Saturday, February 22, 2014

Crimjust news and notes

Here are a few items that caught Grits' attention this week but haven't made it into independent posts:

Covering Texas DA's races
See coverage of DA's races in Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, and Bexar Counties.

'Deadly Affection'
The Dallas Morning News this week published an informative series on domestic violence investigations and prosecution.

A local argument against jail privatization
A GOP commissioners court candidate in Liberty County wants the private prison firm Community Education Centers out of the local jail, reported Texas Prison Bidness, to end the "waste of millions of dollars." The county's contract stipulates that per-inmate costs go up when incarceration levels fall, meaning the county continues to pay even when crime falls and they use the jail less.

Special treatment by Tyler police for Smith County official?
Smith County Judge Joel Baker - a member of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct - was investigated by local police for allegedly pointing a video camera at a neighbor girl's window and soliciting contact through messages on an IPad. This blog published the police report and suggested Baker received special consideration.

Student arrested for jaywalking
Apparently Austin police have a lot of extra time on their hands:
According to the Daily Caller and local news, the police had camped on a corner and were issuing jaywalking citations. The jogger came along, wearing earbuds listening to music. That’s common around the university, around the city, around the entire world.

Police ordered her to stop, and she did not hear them and continued jogging. Police then chased her and tried to grab her to get her attention, and she reacted as just about anyone would, and tried to brush them off before realizing that they were police officers. A witness, Chris Quintero, saw the incident and said that it was clear that the woman could not hear the police officers when they first approached her, and reacted to being touched from behind.

Jaywalking is a Class C misdemeanor, not typically an offense that leads to arrest. Police say the jogger was arrested for failure to identify herself and for a traffic signal violation. The arrest is under investigation.
Flawed forensics and 'shaken baby syndrome'
Radley Balko had a piece yesterday on the changing science involved in shaken baby cases and the difficulty courts have reevaluating convictions based on faulty forensics.

'House of Cards' gets it wrong on legal standard for phone surveillance
This blog post explains why.

Secret cell phone tracking
ACLU's Free Future blog had a good post this week about secrecy surrounding cell-phone location tracking by law enforcement.

'The Trials of Dorian Gray'
See an interesting law review article about Oscar "Wilde’s three trials in 1895 served, in effect, as an obscenity prosecution of The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890/91)."


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Grits for publishing the blurb about POSSIBLE preferential treatment of Smith County Judge Joel Baker by the Tyler Police Department. The upcoming election for Smith County Judge is important for our community, and Smith County residents need to see through the bias in the Tyler Morning Telegraph and other local news outlets. Right now blogging is our only way of getting the truth out.

Anonymous said...

Grits, I'm wondering what your take is on the race for Smith County DA?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@3:03, I'm generally no big fan of Matt Bingham, but don't know much about his opponent.

Joorie Doodie said...

Bingham's opponent is Austin Reeve Jackson, who is 33 or 34 years old, I think. Bingham's only argument against his opponent is that Jackson is inexperienced as a prosecutor. Jackson is going after Bingham for budget increases and for Bingham's lack of discretion when it comes to pursuing cases in which there is considerable exculpatory evidence. I think it'll be close. On the one hand Bingham is well-funded and well-supported by Tyler's nobility. On the other hand, there is a great deal of residual resentment over the "Mineola Swingers' Club" debacle that ended in an overturned case and a scathing rebuke from the appellate court. Plus, there is a growing anti-incumbent sentiment in the middle class that may be the undoing of Bingham, County Judge Joel Baker, and one of the county commissioners (Carey Nix). I'm gonna call it for the challenger (Jackson) but I think it will be a nail biter.

Anonymous said...

Regardless who's matt "Kim Jong Un" binghams opponent is vote for the opponent. binghams history is enough to vote him out, he is no different than the North Korean Assassin.
Why hasn't Jackson brought out binghams affair with his co-worker? It was widely known among county staff.

Anonymous said...

Austin Reeves Jackson is board certified in Criminal Law. He has a good reputation and is respected by lawyers in Tyler. The "experience" Bingham has is what's wrong in Smith County. Someone with Jackson's integrity is what the county needs.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Bingham get his experience from Jack Skeen? Reeve Jackson is board certified in criminal law and criminal appellate law. He's been practicing in Tyler for a while. I pray for God's blessing to be upon him. Amen!

Anonymous said...

Smith County needs a Furlow from Judge Joel! He is better qualified (CPA) with long history of military service and leadership. And, he seems to understand the needs of the people. VOTE FOR JOHN FURLOW!

Anonymous said...

Does she still work for him?

Joorie Doodie said...

FYI incumbent Smith County Judge Joel Baker is a former minion of Jack Skeen Jr. as well.

Skeen and Bingham are definitely cut from the same cloth. The appellate ruling/opinion that overturned the "Mineola Swingers Club" trial of Patrick "Booger Red" Kelly states that Bingham and Skeen clearly colluded to withhold pertinent evidence from the jury.

I'd say Bingham has more "experience" in cheating during trials and covering his tracks. I'd take a young whipper-snapper with good training over Bingham any day of the year.

Robert Langham said...

Politicians need to be changed like a babies diaper....often, and for the same reason.

Anonymous said... true. And, some of us in Texas know that POLITICS means "poly" (more than one) and "tic" (blood sucking parasite)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

All I have to say about that missing video is :

How convenient.

All people should be afforded the same consideration.

Anonymous said...

Re: The Smith County Judge video recording affair.

The local news people, especially the Tyler Morning Telegraph/TeleCRAP should be ashamed of themselves. I have documentation that the Telegraph people knew about this the day it happened, looked into it, and buried it. And Joel Baker may pull off a win this election because of a well funded advertising blitz AND the biased reporting and free campaign advertising (in the form of bogus articles about him and his 'accomplishments') from the Telegraph. The Tyler Morning Telegraph is an embarrassment to he free press.

Anonymous said...

In response to " Does she still work for him?" Yes, she does. She is the highest paid county employee and her most recent raise was given immediately following a case of hers that was reversed due to improper conduct.

Anonymous said...

The people of Smith County should pray that these incumbents are defeated. Get out the vote. Sound the alarm. Cases overturned....reprimands from the Court of Appeals (this should cause alarm) video-taping and soliciting the neighbor's daughter....over-running the budget.....and a never-ending jail expansion. Crazy place...Smith County. Vote them out.

Joorie Doodie said...

RE:..."pray that these incumbents are defeated..."

I have. Every day for YEARS. A few of us are working to make that happen. But it is an uphill battle because the local news people will not investigate or report anything of substance when it comes to local government and politics. I'm amazed at how many educated people here are clueless as to how the system works. I've had to explain to numerous acquaintances why they can't just go vote in November and have a choice in local government. (All of the local races here will be decided in the Republican primary, nitwits!)

So, if it comes down to who has the most "likes" on Facebook, it will be more of the same. But if the enraged hordes come down from the hills with pitchforks and torches and storm into the polls, things are gonna change.

Anonymous said...

Don't give up JD. I suspect there are more than a few voters who don't do FB. The neglected will revolt. And, alliances don't always hold up. Maybe some LEO's don't like seeing an official get special treatment. Maybe a lot of the legal community is embarassed over Bingham like they are Skeen. Ken Good gets the credit for filing suit against Joel Baker but Judge Kent's name was right beside Good's name on that complaint. People may disagree for different reasons but resistance is growing. It's coming.

Anonymous said...

Re: "Don't give up..."

We'll see what today brings--this is it. I agree that Baker and Bingham have made many enemies in this county, among them Joorie Doodie. The situation is so bad here that some of us are going to have to pack up and leave if the incumbents stay in office. As for Bingham...they won't let me post the words I want to use here. So, it comes down to the several thousands who would vote for Baker and Bingham no matter what, plus the mindless "we think he's cool and we recognize his name and saw his picture in B-Scene Magazine" voters versus the pissed-off middle class, small business owners, professionals, and other folk who are fed up with living in a county that is an embarrassment to Texas.

Anonymous said...

The Republican headquarters at 3923 S. Broadway Tyler, TX. 903-593-0100 and volunteers should be exposed for promoting Smith counties corrupt incumbents. Television time and interviews should shed some light on this evil empire!

Anonymous said...

As bad as it is with 74% of Smith county voters voting to keep matt "kim jong un" bingham as county prosecutor his type eat their own, the candle is burning at both ends!

Anonymous said...

Re: Special Treatment by Tyler Police for Smith County Official?

Special County Offical Judge Joel Baker spoke to KLTV about the campaign against Grass Roots America-backed candidate, John Furlow after winning the election 57% to Furlow's 43%:

“It's easy to throw stones at the person who's been in office, and it's frustrating because certainly you want to be able to respond to those things,” Baker said following the win. “But we made a decision early on to run a clean campaign and focus on the proven record we've had over the last seven years, a very successful seven years.”

Judge Baker would like to respond to his critics....but he does not have an good explantion for video-taping his neighbors house in the middle of the night or for neglecting those county roads.

43% of voters voted against you Judge Baker. Where's your humility?

Anonymous said...

Bingham, Skeen and Baker should be investigated by Eric Holder and company. Mr. Holder would enjoy Tyler, TX.

Anonymous said...

Re: Eric Holder and Company

I would imagine that file is growing. He should definitely send down a team to investigate.

Anonymous said...

Tyler's Baptist congregations turns blind eye to Matt Binghams adulterous affair with his office assistant. The Baptist's continue to endorse him knowing the corruption, false evidence, with holding evidence and perjury he has committed that has wrongfully imprisoned the innocent.

Joorie Doodie said...

Re: Anonymous: "Joel Baker would like to respond to his critics..."

So, some people outside the commercial news media asked some embarrassing questions during your bogus campaign, Joel Baker? And now you're the victim? You? The victims are the $87,000 residents of Smith County who live in unincorporated areas who deal with substandard roads and inadequate law enforcement presence. Other victims include private citizens you have harassed for speaking out against you.

Baker won this election ONLY because the Tyler Morning Telegraph repeatedly lied to the public about such things as his pay raisES, his irrational approach to county finances, and his behavior when dealing with private citizens.

Joorie Doodie is coming back and is going to take a more long-term approach this time. Over four years, it is likely that tens of thousands instead of a few thousand will get the straight skinny on how Baker has done in office. Most of the 43% who voted for Furlow were actually casting votes AGAINST Baker. Give him another four years to make another 10% of the county voters mad and he will be out of office.