Friday, October 23, 2009

Traveling Day Open Thread

I'm headed out of town today, so use this as an open thread to discuss whatever you want until I return in a couple of days. In the meantime, here are several recent items that merit Grits readers' attention:

Free Standing Innocence

Several good items are up at the blog A Criminal Enterprise, including this piece on whether there exists (or should exist) a free standing actual innocence claim under the 8th Amendment.

Wall Street Meets The Wire
See, from White Collar Crime Prof Blog, "Wall Street Meets The Wire," and also Alexandra Natapoff's related comments on differences between white collar and street informants.

The crime of unprofitability
From Houston's Clear Thinkers, "More thoughts on business 'crimes'."

Snitching theory and practice
Speaking of Sasha Natapoff, check out an early review of her forthcoming book on "Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice." I'm looking forward to reading it myself and reviewing it here on Grits. See more from Natapoff at here recently launched Snitching Blog.

Judge ousted for bias toward DA
From TexParte, a judge in Kerrville stepped down last month to avoid state bar discipline over pro-prosecution bias thanks to the DA using forfeiture money for a CLE in Hawaii and the judge's office equipment. Of course, Judge Sharon Keller has openly admitted a pro-prosecution bias, but she's still with us - for now. Perhaps money must change hands for such bias to be punishable?

Check the books: Inmate trust fund robbed
A jail employee in Montgomery County was arrested for stealing between $20,000 and $100,000 from inmate trust fund accounts. Between this episode and the rash of commissary bribery scandals in recent years, IMO jail inmate trust accounts and commissary funds could stand a comprehensive review by either the State Auditor or the Comptroller. There's just a lot of unregulated money sloshing around in that part of the system and too many examples of a lack of accountability.

Do sick inmates get medication in Burnet County jail?
Burnet County's privately run jail received a failing grade from the Commission on Jail Standards thanks to a failure to give (or at least to document) medication to seriously ill inmates. According to TCJS director Adan Munoz, "of the 500 inmates housed at the jail during last week’s visit, none were recorded to have ever received any type of medication during their stay."

La Familia en Tejas
From Mike Ward at the Austin Statesman, "Austin was shipping hub for Mexican drug cartel."

Austin rejects vampire cops just in time for Halloween
The Austin City Council, led by Bill Spelman, passed a resolution discouraging police officers from taking blood in DWI cases, insisting that trained medical professionals should continue to perform the task. Though the resolution was weakened at the last minute, Chief Art Acevedo says APD will honor the council's wilshes and not train its officers as phlebotomists.


Anonymous said...

Did you hear about this TYC story?

Ombudsman accused of smuggling items into youth lockups
Official said she was testing security; investigation continues.
By Mike Ward

Friday, October 23, 2009

ckikerintulia said...

Just saw in NYT that Arizona is considering complete privatization of their prison system, for financial reasons.

Mexfiles said...

I saw the AZ private death row story too. It's either insane, or its capitalism... or capitalism IS insanity.

First thing that jumped out is the corp. exec saying "liability reaons" might keep him from participating. Not that it's barbaric, or that it's basically merder for hire.. but that it's a liability problem!

Then, I thought... hmmmm... maybe the Zetas and Michoacan la Familia and Arellano Felix gang, etc. could bid on the project. Gives a whole new meaning to "Mexicans doing the job Americans can't".

Anonymous said...

Ombudsman accused of smuggling items into youth lockups..

This story doesn't make sense.

PirateFriedman said...

"First thing that jumped out is the corp. exec saying "liability reaons" might keep him from participating. Not that it's barbaric, or that it's basically merder for hire.. but that it's a liability problem!"

With government policy, you've always got to pick the lesser evil. I think taxpayer funded private prisons are a lesser evil than public institutions.

With government run prisons, the guards make way more money than their skills are actually worth on the market. They are the big losers from privatizing prisons, not the inmates.

Its just a mistake to think private prisons are always worse than the public prisons for the inmates. There are horror stories on both sides, but most of the research I've seen shows that inmates are better off in private prisons. Maybe it's that fear of liability that drives private prisons to perform better.

Anonymous said...

Does anything concerning TYC make sense? More corruption and abuse of power. If this was legit, it would have been cleared before by Ms. TYC; and it wasn;t....she got caught because she thought she was above it all, like the previous administrators. Do her and some jail time.

Anonymous said...

What's sad is that the ombudsmon is not part of TYC. It is an independent agency that is answerable only to the governor...

For once TYC is enforcing the law, not breaking it by investigating this smuggling operation....

jdgalt said...

If we are going to hold corporate executives liable for making optimistic forecasts of their companies' future that don't work out, Barney Frank should be in jail for his speech saying Fannie and Freddie were sound 4 months before they collapsed.

Anonymous said...

Barney Franks works for TYC. He should also be in jail. He appears to have the same criminal mind as TYC'ers. All should visit the jailhouse.

Anonymous said...

Well, now Willingham's wife says he did confess, after all:

So I guess everyone is going to believe her this time, even though in 2004 she said he never confessed?