Thursday, October 22, 2015

Roundup: Debating de-incarceration, deterrence, DNA, dogma, and death

Here are a few items which merit Grits readers' attention even if I don't have time at the moment to blog on each of them:

Police chiefs for de-incarceration?
Including in Houston and San Antonio ... this is an interesting development.

More coverage of DNA mixture debacle
Nothing new here for Grits readers, but the Austin Statesman has picked up the story. One notices they linked to all the prior MSM coverage on the issue but not the Grits posts which broke the story and provided more detail than mainstream news sources.

Few police officers feloniously killed, assaults on cops down
Reported the Houston Chronicle, "Officer deaths have fluctuated significantly but generally have trended downward during the past century." Further, " assaults against officers have dropped significantly, from 57,000 incidents in 2005 to the roughly 48,000 in 2014, even as the population has grown substantially." According to a national foundation which tracks police officer deaths, "Based on all the factors, it's safer to be a law enforcement officer now than it was 30 years ago."

Depositions scheduled in crime lab retaliation case
Top Harris County officials are scheduled to be deposed next week in a lawsuit by two former crime lab supervisors "who allege Harris County prosecutors retaliated against them for exposing serious flaws in how local police tested suspected drunk drivers." This summer, a federal judge ruled the lawsuit could move forward.

Audit: Craig Watkins misspent asset forfeiture funds
To the surprise of no one, the state auditor just released a report declaring that former Dallas County DA Craig Watkins misspent asset forfeiture funds to pay off a civil settlement from a car accident, private attorneys fees, and other dubious expenses.

Death sentence decline
According to the Texas Tribune, "Texas is on track to see fewer death sentences handed down in 2015 than in any other year since the state’s death penalty was reinstated in 1976." Only two new ones so far this year.

Debating deterrence
Parsing the soft evidence behind harsh rhetoric.

Prison Architect, the video game
Just when you thought you'd seen it all.

Why criminal justice reform is a conservative cause
From the National Review.

'Colored' lives matter?
The Waxahachie Light published an article by a local high school student critiquing the Black Lives Matter movement for overstating police brutality against "colored" people! Seriously, "colored" people. I don't blame her so much as the newspaper editors who should have known better than publish such a phrase or to put the youngster in such a position. What were they thinking? As a partial antidote to such puerile foolishness, check out Cosmopolitan's feature interview with the three women who launched the Black Lives Matter movement.


Anonymous said...

re: Craig Watkins misspent asset forfeiture funds -- So, criminal charges to follow, right? Doubtful...

re: Depositions scheduled in crime lab retaliation case -- Can Rachael Palmer be civilly sued for libel of the forensic analysts? Or is she allowed to sling whatever b.s. she wants to, while pursuing so-called perjury charges against the analysts?

Anonymous said...

This will annoy most any self respecting cop hating liberal but it's true; one word explains the decline of assaults on LEO's from 57,000 in 2005 to 48,000 in 2014. Any guesses? The word is "Taser". As much as that might annoy some, if you pause your cop hating long enough to think about it, Taser technology made it possible for LEO's to prevail without having to physically engage a non compliant suspect, which significantly reduces the chances of an Officer taking an @$$ whupping while attempting to take a suspect into custody who insists on fighting or resisting before the ride to jail.

Chris H said...

Anonymous @8:26
I think that stat will actually annoy the self respecting excessive force hating average joe since you don't see police officer's arrested for assault. The 9th Circuit has already concluded that using a Taser for compliance when there is lack of threat posed to the officer (ie non-violent resistance) constitutes excessive force.

I think we'll see that expand to the 6th Circuit when Deven Guilford's family's lawsuit makes its way through the courts.

Anonymous said...

I remain baffled as to why it's acceptable to say "person of color" but not "colored person." There's no substantive difference, it's simply tribal signaling.

Anonymous said...

9:11AM -

That "colored person" and "person of color" have the same meaning to you says good things about you and your upbringing.

But phrases have baggage, just like people. Historically, "colored person" has commonly been used as a pejorative term in circumstances when other terms were not considered gentile enough. I remember the non-colored church ladies in my town using the phrase regularly. I don't remember any of them using the phrase "person of color", and I can't imagine them ever using that phrase in conversation. So it makes complete sense to me that the one phrase continues to carry a strongly pejorative flavor, while the other similar-sounding phrase does not.

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

Anonymous said...

The N.A.A.C.P. called in hopes that you, Mr. Grits, can suggest a new name for their organization.

Anonymous said...

Funny that HPD's current chief finally proposes less use of incarceration just before he is replaced by the new mayor. As one who oversaw the infamous KMart raid, issued proclamations to his officers to not speak with defense counsel unless a DA was present, and always demanded the highest possible charge be filed against suspects, it seems disingenuous.

Also funny was how the recent Houston Chronicle's story on the crime lab retaliation case was taken down from their website this week. Palmer may have been a low level slug whose desire to win cases over allowing lab personnel to truthfully testify but didn't her boss Lykos settle her portion of the lawsuit? Given commissioner's court always going with the low cost bidder unless a campaign contributor encouraged them to sway a vote a different direction, the cheaper and longstanding contract that was ended was clearly based on Lykos and Palmer's efforts to prevent the van cases from being contaminated by the two lab techs.

Anon 10/22/2015 08:26:00 PM, while I think taser use may have contributed to the statistic, better education and policies probably had a greater impact. Circuit rulings notwithstanding, most taser use seems reasonable when looking at the reports but better discretion is going to be expected of officers by the public in the future.

johntall said...

With Grits, as with oh so many other corners of society, those who profess most loudly to be desirous of getting past "race," are the ones least likely to get past skin color.

Anonymous said...

Johntall -

Please expand your comments. That way, everyone will have a clearer idea about which category of idiot you belong to.

Anonymous said...

Hmm? ignoring this one on the heels of noticing such puerile foolishness regarding goddamn colors. Please, Stick to what you do vs. throwing colorful bait against the wall. They already have a place for that shit, REDDIT.

Anonymous said...
The N.A.A.C.P. called in hopes that you, Mr. Grits, can suggest a new name for their organization.

10/23/2015 03:13:00 PM

Question - where did the organization obtain their name from?

A. Whitey

B. Caucasians

C. Peckerwoods

D. Honkeys

E. All of the above

F. People of Color

G. Black People

H. The Negro College Fund

I. Al Sharpston

J. Jesse Jackson

K. African Americans