Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Misdemeanor Arrestees and the 85th Legislative Session - UT Conference

Several issues related to misdemeanor defendants- debtors' prisons, bail reform, and racial disparities during traffic stops- will be hot topics at the legislature this session. National and local media coverage, much of it focused on the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Sandra Bland, has educated and outraged more of the public than ever before. Powerful legislators with the ability to push reform have already filed a number of bills to address these injustices faced by low-income Texans. There is a growing consensus that current practices waste taxpayer money, decrease public safety, and are fundamentally unfair.

The Texas Fair Defense Project is co-hosting a conference at the UT Law School on January 27th that will feature expert panels of advocates, policy makers, and academics discussing the specific problems and proposed reforms. Grits, joined by Representative Garnet Coleman and Ashton Woods from Black Lives Matter, will kick off the first panel on racially motivated pretext stops. Next, TFDP executive director Rebecca Bernhardt joins other experts to talk about pretrial reform and the need to move from a money-based bail system to a risk-based system. The final panel takes on modern-day debtors’ prisons; it’s hard to believe that in 2017 people serve jail time for not being able to pay traffic tickets, but the practice is widespread.

We’d like to see you there. For more information and to register, visit the Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights webpage. CLE credit is available for attorneys.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is this the same Rep. Garnet Coleman who got a warning ticket for doing 94 mph in a 75 mph speed zone in Austin County with state official tags on his car, and then had the audacity to claim in a committee hearing that he was mistreated by the officer who conducted the stop although the video of the stop showed otherwise? And he's going to discuss pretext traffic stops? Seriously?

Anonymous said...

Like him or not, 3:37, he's chair of the County Affairs Committee.

Tommy Gilley said...

Are we going to not allow any cop who has ever drove over the speed limit to write a ticket for speeding? Law is the law - black and white. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

Will any of the conference programming be available online?

Rebecca Bernhardt said...

Conference agenda is available here: http://sites.utexas.edu/tjclcr/2017-conference/

Rhapsodist said...

Dont senators get those "EXEMPT" tags preventing them from being ticketed? Or is that just police, and diplomats? I'm not familiar with the specific incident. I just wonder if the officer even had the ability to write the lawmaker a ticket?