Sunday, August 28, 2005

Roundup at 100,000 visitors

Sometime Monday morning, Grits for Breakfast will reach the 100,000 visitor mark (at least, counting from when I put a site meter on three weeks after Grits' October 6, 2004 launch). That's not much compared to Texas' big guns like In the Pink, Burnt Orange Report, Pink Dome, or Kuff, much less Talk Left, Doc Berman, or the national A-list bloggers, but pretty good, I think, for a state-level, single-issue blog.

In commemoration, I want to say "thank you" to everybody who reads and links to this weblog. I appreciate you a lot. I'm writing this stuff for me, for sure, or God knows there wouldn't be so much of it. But I'm awfully grateful when folks tell me they're enjoying
Grits and finding it useful.

With that formality taken care of, h
ere are a few items I've run across recently that merit presentation in a roundup format:
  • Biased jury selection: The Dallas News put up an excellent page devoted to its series on the role of race in Dallas county jury selection. Dallas prosecutors exclude black jurors at twice the rate they exclude whites.
  • Teach 'em a skill: The SA Express News tells how the Bexar County Jail has teamed up with a local construction-trades training program to give inmates skills and reduce recidivism.
  • Judges say long sentences don't promote justice: The prolific Doc Berman points here and here to cases where Federal Eighth Circuit Court Judge Donald Lay, the most outspoken advocate for drug courts within the federal judiciary, used opinions written in everyday drug cases to advocate for increased use of drug courts and fairer federal sentencing practices. Berman also tells of another federal judge who felt the sentence for a bank robbery getaway driver was too long compared to more culpable accomplices. (BTW, I'm frequently reminded that a lot of Grits readers in Texas aren't necessarily otherwise acquainted with the blogosphere, but if you care about criminal sentencing at all, especially at the federal level, Doc's Sentencing Law and Policy is consistently a damn good blog. Read it often.)
  • No means no! (to vehicle searches): Scott Morgan has a good example of how to say no to a police officer's request for a so-called "consent search" of your vehicle at a traffic stop.
  • Say it ain't so, Thurgood: I sure didn't know this: Thurgood Marshall was probably an FBI snitch against a more radical, less-well-known rival in the civil rights movement. I sent around the clip to some friends to confirm the shocking allegation, and a knowledgable African American ally in the civil rights movement responded thusly: "I've known this for years," he said, "and, sad to say, it seems to be true." Another liberal attorney I checked with, though, didn't want to know: "I need to believe in Thurgood Marshall," she replied.


Anonymous said...

I recently did a stint on a Federal Grand Jury in Houston. Almost, no, now that I think back on it, ALL the dope smugglers on whom they were seeking indictments consented to searches.

So, there are a few possibilities. 1. All big-time dope smugglers are extremely stupid. 2. If they did not consent to search, no indictment was brought, so we did not see those cases. 3. Police lied about the consent.

Occam's Razor should be applied.

Also - in every case I can remember, the reason they were in court was because someone tattled. Often, an undercover agent, more often, someone who had had a falling-out with the target.

Sorry - I think I had best be anonymous on this one.

Taylor said...

Congrats on your 100,000th hit. I think this is a milestone for a single issue single state blog! There is no other blog/site that I know of that covers Texas criminal justice so in depth. Thanks again Grits!

Anonymous said...

That's really sad to hear about Thurgood Marshal snitching...

Equally sad, his son and namesake is on the board of notorious private prison corporation Corrections Corporation of America.

Congratulations on the 100,000 hit!

- bob libal

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Thanks, guys. Bob, did you see there was a riot at a CCA prison unit in Mineral Wells over the weekend? See here.

Very interesting stuff, anonymous, from your grand jury experience, if, sadly, unsurprising. Best,

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the Mineral Wells riot is bad news for CCA on the heels of 86 inmates suing CCA in Colorado. Especially when CCA wants to build a 2,800 bed $100 million superjail in Laredo.


A knave, perfectly understood said...

Well you've done it now, bucko.

Erm, intelligent conversation to come some other time.

Ciao now

Anonymous said...

i was at cca mineral wells during the guards or laws on the southside fo the unit for almost 7 hrs we had complete controll...u lock up 2100 men in a big cage with no locked doors and only 2 guards to a building of over 300 inmates and you don't expect a riot? expecially when a large number of them are violent offenders and/or confirmed gang members...we shake and throw gang signs right in front of the guards and no one does anything about it....people get beat up everyday in the bathrooms ...cigaretts and drugs and alcahol and pimping the female gaurds....two guards raped a female gaurd while i was there guard was arrested on the unit in his building for child molestation and child pornography...cca is a fucking joke...shitty food not enough to even get full..asshole guards with big mouths and no protection other than a badge and street/prison gangs fighting over everything fucking texas shoulda already known that was a bad idea ..we were on lockdown for a month and nothing changed we still pretty much run the damn place...cheif of security williams is a double crossing asshole...the people that helped calm everyone down after the riot were the firts to get locked up in solitare and catch new charges the hispanics started the damn riot and were caught with over 250 knives and were put right back in there original buildings even during lockup......stupid i sall i can say......sorry i can't spell ya' says well for the classes at cca and tdcj don't it....have a good day

Anonymous said...

oh and another thing....people are staying on cca mineral wells as much as 6yrs...their entire sentance...what happened to 6 months to a year? people getting denied parole left and right even though they are eligable for i can do now looking back is shake my head and wonder how so many are going to preparole but not getting out