Friday, March 30, 2018

March Reasonably Suspicious Podcast: Primary election wrap-up, pushing #cjreform in state party platforms, unconstitutional legal fees, Harris County bail suit update, a stunning judicial power play, and more

Sliding in under the wire at the end of the month, check out the March 2018 episode of Just Liberty's Reasonably Suspicious podcast, covering Texas criminal justice politics and policy. Subscribe on iTunes, GooglePlay, or SoundCloud, or listen to the podcast here:

Here's what my co-host Mandy Marzullo and I talked about this month:

Top Stories
Primary election roundup
  • Recapping Texas contested Texas DA and Court of Criminal Appeals races
  • Comparing "progressive" DA candidates in Dallas and elsewhere to Philadelphia's Larry Krasner
  • Update on Just Liberty's campaign to include criminal-justice reform in both Texas state party platforms. Includes Just Liberty's catchy jingle done by some of the same amazing musicians who performed our original podcast music.
Check in on Texas pretrial reform litigation
  • Harris County bail litigation: Interview with Susanne Pringle, executive director of the Texas Fair Defense Project, regarding the 5th Circuit's ruling in the Harris County bail litigation in which her group is one of the plaintiffs.
  • Travis County plea mill challenged: Local attorneys file a demand letter challenging misdemeanor dockets where lawyers must negotiate plea bargains almost immediately after receiving the file and meeting their clients for the first time.
The Last Hurrah
Find a transcript of the podcast below the jump.

Transcript: Reasonably Suspicious podcast, March 2018, hosted by Scott Henson and Amanda Marzullo.

Mandy Marzullo: Hi, I'm Amanda Marzullo. Police and EMS responded recently after a Lufkin man accidentally shot himself in the buttocks. So Scott, what explains this guy's poor aim?

Scott Henson: For the hundredth time, I have no explanation and I apologize in advance for doing this show standing up.

Mandy Marzullo: Well, I appreciate the explanation and the apology, but that's not responsive to my question.

Scott Henson: Okay, fair enough. Now, it actually is a funny story. This guy was putting a loaded handgun, for personal safety reasons, of course, in between his box springs and mattress.

Mandy Marzullo: As one does.

Scott Henson: As one does, yes, and it turned out the box springs were a little on the old side, a spring punched through, hit the trigger of the gun and shot off part of his ass. So, really a classic Texas tale in many ways.

Mandy Marzullo: Oh God, that was a bad pun, Scott.

Scott Henson: Well, hello boys and girls, and welcome the March 2018 of the Reasonably Suspicious podcast covering Texas criminal justice, politics, and policy. I'm Scott Henson, Policy Director at Just Liberty, here today with our good friend, Amanda Marzullo, whose day job is Executive Director at the Texas Defender Service. Mandy, what are you looking forward to on the podcast today?

Mandy Marzullo: Talking about the recent primary results.

Scott Henson: Me too. First up though, an appellate court overturned a sex offender conviction because Tarrant County trial court Judge George Gallagher ordered him electrocuted three times with a stun belt outside the presence of the jury. The Eighth Court of Appeals order [found] Gallagher shocked the defendant "not for legitimate security purposes, but solely as a show of the court's power" as the defendant asked the court to stop "torturing" him. Complaints have been filed against the judge with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct as a result. So Mandy, what do you think of this shocking judicial development and what should happen here?

Mandy Marzullo: You just can't stop today, can you?

Scott Henson: I can't stop.

Mandy Marzullo: Okay. Well, I hope that this issue gets a serious inquiry in terms of what should happen next. What is sort of sad about this or particularly sad about this incident is that it's not as rare as I think many people think. I wouldn't say it's a pervasive practice amongst judges, but it's certainly not an isolated one. We've seen it in other courts.

Mandy Marzullo: A little over a year ago there was a case out of Smith County where a defendant was sentenced to death after representing himself and the trial court did shock him there. It wasn't in the presence of the jury, but the jury was in the hallway and could hear it. So I think this is a practice that may require further examination.

Scott Henson: The stun belts are a really odd device anyway when you think about it. That's an odd thing to think that you have to do. If you're that afraid that someone is going to attack you, then cuff them. Supposedly the reasoning is that you can't see it underneath the table or whatever, but it's an odd practice to begin with.

Mandy Marzullo: Yeah. The bailiffs are nearby. It's hard to imagine the circumstances under which the judges or anyone in the courtroom is really in danger.

Scott Henson: Right. The Tarrant County district attorney in their brief to the court of appeals had suggested that there was a 200 pound "Smart Board," I'm not sure what that was, but some piece of computer equipment, that was five to seven feet away and the defendant could have picked it up and threatened lawyers with it, but it was all so unlikely and weird they would even propose that and obviously the court didn't think that was a reasonable interpretation and didn't side with that. Strange case.

Mandy Marzullo: Yes. Next up the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that portions of the consolidated court cost related to law enforcement officers' standards and education comprehensive rehabilitation and the abused children's counseling fund were all facially unconstitutional and it could no longer be collected. The ruling adds another notch to the gun belt of former GOP CCA candidate Jani Maselli Wood an attorney at the Harris County Public Defender Office who has been challenging unconstitutional fees, which are used of course as revenue generators. So Scott, what are the implications of eliminating these fees?

Scott Henson: Well, there's implications on a couple of different levels actually. For starters, just at the level of the fees themselves, once they go away those programs become unfunded, whether it's the rehabilitation, whether it's abused children's counseling. This is how we fund those programs and legislature has not created alternative funding streams yet.

Scott Henson: That will be something they're going to have to come back and revisit in 2019 if not before. The bigger picture of this is also that we in Texas have not really raised taxes significantly on any level for many decades now. We have chosen to instead fund government through fees and fines and surcharges and court costs and everything under the sun to avoid having to raise taxes. Well, in doing so it turns out the state has engaged in over-reach and has actually in this case assigned court costs that are unconstitutional, that they had no authority to assess, where they reached further and are using some of these for just general revenue funding really instead of it being [used] to fund specific programs that they're citing. So the courts are now saying no, you can't do that. You can't collect those fees if you're not using them for criminal justice purposes. This has implications going forward in a state where we're not really willing to pay for things through taxes.

Next up, let's update our coverage of District Attorney and Court of Criminal Appeals races in the March 6th primaries.

Mandy Marzullo: Texas' primary elections were held on March 6th. Six of the 12 elected district attorneys facing challengers were defeated. Of particular note, voters asked DA's Nico LaHood in San Antonia, Abel Reyna in Waco and Steve Tyler in Victoria based on campaigns against prosecutorial over-reach. In Dallas, Judge John Creuzot won a tight democratic primary against a candidate backed by national level progressive reformers.

Mandy Marzullo: Meanwhile, presiding Judge Sharon Keller narrowly won re-election to the Court of Criminal Appeals with just 52% of the vote. In a race to replace Elsa Alcala who is retiring, GOP voters selected Judge Michelle Slaughter of Galveston, a civil lawyer with backing from the pro-life end guns wing of the GOP base who defeated two criminal justice veterans with decades of experience. The Texas Tribune reported that she was "the only one of the three without a criminal appellate background having worked in civil law before becoming a judge." So Scott, which of these primary races stood out to you and what should we take from this round of elections?

Scott Henson: Well, I guess as far as standing out, the ones that I enjoyed the most were Abel Renya and Nico LaHood going down. I thought both of those were pretty well deserved. Abel Renya in Waco in particular really had just kind of made that county a laughingstock over the whole Twin Peaks biker shooting case. They will be paying for the aftermath of that case for years and years to come in civil suits and really just the chaos it's created in the court system there is almost unprecedented.

Scott Henson: Nico LaHood of course had alienated just about everybody he could think of before the voters finally ousted him. Then also I guess it's just impressive overall that there were 12 DAs statewide that had contested primaries, six of them overall lost, so we are in a period where those are not just safe incumbent seats automatically. People are losing those and we saw several people taken down this time that I think wouldn't necessarily have been expected just a year or two ago. People thought Abel Renya was pretty safe until all the Twin Peaks stuff just utterly devolved and all of a sudden he's gone.

Mandy Marzullo: Yeah. Well, in fairness the Twin Peaks case is a big deal. It wasn't just a small issue here and there. We're talking about dozens and dozens of people being incarcerated and no convictions two or three years later.

Scott Henson: That's right. That's right. He basically just screwed that case up in every way you possibly could and now they're all falling apart. He can't get the attorney general to take them. No one really knows how this is going to all play out because nothing quite this stupid has ever been done before.

Mandy Marzullo: On this magnitude.

Scott Henson: That's right.

Mandy Marzullo: This is a little bit of a deal. We're not talking about a small thing. We're talking about hundreds of people being rounded up.

Scott Henson: That's right.

Mandy Marzullo: In terms of races that I am looking at, I am particularly interested to see what will become of Michelle Slaughter because she really is an unknown entity. There's no history for us to go off of. It's hard to know where she'll be. We were talking about it earlier and I think you're right Scott that given her endorsements and her sort of political leanings, it could be that she is moderate on criminal justice issues.

Scott Henson: Right. A lot of Tea Party type folks are. It's really hard to say. It is disappointing, I guess, that it seems to be really hard for qualified candidates to get through the GOP primaries in these open races. We had the same situation in 2016 where the folks who on their face had overwhelmingly the best qualifications, the two candidates couldn't even make the run-off in the race to replace Cathy Cochran.

Scott Henson: Here now the one civil attorney defeating these two men with decades and decades of experience, I happen to prefer Jay Brandon over Dib Waldrip in that primary, but either man actually is eminently qualified for the spot. GOP voters don't seem to care about that. That doesn't mean Michelle Slaughter won't be a good judge. Nobody really knew who Scott Walker was when he was elected. He didn't even really run a campaign. He was elected because voters thought that he had, he had the same name as the very popular governor of Wisconsin, and so they pulled the lever for him. He turned out to be a fine judge and so that doesn't mean that Michelle Slaughter is not going to be a good judge once she gets on. It just means that qualifications don't mean much to GOP primary voters in these judicial races. They just don't. This is two primary cycles in a row that we've seen that to be the case.

Scott Henson: The Democratic primary for district attorney in Dallas turned into a debate over which candidate would be the more progressive prosecutor, a dynamic made even more odd by the fact that the candidates' positions on issues were essentially identical and overall quite moderate. By contrast, Philadelphia recently elected a man named Larry Krasner District Attorney, and he's launched sweeping changes in how prosecutors use their discretion which go far beyond anything undertaken by Texas so-called "progressive" prosecutors like Kim Ogg in Houston or Mark Gonzalez in Corpus Christi.

Scott Henson: Krasner issued a memo telling his assistant DAs to decline cases for low level pot possession and paraphernalia and offering plea bargains to the low end of their state sentencing guidelines as an opening offer. Just as important, Krasner directed prosecutors to describe the benefits of lower sentences on the record including how much cost savings tax payers will incur. So Mandy, do any current Texas DAs or DA candidates deserve the mantle progressive when compared to Larry Krasner? How would you describe the distinction between his approach and prosecutors in Texas?

Mandy Marzullo: All right. Well, so this is easy. No. I don't think we have a single DA in office that comes anywhere near Larry Krasner in terms of his progressive policies. It's because in Texas we see prosector tweaking their use of the prosecutorial power. They'll divert more cases. They'll not contest bail in certain circumstances, but we're not seeing anyone in Texas trying to use their authority as a prosecutor to challenge mass incarceration.

Mandy Marzullo: That's really where Larry is going with this is he's not only declining to prosecute some really I guess sort of crimes of poverty in a lot of ways, like prostitution, but he's also starting a dialogue about the utility and the public investment in incarcerating people.

Scott Henson: That's right, and he's also really furthering the dialogue that's begun in the past couple of years about prosecutor's role in mass incarceration. We've heard a lot, and this is partially why you saw so much national money put into the races and against Nico LaHood and the primary in Dallas is that there is this sense that prosecutors are central to mass incarceration so we have to start playing in that terrain.

Scott Henson: The problem has been nobody really had a model of what can a prosecutor do to reduce incarceration. Certainly none of our so-called progressive DAs in Texas or DA candidates have really even had any kind of plan to reduce mass incarceration whatsoever. It wasn't even something that they were pretending to be putting forward. There wasn't a benchmark out there to say okay, here's what could be done if someone really wanted to try.

Scott Henson: Well, now we do. I found myself wishing that this memo had come out maybe just a couple of months or three months ago so that, I know he just got in, but so that in this Dallas DA race where somehow this one candidate is more progressive than the other but they both have the same positions. Well, I would have loved to see them be asked, well, are you going to do these things? Are you going to use your discretion to offer plea bargains at lower levels and describe in detail how you're going to do that.

Scott Henson: We didn't have a framework to be even asking those questions and from now on we will. In that sense he's done a great mitzvah, that it's a great benefit just from that perspective alone moving that dial forward.

Mandy Marzullo: Finally, after the primaries Just Liberty supporters flocked to their precinct conventions to support platform planks related to criminal justice reform in both political parties. The Young Republican Federation of Texas endorsed all 16 of the proposed improvements to the party platform, including requiring a warrant to access cell phone location data, closing large youth prisons and reducing user level drug possession penalties from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Mandy Marzullo: Last Saturday, resolutions were approved at multiple senate district conventions in both parties, which make recommendations that the state conventions may approve in June. Just Liberty created a little jingle to support the campaign. Let's give it a listen. So Scott, how has Just Liberty's campaign gone so far?

Scott Henson: Considering this was sort of a new idea and most Just Liberty supporters had never participated in these processes, I thought we did pretty well. We got resolutions passed in five republican senate districts and 15 democratic senate districts and most of the democratic districts actually passed all 16 of the resolutions we proposed. The counties that passed the most on the Republican side were in Williamson and Tarrant where we had resolutions on cell phone privacy, on the driver responsibility program, on the militarization of police, on civil penalties for marijuana, on raise the age and closing youth prisons all passed in many of these counties.

Scott Henson: So this was a big success. It was the first time we'd ever tried such a thing and now it's onto the state party conventions in June and we'll see how many of them we can get into the final party platforms.

Mandy Marzullo: Congratulations. I'm looking forward to watching what happens.

Scott Henson: Thank you. It's been fun.

Mandy Marzullo: In February the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a ruling which upheld Judge Lee Rosenthal's finding that Harris County's bail and pretrial detention practices were unconstitutional. They also upheld most of the remedies Judge Rosenthal had required with one major exception. The court increased the amount of time defendants can be held without setting bond from 24 to 48 hours under Judge Rosenthal's ruling.

Mandy Marzullo: Scott caught up recently with Susanne Pringle from the Texas Fair Defense Project, which initiated the Harris County lawsuit along with civil rights court in Susman Godfrey, a private Houston-based firm. Before Scott and I discuss the case, let's listen to what she has to say.

Scott Henson: All right Susanne, tell us what happened in the litigation. Who won? Who lost and describe the outcome for us.

Susanne Pringle: At this point the Fifth Circuit recently largely upheld the district court ruling, which was that the Harris County bail system as it stood was unconstitutional. The Fifth Circuit did say that they wanted the district court to issue an injunction that allows for 48 hours before release as opposed to 24 hours and that the injunction was perhaps wider than it should have been.

Susanne Pringle: At this point the injunction is still in place until the district court can issue a revised injunction. In the meantime, both sides have filed motions for rehearing. The plaintiff's on a very minor issue, which is that the other loss is that the Fifth Circuit did dismiss the sheriff, the Harris County Sheriff as a defendant. Now the Harris County Sheriff had actually not appealed the lower court's ruling and so was not actually at issue in the case, but while all of that is going on and while the 5th Circuit is deciding what they're going to do, the injunction that the district court issued is still in place.

Scott Henson: What is Harris County doing on the ground now in reaction to this?

Susanne Pringle: Since July of last year there have been lawyers at every bail hearing. They are doing individualized hearings in Harris County and if they are unable to get someone in front of a magistrate for a hearing, they have to release them within 24 hours. That is not true for a few types of cases like domestic violence cases or other situations where it may be appropriate to hold someone for longer, but they're releasing people on bonds that they can afford. They're actually asking, magistrates are actually asking questions about what a defendant can afford and they're actually reviewing what the lawyer tells them about what someone can afford.

Scott Henson: So Harris is not the only county in Texas that is holding people on bail when they can't afford it. In Dallas there's litigation that's begun sort of similar on a parallel track, but then there's 252 other counties where nothing's necessarily going on. What does this mean for the rest of the state? What are you seeing in some of those other counties? How are people reacting to this? If this is going to change how bail is done in Texas, sort of describe how that's going to occur.

Susanne Pringle: What this means for all the other counties is that business as usual is no longer true. They can no longer continue to hold people on bail based on a bond schedule without an individualized hearing and without considering what the defendant can actually pay and whether or not they're actually a risk to not appear or a risk for public safety. What we are seeing in counties across the state, there are counties like Nueces County which is putting in place risk assessment tools and really making an effort to release everybody that can be released on personal bond or on low cost bonds.

Susanne Pringle: Bexar County recently rejected their bond schedule and no longer uses a bond schedule, which leaves room for more individualized determinations. I think you're going to see more counties putting lawyers at bail hearings when they can find the money to pay for that. That is a way to make sure that folks are going to be heard when defendants appear in front of a magistrate at a bail hearing.

Susanne Pringle: So you're going to see more people, pardon, more counties are going to use risk assessment tools. At this point the Office of Court Administration has automated a risk assessment tool and they are beta testing it with counties, so soon that will be available to counties across the state. I know that the Office of Court Administration has heard from lots of counties that they want to use a risk assessment tool and they want to shift towards a risk-based release model rather than a money-based detention system.

Scott Henson: That's great. Well, thank you so much.

Susanne Pringle: Thank you.

Scott Henson: So what strikes me as, one big takeaway from this is how much time did the Harris County judiciary waste in fighting this case. They spent more than 5 million dollars ...

Mandy Marzullo: I know.

Scott Henson: ... fighting this and they just lost really almost completely across the board. The only thing they won pushing it back to 48 from 24 was really a very minor victory. If you told them that was all they'd get for their 5 million no one would have done it. So those judges engaged in so much hubris throughout this. They wasted so much tax payers' money. It turns out that they were misleading the court about how they were setting these bonds.

Scott Henson: They had insisted to the court that they had no involvement in those magistrate decisions and then when the magistrates faced complaints at the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, they turned around and said, "No, we were ordered by these judges." and gave proof, written proof that these judges had actually ordered them to use these bail schedules, completely contrary to what they had told the federal court before. So they have basically gotten themselves in trouble maybe even with the State Commission and certainly they got their magistrates in trouble. They have wasted 5 million dollars. They're still having to implement all the changes. Why did we have this fight? What did they hope to gain? It's such a waste and this all should have been resolved a couple of years ago.

Mandy Marzullo: Yeah. No, it's unfortunate.

Scott Henson: Finally, two local attorneys have sent a demand letter to six Travis County courted law judges who oversee misdemeanor courts over their so-called jail reduction docket for misdemeanor cases. At these hearings defendants would be herded in en mass and attorneys would meet their indigent clients for the first time in the courtroom dressed in orange, sitting next to other inmates on a bench. There they discuss the case for a very short period of time and then more often than not, plea the client to time served.

Scott Henson: Twenty years ago when I first witnessed this practice in Travis County they called it the rocket docket, but apparently that's no longer considered politically correct and we may now get to find out whether it's legally correct. So Mandy, why is this case important and what are its prospects?

Mandy Marzullo: Well, I think we're missing a lot of key information here about Travis County's policy surrounding indigent defense and access to counsel. The issue really is that this is a plea mill, that defendants are being sort of corralled it seems into a courtroom and meeting with their attorneys for the first time and not really getting meaningful advice about their case, right? Because the lawyer hasn't had time to review anything regarding the case.

Scott Henson: No way to investigate, really nothing you can do.

Mandy Marzullo: No, nothing. So in other jurisdictions, like in Tarrant County a lawyer is appointed well in advance of these sort of jail calls where they're handed the discovery, they're appointed, they're required to review those documents so that when they come into the room at the jail docket they can give meaningful advice to their client. I'm not sure why that isn't happening in Travis County, but that's what you'd like to see because in theory it probably does make sense to have someone who is being held without a conviction to have some sort of judicial review of their case quickly after their arrest.

Scott Henson: Right. Well, my feeling, frankly, has always been that the reason they do it is to maximize pressure on the defendant to plea. I think that when you hand the lawyer the file, literally the court clerk hands them the file and then they turn around and meet the defendant the first time, that ...

Mandy Marzullo: They have few options. Yeah.

Scott Henson: They have very few options. I think that's actually my opinion is that's probably the point. That always seemed like it was the point. They called it the rocket docket for a reason. They wanted to plea them, boom, boom, boom. That's what they get. The idea that somehow they intended something different always seemed very spurious to me. They intended what they're doing. That's why they're doing it.

Mandy Marzullo: Probably. The other thing is that people probably mean a lot of different things all at the same time, right? I'm the optimist between the two of us, so I'm not sure I'm going to assign that type of malign intent, but it's definitely the outcome, right? Regardless of what they're meaning the poor defendants in this situation have very few options and they clearly aren't getting meaningful representation.

Scott Henson: That's right. I guess it's just because it's been going on a quarter century, to my knowledge, that at some point what their intent is to me doesn't matter anymore. At some point whether or not you intend to deprive people of their rights after you've just been doing it for year after year after year, what do I really care what your intent is anymore? What does anyone care? Why don't you just shut up and do what you're supposed to do?

Mandy Marzullo: That's the thing though, I think for them they don't have context. The people that work for the court administration, the probably have no idea. In many ways they're probably blind to it because injustice like this becomes normalized.

Scott Henson: That's right, but there's a judge sitting there too. It's not just the court bureaucrats.

Mandy Marzullo: Them too. They are the ultimate court bureaucrats.

Scott Henson: Right. Well, I guess that's true but I guess we can pretend that everybody had good intent and wanted nothing but rainbows and unicorns and snowflakes for everyone.

Mandy Marzullo: I'm not saying that we all need to hold hands.

Scott Henson: Kumbaya baby. But I guess when it's just happened for this long ...

Mandy Marzullo: I know.

Scott Henson: ... it's just hard for me really to accept that anymore. You're right, we don't know a lot about the litigation, and it's really just a demand letter, not real litigation, but ...

Mandy Marzullo: It's hard to know what the right remedy is, right? Is it that there are some perverse incentives in how lawyers are being paid? Are they not being paid for their time? Are they not being assigned to these cases quickly enough? Are defendants having access to applications for appointed counsel at their magistrate hearings? There are a lot of different moving parts in a criminal case and it's hard to know, really point to what's causing this right now.

Scott Henson: Now it's time for our rapid fire segment we call The Last Hurrah. Mandy, are you ready?

Mandy Marzullo: Ready. So I'm up first. The ACLU called for Harris County District Judge Michael McSpadden's ouster after he alleged that poor defendants sat too long in jail pretrial because they were listening to advice from Black Lives Matter. So Scott, is that where they're getting their bad advice?

Scott Henson: Not at all. In fact, ironically they're probably getting most of their bad advice from Michael McSpadden is really the truth because we just talked about it in one of our earlier segments, how [for years defendants weren't]* even getting attorneys at their bail hearing, so it's just a magistrate judge and the prosecutor there, so no, it's not Black Lives Matter that's the problem. It's Michael McSpadden and the judges that are keeping these folks in jail pretrial for lack of money.

Scott Henson: For decades Tarrant County built municipalities for inmates before they were formally charged resulting in most defendants being held in unregulated city jails. The new sheriff will now take inmates point of arrest free of charge. This happens in all of Texas' other 253 counties. Mandy, how should those municipalities feel about this?

Mandy Marzullo: So, I think the municipalities should feel gipped that they've been paying I don't know how much, but a substantial sum.

Scott Henson: For 30 years.

Mandy Marzullo: For 30 years unnecessarily, but I think more importantly the problem is this is a tax payer's issue and you're robbing from Peter to pay Paul to warehouse people again in a pretrial setting.

Scott Henson: It has them kept in unregulated jails too. They're not subject to state regulation.

Mandy Marzullo: Finally, Johnnie Lindsay, one of the early Dallas DNA exonerees who fought for innocence reforms in Austin after he left prison recently passed away. Scott, how will you remember him?

Scott Henson: Johnnie Lindsay was one of the kindest most gentle people I have ever met. He was one of the DNA exonerees who didn't forget the people who came after him and was down here in Austin every single time there was ever an opportunity to tell his story and try and convince the legislature to enact reforms. He continued this right up until his health wouldn't allow him to any longer. He was a real hero and an amazing figure. He'll definitely be missed.

All right, we're out of time but we'll try and do better the next time. Until then, I'm Scott Henson with Just Liberty.

Mandy Marzullo: And I'm Amanda Marzullo with the Texas Defender Service. Goodbye and thanks for listening.

Scott Henson: You can subscribe to the Reasonably Suspicious podcast on iTunes, Google Play or Sound Cloud. We'll be back next month with more and hopefully better news. Until then, keep fighting for criminal justice reform. It's the only way it's going to happen.

*In the podcast, Scott mistakenly said defendants currently do not have attorneys at Harris County bail hearings. As of last July, as a result of Judge Rosenthal's order, they do. What he meant to say was that, as the longest serving district judge in Harris County, defendants for nearly all of McSpadden's tenure were not advised by attorneys at bail hearings. He regrets the error, it has been corrected in the transcript, and we'll also correct it in the April podcast.

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