Here are a few odds and ends I don't have time to write about today but which may interest Grits readers:
The Politics of Bail
Steven Kreytak at the Austin Statesman had a pretty good story this week on the issue of personal bonds, contrasting anecdotal complaints with systemic issues arguing for their more frequent use.
Dave Mann at the Texas Observer has a piece on the effects of solitary confinement on mental health, focusing in particular on death row. And speaking of solitary, it's been too long since I've linked to the blog Solitary Watch, which has several interesting recent posts up.
Safe on the Border
A new report says El Paso is the safest large city in America, despite rampaging violence across the river in Mexico: "Last year, there were more than 2,640 murders in Juárez, compared with 13 homicides in El Paso. This year, there have been more than 2,700 killings in Juárez and four homicides in El Paso."
A cop in Dallas is under investigation because his driver's license was suspended as a result of not paying his Driver Responsibility Surcharge. Another DPD officer was suspended for lying about his reasons for skipping a court date. A deputy constable in Dallas won a whistleblower lawsuit over allegations that he was fired 13 years ago after testifying against his boss in a bribery scheme.
Medical Parole and Budgets
Searching for ways to reduce its prison budget, California is turning to medical parole. See a good story on their new program. “Taxpayers should not be forced to bear the high cost of caring for prisoners who no longer threaten public safety,” said one lawmaker. “Rather than continue wasting millions incarcerating these individuals, we could use the funds to keep our schoolteachers employed.”
Innocence and Harmless Error
I may have more to say later about this academic article, "Revising Harmless Error: Making Innocence Relevant to Direct Appeals"; the author argues that "It is in assessing whether an error was harmless that the courts come closest to thinking about innocence on appeal."