Thursday, December 08, 2016

Just Liberty

Since I left the Innocence Project of Texas at the end of last year, I've been working with a bipartisan group of conservative and liberal allies toward the creation of a new organization aimed at building grassroots power in Texas for criminal-justice reform.

Today, that project has finally launched under the banner of Its first campaign aims to stop police officers from arresting motorists for Class C misdemeanor traffic violations, similar to the situation which first ensnarled Sandra Bland in the clutches of the justice system. We're really excited, I hope you like it.

If you agree that police officers must stop arresting and jailing people on traffic infractions, please go to the "Get Involved" page and send a message in support of Sen. Konni Burton's SB 271 to your own lawmakers. If you opt in to receive email, we'll notify you when other opportunities for engagement arise, either at the legislature or locally.

When you're done, please post the action everywhere on social media so others will join you. Also, take a look around the site and feel free to share that as well.

I hope you love it; we're proud of the website and especially excited about our first campaign. And if you see something that's not working, please say something. This is Day 1 and we don't expect it's all perfect.


Anonymous said...

The police defenders will not be for making fine only violations non arrestable, because it is often their saving grace when they arrest someone on another charge without PC. It saves them from a law suit for false arrest and 4th Amendment violations. We must be prepared to address this reasoning.

Anonymous said...

The cop who would make an arrest on a Class C Misdemeanor would be the same cop who would intentionally escalate the situation to the point where an offense occurs making them eligible for arrest. If passed, this legislation will actually cause more harm than good as instead of having to contend with nothing more than a fine, the arrestee will find themselves looking at jail time because the charge will be an A, B, or a felony. A well-intentioned law, to be sure, but with bitter unforeseen consequences.

If you really want to make an improvement across the board then you should push for something which most reasonable people would agree on which is better psychological testing of peace officer applicants. Fortune 500 companies require stringent testing for their employees and these same tests should be required for all prospective police officers. The current psychological testing is left up to individual agencies, and many don't conduct any testing at all, just standard background checks with a couple of references. The psychological tests should be uniform and conducted by an outside organization with no ties whatsoever to law enforcement.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your new endeavor! I appreciate the way you help us stay in the loop about opportunities to express our opinions about pending legislation. Keep up the great work--it is appreciated more than you know.

Peter Marana said...

Congratulations Scott!

This is a terrific idea and starting off with a solid issue is the way to build your constituents.

The logic above about how such reform will accelerate more aggressive policing is is pretty twisted. I guess he is saying the police officer will just expand their illegal conduct if they want to arrest someone. To be honest he sounds like he from the law enforcement community but, again, the logic is frightening.

Sorry for the detour, I will be contributing some funds and hope to volunteer when the opportunity arises.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, it is a worthy and needed endeavor and wish you only the best.

Prison Doc