Last month, Texas' prison population was right at 154,000, the lowest its been in five years. Lower crime rates, an aging population, and alternative treatments have all contributed to the decline. But as the Star-Telegram noted yesterday, the drop hasn't been enough to spare Texas the dubious dist ... More >>
Each year, a handful of Dallas county teenagers accused of crimes are "certified," meaning they're being charged as adults and will appear in adult criminal court. While they await trial, they sit in Dallas county jail. We've learned that while in jail, these teens are kept in their cells for 23 hou ... More >>
Updated to include an additional interview. A Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial published this weekend concludes that Tarrant County has not exonerated nearly as many innocent prisoners as Dallas County simply because it did not wrongfully incarcerate them in the first place. This black-and-white ... More >>
Texas has executed five people so far this year, all using the same procedure. First, a barbiturate, pentobarbital, is administered to induce unconsciousness. Then a dose of pancuronium bromide paralyzes every muscle in the body. Finally, a dose of potassium chloride stops the heart. That wil ... More >>
On Tuesday, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced it would use a single drug -- pentobarbital, a barbiturate -- to carry out executions due to a shortage of one component in a three-drug cocktail. Overseas manufacturers of pancuronium bromide, a powerful paralytic, have halted shipment ... More >>
On the trail for justice with Texas' exonerees.
The 2004 summer night when David Cunniff took his two teen daughters to an Old 97's show at the Gypsy Tea Room rattled Deep Ellum to the core. How it all went down depends who you ask, but the end result left Cuniff bloodied and beaten to the point that friends and family questioned whether he would ... More >>
There was some good news in the crime statistics presented to the City Council's Public Safety Committee a few moments ago. Burglaries, the bane of the Dallas Police Department in recent years, are down by double-digits thanks to ongoing efforts to shut down fencing operations through which thieves ... More >>
Meet the average modern Texas prisoner, released in 2009. He spent 2.8 years behind bars -- 32 percent more time than his average prisoner predecessor released in 1990. If he was busted for a violent crime, he spent 5.3 years locked up, a 44 percent increase from his predecessor in 1990. You've spen ... More >>
As most people who follow the news know by now, since Craig Watkins became Dallas County district attorney in 2007, 33 local men have been exonerated of crimes they didn't commit. But what does this number mean in the context of the rest of the nation, and what are the common issues that lead to wro ... More >>
Rick Halperin, head of SMU's human rights program, has been saying for years what became nationally recognized this week: "Yes, America, We Have Executed an Innocent Man," to borrow a headline from the Atlantic. Halperin has spent his career doing the academic equivalent of banging his head against ... More >>
There are 11 candidates in the crowded Democratic primary for the new congressional district spanning from Oak Cliff to Fort Worth, but the race is quickly sinking into a political pissing match involving just two as the May 29 primary approaches. Marc Veasey, a state representative from Fort Wort ... More >>
An exhaustive new study has found alarming conditions for Texas teenagers housed in adult jails while awaiting trial, a practice that Dallas and Harris counties use more than anywhere else in the state. In essence, the study found that there's really no good way to keep teens and adults safely in ... More >>
The Dallas Police Department is continuing to explain away -- and maybe overcompensate for -- their initial silence concerning the armed robberies on the Katy Trail and the dozen-or-so incidents police believe they're linked to.A pair of press releases from police hit the inbox yesterday evening, on ... More >>
It was back in January when we first introduced you to young Anthony Blue, a 19-year-old man trying to make a go in the bank-robbing field. He was off to a decent start, actually: In June of last year, he had walked into a Garland bank and slipped the teller a note -- "50's 100's and no body gets hu ... More >>
The number of convicts being freed after serving prison time for crimes they didn't commit keeps mounting in Dallas County, with Friday bringing a rare triple exoneration for three men wrongly accused of robbery. On November 17, 1994, five teenagers roamed the parking lot near the Eckerd drugstore ... More >>
Before this morning, we had never heard of Reynolds Protection, a Dallas purveyor of bodyguards, or its owner, Chad Reynolds, who judging from his bio photo is roughly the size of a refrigerator. A very bald, imposing refrigerator. But this morning Reynolds Protection sent around a press release ann ... More >>
Thirteen years and a hundred school shootings later, why is Hollywood still obsessed with this one?
Is Texas still racist enough to warrant hand-holding by the federal government? That's the essence of where the voter ID debate stands now and where it's headed. Though it may seem like a straightforward question, and one that many politicos have reduced to a "yes" or "no" sound bite, the issue is a ... More >>
Scanning the city's inscrutable bids website this morning in the hopes of finding that not-there-yet Dallas Farmers Market RFP, I came across this instead: a 102-page request for proposals from the Dallas Police Department, which is looking to significantly step up its arsenal of video surveillan ... More >>
It's been 11 years since George Rivas lead the Texas Seven in their escape from prison and shooting of a police officer, and the hour of his death is fast-approaching. At around 6 p.m, the State of Texas will end his life by lethal injection. Rivas confessed that he was the ringleader of the group ... More >>
Via.Anthony Graves, exonerated from death row in 2010As "the death chaplain" at Huntsville prison, Reverend Carroll Pickett has counseled 95 prisoners, one at a time, on the day the state has scheduled to end their life. Death by lethal injection, the chaplain found, is not a quiet exit. It's ... More >>
Google the phrase "SponsorMonsters," and the first thing that pops up is an item from the Mothers Against Drunk Driving website touting the John Carpenter Freeway-based organization's partnership with it. As in: "For 2011, Sponsor Monsters donated their lead sponsorship position to MADD and will ... More >>
That photo you see at right comes from the F.B.I.'s Bandit Tracker website, which we've perused in the past. It was snapped June 14 of last year at a State Bank of Texas branch in Garland, off IH-30. The bandit in question: 19-year-old Anthony Blue of Garland. Which we now know thanks to Anthony' ... More >>
Seems like only three weeks ago Sam Hurd was just another former wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys who was on his road to journeyman status, which, in his case, ran through Soldier Field. Then it was revealed: Even before his acquisition by the Chicago Bears, the San Antonio native fancied him ... More >>
Teresa Hawthorne, the Dallas County judge who ruled that the state's death penalty statute was unconstitutional, must recuse herself from a capital murder case, a judge ruled today. Hawthorne was presiding over the capital murder trial of Roderick Harris, who's accused of killing brothers Alfredo ... More >>
If your New Year's weekend plans include a destination in Tarrant County and you have a nasty and terribly irresponsible habit of driving drunk, your boozebaggery and bad decisions can make you famous -- which is to say, infamous. The Tarrant County District Attorey's Office will publish the names o ... More >>
Freeing the wrongfully convicted through science was the easy part. Now what?
Via....not seeing a whole lot of action.In the death penalty debate, Texas has a long-standing reputation for abiding by one guiding principal: an eye for an eye. But the state has increasingly chosen to holster its lethal-injection needles in recent years, with death-penalty sentences decrea ... More >>
No doubt you've seen the signs like the one at right; they've been around since 2004. The Dallas Police Department was among the first in the country to launch the Auto Theft Tracking Program, which involves putting monitoring devices in bait cars that the DPD can track and control after they've ... More >>
Dozens of teenage Explorers have been sexually assaulted by the cops they hoped to emulate.
Just a couple of weeks back some Brits asked Dallas County for the okee-doke to film a 3D programme in the county jail for a couple of days, to which the commissioners courts said: Sure, fine. But the request going before Dallas County higher-ups today is much, much bigger -- as in, 120 days' wor ... More >>
Richard HernandezHis family, defense attorneys -- even the bailiffs and the transport drivers -- noticed something was different about Seth Winder, who is standing trial in a Denton County court for allegedly murdering his 38-year-old lover Richard Hernandez in 2008, dismembering his body and ... More >>
The U.S. Attorney's Office sends word that a man named Ennis Harris Jackson will be going to federal prison for more than 17 years for his role in holding up a Loomis armored truck in May 2010 outside a Mesquite Bank of America branch. Jackson was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Barbar ... More >>
Stealing from the rich to ... oh, whatever. Funny is the message.
The council-approved mapCity Hall just sent word: At long last the city has submitted to the Department of Justice the new council districts map approved by the council on October 5. But that is hardly the entirety of the package sent to the DoJ yesterday: If you click here you'll find the massiv ... More >>
Photo by Leslie MinoraFive innocent men who were nearly put to death for others' crimes.Imagine spending five years in a Nebraska prison for having brutally murdered a teenage honor student but knowing that the real killer is at large. Or rolling over in the middle of the night to put your ar ... More >>
When last we checked in on the nearly 8-year-old (!) case involving those Plano ISD students (and their parents, more to the point) suing the district over those "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" pencils and candy canes they weren't allowed to distribute during winter-break parties, one of the ... More >>
Stories linking Los Zetas -- a drug cartel consisting of, among others, former Mexican Army commandos -- with North Texas have been around for years. Take this story, from three years ago, connecting a Collin County deputy constable with a cousin said to be working for the cartel. In March, The N ... More >>
Vigo says this show should've been his.In a Dallas federal courthouse on Tuesday, a civil lawsuit was filed against Dallas-based concert promoter Gabe Reed, accusing Reed and his company, Gabe Reed Productions, of fraud, breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation as pertains to a handful ... More >>
The Lubbock lawyer teamed up with Innocent Project lawyer Jeff Blackburn to see the state compensation for exonerees raised. Now both men are under fire from their clients.
The family of a dead teenage girl might disagree, even if the justice system didn't.
Actually, it was just one Picasso -- along with "real estate, boats and other personal water craft, luxury vehicles, artwork, furniture, antiques, musical instruments, jade, expensive jewelry and wine." Still. That's not how Tony Rand and his boys Greg and Bill were supposed to be spending more t ... More >>
No doubt you, the well-informed and engaged Friend of Unfair Park, are well aware that Dallas County's missing around, oh, $35 million that some bail bondsmen somehow forget to turn over to the county when their clients fail to show up for court. The Dallas Morning News had the story over the wee ... More >>
The finger-pointing game has begun in the wake of this year's Electric Daisy Carnival. Although any legal repercussions in regards to the festival that took place this weekend have yet to be determined, we're keeping our eye on the whole thing -- mostly because, let's face it, music and leg ... More >>
A couple of weeks back Texas Appleseed and ACLU of Texas reps were down in Austin asking why oh why do state school districts feel the need to write class C misdemeanor tickets to students, some as young as 6, in the case of the Dallas Independent School District back in '06-'07. John Whitmire's ... More >>
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Susan CombsOn the other side is the full release sent by the Texas Comptroller's office in which Susan Combs reveals that personal info belonging to millions of Texans was "inadvertently disclosed" on a server easily accessed by ... well, anyone, really. Among ... More >>
A couple of weeks back, Sam mentioned that Billy MacLeod, who's running for the District 2 city council seat against incumbent Pauline Medrano, has a few problems with the coming elections. Chief among them: Votes will be cast at Esperanza "Hope" Medrano Elementary School -- which so happens to b ... More >>