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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
Andrea GrimesCornelius Dupree Jr., surrounded by friends, family and many other DNA exonerees yesterdayHarper'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 >>
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 >>
Craig Watkins speaking at SMU on WednesdaySpeaking 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 >>
Brian HarkinDallas County District Attorney Craig WatkinsIt'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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
Jim Foster is a hard man to find
With Dems likes these, who needs the GOP?
Collin County's cold case squad empties its file of unsolved murders
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 >>
Reality Check (Atlantic)
Why would we even think about giving this guy his own crime lab?
Hill felt sorry, Bolton felt nothing over fake drugs
Nobody believes Terrell Bolton anymore--except his friends at Dallas City Hall
Border authorities fear a return to the law of the Wild West as Texas homeowners take up guns against illegal Mexican immigrants
Why did the DMN kill a story about political favoritism? Guess right and win!
Think it's brutal to send a 14-year-old boy to prison for decades? Meet Billy Ray Dennis, and think again.
God and Texas taxpayers answer the prayers of a prison-based ministry
Quick, someone buy the county's juvenile authorities a copy of Oliver Twist
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.
Serial killer Faryion Wardrip would have gotten away with murder if bricklayer-turned-investigator John Little hadn't stolen his coffee cup
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.
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.
On the prosecution-biased Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, justice isn't blind. It's dumb.
Ponder officials jail second student; first-grader's report on Where the Wild Things Are deemed too violent
Republican Bill Hill is running against Democrat Rick Reed for district attorney. Don't think you have a choice.
Justice may be blind, but Dallas jurors aren't--particularly when it comes to race
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.
To the grief of his children and his wife's family, Walker Railey is resurrecting his story
When young love ended in a rape allegation, the juvenile justice system left a Dallas teen's life in limbo.
Lawyers, goons, money--and some very curious sex toys. Laura Miller does the post-game analysis of the Michael Irvin trial.
The Krasniqis get legal clout from an unexpected quarter
Sam Krasniqi was acquitted of sexual abuse. So why won't the state let two children have their parents - or their religion?