Thursday, August 18, 2011

"Never ending scandal"

An editorial in the Houston Chronicle with the same title as this post makes a strong point about failures at the Houston PD's crime lab by simply recounting past headlines, which collectively depict quite a tale of incompetence and woe. Concludes the paper's editorial board, "Even in a tough economy, justice needs to be a city priority. How many more outrages are we willing to endure? How many rapists will we let roam the streets? How many wrongful convictions will we tolerate? How much longer will we allow justice to be denied?"


Prison Doc said...

Grits how long does it take to process kits nowdays and has the cost come down any?

Ank said...

Where can i find an emailadres to contact Grits ??

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Waiting lists are still really long, Prison Doc, and the tests are more expensive and time consuming than you might expect. According to testimony at the Lege this spring, Grits reported earlier:

"DPS labs can process about 518 DNA cases per month, according to their grant request. The agency has 75 DNA technicians who can each process about 16.4 samples per month. Crime lab director Pat Johnson told the Senate committee that his people were working at capacity and if they were required to test old rape kits, they would have to outsource the task at roughly $1,000 a pop."

I do not know the comparable numbers for the Houston crime lab.

Ank, use shenson[at]

joannatkinson said...

I have a young man friend who is sitting in prison now for 16 years because Austin, Travis county did not even test the rape kit. Praise God, finally the Innocence Project is forcing them to do so. The problem is, I don't trust Austin, to not mess up this test, as you know they take the inmates DNA when they get to prison. I wouldn't put anything past Austin, Texas!! They said it will take 6 months to get it done. I dont' know the cost, but this should have been done the minute the woman said she had been raped!! Not make a man spend 1/2 of his adult life in prison by just pointing her finger at him. My friend had never seen this woman in his life!! Oh by the way, just a note, she is a court reporter for guess what courthouse? AUSTIN, you got it! Now you know why the DNA was not tested, don't you? He had an appointed attorney and that attorney did whatever the prosecutor told him to do. IS THAT JUSTICE, I ask you? JoAnn in TEXAS

The Homeless Cowboy said...

Sadly Ms. Joann All I can say is Welcome to Criminal Justice in Texas. I wont launch a diatribe, as bad as I want to but keep reading this blog and the other criminal justice bloga and you will see the sad state of affairs we are in. Good Luck

Phillip Baker said...

Yes, JoAnn and Homeless Cowboy, keep reading this blog. I, too, once believe in the illusion of "justice" in Texas' criminal justice system, but no more. When are we going to get sick of paying out millions to the wrongfully convicted and actually Do something? Like clip the wings of DA's and make them at least partially accountable for actions they take in office, when those actions can be shown to be illegal, unethical, and downright deliberately personally motivated wrong? And when are we going to quit electing judges? The entire upper echelon of the justice system is in the hands of career politicians! And like ALL politicians, they are prone to bend their actions and the law to better fit their own political needs, especially when re-election time comes around. (Note the recent odd ruling from the high court about that search warrant for the polygamists' compound) They all take money from the very people they must then work with- lawyers,etc. The system is corrupt from top to bottom/

jimbobob8 said...

I agree that the ones perpertrating the crime of false imprisionment, should be the ones to pay. 25% of the settlement should come from the distric courts budget that the defendent is convicted out of. 25% should come from the distric attonerys budget. 25% from the pay checks of the judge and distric attonery. Then The remainder should come from the State of Texas congresional, budget for not making the law fare.

john said...

If they had millions of bucks, a The Who soundtrack, and super-model babes working there; I'm sure it could go faster as on TV.
Otherwise, you're screwed.
Why would there be oversight in the labs, when there's little on the street or in courts?
We The People HAVE been rote-trained conditioned our whole lives to go along to get along, don't question apparent authority, turn the other cheek and so on.
Add in now everyone is desperate to get paid, and we're looking more like the 3rd world, but with cars and more TV.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY? Like copper quotas, we don't admit that.