Monthly Archives: August 2012

“Extraneous Offenses” And Fair Trials

Excellent overview of how “extraneous offense” or “prior bad act” evidence is eroding our Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial.  Now that it has become routine to offer such evidence (even if the defendant was never convicted, charged or even arrested or even if the “bad act” is not a crime at all), the […]

Policing the Prosecution

Editorial from the New York Times on the 1997 Hyde Amendment, which allows Federal judges to award attorney fees and costs against prosecutors who engage in “gross misconduct.”  This is an important check on abuse of power by the government and Texas could benefit by having a similar law.

Children in Prison

Meridian, Mississippi seems to be an extreme (and extremely racist) example of a developing problem: schools that dump their discipline problems into the juvenile justice system.

City of Dallas Finds “Fair Trials” to be Inconvenient

The City of Dallas recently commissioned a report to discover why they weren’t wringing the maximum amount of dollars out of traffic tickets.  Among the shocking findings: municipal judges were properly exercising their discretion in allowing Defendants resets in order to hire lawyers and dismissing cases when the officer doesn’t bother to show up.  Their […]

Holographic Wills In the News

Thomas Kinkade, the prolific painter of kitschy artwork, died recently.  His estate is locked in battle between his heirs and his girlfriend at the time of his death, Amy Pinto-Walsh, who claims to have a holographic (or handwritten) will.  The discussion at the link features Austin probate attorney Rob Robertson.

Victim Abuse…by the State

There is so much wrong with this scenario.  First, warrants or no warrants, it is appalling that Florida police would choose to arrest the victim of a sexual assault.  Second, it is even more appalling that Hillsborough County jailers evidently decided that their religious beliefs were more important that “R.W.”‘s when they decided to deny […]

Driving While Black, East Texas Style

The City of Tenaha and Shelby County have agreed to implement a new “neutral” policy for traffic stops and pay attorney fees for shaking down mostly minority drivers with threats of “civil asset forfeiture.”  In one year, drivers who allegedly “met the profile” of drug smugglers forked over $800,000 in exchange for leniency in criminal […]