'Raped by the Deputy'
Check out a feature in something called The Establishment titled, "Raped by the Deputy: A Texas case, a U.S. problem," featuring an ugly case of a jail inmate in San Antonio who was allegedly raped in a transport van.
Body camera implementation
The Texas House Select Committee on Emerging Issues in Law Enforcement will hold a hearing March 21st related to implementation of body cameras among police officers and the grant system set up by the state to pay for them last session. RELATED: Check out this new analysis regarding police bodycam transparency issues.
Holding jail staff accountable for inmate checks
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has fired a supervisor and disciplined 17 other employees out of Amarillo for failing to perform inmate welfare checks on a cell where an inmate was severely beaten and killed. This is becoming a recurring theme: Jails and prisons in Texas are becoming slightly more likely to discipline or (rarely) fire employees for failing to perform their jobs and more likely to double check to see if written logs have been tampered with or falsified. It's still spotty and case by case - the norm is probably still to tolerate such behavior rather than regulate it, much less prosecute it. In Harris County, for example, the Sheriff responded to a scandal of failed oversight by slashing in half the number of compliance officers tasked with uncovering such failures. But for years one would never hear of jailers or prison guards fired or disciplined on these grounds. These days, the topic bubbles up with surprising frequency.
A one-sided popularity contest
Police unions' insensible attacks on Beyonce, including the Dallas Police Association's announcement that it may join a boycott on security work at her concerts, seem tone-deaf and misplaced. Reported CNN: "Joe Gamaldi, the vice president of the Houston Police Officers' Union in Texas, said the group wants more information before deciding whether to join the boycott." Gamaldi's smart to hesitate before jumping on that bandwagon. Especially in H-Town, she's more popular than they are. UPDATE: The Dallas union decided against a boycott.
A call to make polygraphs admissible evidence
In an era when Texas is making headlines for debunking junk science, a DPS official wants to expand use of lie-detector tests in court and allow them admitted as evidence. Here's an excerpt from a story out of Idaho:
Walt Goodson said he has been training law enforcement in polygraph examinations for about a decade.New Mexico voters to consider bail reform
Goodson is president of the American Polygraph Association and a longtime employee of the Texas Department of Public Safety. He said the tests should primarily be used by law enforcement for the benefit of investigations.
“I’m a big believer that if a polygraph is in wrong hands bad things can potentially happen with it,” he said. “It was designed as a law enforcement tool.”
Goodson said he would like to see polygraph exams admissible in court. The tests are not admissible in Texas.
“I think it’s a useful tool, I’ve never personally seen harm come to people from it,” Goodson said. “In the more than a decade that I’ve supervised the polygraph program in Texas … we’ve never once gotten a false confession.”
Voters in New Mexico will decide in November whether to institute major bail reform which allows judges to hold dangerous offenders regardless of ability to pay, while defendants who are "neither a danger nor a flight risk couldn’t be detained before trial solely because of a financial inability to post a money or property bond." If they win, perhaps it will give momentum to Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman John Whitmire's promised push for bail reform in Texas in 2017.