Auditor critiques state LEO licensing agency
The state auditor has produced a new report on the Texas Commission of Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education. They found, "The Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (Commission) reported unreliable results for all three key performance measures tested for fiscal year 2012 and the first two quarters of 2013." Two particular areas of concern:
- The Commission backdates the license award date in [its data system], rather than using the actual date on which the Commission issued the license. As a result, the Commission's licensing data may change frequently.
- The Commission does not sequentially number its licenses. As a result, the Commission cannot ensure that the licensing data is complete
High court set to hear arguments on DPS crime lab fiasco
Oral arguments have been set for October 23 in Ex Parte Leonard Coty, in which the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will revisit their already decided opinion that evidence from discredited DPS crime lab analyst Jonathan Salvador is fundamentally unreliable because of his history of errors and drylabbing. The Harris County Public Defender Office has published their brief (pdf) online. Grits hopes to attend; it should be quite a show, with major implications for thousands of East Texas drug convictions.
Mugged (and extorted) by online mugshots
Good New York Times piece regarding one of the most cynical, sleazy business models Grits has run across in all my years working on criminal justice policy.
When crime-scene evidence crawls away
Interesting piece on practical problems for forensic scientists trying to date dead bodies based on maggots.
Floating prisons in the war on terror
The Obama Administration is beginning to house terrorist suspects in navy vessels outside of US waters so they won't be subject to protections in the US legal system, the same rationale for using CIA "black sites" for interrogations in foreign countries. Bryan Finoki predicted this some time ago, as Grits noted in 2008. New York City experimented with prison barges as recently as the '90s to handle overflow from Rikers Island and later juvenile offenders. Here in Texas, TDCJ considered but rejected similar plans back in the 1980s.