Friday, January 07, 2005

Preview: Guest blogger for Tom Coleman perjury trial

Members of Tulia Friends of Justice, via the Texas Observer

Grits is excited to announce a guest blogger posting from the Texas Panhandle next week to provide first hand accounts from Tom Coleman's perjury trial. (Coleman is the undercover drug task force officer on whose uncorroborated word 46 38 mostly black defendants in Tulia, Texas were convicted of drug trafficking. After a judge found Coleman non-credible, charges were dropped and the defendants were pardoned.)

Rev. Alan Bean of
Tulia Friends of Justice has agreed to send updates from the proceedings, which begin in Lubbock
federal court on Monday. Grits will probably post them at the end of each day or the following morning, since live blogging from the courtroom hasn't been worked out. But few correspondents have more indepth background on the story; Alan knows Coleman's tale backwards and forwards. Plus he's a fine writer, and is currently working on a much-anticipated book about the Tulia fiasco.

he Texas Observer once rightly declared, "few have felt the backlash in Tulia more than Alan Bean." He, his wife, and a few other Tulians banded together with family members of the wrongfully incarcerated. F
rom the time of the trials in 1999 until the defendants' release from prison four years later, Alan and Friends of Justice agitated for their release and for reform in the criminal justice system. Alan and quite a few other Tulians came to Austin in 2001 and 2003 to lobby for successful reform legislation, and to encourage the Texas Legislature to abolish the state's drug task forces, a recommendation echoed in the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee Interim Report released last month.

Last year, the drug task force that targeted the Tulia defendants was abolished as part of a $6 million settlement with Coleman's victims.

Thanks, Alan, for agreeing to help out on this. Grits is honored to have you.

1 comment:

Gritsforbreakfast said...

The mistaken federal courts item was taken from this TV news story, which was in error.