Monday, March 26, 2018

Benchmark created for 'progressive prosecutors,' and other stories

Grits doesn't have time to blog on these topics at the moment but y'all should probably be aware of them:

Philly prosecutor pioneering decarceration measures
Grits has argued before that electing "progressive" prosecutors wouldn't necessarily stop mass incarceration unless they used their discretion in ways that none of our Texas folks have done yet. Larry Krasner in Philadelphia is the first DA in the nation to actually attempt to use his discretion in that way. Here's the memo he sent to his prosecutors changing practices. Give it a read, there's cool stuff all the way through to the end. See coverage from Slate. This will provide a blueprint for what can be expected of future, self-styled "progressive prosecutors" who win District Attorney races. By contrast, for example, in the Dallas primary one couldn't slide a piece of paper between the positions of the two DA candidates in the Democratic primary, both of whom wanted to claim a "progressive" mantle. It would have been a more interesting race if those two could have been made to tell voters whether they'd go so far as Mr. Krasner, and if not, why not.

Corrections chair target of sleazy GOP oppo campaign
Republican Steve Stockman decided to play hardball with Texas House Corrections Committee Chairman and friend-of-the-blog James White on the off chance he decided to run for Congress, including planting an intern in his capitol office, among other dirty tricks.

Youthful Offender Program may receive more scrutiny
Briscoe Cain, a Tea Party Republican state rep, is calling for an investigation into the problems at the TDCJ Youthful Offender Program that caused them to fire the warden and move the program from Amarillo Brazoria County to Huntsville. Absurdly, TDCJ's new flack has portrayed the incident spurring the changes as not involving systemic flaws, but nobody fires wardens or moves programs which have been in place for years unless there's a systemic problem. Such comments speak to a culture of denial in the agency. See related Grits coverage.

Pantsed, then shot dead
Before video footage was common, these sorts of incidents were more easily swept under the rug. A Harris County Sheriff's Deputy shot a man with his pants around his ankles. And in Fort Worth, video led to the indictment of a police officer who attacked a young black man at a local hospital. "[Jon Preston] Romer ... was indicted last week on charges of official oppression, aggravated perjury and making a false report to a police officer in connection with the incident."

Litigation to watch
A Texas prisoner's family has sued after his suicide, alleging that TDCJ didn't provide him with needed medications.

Good riddance
Read a post mortem on the Abel Reyna campaign.


Anonymous said...

Youthful Offender Program - slight mixup due to slight homophones: the juveniles were removed from the Brazoria-based Clemens Unit and moved to Huntsville. This facility was named for the 1890 chairperson of the Texas Prison Board William C. Clemens. The Amarillo-based Clements Unit, named for Governor of Texas William P. Clements, has never housed that population (it is in the top 10 of high rates of inmate-on-inmate sexual victimization every time BJA puts out that survey).

DLW said...

This may not be the correct process, "Waco has even sent detectives to indigent defendants’ houses to verify they were poor enough to ask for a court-appointed lawyer,"
but certainly SOME steps should be taken to verify indigency before a person gets a taxpayer supported Lawyer.

TriggerMortis said...

Maine's top drug prosecutor was caught with child porn a few years back and he divorced his wife signing all assets over to her so that he could have a top-notch criminal attorney appointed. Where there's a will....

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Thanks 11:38, fixed it in the post.