Sunday, January 09, 2011

Roundup: Recent, notable tidbits

Here are a few items I didn't get around to discussing this week that merit Grits readers' attention:

Exonerees in the news
Just-exonerated Cornelius Dupree and Cory Session, brother of the late Tim Cole, have a joint op ed in the Dallas News titled "Preventing miscarriages of justice." Dupree spent 30 years in prison before his conviction was overturned last week. Following his exoneration, Anthony Graves has moved back to Pflugerville, and KXAN-TV has an interview. Meanwhile, after being released on bail last summer, Allen Wayne Porter was formally exonerated this week in a Houston court, another case of erroneous eyewitness identification.

Dallas justice lauded and larruped
Bob Ray Sanders at the Fort Worth Startlegram says, "Every new DNA exoneration in Dallas reveals how broken the justice system is." I agree, but I also agree with the sentiment expressed in a recent Dallas News editorial that Dallas DA Craig Watkins recent, internal purge of Republican prosecutors borders on paranoia. Bad form, that. Meanwhile, Dallas County wants to change the law to protect it from liability when constables act outside the authority of their office, basically hanging the constable out to dry in a personal capacity, including making them responsible for their own defense, if their alleged misconduct is not a function of the duties of their office. There's a sense in which I agree, or at least could be convinced, but it'll be a hard sell at the capitol.

Deuell won't author needle exchange this year
State Sen. and medical doctor Bob Deuell has said he won't file legislation again this year to approve needle exchange, the Texas Tribune reports, making passage of the idea a lot less likely. Deuell said he still supports the legislation and would pick it up if it came over from the House, but it's hard to predict whether that's possible given high turnover and competing budget and redistricting priorities.

Signs in sex offenders' vehicles?
A reader points me to a story I'd missed last year regarding residency restrictions passed for registered sexual offenders in Bay City, TX. In addition to typical restrictions against living near schools, playgrounds or in multi-family dwellings, reported the Bay City Tribune, "part of the ordinance requires registered sexual offenders to prominently display a sign in the window of their automobiles or a bumper sticker — at least 3 by 10 inches in size with two-inch high lettering — that states, 'Sexual Predator’s Vehicle.'"

Jail news from roundabout
In Dallas, "The county spent $41 million more to house inmates last year than it did in 2008, according to county statistics released on Friday, despite the fact that almost 3,000 fewer people were booked into the jails in 2009." Even so, the jail is fuller because the court system is processing cases less quickly, indulging in what County Commissioner John Wiley Price called a "culture of continuance." At the Harris County Jail they plan to begin experimenting with ankle monitors and home detention for pretrial defendants. (I predict they'll find it manpower intensive to actually supervise those pretiral detainees.) Here's a tantalizing but brief overview of recent problems at the Gregg County Jail. In Belton, we find another jail built on credit that the county doesn't need in hopes of securing contract inmates. Somebody should ask McLennan and Johnson Counties how that turned out!


Anonymous said...

That story about Bay City is so sad. What's wrong with those people out there? This sounds like another story of one redneck trying to outdo another to win re-election.

rodmsmith said...

yep i'm waiting for the headline that reads


Film at 11!

couldnt' happen to a nicer buch of hate filled idiots!

Anonymous said...

Craig Watkins is starting to make Hugo Chavez seem rational and conservative. What an idiot! On the other hand, I suppose the liberal voters of Dallas County are getting exactly what they want!

Anonymous said...

What if the spouse is driving the car? Could the sign put their family in danger?

sunray's wench said...

"What if the spouse is driving the car? Could the sign put their family in danger?"

Not only that but in many cases the sign will be a lie. Not all of those convicted of an offence that puts them on the SO register are predators. The City is encouraging individuals to lie. How can that be right?

DEWEY said...

According to Texas, there's no such thing as an "ex" sex offender. Even if it was one offense 20 or 30 years ago, you are STILL a sex offender.

Anonymous said...

How many people who read this blog are unconvicted sex-offenders? Whoever is without sin should throw the first rock. My guess is that a lot of the rocks that are being thrown are sin-stained.

Rev. Charles in Tulia

Anonymous said...

To Sunray's...: The city is encouraging the individuals not to reside in their city.

Retired 2004

Anonymous said...


You are absolutely correct, there is no legal definition for an ex-offender. now an ex-con, or an ex-murderer..

I have an idea that you may not believe that registered offenders can change from their destructive paths. If that is so, I feel for your narrow view of the human mind. Most RSO's sexually offender 1 time, and never do it again. Yet, idiotic comments like "they'll never change" are the "facts" the public believes.

I challenge you to get the states' and federal reports on the recidivism of sexual offenders, then come back and defend your 'no ex-offender' argument.

As for the question of anon 09:15 yes absolutely it does. My spouse's car has been vandalized as many times as mine has been. As an ex-offender, I have been very anti-violent over the last 12 years, however lately my views have changed, and I have purchased a legally obtained weapon for home protection(I have no conviction). I do not think my anti-violent ways will continue if these laws continue as well.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of personal accountability for constables. I'd love it even more if it could be broadened to include sheriff's deputies and city cops. Common sense begs the question: why isn't this a law already? Act like a mini Hitler and overstep your bounds, then the badge doesn't protect you anymore. Makes sense to me.

Anonymous said...

This latest attempt to one up on the sex offender registry is very similar to what the Nazis did by making their undesirables wear a yellow badge. The Texas criminal justice mindset based on fundamental judgmentalness really needs to become the brunt of satire. These people dreaming up this stuff are no better than the Nazis.