Thursday, July 20, 2006

Grits guest bloggers liven up summer doldrums

Sorry I've not been writing much (though I did put up a treatise on Huevos Rancheros this week posing the question, "Must we eschew power to avoid corruption?"). In just a few days I'm headed off to vacation in Mexico and I'm swamped getting ready to leave town. A housesitter's coming this weekend to take care of the dogs and the plants, and we'll be gone for a wondrous four weeks off. Mostly in Xalapa, the capital of Veracruz, and day-tripping around from there to the beach, a little camping, lots of music, great seafood on the coast and good coffee in the mountains- I really can't wait.

But what will happen to Grits during this long hiatus, the reading public cried? Where will we get our regular dose of commentary on Texas criminal justice? How will we bear the loss? Indeed, without this source of learned analysis, won't all of civilization simply crumble around our ears?, asked the worst of the doubters.

Don't fear - I've convinced four highly esteemed (by me anyway) and thoughtful writers who I think will more than adequately fill Grits' size 11-1/2 shoes. (Indeed, my main fear is that when I return the Grits-reading public will demand my ouster in favor of the superior content.) In any event, without further ado, let me briefly introduce your Grits guest bloggers for the next few weeks, and I'll be back to blogging by the end of August:

Galveston District Judge Susan Criss
, a well-respected jurist who famously presided over the Robert Durst murder trial then ran into the defendant, supposedly under house arrest, shopping at Houston's Galleria. (Durst is a New York millionaire who beheaded his neighbor at his Galveston beach house before dumping the body in the bay). More significant than that infamous case, though, Judge Criss been a consistent voice advocating for services and improvements for dealing with mentally ill defendants in the criminal justice system. She's a smart, fair judge who's frankly someone I wouldn't mind seeing on an appellate court someday.

Marc Levin of the Texas Public Policy Foundation
, a conservative, pro-free market think tank based in Austin. Marc works on criminal justice issues for TPPF and I've approvingly blogged about some of his work in the past. I offer readers the caveat that Marc was given blogging permission only on the condition that he run blog posts by his superiors, but he's been publishing some remarkable work on this topic and even within those restrictions I really value the chance for Grits readers to more fully see his perspective.

Isela Gutierrez
works as an organizer for the Texas Coalition Adcovating Justice for Juveniles (pdf, that's TCAJJ, pronounced "T-Cage"). She's one of my favorites, and last year assisted me at ACLU of Texas for a while as a first-rate paper-trail researcher on drug war topics, wading through mountains of open records request responses from Texas drug task forces. Now she specializes more in juvenile justice where, to my mind, she's turned into a real up and coming thinker and advocate in Texas on those topics.

Rev. Alan Bean,
was one of the original organizers of the group Tulia Friends of Justice who identified the injustice in the Tulia drug stings and stepped forward to speak out and publicize the convictions of innocent people there. He has since become a respected activist on this topic across Texas and beyond, working with local activists in Hearne, Palestine, and most recently in Lafayette, Louisiana.

So there you have it, an all-star team of Grits for Breakfast guest bloggers until I get back from vacation the week of August 21st. There's a chance I might slip in a missive from some Internet cafe in Mexico to say "Hola," but mostly I'm going to try not to think about blogs or the criminal justice system at all for a while. Maybe a couple more posts from me before I go, but otherwise for the next four weeks I'll be handing over the keys to these able writers.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to all of my wonderful guest bloggers for pinch-hitting while I'm taking a much-needed break. To my commenters I'd ask, "Be gentle." These are all good folks with interesting things to say, so give 'em a read. Until next time, Hasta la vista, baby.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Brother,
4 weeks, enjoy and re-charge your batteries, we have a LIFE TIME of fighting to turn this country back around! Many times people forget to say thanks, me included! So to all those fighting to give our children some what of a free country like that which was handed down to us, I say thanks to one and all!!! I am new on here so it will take some time to get to know everybody, thanks for the invite!

Rusty White
Speaker www,