Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Kardashian-West star power attracts Texas Rs, the scourge of driver-license suspensions, 2 false conviction stories, and the future of corrections

Here are a few browser-clearing odds and ends that may interest Grits readers:

Kardashian-West star-power attracts Texas Rs
Caption this photo in the comments!
Via ABC-13 Houston
Even understanding that, after 2016, politics and reality television have almost completely merged, the marvelous development of Texas Governor Greg Abbott praising Kanye West as a visionary, while Lt. Gov Dan Patrick sits with Kim Kardashian on the front row at Joel Osteen's church to hear her husband perform, simply blows the mind.

Kardashian was in Texas to visit Rodney Reed on Death Row, while her husband performed at the Harris County Jail in addition to Osteen's megachurch. Just ... Wow!

On the scourge of excessive driver-license suspensions
Check out an excellent article in the Victoria Advocate by Kali Venable documenting the hardships created by unwarranted driver-license revocations, a situation helped but not resolved by the abolition of the Driver Responsibility surcharge.

New exoneration based on faulty eyewitness ID
Now that most of the old pre-DNA cases are gone, innocence cases based on faulty eyewitness identifications are often more difficult to prove. Not this one! Here's an eyewitness ID case out of Houston in which the defendant Adrienne August was exonerated because he was being pulled over at a traffic stop at the moment prosecutors had alleged he was committing burglary. What amazing luck! If he'd been home with his mama, they'd never have accepted that alibi. But it's hard to argue this one. August was convicted in 2017 and serving a 20-year sentence when he was exonerated.

Common thread of false convictions in Williamson County: Prosecutors failed to disclose exculpatory evidence
At the Austin Statesman, Tony Plohetski has the story of a false conviction in which prosecutors at the Williamson County District Attorneys office, including Paul Womack, who went on to serve on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, allegedly failed to disclose to the defense that the victim had recanted in a child molestation case. This is the same county in which Michael Morton was convicted. Perhaps no county in Texas would benefit more from creating an aggressive conviction integrity unity aimed at reviewing cases from the Ken-Anderson and John-Bradley eras.

Opposition to #cjreform a 'sad last gasp'?
The New York Times described opposition to #cjreform by police unions and prosecutors in New York as a "sad last gasp." In Texas, those special interests still have more wind, but there's little doubt the tide of public opinion is turning against tuff-on-crime messaging, IMO as much or more here as in New York.

'Improving parole release in America'
Just printed out this short article on parole to add to the reading pile.

The future of corrections
How did I not know that, in the Star Trek universe, New Zealand had been transformed into a prison colony?


Gadfly said...

Photo caption:

Danny Goeb, thinking to himself: "I am SOOOO depressed that I am in public, and so can't reach my hand over and make a grab."

Anonymous said...

"Princess and the Frog"

But some kind of poisonous frog that secretes something so foul that you vomit after kissing it. Once it becomes human, post-kiss, its venom magically transforms into a toxic political agenda.