The Murders at The Lake.
"In the summer of 1982 the city of Waco was confronted with the most vicious crime it had ever seen: three teenagers were savagely stabbed to death, for no apparent reason, at a park by a lake on the edge of town. Justice was eventually served when four men were found guilty of the crime, and two were sent to death row. In 1991, though, when one of the convicts got a new trial and was then found not guilty, some people wondered, Were these four actually the killers? Several years after that, one of the men was put to death, and the stakes were raised: Had Texas executed an innocent man?" [more inside]
Jury acquits escort shooter
. Texas Penal Code s. 9.42
has been interpreted to possibly allow the shooting of sex workers who accept money at night but do not then perform sexual services, and Ezekiel Gilbert was therefore found to have the legal right to shoot at a sex worker over a $150 dispute. This interpretation of the defence of property has come under some criticism,
and although the jury may have reached their decision on a different ground, the possibility of this defence under state law appears to be sound.
“This court cannot think of a more intentionally harmful act than a prosecutor’s conscious choice to hide mitigating evidence so as to create an uneven playing field for a defendant facing a murder charge and a life sentence." A Texas court finds probable cause
that ex-District Attorney Ken Anderson intentionally hid evidence to secure a 1987 murder conviction against the now-exonerated Michael Morton
. (Previously.) [more inside]
In October, 18-year old high school senior Ryan Romo was arrested
for the sexual assault of a child (someone 16 or under, by TX state law).
On October 31, CultureMap Dallas's managing editor, Claire St. Amant published an article
asking, "Is this Highland Park baseball star a rapist?" St. Amant ended her article, stating: If it's a case of impulsive teenage decisions, remorse and guilt, then no one suffers more than 18-year-old Ryan Romo. [more inside]
This article explores the history, from the lawyers' perspective [PDF; 41 pages], of a high-profile litigation of sixty years ago, the whirlwind of state and federal litigation that attended the 1948 runoff election battle between Congressman Lyndon B. Johnson and former Texas governor Coke Stevenson for the Texas Democratic Party nomination for the office of United States Senator. Johnson famously won this election by 87 votes [...] [more inside]
"I decided I had to do something to save this person’s life. That killing someone in Dallas is not an answer for what happened on Sept. 11." Rais Bhuiyan
petitions the state of Texas to stay
the execution of a white supremacist who shot him and murdered two others in a hate-motivated crime
Judge William Wayne Justice. 1920 -2009.
Appointed to the federal bench in 1968, Judge Justice spent his career as a progressive jurist working to insure the rights of minorities, the poor and the disenfranchised. His rulings
forced the State of Texas to desegregate public schools, reform its prison system and provide education to undocumented immigrants.
Texan judge rules $5 "pole tax" violates First Amendment rights.
Further, Judge Scott Jenkins found no evidence to justify the purpose of HB 1751
(PDF), finding the anecdotal
link of the patronage of strip clubs with a lack of health insurance and increased sexual assault rates for dancers insufficient, and ordered the state to pay
the plaintiffs' legal fees. Activists
are already looking to appeal Jenkins' ruling and reenact the tax. (Previously on Metafilter.
"I've been anticipating this for some time,"
said Ray Hill, consultant for a number of local adult bookstores, speaking of the infamous Texas Dildo Law
[Molly Ivins video, not only NSFW but too funnt for work] prohibiting the posession of six or more "obscene devices." [more inside]
Texas Riparian Law
I found this intriguing because I 1) live in Texas, 2) have walked many Texas creekbottoms, 3) have a lot of lawyer friends, and 4) as an English major, find the language somehow beautiful.
The billionaire attorney. The King of Torts. Legendary Texas Lawyer. He is Joe Jamail
. He is most famous
for his record setting verdict in Texaco v. Pennzoil
(which eventually made it to the US Supreme Court
) in which Joe secured a $10.3 billion dollar judgment (though it is not known for sure, some speculate that Joe walked with $1 billion in attorney's fees in that case). In addition to being well known for his success, he is almost as legendary for his colorful demeanor. One such example was when he got reprimanded
for his behavior
in Paramount Communications Inc. v. QVC Network, Inc.
. But to see him in action with your own eyes, we have video of classic
Joe during a deposition he was giving. (via brainwidth
Young man gets life sentence for helping his girlfriend end pregnancy.
The girlfriend was not charged. Under the Texas Fetal Protection Law
, a woman cannot be charged for causing the deaths of her own fetuses for any reason. The defense contended that Basoria punched herself while Flores was stepping on her
, making it impossible to tell who caused the miscarriage.
A new Texas bill
seeks to give pharmacists the right to object to dispensing emergency contraceptives. The bill was spurred by over a year's worth of debate about an incident in Denton
where a rape victim was denied a morning-after pill by a pharmacist at Eckerd's. Supporters say that pharmacists should be able to opt out of dispensing drugs that are used for abortions, but the opposition points out that the bill's definition of emergency contraceptives can be construed to include all birth control. Should pharmacists be allowed to morally object, or is this an anti-birth-control boondoggle?
"Mr. Banks, a man with no prior criminal record, is most likely innocent of the charge that put him on death row. Fearing a tragic miscarriage of justice, three former federal judges (including William Sessions, a former director of the F.B.I.) have urged the U.S. Supreme Court to block Wednesday's execution."So far, no one seems to be listening." [via atrios]
Dildo's illegal in Texas?
Apparently so. Let me get this straight... in a state where you can carry loaded firearms on your hip, if you get caught with more than 6 dildos or other "pleasure devices", it's a FELONY? Absolutely amazing. Texas is like a whole other country. It also helps explain a lot. (via obscurestore
Comic book retailer sentenced to jail for selling a book to an adult
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's
lawyers are filing an appeal in the highest criminal court in Texas in the obscenity conviction of Jesus Castillo, manager of a Dallas
comic book store. Castillo has received six months jail time, a year probation, and a $4000 fine. [more inside]
Kill your five children, go to jail.
So, what to do to a mother that decides not to be a mother any more?
Texan Teen Lands $550 Fine For Saying 'F*ck'
The US school system certainly seems to over-react to small issues (drawing guns on paper, etc). Will this keep American from turning into violent thugs, or not? Recently, in the UK, a man got let off
for saying 'f*ck off' to a policeman, since the judge said it was 'the language of his generation'.
Steal a Snickers bar ---> Get 16 years in jail
This Texan appears to be extremely unfortunate, even when you read his past criminal record. How can stealing a Snickers equate to 16 years in prison? However, the audacious comment from the assistant attorney is worth noting:
"If it was a Milky Way, we probably wouldn't have even tried him on it