Saturday, October 22, 2005

As task forces fade, the "next Tulia"?

A few brief items of interest as I leave town for a pleasant time in Dallas tomorrow watching the pig races and the sheepdog trials at the state fair:

Texas House releases interim charges
: Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick has released the interim charges for committees in the Texas House of Representatives, which means he's announced the topics House standing committees will study in the interim, between now and the next regular session in 2007. See summaries of interesting criminal justice items compiled by the ACLU of Texas and the District Attorney's Association.

Drug Task Forces Seen As Expendable Pork
: Read the ACLU of Texas' Liberty Blog on why hurricanes and scandals might doom Texas drug task forces. While you're there, check out this cool, 20-minute video on the history of the drug task force scandal in Hearne, TX, which resulted in ACLU litigaton settled this spring.

The "Next Tulia"?
: Be sure to check out this terrific story by the Austin Chronicle's Jordan Smith detailing the story of 29 defendants accused by a single confidential informant, and the black folks in Edna, TX, who are fighting back against an imperious DA. The estimable Jeff Blackburn, lead attorney in the Tulia cases, is heading the defense.

After Innocence, Before the Next Wrongful Conviction
: For my commenters who enjoy reciting alleged details of horrific crimes as though it were prima facie evidence of a defendants' guilt, I'd urge you all to check out the movie reviewed yesterday in the New York Times, After Innocence, telling the story of seven wrongfully convicted men cleared by DNA evidence, collectively losing decades of their lives to false charges. This growing phenomenon, to me, should generate a little humility among the tuff-on-crime set, but it hasn't seemed to have had any such effect so far.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Only Bryne Grant Task Forces are fading in Texas so don't celebrate a victory over federally funded task forces in Texas just yet.

The Byrne Grant didn't cause Tulia and it won't be the cause of the next one.