Category: Texas

Budget Crunch Offers No Hope for Reduction in Incarceration in Texas

By Dr. Charles Kiker

Some pundits have speculated that the budget crises in the states could result in reduced incarceration. After all, reduction in prison populations could save states a bundle. Alan Bean has a couple of recent posts on the Friends of Justice blog that deal with this prospect: “Why are Newt and Grover jumping on the prison reform bandwagon?” (January 8, 2011) and “Is mass incarceration history?” (January 18, 2011). Bean doesn’t hold out much hope, as indicated by his comment in the latter article: “We may see a year or two of minor decline in the prison population, but when happy days are here again politicians will start banging the ‘tough on crime’ drum? (more…)

Simple Justice reviews “Taking out the Trash in Tulia, Texas”

“That Alan Bean chose to keep his narrative close to the vest, to let the facts do the talking for him rather than ram the moral of this sordid story down the reader’s throat, makes this book a fascinating and consuming read. Be prepared, as once you start reading Taking Out The Trash, chances are you won’t put the book down until you’ve finished.”

Scott Greenfield’s review of Alan Bean’s book, “Taking out the Trash in Tulia, Texas” originally appeared in Scott’s highly respected blog, Simple Justice.

Book Review: Taking Out The Trash in Tulia, Texas

I’ve never been to Tulia. There’s no particular reason why I would go there, and yet after reading Alan Bean’s book, Taking Out The Trash in Tulia, Texas, published by Advanced Concept Design Books, I feel as if I know the place well. (more…)

Cornelius Dupree, Jr. gets his life back

Cornelius Dupree and his wife, Selma Perkins Dupree

By Alan Bean

Exoneration stories out of Dallas County are almost becoming routine, but this one is particularly gratifying. 

And maddening.

Cornelius Dupree Jr. spent three decades in prison because the Dallas Police Department thought he and his buddy, Anthony Massingill, looked like rapists.  They placed both men in a lineup.  An eye witness also thought the two men looked like rapists.

Cornelius was 21 at the time, Anthony was 19.

The media likes DNA exoneration stories.  Who doesn’t.  Because guilt has been scientifically ruled out, we know who the good guys and bad guys are.  Even the prosecutor is forced to admit that he messed up.  (more…)

When the police knock down your door: more on the Richardson Raid

Vergil and Mark Richardson

By Alan Bean

Friends of Justice was first to bring you the troubling story of Mark and Vergil Richardson, but we certainly aren’t the last.  First we had Wade Goodwyn’s excellent story for NPR’s All Things Considered, and now Jordan Smith of the Austin Chronicle is using the Richardson story as an entre into the strange world of no-knock searches for The Crime Report.  Radley Balko, one of the experts interviewed for Smith’s story, reports that “the number of SWAT call-outs averaged 3,000 annual between the 1980s and 2005. Now the annual figure is roughly 50,000.”

When Police Break Down Your Door

Jordan Smith

December 15, 2010

An increase in the use of  ‘no-knock’ warrants around the country has alarmed civil liberties advocates.

On Nov. 17, 2007, Vergil Richardson was sitting at a table in the house he owns in the small northeast Texas town of Clarksville, playing dominoes with several relatives, including his half-brother Kevin Calloway, when the front door exploded inward and the living room was flooded with police.

“They just broke into the house,” Vergil recalled recently. “They had guns on us and threw me down on the floor.” (more…)

Bob Moser: Can Texas Democrats Stop Chasing Ghosts?

Back in July, when the governor’s race still looked like a race

This article originally appeared in the Texas Observer.

By Bob Moser

“The only thing worse than standing for something unpopular is standing for nothing at all.”

Back in July, when the governor’s race still looked like a race, Wayne Slater of The Dallas Morning News bird-dogged Democrat Bill White for a week as he hunted for votes among the Anglo conservatives of East Texas. In one especially vivid account, datelined Palestine, Slater showed White answering litmus-test gun-rights questions at the local Starbucks. The candidate answered satisfactorily, citing a B+ score from the National Rifle Association and artfully dodging a question about the right to pack heat in church. A couple of East Texans admitted to Slater that they were considering voting for this strange, surprising Democrat. But there was just one problem, Jerry Harrison of the Farm Bureau said: “The only holdback I can see is that he’s a Democrat and he’s going to be with Obama.” (more…)