Criminal Law

  • Blogs

    December 17, 2013

    For Those Who Drink, Drive and Kill, "Affluenza" Outcome Isn't Uncommon If They Have Money

    An affluent Keller teen who killed four people while driving drunk and stoned on Valium has become the latest object of outrage. Ethan Couch, 16 at the time of the crash, was handed 10 years of probation, which will include a stint at a pricey rehab paid for by his parents. Much of the indignation h ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 2, 2013

    Texas, Fresh Out of Pentobarbital, Begins Experimenting With Execution Drugs

    UPDATE: After this item ran, we sent a question to Texas Department of Criminal Justice public information director Jason Clark, asking him -- not to put too fine a point on it -- why Texas doesn't just switch to an alternative method of execution altogether, like the electric chair. The short answe ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 24, 2013

    The State is Moving to Shut Down a Corsicana Facility for Mentally Ill Juvenile Offenders

    This year the Texas legislature approved a measure that requires the Texas Juvenile Justice Department to cut $23 million from its budget and continue paying for five of its six secure facilities by the first day of 2014, meaning that one of those six facilities has to go. To meet those budget goals ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 16, 2013

    A New Report Calls for Texas to Adopt Dallas' Gentler Approach to Curbing Prostitution

    One evening last month, police invited reporters to an empty lot at Lancaster Road and Interstate 20, an area frequented by the sex workers who serve the long-haul truckers that pass through. The goal was to showcase Dallas' successful and innovative prostitution diversion program and to encourage t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 8, 2013

    Is the Legislature about to Make Poaching Neighbors' Wi-Fi a Felony?

    Sometimes, through a lack of foresight or general carelessness, the state legislature passes laws that, while well-intentioned, are so poorly worded as to criminalize things that the criminal justice system probably shouldn't concern itself. (See: felony penny theft). The latest example could be Se ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 25, 2013

    Report: Closure of Dallas' Dawson State Jail Could Save State $24 Million Per Year

    As Texas' prison population has declined in recent years and criminal justice advocates and fiscal conservatives alike have questioned the wisdom of locking people up for minor, non-violent drug and property offenses, Dawson State Jail has become a prime target for closure. Last month, a couple doz ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 20, 2013

    Judge Says John Wiley Price Can Fight for His Money, Throwing a Wrench in the FBI's Plans

    A new court order in the federal corruption probe into John Wiley Price tilts the case in the county commissioner's favor, maybe just a little, maybe quite a lot. We all recall that in 2011 the FBI seized $229,590 from a safe in the Dallas County Commissioner's Oak Cliff home. Today's order by fed ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 18, 2012

    System of Plea Bargains Over Trials Has Some Dicey Consequences

    In the course of reporting the recent Observer feature on wrongful convictions based on wrongdoing by prosecutors and police, an interesting tangential point surfaced multiple times. It was the reminder by several lawyers that wrongful convictions are all cases that went to trial, but that there are ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 17, 2012

    Too Many Dallas Teens are Getting Locked Up in Adult Jails, Study Says. And That Ain't Good.

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    April 30, 2012

    Dallas County Exonerates Two More Men, 30 Years After the Crime They Didn't Commit

    This morning, two men stood in the same courtroom where they were convicted of aggravated assault and sentenced to life in prison for a rape and shooting that happened almost 30 years ago. This time, both were smiling, as they were one step closer to exiting the criminal justice hell that consumed t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 12, 2011

    Craig Watkins's Legislative Wish List

    ​On the other side is a lengthy missive we just received from the Dallas County District Attorney's Office in which Craig Watkins outlines his to-do list for the new Legislative session. But you can probably guess what's top-of-the-pops with a D.A. seeking criminal system reforms: eyewitness ident ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 5, 2011

    After Exoneration, Harper's Editor on Dallas's "Reinvigorated Commitment to Do Justice"

    Andrea GrimesCornelius Dupree Jr., surrounded by friends, family and many other DNA exonerees yesterday​Harper's Washington Editor Ken Silverstein has many thoughts on the DNA exoneration of Cornelius Dupree Jr. yesterday, when a Dallas County judge acknowledged that the 51-year-old man served 30 ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 16, 2010

    The City Would Love to Get Its Hands On the Dawson State Jail. It'll Have to Keep Waiting.

    ​This morning, a reader wondered: Has the state decided if it's going to renew its contract with Corrections Corporation of America regarding operations of the Jesse R. Dawson State Jail on the Trinity River? When last we looked at the issue, the contract was set to expire January 15,  only ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 9, 2010

    Craig Watkins Won't Always Talk to the Media. But He'll Talk About the Media.

    Craig Watkins speaking at SMU on Wednesday​Speaking of Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins ...This week, SMU hosted a Media and Human Rights Symposium that featured among its guests Watkins, a few profs and even a noted Oscar-winning filmmaker. Watkins delivered his presentation on Wedne ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 30, 2009

    Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins Thinks He Did a Pretty Good Job in 2009

    Brian HarkinDallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins​It's always a good idea 'round this time of the year to make a list of accomplishments, if only to figure out what you need to get done in the coming year. So happens, of course, that Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins needs to g ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 21, 2009

    Dallas DA, DPD Reopen 1997 Murder Case, and Discover They Convicted the Wrong Men

    Dallas County District AttorneyClaude Simmons is one of two men being exonerated for a 1997 murder he did not commit.​Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins's office sends word this morning that two men convicted of murder in October 1997 -- 54-year-old Claude Alvin Simmons Jr. and 39-year- ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 18, 2009

    Craig Watkins Uses Dallas Bar Association Appearance to Make Case Against Budget Cuts

    Kimberly ThorpeDallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins, addressing the Dallas Bar Association todayDallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins certainly likes to make an entrance, which isn't hard to do when you're 6-foot-5, star of a nationally broadcast reality mini-series, a recent guest ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 17, 2008

    DA Craig Watkins Tells WSJ of His "Obligation to Seek Justice"

    Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins A couple of days back, The Wall Street Journal ran a profile of Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins - and he's "The Exonerator," proclaimed the headline to a story that, like many others written about Watkins in recent months, focuses almost ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 13, 2008

    Potter County Sheriff Clearly Didn't Learn a Thing from Dallas County

    The press release from the Texas Attorney General's Office that just arrived in my in-box had a familiar ring to it. (It's after the jump.) A Texas sheriff is accused of accepting bribes from Mid-America Services Inc. in exchange for awarding the Dallas company food and commissary contracts at the c ... More >>

  • News

    May 29, 2008
  • Blogs

    February 22, 2008
  • Blogs

    January 30, 2008
  • Blogs

    November 16, 2007
  • News

    August 9, 2007

    In and Out

    Jim Foster is a hard man to find

  • News

    August 31, 2006

    Party Poop

    With Dems likes these, who needs the GOP?

  • News

    July 13, 2006

    The Big Thaw

    Collin County's cold case squad empties its file of unsolved murders

  • Blogs

    June 6, 2006

    The Justice League

    I do not recall precisely how I landed on Scott Henson's dizzyingly thorough crime-and-punishment-in-Texas blog Grits for Breakfast yesterday; my days are full of random U-turns taken into the furthest corners of the blogdom. But I was happy to find it, not only for its cogent arguments regarding ev ... More >>

  • Music

    May 4, 2006


    Reality Check (Atlantic)

  • News

    August 14, 2003

    Science Fiction

    Why would we even think about giving this guy his own crime lab?

  • News

    February 13, 2003

    A Tale of Two Pities

    Hill felt sorry, Bolton felt nothing over fake drugs

  • News

    January 16, 2003

    Dallas' Chief Problem

    Nobody believes Terrell Bolton anymore--except his friends at Dallas City Hall

  • News

    May 30, 2002

    Open Season

    Border authorities fear a return to the law of the Wild West as Texas homeowners take up guns against illegal Mexican immigrants

  • News

    April 18, 2002

    Bill Due

    Why did the DMN kill a story about political favoritism? Guess right and win!

  • News

    September 13, 2001

    The Superpredator

    Think it's brutal to send a 14-year-old boy to prison for decades? Meet Billy Ray Dennis, and think again.

  • News

    June 14, 2001

    Pass the Plate

    God and Texas taxpayers answer the prayers of a prison-based ministry

  • News

    February 22, 2001

    More, Please

    Quick, someone buy the county's juvenile authorities a copy of Oliver Twist

  • News

    October 19, 2000

    The Agony And The Ecstasy

    Until his arrest, Sandy Pofahl was the king of Dallas' '80s ecstacy scene. Then why did he serve only four years while his "blindly loyal" wife, Amy, was sentenced to 24? Because she asked for it.

  • News

    July 13, 2000

    Burden of proof

    Serial killer Faryion Wardrip would have gotten away with murder if bricklayer-turned-investigator John Little hadn't stolen his coffee cup

  • News

    January 13, 2000

    One crazy lawyer

    Within days of a shotgun attack in Rowlett, tempestuous Dallas lawyer Catherine Shelton found herself in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. It isn't the first time.

  • News

    December 23, 1999

    Horror story

    Thirteen-year-old Chris Beamon ended up in jail because of a homework assignment. Now the adults who put him there are trying to get their stories straight.

  • News

    November 18, 1999

    Dissed robes

    On the prosecution-biased Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, justice isn't blind. It's dumb.

  • News

    November 11, 1999

    Stop the madness

    Ponder officials jail second student; first-grader's report on Where the Wild Things Are deemed too violent

  • News

    October 15, 1998

    The Race Not Run

    Republican Bill Hill is running against Democrat Rick Reed for district attorney. Don't think you have a choice.

  • News

    December 4, 1997

    Unreasonable Doubts

    Justice may be blind, but Dallas jurors aren't--particularly when it comes to race

  • News

    January 23, 1997

    'It's all a matter of power.'

    When Sandy Kress was school board president, he and Dan Peavy held private discussions on how to limit the influence of black school board members. Their conversations were captured on the Peavy Tapes, which Kress has fought hard to keep secret. Now, U.S.

  • News

    October 3, 1996

    The haunting

    To the grief of his children and his wife's family, Walker Railey is resurrecting his story

  • News

    August 8, 1996

    A Minor Affair

    When young love ended in a rape allegation, the juvenile justice system left a Dallas teen's life in limbo.

  • News

    July 18, 1996

    The Dope Bowl

    Lawyers, goons, money--and some very curious sex toys. Laura Miller does the post-game analysis of the Michael Irvin trial.

  • News

    February 8, 1996

    Holding on

    The Krasniqis get legal clout from an unexpected quarter

  • News

    November 17, 1994

    'Tell Mama Why You Cry' (Part II)

    Sam Krasniqi was acquitted of sexual abuse. So why won't the state let two children have their parents - or their religion?

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