- Eric Dexheimer, Austin Statesman, "Investigation spurs Harris County to change drug testing policy"
- Murray Newman, Life at the Harris County Courthouse, "An Unworkable Drug Policy"
- TDCAA User Forum, "Drug Lab Delay Question"
If local judges would agree to issue personal bonds to these defendants while they await crime lab results, that would make this policy work a lot more smoothly. Without that sort of tacit cooperation, though, it's hard to understand how the approach is sustainable in the long term.
OTOH, the situation described recently by former Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Cathy Cochran surrounding these drug-possession innocence cases is equally untenable. She told Texas Monthly:
speaking of keeping people out of jail, I really think the law needs some help with pre-trial bail, letting people out before the case is sentenced. We’ve had a lot of cases recently where we’ve granted relief because here’s somebody arrested for possession of cocaine or meth or whatever and they plead guilty because they’ve got a job or a family or they just can’t stay in jail for the next six months before trial; they don’t have enough money to make bail, but they plead guilty. Then sure enough six months later the analysis on the drugs comes back and guess what? It’s not a drug.There aren't a lot of good answers here. Our friends at the prosecutors' association have suggested boosting crime lab funding, but throwing money at the problem won't change the structural dysfunction created fundamentally by high case volumes and unreasonable bail policies.