Friday, November 09, 2007

Texas criminal justice bloggers breaking stories, making news all over

This week Texas criminal justice bloggers' work is busting into the mainstream media.

Criminal defense attorney Robert Guest at I Was the State used the open records act to break a story covered in these three blog posts on the Austin PD's warrantless surveillance of utility records that's been picked up by local TV news.

Now, data on increased rates of Texas prison guard misconduct, compiled through open records by bloggers at The Back Gate, have received prominent coverage in the Huntsville Item.

These examples should be a lesson to all regular bloggers - if you want the MSM to pick up your work, publish the results of original research. The open records act is your friend.

Meanwhile, over at Defending People, Mark Bennett's impromptu effort to gather dozens of attorney signatures on a complaint against Judge Sharon Keller has been cited in media accounts all over the state, as has the public complaint put together by Scott Cobb at the Texas Moratorium Network.

Criminal justice bloggers are making a difference in how debates over crime and punishment are carried out in this state, and very much for the better. Great job to all these blogs!

UPDATE: Now the MSM are even crashing the blog party! Texas Monthly editor Evan Smith announces on his blog, State of Mine, that TM will call for Sharon Keller's resignation in its December issue. He quotes from reporter Michael Hall's feature article that just went to press:
This is hardly the first time Keller has sacrificed fairness for toughness. In 1998, in her determination to keep convicted rapist Roy Criner in prison, she turned a blind eye to DNA evidence that indicated he hadn’t committed the crime; fellow judge Tom Price said the decision made the Texas court a “national laughingstock.” Well, no one is laughing now. When a man’s life is on the line—to say nothing of the U.S. Constitution—our top criminal judge should behave like one: with prudence, fairness, and a calm hand. It’s time for Keller to go. If the commission doesn’t act quickly, we’ll have to wait until January 2009, when the Legislature—which has the power to oust high judges—reconvenes, or worse, 2012, when Keller is up for reelection. The fact is, we need to do it now. Impeach Sharon Keller.


Anonymous said...

This was my first non work related open records request. It took 5 minutes to draft and send. I would encourage all bloggers to file open records request with their local government.

You can produce a ready made story for MSM and help monitor issues that are important to you and your blog readers.

Anonymous said...

There is certainly a lot of quality work being done on criminal justice blogs, but there are also a few very lame ones that never break any news or contribute any original research or even make any substantial comments, they just repost links to articles in newspapers and other blogs. They consider it a scoop to be the first blog to link to a new article in the mainstream press, but they don't offer any analysis or commentary.

Such lazy ineptness is ok for people who are blogging as volunteers, but unacceptable for someone getting paid, especially in a state where there is limited funding for criminal justice work and so much work to be done.

One of the lamest such criminal justice blogs is StandDown. It is a total waste of money that someone actually gets paid to do it. You can get the same results from doing a Google News search.

On the other hand, Grits for Breakfast, is one of the best blogs I have ever seen, with well-written, high-quality analysis.

More Grits. Fire the StandDown dude, er dud.

Anonymous said...


Brother, PBS is an excellent source to use as well!:)
Greetings just wanted to alert you that the McCuistion programs you joined us for : # 1625 The So- Called War on Drugs and Who Is Winning # 1626: Should Illegal Drugs Be Legal? air locally this Sunday, November 11th,( 1625) and next Sunday, November 18th,(1626) on KERA, Channel 13- Dallas Nationally, they will air on several PBS stations this month as well, and individuals need to check with their local stations for that information. If someone misses the programs they will be available at starting 11- 12... Thought you might want to get notification to your groups. Thank you once again for your involvement. We very much appreciate it. Niki Nicastro McCuistion E.P./ Producer

Anonymous said...

If you send an open records act request for information to the Round Rock, Texas Police Department. Barney Poteety I believe his name is will tell you a thing or two about obtaining public information from him.

Mr. Poteety says he is Bona fide, yeeeess sir, Bone-a-Fide in FOI statute. He States the information requested does not exist. Well hell Barney tell us then, don't ignor answering. Finally when Barney wrote, he said if we wanted to know how many RRPD officer's moonlight at a local establishment, we would have to ask the owner of the only Teety Bar in town for that information.

I think the FBI might feel different after they investigate the reason for the tale tail of that informations existance. Including civil rights violations made by an incompetent suspended security officer and validated by an even more incompetent police officer.

It's not nice to mess with other Law Enforcement/Criminal Justice Professionals RRPD.