Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Parole Board: Texas created 59 new felonies this year

According to the "Offense Severity List" from the Board of Pardons and Parole, as a result of new laws passed by the 81st legislature, Texas now has 2,383 separate felonies on the books - an increase of 59 compared to the 2,324 they counted in 2007. (See the full list -pdf.)

Shannon Edmonds at the Texas District and County Attorneys Association previously had said they'd counted 40 new felonies crimes among all the bills that passed this year. Apparently they missed another 19. (N.b.: See comments for correction/clarification.) Shannon says prosecutors hate new crimes, and certainly one wonders how anyone is supposed to prosecute them if the DAs don't know they exist?

For the record, there are still only eleven felonies in Texas involving oysters. I counted. We did have another oyster related enhancement bill pass this year, but it only increased a penalty from a Class B to Class A misdemeanor. Going forward, if the Texas oyster industry goes belly up (do oysters have bellies?), perhaps we'll no longer need those. But it's clear the Texas Legislature will inevitably find more things to criminalize.

Fifty-nine new felonies, and even the prosecutors don't know what they all are!

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looks like the object of the legislature is to put everyone in prison, either as a guard or as an inmate.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it is unfortunate that they have not made it a felony to get elected to public office.

Old Cop said...

Stopppppppp.....the madness. Don't let these clowns meet every two years. Stretch it out. We can't keep going like this, criminalizing every damn thing, to keep up our 'tough on crime' image in this state.

Disability Insurance said...

Seems like quite the overkill to me. Especially if you read the list, there are some very antiquated laws there.

Faceless Man said...

Grits,

Not sure if you've read this story yet (scholarship in Timothy Cole's name), but I thought you might want it shared with your readers.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/hotstories/6748669.html

Anonymous said...

In your face, Shannon.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

It's not Shannon's fault, 3:00, believe me, he's paying closer attention than most people. IMO the legislators themselves have no idea how many they pass, they just vote for every one that comes in front of them. Both parties.

Anonymous said...

So how many felonies does one rack up if you feed a “customer” purloined oysters while showing them porn before you charge them for a “deviant” sex act or two while in a cave if they happen to be married to someone else and are your cousin after you've smoked a couple of joints, tipped a few cows (cattle) and scratched your name in the wall of the cave?

You just can't have any fun in Texas any more.

doran said...

Sure you can, Anon 3:42. You can marry your second cousin. You can have as many lovers as will tolerate you and the others, so long as you don't marry more than one of them at a time. Assuming you are male, you can father as many babies by as many adult women as will let you, so long as you don't marry more than one of them at a time.

You can smoke cancer causing tobacco.

You can drink as much alcohol in your home as you want, till you pass out or kill yourself.

You can grow amazingly poisonous plants in your garden.

You can eat as much fat and processed foods as is humanly possible, till you kill yourself if you want.

Rich or poor, you can sleep under bridges or on heater grates till a cop chases you off.

You can carry a firearm, and shoot anyone on your property by whom you feel threatened.

You can lie as much as you wish in order to get elected to public office.

What the hell....this is a fun place to live.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

For the record, 3:42, none of the eleven felonies you can commit with an oyster in Texas require sex offender registration. Yet. ;)

Anonymous said...

Still, Grits, Shannon's onbnoxious attitude speaks for itself. Wasn't he the one on the TDCAA forums asking for any known defense attorney ethical breaches so he could report/prosecute them? And he'd be the first to say, like Obama, that prosecutors should be immune for doing the exact same thing. He's part of the problem in Texas.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

No doubt he's there to represent the prosecutors and he takes many positions I disagree with, but that's his job. It's nothing personal.

Shannon is good at what he does. As evidence: His side has so thoroughly won and written Texas' laws to their liking that they mostly now just have to play defense.

If his critics could get their act together and Texas' criminal justice reform movement could find an organizing model besides the circular firing squad, the prosecutors' opposition wouldn't be so big a barrier. They have their faults, but they're not the ones driving the enhancement train.

Shannon Edmonds said...

Shannon Edmonds at the Texas District and County Attorneys Association previously had said they'd counted 40 new felonies among all the bills that passed this year. Apparently they missed another 19.

Actually, we counted 40 new crimes, only 8 of which were felonies. We also found 35 enhancements of punishments for existing crimes (misdemeanor-to-higher misdemeanor, misdemeanor-to-felony, and felony-to-higher felony). The list is published in the back of our Legislative Update book, available for purchase by the public at http://www.tdcaa.com. But it went to the printer about 6 weeks after the session ended, so I'm sure we missed some due to time constraints.

p.s. for Anon who referred to me: I always wanted a secret admirer. How exciting! I love you too.

NoMoreNoloContendere said...

Hey Grits, over at Simple Justice Mr. Greenfield has a post (Lesson for the Day) regarding a felony you might not be aware of.

A Purdue Univ. student was charged with terrorism related charges for utilizing a cardboard box to pay a fine & return a tire-boot that he removed. His failure to include a senders/return address lable & leaving it instead of mailing it, qualified it as suspicious.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Thanks Shannon. I corrected that in the post.

I suppose some of the "new felonies" counted by the BPP would have been captured in your enhancement category - at least the ones boosted from misdemeanor to felonies. But it still seems like y'all missed a bunch, to judge by the parole board's count.

Oh, and you want to talk about "secret admirers"? Believe me, I've got many more than my share! Welcome to my world. ;)

Anonymous said...

I just read a study that claimed one in every 100 Americans is incarcerated. Guess before long, it'll just be the prisons and the legislature. I'm not sure which one I'd hate to be in more.

Anonymous said...

Shannon, I wouldn't call me much of a secret admirer. Until Grits' post above, I thought you were a chick.

Boyness said...

Before it's over, everyone in Texas will be wearing white and living in one of the 112 pens built for the mammoth expansion of felonies. Texas isn't tough on crime, we are STUPID on crime but the hawks wont believe it until there asses are shackled headed to Huntsville.

Shannon Edmonds said...

Anonymous said...
Shannon, I wouldn't call me much of a secret admirer. Until Grits' post above, I thought you were a chick.
12/03/2009 07:59:00 PM


Anon:

I am shocked--SHOCKED--that someone would post anonymous chickenshit comments on the Internet about another person without actually knowing that person. I may have to completely re-evaluate my habit of blindly believing everything I read on the Internet.

The Team said...

If you are the real Shannon Edmonds please continue to grace our presence. BTW, you sound like you know your stuff so your reply is appreciated no-matter your true identity. Who knows, you could end up with more admirers that you can handle also.

RE: Felonies, Plea-Bargaining and Overcrowding. Mr. Casey O'Brien, a former Harris Co. "career prosecutor" 1982 –2004 +/-, commented a while back that he's seen three types of cases go to trial. The very strong, very solid and very close, (with the remaining 95% pleading out).

Are we to believe that the constant overcrowding of jails / prisons we’ve enjoyed since the early 80s, is directly related to the weak 95% that plead Nolo Contendere? If this is true, then what would it take to reverse the numbers? Then there is all of that probation getting revoked for decades? Thanks.

*Tune in next time when we ask a question regarding, Texas’ Grand Juries & a funky loophole that allows the D.A's. office to seek indictments by presenting information, without the accused and/or his/her attorney being present.

Anonymous said...

I'm still trying to figure out how you go about slandering a bank. Don't they do this on their own?