Constitutional challenge to 'improper photography' statute
Reported KDFW TV in Dallas, "An appeals court in San Antonio ruled the improper photography statute unconstitutional because it is overly broad and that violates our First Amendment rights. The case is now before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals waiting for a final ruling." See prior Grits coverage.
Crappy, unaccountable judges a 'fact of life' in Texas
Reported the Houston Chronicle:
Court reformers say bad judges are a fact of life in Texas, one of only eight states that uses partisan elections to pick its arbiters of justice. They say it is a system that results in unqualified candidates getting swept into office with political cycles and in qualified judges getting booted out for no good reason - or not wanting to run in the first place.
Lawyers also are critical of how rarely Texas judges are publicly disciplined or removed from office once they get there, while some legal scholars note how loosely courts are administered here.There are some good ones, too, but it's hard to argue with that assessment.
Man with most to lose: Change nothing
A Travis County lawyer who averages 615 appointed indigent criminal cases per year - the most of any attorney and well above the American Bar Association's recommended caseloads - says he sees no need to overhaul the indigent defense system, naturally.
'Bernie' released into custody of movie director
Bernie Tiede, the East Texas murderer who was the subject of an eponymous, dark comedic feature film by Austin-based director Richard Linklater, has been released on bond on the condition that he live at Linklater's house. Surreal, huh?
Gambling, what gambling?
A pair of Johnson County Sheriff's deputies were providing security for a racetrack busted by DPS for illegal gambling. Initial news reports say they didn't know what was going on, but then that calls into question their law enforcement acumen, doesn't it?
No more proxy marriages in prison
A new law inadvertently ended the practice of "proxy" marriages by prisoners, some of which involve women they met as pen pals while serving time. I've known ex-prisoners who've enjoyed long, loving marriages with women married by proxy, while other situations don't work out as well, to put it mildly. It's a strange aspect of prison subculture that receives little attention, so I'm not surprised lawmakers never considered it when the Lege passed a statute last spring requiring both parties to be present during a marriage ceremony. "'We didn't realize we were going to open up a can of worms,' said Scott Riling, chief of staff for Rep. Trent Ashby, the Lufkin Republican who authored the bill to prohibit proxy marriages."
Focus on veterans
The Defense and Veterans Affairs and County Affairs committees next week will hold a hearing in San Antonio related to veterans courts and peer-to-peer veterans mental health counseling for justice-involved veterans with mental health issues, PTSD, and traumatic brain injury.
Bexar County jail population edging up, but down from last fall's peak
So says this TV news report.
Hearne cop shot 93-year old woman
Reported the Waco Tribune Herald, "Authorities are investigating the shooting of a 93-year-old woman by a Hearne police officer who was involved in the fatal shooting of a Hearne man in December 2012."
The CIA's Lone Star weapons cache
The CIA has allegedly used a secret weapons depot in Boerne, TX to ship weapons around the world in secret wars dating back to the Bay of Pigs.
Business Insider published a good overview of problems facing America's forensic experts and crime labs that illuminate many of the issues facing Texas on the topic.