Wednesday, October 09, 2013

DPS crime lab fiasco headed to CCA oral arguments, and other stories

Here are a few tidbits that caught my eye before Grits must leave town today for work:

Auditor critiques state LEO licensing agency
The state auditor has produced a new report on the Texas Commission of Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education. They found, "The Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (Commission) reported unreliable results for all three key performance measures tested for fiscal year 2012 and the first two quarters of 2013." Two particular areas of concern:
  • The Commission backdates the license award date in [its data system], rather than using the actual date on which the Commission issued the license. As a result, the Commission's licensing data may change frequently.
  • The Commission does not sequentially number its licenses. As a result, the Commission cannot ensure that the licensing data is complete
Last session, the Legislature changed the name of the agency to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCLE, pronounced "Tickle").

High court set to hear arguments on DPS crime lab fiasco
Oral arguments have been set for October 23 in Ex Parte Leonard Coty, in which the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will revisit their already decided opinion that evidence from discredited DPS crime lab analyst Jonathan Salvador is fundamentally unreliable because of his history of errors and drylabbing. The Harris County Public Defender Office has published their brief (pdf) online. Grits hopes to attend; it should be quite a show, with major implications for thousands of East Texas drug convictions.

Mugged (and extorted) by online mugshots
Good New York Times piece regarding one of the most cynical, sleazy business models Grits has run across in all my years working on criminal justice policy.

When crime-scene evidence crawls away
Interesting piece on practical problems for forensic scientists trying to date dead bodies based on maggots.

Floating prisons in the war on terror
The Obama Administration is beginning to house terrorist suspects in navy vessels outside of US waters so they won't be subject to protections in the US legal system, the same rationale for using CIA "black sites" for interrogations in foreign countries. Bryan Finoki predicted this some time ago, as Grits noted in 2008. New York City experimented with prison barges as recently as the '90s to handle overflow from Rikers Island and later juvenile offenders. Here in Texas, TDCJ considered but rejected similar plans back in the 1980s.


Anonymous said...

Grits, care to venture a guess as to what the Court of Criminal Appeals will do on the Salvador/DPS lab matter?

Soronel Haetir said...

Regarding the imprisoning people on navy vessels bit, I can only imagine this working so long as none of the people so held manage to get a court hearing. I've seen plenty of references to navy vessels being considered the sovereign territory of the flag nation regardless of the physical location of that vessel at any particular moment.

rodsmith said...

LOL Soronel! was just thinking someone needed to get the govt fucktard in chief a Real Lawyer since that's been settled law for a few centuries now!

US Navy ships just like any OTHER US flagged vessel IS United States Jurisdiction and always has been.

plus the fact they admit they are doing it to avoid us law makes them traitors to their oath of office and liable for summary execution by any real American who wishes to execute sentence!

rodsmith said...

Hell The Former United States of American claims jurisdiction over it's citizens even when they are NOT in the united states but are in someone else's country. So by what stretch of stupidity would they think this did not apply to THEM?

I think most of us are fed up with govt fucktards who think the laws they pass do not apply to them.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

1:22, I honestly don't have a clue. They lose face if they reverse their decisions from this spring, but I'm sure they're getting a lot of pressure from prosecutors to do just that. I'm quite looking forward to the oral arguments and perhaps we'll have a better idea after that.

Soronel, et. al., that's a really good point. You're probably right. OTOH, when the feds are in on the charade, it's not like some (never retained) defense lawyer could serve papers in the middle of the ocean. This may be something where the practical barriers to confronting the policy trump the legalities, at least for the time being.

Anonymous said...

Grits, I have to agree with you about this sleazy mug business. My wife was arrested when she was very young over ten years ago. One of these mug shot for profit business that address is list in the state of Florida searched public records and copied her mug shot and posted it on-line. When I read public record laws, I cannot find anything that say’s they are meant to be used to embarrass people and for a sleazy business to profit from it either. I followed the website link that tells one how to remove the mug shot. I believe it was $300 dollars a picture. That came up to $1200 dollars for me. Now there is not guarantee they will not re-post it, or change their name and re-post it, or another sleazy website will not do the same thing. Now when I called and got hung up on a couple of times because I hurt the little punk’s feelings, He told me that his website was connected directly to Facebook. I believe that is not true but I wonder if Face Book is profiting from this also like Google seems to be doing. I was shocked someone could sink this low and it is unregulated and the state of Texas or Florida could do nothing about it either. This seems to be a legal way to extort money from someone. Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

6:59, sorry to hear this crap man. I wouldn't pay them shit other than a visit. You can fly on Spirit pretty cheap. Yes, Extortion is a crime and you can file charges. There is Real Lawyer in Florida (Brian Tannanbaum).

His website link is over at the Simple Justice blog. He uses the term - moron in every other sentence but he is a bad ass in court. Good luck in your endeavors sir.

Anonymous said...

Those that click on the link in the GFB posting regarding Mugged will want to click on the mug-shot sites' in the piece and / or click on them out of curiosity.

*Please don't, Grits said it best - " of the most cynical, sleazy business models Grits has run across in all my years working on criminal justice policy." Just like you wouldn't click on what you know is Spam, this is worse - It's opportunist at their worst and they don't deserve your time.

If you want to date or hire someone and do so out of a trust relationship that you built with Google and they end up killing your ass or stealing you blind - you have no one but yourself & Google to blame.

*Just as I was going to suggest an alternative, I wondered if Bing is in on this crime wave?

rodsmith said...

The proper resonse to those companys should be

"I have a counter offer. You have 24hrs to remove my info from your website. Failure to do so will result in our meeting personally. When i take you by the neck and then proceed to use your emtpy cooked head to smash your servers to pieces.

Good day!"

wouldn't take more than a few of them to get this treatment and the industry would be toast!

hard to have an industry if you have no employees!