Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Robot criminals, 'overstated findings' by a crime lab analyst, bail advice that was costly to ignore, and other stories

Here are a few browser-clearing odds and ends that merit Grits readers' attention:

'Overstated findings' by DPS analyst
The Texas Forensic Science Commission dinged a DPS lab chemist for "overstated findings" in the blood-spatter case Pro Publica's Pam Colloff has been following. See her latest update here.

There oughtta be a law
Texas extended sex-offender registration requirements for thousands of people without any legal authority, the Austin Statesman's Eric Dexheimer reported. Now, some are suing, saying the state is breaching the "contract" entered into at their plea deals.

Are Texas senators nixing federal sentencing reform?
An op ed from a retired Houston cop says Texas' two US Senators, Cornyn and Cruz, "have become the face of opposition to sentencing reform, and without their support, our state began losing its leadership role on this critical issue."

Bail advice that was costly to ignore
Today, Grits ran across a 2014 report from the Texas Fair Defense Project recommending that Harris County shift to individualized bail hearings and get rid of its bail schedule. Not only did Harris County reject that advice, they spent $7 million fighting TFDP and Civil Rights Corps in court before losing and having to hold individualized hearings, anyway. They would have saved a lot of time and money if they'd just fixed the problems when advocates raised them.

Rethinking justice from 'Square One'
Via Sentencing Law and Policy, check out the Square One project encouraging the rethinking of criminal justice policy. Bruce Western argues that racial inequality and poverty underlie crime dynamics, while Arthur Rizer proposed a conservative paradigm for justice reform based on "limited government, parsimony, and liberty."

'A punishment need not leave physical scars to be cruel and unusual'
See a thoughtful critique of solitary confinement from SCOTUS Justice Sonia Sotomayor, beginning on page 15 of this pdf.

Robot criminals
For the reading list: Ying Hu, "Robot Criminals." Some of these questions arose in Grits' discussion of Houston's proposed sex-robot ban.

1 comment:

SOFAQ said...

I vote for Grits for Breakfast; for Governor of Texas. Imagine that. Is there anyone more connected and knowledgeable enough to fix injustices, in our Great State; than Grits For Breakfast? I think not. Long live Grits for Breakfast; and long live Texas.