Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wednesday Morning Roundup

I've got a busy day today but wanted to point out these stories that deserve Grits readers attention:

History's Judgment
Years after his death, DNA exonerations have tarnished the legacy of legendary Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade, according to a widely published AP report, declaring that "The new DA and other Wade detractors say the cases won under Wade were riddled with shoddy investigations, evidence was ignored and defense lawyers were kept in the dark." This will make some of the old-timers in the Dallas DA's office grumpy, but it's well worth a read.

Whistleblower Defended
Probation officers in Bexar County held a rally Monday in defense of fired union head Sheri Simonnelli, who was terminated after revealing erroneous urinalysis tests were being used to falsely accuse probationers.

High speed chases cause injuries, traffic deaths
When the Senate Criminal Justice Committee held a hearing earlier this month to assess causes of and trends about police officer deaths, traffic accidents were identified as the most common cause of on-the-job officer deaths - often occurring while driving with lights and sirens running, whether in a high speed chase or on the way to the scene of a crime. Driving accidents also generate danger for the public, not just officers, as evidenced by a police chase in Houston this week ending in the death of a local physician, a bystander not involved in the chase. Some dangers inherent to police work cannot be avoided, but more and more departments have implemented limits on high speed chases that significantly reduce danger to officers and the public. Reacting to a series of unfortunate traffic deaths, the San Antonio PD in 2001 created a policy setting a "speed limit for pursuing officers of no more than 10 mph over the posted speed limit, prohibited chasing people for traffic violations and ruled that officers must come to full stops at red lights at all times." (SA Express News, 4-7-01 - not online). High speed chases accounted for more than 7,000 deaths nationwide between 1982 and 2004.

Texas Drug Courts
Via StircrazyinTexas I ran across this comprehensive list of drug courts in Texas including contact info - there are more operating than I realized!


Anonymous said...

We need a law that allows policemen to shoot anyone who flees in a motor vehicle.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Yeah because unlike cars, bullets NEVER hit innocent bystanders.

Besides it's not like shooting unarmed, fleeing suspects is patently unconstitutional or anything. Oh wait ... it is. The Supreme Court struck down the practice 23 years ago: “It is not better that all felony suspects die than that they escape,” declared the majority opinion in Tennessee vs. Garner.

Anonymous said...

Careful what you wish for, folks. I've seen a grown man cry and beg to be sent back to Raiford after a year and a half of this same form of "therapy".

MAY 23, 2008: NEWS

Rehabilitation or Torture?
Inmates charge privatized state 'rehab' program subjects women to prolonged physical stress and degradation

Illustration by Craig Staggs

Men would riot here. – SAFPF inmate

What's worse than prison?

According to some former and current inmates, the state's Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facilities. Funded by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and staffed by Texas Department of Corrections officers and personnel employed by nonprofit operator Gateway Foundation of Chicago, the SAFPFs (referred to colloquially as "Safe-Ps") in theory provide rehabilitation to nonviolent offenders incarcerated for felony drug and alcohol convictions.

Full story, several intalations of an ongoing investigation.

Anonymous said...

11:32, I don't believe you've thought this through. If we allow the cops to shoot anyone who flees in a motor vehicle, the next law allowing expanded use of deadly force might be directed at anonymous bloggers who post ridiculous comments on Grits.

Anonymous said...

Well that well take care of the bloggers.Great Idea.

Anonymous said...

I believe that TEXAS law sets a speed of NO MORE THAN 10 Mils per Hour OVER the posted speed for any emergency vehicle!

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