- KHOU reports that Fort Bend District Attorney John Healey and chief prosecutor Mark Hannah have been accused of Brady violations by the State Bar Commission for Lawyer Discipline stemming from one of the cases in the Jonathan Salvador fiasco. The prosecutors allowed evidence to be destroyed that could have been exculpatory and failed to notify the defendant in question about crime lab problems which would have supported habeas corpus relief. Lisa Falkenberg wrote about Healey's recalcitrance last year. There are many hundreds of similarly situated cases and more DAs than this one who didn't adequately notify defendants.
- The Tarrant County DA issued thousands of Brady notices related to DWI blood tests performed at Integrated Forensic Laboratories and an analyst who switched samples in the lab. According to attorney Deandra Grant, "Apparently the new story is that Elizabeth Feller’s name may be on countless lab reports but she did not perform the actual analysis. Or maybe she did. No one but IFL knows." See coverage from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
- A South Texas police chief accused of stealing money from the feds has been found dead, a suspected suicide.
- The number of defendants on death row is declining, but not because of more executions, which have also gone down, reported the Texas Tribune. Instead, there are fewer new death sentences on the front end, and no new death sentences so far in 2015.
- The Court of Criminal Appeals turned down Fran and Dan Keller's petition to be declared actually innocent. Last month they overturned the conviction but not on actual innocence grounds.
- Here's a local story on how Amarillo officials are wondering how they'll combat truancy now that it's decriminalized. I'm sure they'll figure it out, lots of other states have. See a related editorial from the Dallas News.
- It'll be fascinating to learn after everything shakes out how many of the 177 bikers arrested in the Twin Peaks massacre in Waco and saddled with million dollar bail turn out to be completely innocent. I bet it's a bunch of them. I'm also curious to learn how many of the 9 dead were shot by law enforcement. Those data haven't been released yet.
- Pam Colloff knows something Murray Newman doesn't: You can't argue with stupid. Read as Murray valiantly tries to edumucate a self-styled right wing journalist on the Anthony Graves case via Twitter. Really quite out there for anyone who knows the story.
- Speaking of Anthony Graves, Grits was notified today via press release that the exoneree and former death row resident was named to the board of the Houston Forensic Science Center, recently spun off as an independent agency from Houston PD. Congratulations, Anthony!
- See coverage of a Fourth Amendment victory at the Supreme Court.
- I'm late to the party - comments closed May 15 - but check out draft regulations issued this spring from the National Commission on Forensic Science on a variety of important forensic-related issues.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Fort Bend DA accused of Brady-related misconduct by state bar, and other stories
Grits has just returned from a whirlwind 2,000 mile car trip; here are a few items which appeared while I was gone that merit readers' attention: