Harris County commissioners on Tuesday approved a pilot program to make public defenders available at bail hearings, a step aimed at retooling a criminal justice system that has increasingly drawn criticism for jailing thousands of poor, low-risk offenders.
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On the surface, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg's new marijuana diversion program, which allows for possession of four ounces or less without criminal charges, may seem like a green light to travel with small amounts of the drug throughout Harris County. But if you're caught in the Memorial Villages, dreams of lighting up without fear of consequences could go up in smoke.
Each year in Texas 30,000 people go to prison for having small amounts of drugs on them and it's costing tax payers millions of dollars. Now, one lawmaker and a criminal justice organization are trying to change that.
On Friday, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition expressed faith in the seemingly irredeemable at a day-long program meant to humanize substance abuse. The audience at the State Capitol heard from people who have walked the difficult path to recovery.
A new study has found that Harris County leads the country in exonerations, turning loose 48 people in 2016 alone. That's because its crime labs take an added precaution most others don't: testing the materials seized from drug defendants even after they enter guilty pleas.
Harris County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to develop a pilot program that would make public defenders present at bail hearings, a move aimed at reducing what officials say is the unnecessary jailing of thousands of defendants because they can't afford bail or are unfamiliar with the legal process. The pilot could lead to Harris County becoming the first county in Texas to make legal representation available at all hearings where bail is set.
It promises to be a bleak four years for liberals, who will spend it trying — and, most likely, failing — to defend health care, women’s rights, climate change action and other good things. But on one serious problem, continued progress is not only possible, it’s probable. That is reducing incarceration.
A broad-based coalition that includes the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission insists tough-on-crime Texas should get smart on crime by raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 17 to 18. Texas is one of only seven states where 17-year-old offenders are treated as adults.
As more states come in line with the federal standards that mark the age of adulthood at 18, state Rep. Gene Wu believes that this is the year Texas will stop prosecuting 17-year-olds as adults. Wu and another Houston Democratic lawmaker have filed a pair of bills that would do just that.
The comment was startling, even for President Donald Trump. In a meeting with county sheriffs this week, the president suggested he would “destroy” the career of a Texas state senator who wants to curtail the ability of law enforcement to seize money, vehicles, and property suspected of being used in crime.
A diverse group of more than 200 local legislators, advocates, students, and faith leaders convened this week to learn more about the juvenile justice system and to demonstrate their support and solidarity for efforts to “Raise the Age” of juvenile jurisdiction in Texas.
Miguel Moll had a choice: Would he be a beast or a victim? Moll was 17 when he was taken into custody on suspicion of joyriding. He’d been a passenger in a stolen car. It was exactly the kind of dumb thing teenagers do; but under Texas law, 17-year-olds are automatically prosecuted as adults.
Faith leaders and activists mourned the death of a Fort Bend County youth Wednesday as they gathered to announce an initiative to raise the age of juvenile offenders in Texas from 17 to 18.
Texans have to be 18 years old to vote, join the military or buy a lottery ticket. But when arrested for any crime from misdemeanor to felony, 17-year-olds are treated like adults, an inconsistency some legislators, judges and religious leaders hope to change.
Advocates have rallied at the state Capitol to promote a bill seeking to raise from 17 to 18 the age at which offenders automatically enter Texas' adult legal system. More than 200 students, teachers and other supporters of a proposal by Houston Democratic Rep. Gene Wu gathered Monday on the Capitol steps.
Hours after a rally at the Texas state capitol to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 17 to 18, Texomans are voicing their opinions. A local psychologist said raising the age of when a juvenile can be put into an adult jail would be a good thing.
Seventeen-year-olds can't vote, join the military or buy cigarettes or alcohol, but they're treated as adults in criminal cases in Texas. About 200 people rallied at the Capitol on Monday to change that.
Texas’ top criminal justice lawmakers are considering sending community leaders into public schools to teach ninth-graders how to interact with police. They tout the proposal as a way to increase public safety, but critics question whether such instruction would be effective.
A minister, activist, lawyer and police officer walk into a high school classroom... Texas' top criminal justice lawmakers are considering sending community leaders into public schools to teach ninth graders how to interact with police.
Listen to this podcast at reClaimed: Dialogues on Justice and Kinship.