Thursday, September 15, 2016

TX House County Affairs Committee to take up racial profiling, bail reform

In the wake of the Austin Statesman's revelations regarding DPS racial profiling data (see Grits' earlier discussion, the House County Affairs Committee will hold a hearing next week on "racial disparities during traffic stops within Texas Department of Public Safety, the constitutionality of equal protection claims and concerns that arise from DPS racial disparities, de-escalation tactics, and diversion before booking." (The Statesman has a preview story.)

The same committee will take up topics related to bail and pretrial detention as part of its interim work. The following day, the committee will review "pretrial service and bonding practices throughout the state. Examine factors considered in bail and pre-trial confinement decisions, including the use of risk assessments; assess the effectiveness and efficiency of different systems in terms of cost to local governments and taxpayers, community safety, pretrial absconding rates and rights of the accused." The litigation Grits discussed recently with Becky Bernhardt should be on the front burner in that conversation.

County Affairs is an interesting committee to be taking up these issues: chaired by a liberal, containing one of the few former prosecutors in the Lege (Democrat Gene Wu), but numerically dominated by Tea Party conservatives, several of whom have in the past sided with conservative criminal-justice reformers. If the committee's membership stays relatively constant heading into next session, some interesting bills might come out of that particular mix of people.


Anonymous said...

Asked this on another thread, but Grits never responded reference to DPS and racial profiling.

Grits - do we know if the stats include traffic encounters where events like ether DWI arrests, motorists with arrest warrants or a traffic accident then cause a vehicle inventory? If a motorist is arrested or transported to a hospital in the case of a traffic accident, officers will usually perform an inventory if there is no one else to release the person's vehicle to besides a wrecker. An inventory is a search.

Anonymous said...

Hey, you have to give DPS credit. It wasn't that long ago when the majority of troopers got the race of the subject wrong on most citations and reports. Progress?

Gunny Thompson said...

Another study? Why is it necessary to continue this charade? A 12-yr-old can provide the cause of unequal protection, which violates the mandate of the Fourteenth Amendment. The unconstitutional conditions that are experienced in the Black community is attributed to "RACISM" and conditions of a "Police State" mentality that are employed in the community which are the undisputed, direct causes of disparities in treatment of citizens of Black ethnicity,.

Brown Shirts are public officers that are para-military. They have the power of life or death and in many instances are given absolute immunity in cases of abuse and assassinations. As public officers, they are not entitled to union protection and are prohibited the entitlement of overtime pay. additionally, they are prohibited from residing in areas other than that of their employer. In order to protect citizens, uniformity policing of the various states must be mandated, and they must be nationalized. Implementation of policies that change those conditions, not studies, will be a positive steps in changing the unequal treatment of citizens.