Monday, November 26, 2018

Prison-reform pioneer passes, bail-algorithm debate heads to Dallas, political parties want consent for auto searches documented, and other stories

With a few work items out of the way, today, it's time for a roundup post to clear Grits' browser tabs to start the week:

Ray Hill is dead; long live Ray Hill!
One of Texas' best known prison reform and LGBTQ activists, Ray Hill, founder of The Prison Show radio broadcast on KPFT, a public radio station in Houston, passed away over the holiday. Go read his obituary from the Houston Chronicle. He was an unforgettable character and a Texas justice reform pioneer. MORE: A further remembrance from Lisa Gray. AND MORE: From the Texas Observer.

Bail algorithm debate heads to Dallas
In Dallas, county reporter Julieta Chiquillo offered up a story this weekend titled, "Four things you need to know about Dallas County's plan to determine bail with algorithms." Reporters don't write their own headlines, so don't blame Ms. Chiquillo, but the first thing one needs to know is that bail in Dallas will not be determined by algorithms. No matter what the final form of this looks like, judges will continue to make the final decisions regarding who is detained and setting release conditions. See Grits' past discussions of the topic here and here.

Rs and Ds want consent for auto searches documented: Prepping for the debate
One of the #cjreform platform planks that made it into both the Republican and Democratic Texas state party platforms in 2018 was to require written or recorded consent of drivers' consent to search when police ask to search their vehicle at traffic stops. So I was interested to see this academic article by DePaul's Susan Bandes titled, "Police Accountability and the Problem of Regulating Consent Searches." Indeed, in preparation for those debates, Grits had flagged a recent article from the Texas Law Review on consent searches titled, "Ignorance and Democracy," another from the St. Johns Law Review called "A Warrant Requirement Resurgence? The Fourth Amendment and the Roberts Court," and finally, a book chapter titled "The Language of Consent in Police Encounters."

SPU Spews
Jon English, who works at the Special Prosecution Unit prosecuting crimes by inmates and staff at Texas prisons, authored a column describing his unit and what it does. Anyone interested should give it a read, it's a good window both into the job and how the people who do the job view the job.

Red-light cameras under fire
Will the Texas Supreme Court end the use of red-light cameras before the Texas Legislature does? Chuck Lindell describes the case before the TSC on the topic.

SCOTUS considers asset-forfeiture constitutionality
Reformers were already preparing asset forfeiture reform legislation in Texas, but depending on how the US Supreme Court rules, in an Indiana case pending before them, much of it may be moot. George Will, of all people, recently laid out what is at stake in the case.

Ready for a First Step
Whether the federal First Step Act passes is up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Everyone else is ready to vote.

German prison model light years from Texas, but provides vision small-ball proposals lack
Some blog readers consider Grits a radical when it comes to decarceration. And for Texas, maybe I am. But go read what prisons are like in Germany. Their government policies go far beyond anything I've ever dared advocate on this humble opuscule. Most proposals on Grits amount to suggestions for limiting bad outcomes. This article suggests what it might look like if prisons fundamentally embraced a rehabilitative, rather than a punitive mindset. What a sensible, public-safety minded approach! And yet, if you put the high points into a bill at the Texas Legislature, it'd be dead as a door nail. That's why, in Texas, #cjreformers historically have worked on small-ball decarceration and innocence measures; that's what can pass.

Burn It All Down
Off topic, but over the holiday, I found myself somewhat obsessed with a self-defined, feminist-sports podcast, Burn It All Down, whose hosts include Austin-based rock-star sportswriter Jessica Luther (who is the reporter primarily responsible for exposing alleged sexual-assaults by Baylor football players). Their premise is "the feminist sports podcast you need," and I must admit, having been unaware I needed one, they were right. Their coverage of whether toxic farts at a British darts championship gave the winner a competitive advantage was worth the price of admission. :) I've been listening to back episodes over the weekend, and subscribed going forward. I'd easily watch these gals over most of the ESPN afternoon sports-talk lineup.


Anonymous said...

German prison model. Germany imported rapist into its country and when mass rapes were committed against German women then it (the government and the leftist press) kept this information hidden and protected the rapists. Good model, I guess, if you consider masochism a good policy.

Anonymous said...

I bet you'd prefer the old "work is freedom" model they tried

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Well, 5:51, I'd take their crime rates over Texas' any day, un-supported allegations aside.

Anonymous said...

Little Elm, Texas! Red light cameras!

Anonymous said...

Those Red Light cameras are not even right and some of the towns are just plain greedy because of their mismanagement of tax payer dollars to begin with. The town of Little Elm sent me a notice for "making a right on red turn, while yielding to NO oncoming traffic. I could not believe that someone would even sign off on that, unless you just like taking advantage of tax payers. I could beat it in a court of law but I let it go. I got bigger battles to fight right now (cancer). They then turned it over to a law firm for collections, who sends out threaten letters. I would say with the combination of supper high property taxes in neighborhoods that let investors turn the house next door to you section 8 and the red light cameras, a person would be mad to move or live in Little Elm! It is for sure not military or veteran friendly! Military and veterans should look else where to live!

Anonymous said...

I got one of those tickets in Little Elm also. It was either go through the yellow light or slam on brakes and cause an accident. Funny how that works in Little Elm! I have disable veteran tags on my car and I will say this town is not veteran or military friendly at all! They are only dollar friendly.

needs you deserve said...

شركة مكافحة حشرات
شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بتبوك
شركة مكافحة حشرات بتبوك
شركة رش مبيدات بتبوك

Mike Adams said...

The above is translated as ...

Insect Control Company
Tabuk Anti-Termite Company
Pest Control Company
Pesticide Spraying Company

Sounds off topic to me.

Anonymous said...

toxic farts a competitive advantage?

This is what happens when a nation devolves into being a pop culture.

Anonymous said...

Respectfully, I'd suggest the "German Model" was based on a Germany that is currently being redefined due to the influx of masses of unemployed and unemployable young males from Third World failed states. We can discuss whether the U.S. was integral to these failures. But pointing out the objective reality of the consequent skyrocketing crime levels in Germany does not, ipso facto, make one support Nazi death camp slogans. That slur is beneath Grits, and all those who aspire to evidence-based policies.

Anonymous said...

"This article suggests what it might look like if prisons fundamentally embraced a rehabilitative, rather than a punitive mindset."

How do they plan to rehabilitate the impact of Sharia law with practices like genital mutilation and dozens of other horrible long-cherished customs? Is the aim of German immigration to allow these practices to flourish in the "no go" zones--seems that way.

Anonymous said...

Fake news

Anonymous said...

Prisons cause more problems than they solve and the top priority is TDCJ's huge budget and the several hundred thousand jobs that it provides to depressed areas, especially in east Texas. Most slow learners get the message after 2 or 3 years in prison but the bar associations know how to delude the public while prospering as a self licking ice cream cone. Thanks to sex offender and other crime penalties the US now has over a million people essentially living under bridges and they clog hospital emergency rooms that taxpayers have to fund. Instead of limiting 40 and 60 year sentences to deserving Charles Manson types men are routinely kept in prison until they qualify for nursing home level care-----I have a relative like this and he is costing Texas a real bundle; Texas is paying for it's thrills, yee hah. Most released cons have no prospects so they get creative a second, or fifth time and the courtroom two step cranks up yet again. As Texas social services gets pulled into federal programs more and more a few slowly awaken to the Texas law of AITIM---All It Takes Is Money---your money. The German model doesn't reflect the dozens of nationalities housed in US prisons. A good first step would be to deport all illegals back to their place of origin with the admonishment that the practice will continue until our southern neighbors stop turning a blind eye to fence jumpers. Maybe the practice of joyfully pointing felons towards the US will end? It's worth a try even if it means TDCJ has to close a few prisons that are already pretty well vacated. The infrastructure in my town is crumbling and I don't want to pay for housing and health care for those that shouldn't even be here. The people we send back can provide job justification for prison guards back home.