Thursday, June 19, 2008

Conflict Alert: Author accepts new gig promoting innocence policy reforms

A reader alerted me to the publication of a Texas House Research Organization interim report (pdf) on the subject of a proposed Innocence Commission and other reforms aimed at preventing false convictions. The HRO article gives a good overview for the uninitiated as to the range of opinions and examples about what an "innocence commission" can become in its most useful incarnations or in its least effective ones. Those interested should give it a read.

Speaking of innocence commission proposals, this is as good a time as any to inform readers (in the interest of full disclosure, since I've written on these subjects for many years) that I recently accepted a part-time consulting gig working with the Innocence Project of Texas to help them develop public policy aspects of their program (as distinct from their legal cases).

As always, this blog is operated on my own time. When I worked for them, I never billed ACLU of Texas for time spent writing on the blog and the same will be true of IPOT, which is a consulting arrangement not a full-time job. For the record, views expressed on Grits are my own, not those of any organization which happens to pay me for political services, just like the politicians whose campaigns I worked on over the years don't necessarily subscribe to opinions on Grits.

Ironically, past experience indicates the new association may cause me to write less on innocence topics rather than more (we'll see how it works out) since the relationship exposes me to information and insights revealed in confidence and not intended for public exposure. But I'll try to walk that line honorably and at least ensure full disclosure when I do write on these subjects. I've no intention of concealing the relationship, and will leave readers free to judge for themselves whether it influences what I write.

Finally, with my personal financial situation improving, I should also say how much I appreciated readers who assisted this blog financially earlier this spring, helping me make ends meet at a critical juncture before this new gig materialized - it made a huge difference and I was humbled at the generous responses. Thank you, folks.


Don said...

Scott: Congrats on your new gig. Innocence projects are one of the most worthwhile things I can think of. "Presumed Guilty" has become way too much rule and not enough exception, with the MSM, the courts, enforcement, and the general public.
You are one of the most fair and balanced writers anywhere. I didn't contribute much, ($) but I did a little, and this blog is worth a lot more. I depend on it a lot. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations. Glad you'll get paid to do what you love. IPOT is lucky to have you!

The more effort put on identifying true innocence, the better off we all are.

Anonymous said...

I'll send you the names of all the innocent people I am aware of who are locked up so you and Blackburn can spring them. Secondly, good to see you've come across some honest work. Does this mean I can quit sending cash? (lol)


kbp said...

The simple fact that YOU admit there might be a slight appearance of a POSSIBLE conflict indicates to me there will NOT be a problem.

Best of luck on your new project.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Scott. Everybody needs a little income. Hope you enjoy your work, and I believe you will keep things in perspective to avoid unethical mingling of interests. Charles Kiker

Anonymous said...

Honesty, Law, Innocence .. three words not usually seen together referring to the same person.

Congrats on your posting to that project. I wish you good luck in that endeavor. As to Plato, if you wouldn't mind, I could use Cash... :)