered. Case workers and supervisors protected these red necks, helped with their reports, lol.
Now, even with over site nothing, and where is CPS, violating constitutional rights of religious freedom to abuse non delinquent children.
I can’t seem to find a stat on how many TYC kids became TDC adults at some point in their life. I think that stat would be kept on the low, since the underling reality of any TYC program over the years is to create business for TDC.
Whatever happened to the use of Positive Peer Culture to protect the red neck? The way PPC was implemented at Mountainview/Hackberry was good because it put the beating of state boys in the hands of the state boys and the red neck was out of the loop. It was not pretty when a kid had “group“ called on him. I guess to a red neck who likes to abuse kids that wasn’t much fun.
Sheldon tyc#47333

Anonymous said...

As for not being able to hire employees in remote locations.
That is bunk.

Given, the tight employment market, it is tough to hire employees given the pale effort that TYC makes.

If TYC were to adequetly publicize open positions, they would be filled.

Trying hard by TYC standards is really pretty tepid when compared to the efforts that other emlpoyers make.

Lame efforts get lame results.

dirty harry said...

Not only are TYC employees who work in rural areas "local" people, the unit itself might be the largest employer in the area. That definitely carries some clout with it. Rural public school districts also have this clout, and they use it to their advantage all the time. So much so, that it isn't unusual for them to even have the local press in their pocket.

However, there are ways to deal with it.

Anonymous said...

Doran,

An ER physician I know attempted to report a case of severe abuse to CPS, was told by CPS that since it happened in a state institution and the alleged abusers were state employees that it was out of their jurisdiction and that he should call the police. The police then said it should be investigated by CPS.

I'm sure someone was wrong, but that was the way it was handled.

Anonymous said...

This is a perfect example as to why I left TYC. I was an investigator, and this explains the whole legislative mess. I had a lot of cases that were never prosecuted, even with strong evdience.Simply because they didn't want to prosecute. We faced the problem long before the IG's came on board, and were just as frustrated. Abuse is abuse no matter how you slice it. How can we as adults expect this youth to conform with expectations when we the "role modles" fail to live up to the same standard.

Anonymous said...

DAs don't no-bill cases. Grand juries do. I think it would be much more accurate to say that if TYC hired qualified people in positions such as Chief Inspector General, then the cases would be better investigated and would give the grand juries a clearer picture of the crime. I have seen OIG investigations that Mr. Toney has signed off on, and I don't see how they ever get any indictments in any county. If Ms. Debottis is incompetent enough to try and prosecute these poorly investigated cases, then you will see the same results.

Anonymous said...

Grtis stated "At least the fellow was promptly fired. A couple of years ago at TYC, I'm not sure that would have been the outcome". As an ex employee who has worked investigations at Crockett a few years ago they would have promoted the guy under Freeman for showing initative....

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve, good to see you are still alive and well out there. Was afriad you had fallen off the map.

Anonymous said...

Size doesn't matter??

It makes little or no difference the size of the town or county when dealing with juveniles or adults. Read the comments in the blog for this paper which is in Houston, the majority of commentors all agree the youth had it coming to them.

I don't see it this way but do believe this size issue with some of you folks is carrying out of your bedrooms and into the blogs.

Anonymous said...

Any talk now of closing Crockett?

Anonymous said...

TYC employees have been protected for years in many ways. These no bills are just another example of this pattern. Now people in the community are doing their part. No matter what the Texas Legislature tries, politics always trumps.

There seems to be no way to get TYC in line. Many TYC employees have felt untouchable by the code of silence, etc. This is just one more support for the old culture.

Anonymous said...

Scott,

I must disagree with your belief that TYC a couple of years ago would not have fired an employee who assaulted a youth. I know from experience that such employees were terminated even at Crockett because I prosecuted many such cases in termination hearings over the years.

Howard A. Hickman

Anonymous said...

I have seen several levels of abuse in my time with TYC. I saw one student assaulted with a LexAn shield. I saw another student picked up by the belt and swung into a water fountain.
Perpertrator #1 was covered up by fellow employees, several of whom are still with the agency. Perpetrator #2 was dismissed and lost his appeals to regain his job because of fellow employees who were not only willing to testify, but who were also willing to risk uncomfortable relations with fellow employees.

119 years of abuse and still going strong is a good way of putting it, some of the no bills come about because coworkers have always relied upon each other for protection and will mostly refuse to testify.

Unfortunate but true.

davidt500

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Would you say that such terminations were the rule, Howard, or unusual?

Anonymous said...

Not to take sides --

It usually depended upon who the staff was, who the kid was and how other staff felt about that particular staff.

Howard could probably give the specifics of both cases I mentioned earlier.

davidt500

Anonymous said...

2:31,

As a former supervisor at Crockett, I know you are full of crap. Crockett Administrators were consistent with holding staff accountable to policy including the use of force policy. I would be willing to bet that Crockett held more staff accountable than the average TYC facility in the Agency. You are either SM or that big butt YRS that didn't last two days. It doesn't matter, ya'll are both full of crap and could pass as brother and sister. Get a life and quit posting lies. If this is SM, please stay in Oklahoma, ya'll deserve each other.

W. W Woodward said...

In the adult private jail where I work we have had a couple of employees prosecuted and allowed to plead out for probation for what amounted to high profile embarrassment cases of sexual misconduct and/or assisting with escape. I’m not sure if we’ve ever had an inmate indicted by a local grand jury for anything. The prevailing attitudes of local grand jury members are:

1) the inmate’s an out-of-town-boy who’s already in trouble anyway and trying him for an offense will just cost the county money we can’t afford.

2) The people who work at the jail should expect escapes, or to be assaulted occasionally.

3) If the employees had been doing their jobs, the inmate wouldn’t have escaped.

4) If the inmate didn’t want to be treated badly he shouldn’t have done what ever it was that got him “thrown in jail”.

So far there is no indication that our prosecutor has done much, if anything, to change the locals’ mindset.

It seems unless a person, or one of his family members, works in a jail, prison or juvenile facility - or someone, or his family member, is an inmate in a jail, prison, or juvenile facility – generally, (members of the Grits community excepted) that person is probably not overly concerned about what goes on there.

I would guess that the attitudes I’ve described are prevalent not only in communities where adults are housed but also in those where juveniles are incarcerated as well.

Anonymous said...

"At least the fellow was promptly fired. A couple of years ago at TYC, I'm not sure that would have been the outcome." Much of the public probably feel the same, Grits, given the slanted coverage TYC has received over the last 16 months.

Such terminations were the rule, at least in the facility where I worked. Practices might vary, but at our facility there was no expectation that the central office would be satisfied with anything less than termination if the report and evidence were as convincing as this one is described to be. Staff were terminated for far less abusive behavior, in fact. I know that doesn't comport with the coverage, but it's accurate.

Anonymous said...

You are correct in saying that it depends on who you are as to if you were disciplined in the past for violation of policy. For example, one person, who is now a Super has a history of hog tying kids and "baking" them in the Rec Yard when he was an Asst. Super and went to help out during a San Saba uprising. Another higher up in TYC was confirmed for a chokehold that was quickly downgraded to inappropriate technique and received training. Folks who were not "on the team" usually got the harsher discipline for similar violations. They are probably up to the same ole tricks, they have just learned to conceal them better. Afterall, practice makes perfect.

Anonymous said...

9:49,

Care to name the facility?

Anonymous said...

No thank you, 9:52. Take my comments or leave them. Naming a facility always sets off a round of name-calling and vitriol, and there has already been enough of that -- even on this string.

Anonymous said...

No balls, huh?

Anonymous said...

Well, exactly, 10:09. I have brains instead. (And you just proved my point.)

Anonymous said...

Youu must be low on brain cells if you still work for TYC.

Anonymous said...

Terminations were never "the rule" at any of the facilities and the same is happening today. It's all about who you know and who is your buddy. One staff may be terminated at a facility for excessive use of force and a similar case at a different facility or even the same facility may occur, and let's just say the staff in the second incident is a good buddy of the Superintendent, that staff may get probation, but you can bet he/she won't be terminated. Happened all the time and it still goes on to this day. Nothing has changed in TYC, just a new set of foxes guarding the hen house.

Anonymous said...

I also observed/was directed to supervise the students being "hog tied" in the "rec yard" at San Saba.

Are you saying that Flinn is a supe somewhere, now?

The only other Asst Supe that did this, to my knowledge, was Stan diG.

you may need to explain to me some of your cryptic allusions.

Anonymous said...

2:31

Crockett was often selectively accountable. Often those who were held accountable were already in the cross hairs of the administration for not being team players or were considered unfit for the team.

If you were a supervisor at Crockett one can tell from the vitriol of your comment the type of supervisor you were.

Awfully, angry now that your house of cards came tumbling down! You reap what you sow.

Anonymous said...

Sorry 2:31 that last comment was directed at 9:41pm.

Anonymous said...

I know this is off topic but would like to know the following;

What role does the Release Review Panel play in TYC?

Who are the members and do any have experience as Case Mangers, Program Specialists, Psychologist, etc.

Why are the releasing youth not ready to be released, (assaultive behavior while in TYC)?

I fully understand that youth should not be kept past their MLOS as was the place not too long ago. But would like to know why youth who still exhibit assaultive behavior are being released?

Anonymous said...

8:44,

Whoever you are, you obviously have no idea what you are talking about. I transferred to another facility prior to Freeman retiring and I can see the difference in the two. Even if Crockett was "selectively accountable", there is a distinct difference in that and no accountability. Were you one of the ones that were shown the gate for incompetency? Sounds like you have an ax to grind.

House of Cards Still Standing

Anonymous said...

To 5/16 09:50: I agree with your observation, "Folks who were not "on the team" usually got the harsher discipline for similar violations. They are probably up to the same ole tricks, they have just learned to conceal them better."

I wonder why we still allow this "team" to keep their old tricks going (but concealed better). Whenever there is a promotion these days, the new administration seems happy to pick members of the old team for that position. We go to the old well again and again.

Is it absolutely impossible to learn from the past? Is our mandate to re-create the past mistakes? Why is the old team allowed to continue to control everything and protect their own? By now, this shouldn't be too hard to understand. Maybe we don't want to understand it. Maybe we think that, as before, no one is watching.

Anonymous said...

9:24

The release review panel is made up of those with legal and case managment experience as well as psychologist. From my experience as a casemanger, they have not released youth that have not shown a reduction in assaultive behavior or not had any assaults for at least the last 30 days prior to review. These youth that they approve for release and still need services have to be able to receive services that they need in the community. If we are the only ones that can provide the services that they need, then they remain until they receive the services and are reviewed again at a later date set by the panel.

Anonymous said...

Scott,

If you would review the IG reports when TYC had a Board, you would find that terminations were the rule for any staff assault on a youth. The exceptions were exceedingly rare and based on staff having a long history with TYC of no discipline and unusual circumstances surrounding the incident.

Howard A. Hickman

Anonymous said...

No ax, just observation based on investigative findings and how discipline was handled at the facility. This happened at other facilities, also. Crockett was just more blatant about it.

Sounds to be like you have your head in the sand. Accountability is a matter of perspective.

TYC's woes were brought onto it by the former administrators like the ones you are defending. If you are in the same mold, then TYC has little chance at recovery.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mr. Hickman @ 12:41pm.
He is so right about employee terminations dealing with an assault on a youth. In fact when all of these investigations were going on, they would put a warrant out for your arrest for a Class A misdemeanor offense.

In one situation, a youth made a false statement on an assault, and the staff was terminated. However when the trial came around, after being re-set 6 times, the staff was EXONERATED. The youth didn't even bother showing up for court.

Yes the staff may have won the case but it is now in legal arbitration to win a 1.5 million dollar lawsuit against TYC. In fact, at the trial, the Office of the Inspector General had statements and confirmations that indeed the youth would be there. It figures, he's just another statistic of the delinquent juvenile system we call TYC. He'll be in TDCJ before to long.

Anonymous said...

Why don't we get back to the subject at hand, rather than y'all venting on you personal vendettas? This was about the Houston County Grand Jury no-billing what should have been an opne-shut case, and about the Hildalgo County GJ no-billing 10 cases. The case in Crockett was blatant. There were two TYC staff on the GJ and the DA forgot that he was a prosecutor, not a defense attorney!

Anonymous said...

P.S. Maybe the DA was just bitter because he lost his seat in the Primary. Maybe he is setting himself up to be a defense attorney, now that he is a lame-duck DA. Sounds Biblical - parable of the unjust servent ring a bell?

Anonymous said...

7:53,

It was not the GJ or the DAs fault. The cases submitted by OIG suck!!! No DA or GJ in their right mind would indict on the nonsense that OIG is confirming. Bruce Toney should be ashamed to call himself the Chief Inspector General. Hey Bruce, did you and your officers get your badges out of a cracker jack box?

Anonymous said...

12:49 - sounds like you got a bad taste in your mouth about TYC. Glad you no longer work for us. Please stay in O.K. if you are S.M. We don't miss you. Glad you no longer investigate cases because it was obvious you played favorites.

Anonymous said...

The case that was mentioned about the staff being exonerated was NOT at Crockett but rather the Al Price Unit. I don't know about the situation at hand with Crockett, but I know just by reading these blogs, there is a lot of bad blood over there. I believe that Howard Hickman is highly intelligent individual and that he was a fair attorney. I hated to learn he left, but I know wherever he is right now, he's doing just fine. Thanks Howard.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I didn't know that Al Price is in Houston County! Thank you for enlightening me, 8:42.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard or seen Ayo, is he still employed, and if so in what capacity?

diogenes said...

Ayo is still a Regional Supervisor (or whatever they call it now) based out of WTSS.

Anonymous said...

Al Price is in Jefferson County and Palestine and Crockett are in Houston County.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Crockett IS in Houston County but Palestine is not - it is in Anderson County.

Anonymous said...

From a Texas Observer blog (dated 03/12/07):

Rodolfo says:

March 12th, 2007 at 1:16 pm
Texas Rangers in our corrupt county of Hidalgo County in South Texas frequently tell victims of crimes that they will not waste their time investigating crimes because our illustrious DA, Rene Guerra, has several groups he simply will not prosecute, including bankers, school districts (especially the one his wife works at, etc).
The AG’s office likes to say they can’t get involved unless the DA asks them to. Bull! Show me the state statute that allows that nonsense.
The AG’s office has prosecutorial authority to step in, otherwise, why have Rangers, DAs, laws? DAs are not as almighty as the establishment would like the public to believe.
Here in South Texas, our weekly alternative newspaper, The Paper of South Texas, has been running the story of an Edinburg school teacher who signed a confession to having an intimate relationship with a 14-yr old male, yet because she is from such a wealthy and well-connected family, has never been arrested, investigated or prosecuted.
The confession was witnessed and signed by two school officials, one of who is related to the DA (cousins) and would seem guilty of failure to report because nobody has been able to provide the father of the victim with evidence that the teachers alleged crimes were reported to CPS and/or TEA as required by law.
The teacher, in fact, was at last report teaching in Del Rio, kinda like the Catholic Church moving wayward priests from parish to parish.
So, the father has sued in federal court, including among the defendants three Hidalgo County criminal assistant district attorney for their alleged cover up of this scandal.
Not one other media member has run with this story because among the members of the extensive powers of corruption down here is a law firm that represents the city, county, school district and all the major news media players. When they’re told not to run a story, they don’t.
That’s why I’m hoping somebody at the Observer reads these comments and contacts me about this TYC-like travesty of justice. We’ve got more documentation on this than the Library of Congress has books.
Greg Abbott ran on a campaign of “Protecting Texas Children,” but when we asked them if they’d received a copy of the confession, they stopped returning our phone calls.

Anonymous said...

Corruption usually starts at the top and filters down. With the Governor we have, it is shocking that all state Agencies are not under some type of DOJ investigation. It amazes me that more hasn't been said about the Governor's Office knowing about the W. Texas allegations of sexual abuse when they occurred. There is hard evidence to substantiate that it was reported to the Governor's Office. I guess since he is "the man", he has to answer to nobody, but himself. Where are the feds in this pile of garbage?

Anonymous said...

Open the gates they have turned 18

http://www.tylerpaper.com/article/20080520/NEWS01/570162198

Anonymous said...

Is this The TYC Story Chapter Two?

Friendly grand juries and prosecutors who are unwilling to charge TYC employees with abuse.

Is the TYC story now to be played out in a new arena (by grand juries and prosecutors)? If so, TYC truely remains untouchable.

Anonymous said...

No. TYC story Chapter 2 should be OIG can't make a case, so grand juries are forced to no bill TYC staff that are accused of abusing youth.

Bruce Toney should be ashamed for even making a quote to the newspaper on this issue. Hey Bruce, train your investigators and stop being keystone cops.

Anonymous said...

GUN BARREL CITY — A registered sex offender is being held in connection with the abduction and beating of a 63-year-old woman who was tossed into an abandoned well.


Lt. Pat McWilliams of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department said relatives of Shirley Shafer reported her missing Friday when she failed to answer multiple calls.


McWilliams said the woman’s daughter, Cheryl Adams, told authorities she feared her mother had been abducted and her car stolen.


“Ms. Adams checked her mother’s answering machine and learned that Seagoville Police Department had stopped Ms. Shaffer’s vehicle that morning on U.S. Highway 175 for reckless driving. The vehicle was impounded pending contact with the registered owner,” he said.


The two occupants were released pending investigation.

McWilliams said the woman was missing so family members gathered at her residence at 177 Snapper Lane in the Bonita Point addition to assist in a search for Shafer.

“Mrs. Shafer was located in an abandoned well. She was freed from the 20-foot deep well by Gun Barrel City Fire Department and transported to East Texas Medical Center in Tyler by EMS. She received non life-threatening injuries.

McWilliams said Henderson County Sheriff detectives quickly apprehended Joshua James Cannon, 18, a registered sex offender, who was driving her vehicle when he was stopped earlier in the day.

“Apparently he acted alone in abducting her, assaulting her and then putting her into the well,” he said. She wasn’t tied up or anything, but we don’t know at this time if he threw her in head first or feet first.”

McWilliams said the woman suffered a broken nose and minor injuries including bruises and dehydration.

Cannon has been charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and possession of a firearm by a felon. He is being held in the Henderson County Jail on bonds totaling $17,500 and faces possible kidnapping and assault charges, authorities said.

“The investigation is continuing so we don’t know all the charges the investigators will charge him with,” McWilliams said.

He added the juvenile in the car stopped by police was not charged and was believed to have been picked up by the suspect.

Records indicate Cannon was sent to Texas Youth Commission for molesting a 5-year-old girl when he was a juvenile.

“He just registered with our department as a sex offender last Wednesday,” McWilliams said.

Updated Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 1:43 p.m. CDT

Anonymous said...

I wish someone in the media could research the youth recently released from TYC to see how many of them have committed these types of serious offenses and then research why they were released.

It's probably not possible...

Anonymous said...

I think these situations will become more frequent as time goes on. There is little to no treatment being done with the youth in TYC and now the communities will pay the consequences. Very sad.

Anonymous said...

Per the Texas Government Code:

§ 402.028. ASSISTANCE TO PROSECUTING ATTORNEYS.
(a) At the request of a district attorney, criminal district
attorney, or county attorney, the attorney general may provide
assistance in the prosecution of all manner of criminal cases,
including participation by an assistant attorney general as an
assistant prosecutor when so appointed by the district attorney,
criminal district attorney, or county attorney.

Anonymous said...

11:03, the only attorneys who are more clueless that a local DA are assistant AG's so don't believe an AG would do any better. Just look at Pyote

Anonymous said...

Grits (or anyone else who knows) - Is the 5/16/08 9:57am comment factual? Our tax dollars at work? If we can't get an endictment, try try again - and move it to another location?

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, it is false. There would have to be a law change, and I don't think that was done in the last session. Anyone else know anything different? Grits? Howard?

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of that, but just wait...OIG and SPU seem to make it up as they go along. It wouldn't surprise me a bit. The SPU obviously has some anomosity toward Houston County and I'm sure they'll take it out on those staff. Real ethical. But let's be honest, their track record is terrible all over the state. They couldn't get a true bill in Navaro Co. either to save their own lives.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard about the UTMB contract?

Anonymous said...

Pay more for the same terrible medical services. But look on the bright side, they will keep the same ditzy nurses that love to service (not medically) the JCOs and facility administrators. Its the only thing that helps morale.

Anonymous said...

WOW.That was uncalled for (at least at our facility - Crockett). There are some less than competent folks in the dept. but there are some nurses that are great - and aren't "servicing" the staff.

Anonymous said...

To understand how TYC operates, it might be helpful to keep certain terms in mind. First term:

Personalismo - friendships are what matter.

Personalism. Especially as practiced in southern Europe and Latin America, personal relationships take precedence over all other considerations, including ethical or moral. Loyality is what counts. Fairness means loyalty to the one who protects you. It often involves sacrificing the interests of the agency out of loyalty to a leader or to members of your own group.

After all, we believe that what is right for us is right for TYC. The backing of a well placed individual, no matter how honest or how corrupt, is the unquestioned route to success and security. To be concerned with abstract concepts of right and wrong makes no sense when our future is at stake. The leader can be made to look honorable if we all support him.

Anonymous said...

4:33, are you some kind of freaking paranoid Nazi?

Anonymous said...

1:46, The key word in your second sentence is SOME!!

Anonymous said...

ha ha - I know of one that provided services to a certain JCO VI for years.

Anonymous said...

There is no law that allows prosecutors to present cases over and over until they get an indictiment. However, if the grand jury passes a case or asks for further investigation, a case could be presented multiple times. But that only happens if a vote was never taken on a particular case.
As for venue, cases are most often presented in the county in which the incident took place. Certainly, there are extenuating circumstances, such as a crime begins in one county and then the perpetrator flees to another county i.e. kidknapping.
I know that when the whole TYC fiasco began, someone proposed that all alleged crimes within TYC be prosecuted in Austin, but that never became law.

Anonymous said...

I just have one question 4:33.
What the hell? No more alcohol for you today.

Anonymous said...

TYC will never get straight without consistency. THere is no consistency in youth discipline, youth treatment, staff accountability, OIG and SPU are no different. Who determines which cases go to YRS verses OIG? Who determines which cases go to SPU and which cases are closed? One staff can beat the hell out of a kid and get Probation while another is fired and threatened with jail for the same basic "violation". Nothing has changed with TYC, only the players are different.

Anonymous said...

Grits:
I need for you to investigate something. It was leaked recently that during a meeting with a few citizens and a councilman in the Cibilo/Shertz/Retama area in San Antonio the relocation of Ayres Halfway House was discussed. During this community meeting where citizens and councilmen asked questions to decide whether the halfway house should be allowed in their community, Karen Lashbrook and the Superintendent of Ayres House lied through their teeth when asked by the citizens if the youth are transported by Ayres House staff to and from work. It is a well known fact that Ayres House youth take public transportation to work. The citizens asked this question for the well being and safety of their community and deserved the truth. The citizens deserve to know that offenders and sex offenders will be using public transportation. The reason they needed to know the truth is there is a risk in youth wandering off from their destinations (including sex offenders). Karen Lashbrook lied and stated that the youth are transported to and from work. Now bear in mind that some youth that will be in this small community are sex offenders. Didn't the community deserve the truth? Why is Lashbrook allowed to lie like this? If the youth are transported to and from work, why then does this halfway house purchase bus fares for the youth? This is outrageous and has to stop.

Anonymous said...

The problem goes deeper that just the DA's. We have to look at the OIG as well. Most are ex-TDCJ-ers with a John Wayne mentality and very limited understanding of how to build a real case. By the time they complete an investigation, everyone has forgotten about the incident. They are very good, however, at find reasons to be off campus.

Anonymous said...

An answer to 5:22 @10:51 on how a decision is made regarding assignment of investigations.
All complaints are handled by the Incident Reporting Center. A supervisor there makes an initial determination, based on the allegation, as to whether the allegation falls into a penal code violation, a family code violation or a policy violation. If it appears to be a penal code violation, it is assigned to the OIG. If it appears to be a family code violation, it is assigned to a Youth Care Investigator. (Sometimes it is assigned to both.) If it appears to be a policy violation, it is assigned back to the grievance system, which is administered locally by the Youth Rights Specialist.

Often, the scope of the allegation cannot be adequately determined until an investigator has conducted a face-to-face interview with the complainant. Often, after the complainant and/or the alleged victim have been interviewed, it may be determined that the case is better handled by a different department than that to which it was initially assigned.

As of June 1, the Youth Care Investigators will come under the purview of the OIG. That should help ensure that cases are more likely to be investigated at the appropriate level. (criminal activity vs. abuse and neglect)

I hope this explanation is helpful.

Anonymous said...

So, did we ever answer the question? Will taxpayers pay the bill to take the cases to gj over and over until they can get an indictment? Will the cases be taken to Travis Co? If so, why don't the cases go there first?