- Legislation filed by state Rep. Duane Bohac (HB 3165) would require the government to obtain a warrant to use "stingray" devices to intercept cell phone calls and subscriber data. The bill also would ban non-disclosure agreements which have prevented police departments from revealing information - even to prosecutors - about how they use these devices. IMO the Public Information Act already forbids such NDAs, but the Attorney General hasn't agreed and so, barring expensive litigation, this law is necessary to open up the records.
- State Rep. David Simpson has filed a bill HB 3171 aimed at "repealing civil asset forfeiture provisions and establishing criminal asset forfeiture in this state." The bill would require a criminal conviction before the government can seize assets and installs various restrictions and reporting requirements about how agencies seize, manage and seek forfeiture of contraband and illicit cash. See coverage of other Texas forfeiture legislation at the Dallas Observer.
- I'm not sure why this hunger strike, prison litigation, and the prevention of an attorney from visiting his clients at a private immigration detention center hasn't gotten more press attention.
- The lawyer for the prosecutor from the Todd Willingham capital murder case expects the state bar "to notify his client soon that it will pursue formal charges of misconduct" over failing to disclose a deal with a jailhouse informant who later recanted his testimony.
- A "dirty little secret" about many "exonerees": "They were able to prove that they were wrongfully convicted, yet very, very few could show that they were actually innocent. They were—they are—innocent, but in our legal system, that all-important fact is largely beside the point." A Texas example would be the San Antonio Four: They were essentially exonerated but not formally declared "innocent," which in Texas would entitle them to compensation for the grievous wrong done them.
- Check out this interesting looking DOJ study on maturity and desistance from crime. Among the findings: "The vast majority of juvenile offenders, even those who commit serious crimes, grow out of antisocial activity as they transition to adulthood."
- Slate's Dahlia Lithwick thinks David Dow's suspension from capital cases for a year by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals was an "injustice." Personally, I'm a bit more sympathetic to the CCA than that. I don't doubt Dow's being singled out, but he's also singularly the source of repeated late filings (e.g., "we close at 5"), about which the court has adjusted and reiterated the rules in response to little apparent effect. File your damn briefs on time and this won't be a problem. Everybody else does.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Warrants for stingrays, convictions for forfeitures, and other odds and ends
Here are a few odds and ends to chew on while your correspondent is focused elsewhwere:
Posted by Gritsforbreakfast at 10:08 AM