Sunday, December 28, 2014

John Wiley Price discovery measured in terabytes, and other stories

Here are a few items which failed to make it into independent posts over the holiday but deserve Grits readers' attention:

Violence, not jobs, driving current immigration trends
Traditionally undocumented immigrants entering Texas came because of jobs. Increasingly they're people fleeing violence, death and chaos. El Paso has witnessed an influx of refugees from the states of Michoacán and Guerrero because of extreme drug violence there, mirroring the causes of a mass influx of children from Central America earlier in the year. 

Abbott may back bills to help ex-felons get jobs
Apparently incoming Gov. Greg Abbott supports scaling back occupational licensing restrictions to help more ex-felons get jobs, a measure backed by the Texas Public Policy Foundation and championed in the linked story by state Sen. John Whitmire. Given that, expect some movement on this in the coming session, though to what extent remains to be seen. "In Texas, where about a third of the jobs are licensed, that means fewer opportunities for those with a criminal past. Advocates of modifying the current licensing laws say the change could get thousands more Texans working and paying taxes and get many off welfare-assistance programs."

When the prosecutors' open file has 150 million pages
Though the figure seems unbelievable, in the John Wiley Price federal corruption case, according to the Dallas News, “Prosecutors reportedly have about 6.5 terabytes of digital information to turn over to the defense. That does not include audios, videos, photographs, tax documents or 'materials too bulky to scan,' a defense motion has said. The government has estimated that 2.5 terabytes of data will remain after 'processing and culling.'” According to the News, "That is roughly the equivalent of 150 million pages of material."

Turn out the lights: SAPD chief to leave, work for electric utility
San Antonio police chief William McManus is leaving after nearly nine years on the job to head security at the city's electric utility, reported the SA Express-News in an outgoing profile.

Novelty act?
Is the new client choice model of selecting indigent counsel in Comal County a bold new strategy or a novelty that distracts from larger issues of insufficient resources?

How to judge homicide clearance rates?
With a 65 percent clearance rate at Houston PD, "A [Houston] Chronicle review of homicide cases in Houston from 2009 through the first half of 2014 found at least 353 investigations that remain open. Stepping back through the years, the number soon tops 1,000." Parents of victims in unsolved cases insist more should be done; detectives insist when they've exhausted all leads, that's what there is to do. Broken out by race, clearance rates are highest for whites, lowest for Hispanics. The department got into trouble this year when it was revealed a detective wasn't investigating some cases assigned to him at all, so it's understandable the homicide clearance rate is a sensitive subject. In a city the size of Houston, it's unrealistic to expect 100 percent of murders to be solved.  But lamentably, any outcome short of perfection will leave the department with some very emotional and unhappy detractors among families of victims in unsolved killings. Oddly, homicide rates have fallen nationally in recent years during a period in which murder rates have also radically declined. So, surprisingly, the data show little if any correlation between solving murders and reducing their number, to the extent that's any consolation.

Restorative justice in schools
School districts across the state, including several in Bexar County, are experimenting with restorative justice models for student discipline.

Perry pardon grinch at final Christmas as governor
Humbug! No Christmastime clemency from Rick Perry on his way out the door, so apparently these four piddling pardons from October will be his last as governor. Here's hoping Greg Abbott's team will make a New Year's resolution to embrace clemency with more vigor over the next four years rather than treating it as a symbolic Christmas ritual with little real practical effect.

Three stories from the darker side of Texas history
On my personal blog, recently I wrote about three murderous Texas land grabs - targeting Mexicans, Native Americans, and black folks - about which Grits was never taught in school. Were you? As fat as that 7th grade Texas history book was, you'd think they could have fit these stories in.


Thomas R. Griffith said...

Perry pardon grinch at final Christmas as governor -

Grits, the over-riding theme seems to surround the fact that all three Applicants never set foot in Prison, applied for Regular Full Pardons and paid $500. fines. For that, you have to issue specific orders to the flunkys in the Clemency Section and the Secrete Seven. If that doesn't indicate that the process is clearly Rigged...

It would be nice to learn exactly how many people applied regarding both types of Full Pardons. And, of those, how many of them actually obtained Letters of Recommendations from the three original trial officials as required? And, of course, learning how many of the Applicants (Winners & Losers) listed names of individuals or organizations assisting them, as required would bring the jerk full circle. I'll let you know what the TBoPP replies with.

Regardless of the amount, I predict that Perry & Lehmberg will both apply for a Full Pardon - for / based on innocence in our life time. Hell, he might even issue himself one or create a Special Pardon reserved for Public Servants.


FleaStiff said...

It was the Manifest Destiny of Anglo-Saxon Protestants to own all the land between the two oceans.
It was God's Will, not a "land grab" from the ungodly.

Anonymous said...

WASHINGTON — The number of law enforcement officers killed by firearms in the U.S. jumped by 56 percent this year and included 15 ambush assaults, according to a report released Tuesday.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@9:07, you failed to quote the part of the same story declaring that the increase "followed a dramatic dip in 2013, when the figure fell to levels not seen since the 19th century."

Otherwise, please stay on topic if you want to comment here.

Jefe said...

"Dib Waldrip, a judge in Comal County, said he's unsure simply 'throwing money' at indigent defense will fix its problems and is looking forward to finding out if attorney choice can make courts more efficient."

Sounds like it worse than a novelty. It is a bait and switch.

Anonymous said...

Its time for wiley price to have a very long term stay at the grey bar inn.