Friday, August 23, 2019

Roundup: Debtors prison practices, a hempsplainer, why the Harris DA opposes bail reform, and other stories

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

Debtors Prison Blues
Texas was one of five over-represented states in this Governing magazine feature story on municipalities that get more than 10% of their budgets from traffic fines. Great piece; reminded me of this Marshall Project story. In Texas, the agencies most reliant on traffic fines are primarily in East Texas, and up and down I-35. Long-time readers may recall Grits wrote a theme song for these agencies:

District Attorney opposing Harris County bail settlement
Harris County DA Kim Ogg issued an amicus brief opposing the new bail-reform settlement agreed to by judges and the county.

On the pitfalls of state police patrolling local police beats
Texas DPS this spring began sending troopers to patrol in the Dallas city limits. But when they shot and killed somebody, it turned out they're not as accountable as local cops.

The Texas Forensic Science Commission put out an explainer document (a "hempsplainer"?) related to the new requirement that prosecutors prove the THC levels in marijuana to secure a conviction for possession. In related news: Add Amarillo to the jurisdictions where Class B marijuana cases are being dismissed.

Grappling with excessive police-union power
Check out an essay on "The Unjust Power of Police Unions."

On racial stereotyping
Grits found this interview on racial (and other) stereotyping interesting and useful.

Mitigating harm from if-it-bleeds-it-leads crime coverage

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