Search Results: Texas (517)


For decades of Texas summers, prisoners of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice have lived in heat they described as equivalent to “walking out to your car in the middle of the summertime,” to “getting into a hot box in the sun.” They have often slept on the concrete because it is cooler than their mattresses, and away from fans that blow hot air on them. They have sometimes struggled to write letters because their sweat drips over the paper as if it were raining. Twenty-three men have died in these conditions since 1998, including Larry McCollum, who, just days after being booked for writing a hot check, died of a heat stroke while convulsing atop his bed. His internal temperature was found to be 109 degrees.

These are all among the reasons that, on Wednesday, a federal judge in Houston ruled that such conditions violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment — that there is a “substantial risk of serious illness or death from the current conditions at the Pack Unit.”

img_1792Michael Mabe and his mom, Linda, first met former Texas City police officer Linnard R. Crouch at the emergency room the night their father and husband, James, died of heart failure.

He had something for them, a little clear plastic baggie full of James’s belongings that Crouch found at the scene where Mabe’s heart went out behind the wheel of his pickup truck, on the side of a busy road in Texas City. Crouch had brought James’s cellphone, his wallet and a stack of money with a single $100 bill on top.

Mrs. Mabe and I thanked Officer Crouch for helping our loved one,” Michael wrote in a letter to Texas City Police Chief Robert Burby in February — before launching into the rest of the narrative: Later that night, when Linda opened the bag, she discovered that the $2,400 she had just given him at her office one hour earlier was missing, and that instead, the money had been replaced with single dollar bills. Turns out, Officer Crouch is now under investigation for stealing it and has been sued by the Mabe family.

pot.edibleBreakfast reading from the Voice Media Empire: The teacher wouldn’t have been put in this position in the first place if it weren’t for an allegedly disgruntled ex-school-district employee who pointed the finger at her, an administrator who subjected her to drug testing even though there was zero evidence that she’d been impaired on the job, and the Texas Board for Educator Certification, which would have prevented Roland from teaching for two full years if Judge William Newchurch hadn’t rejected the punishment. Westword has the story.


A federal judge is putting the Texas prison system on trial over suffocating conditions of extreme heat due to lack of air conditioning in the summer.

Between 1998 and 2011, at least 21 inmates died of heat-related illnesses in prison, with ten of them dying in 2011 alone. And that count only includes inmates whose cause of death was specifically and solely due to the heat, not deaths in which heat was a contributing factor. In 2012, the family of a man who died of hyperthermia in the Hutchins State Jail sued the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, claiming top officials’ indifference to the inhumane conditions of the prison led to Larry McCollum’s death in 2011.

According to the judge’s order, the prison had a heat index of 150 degrees the week McCollum died.

Screen Shot 2017-02-01 at 6.13.49 PMScreenshot/Twitter

A group of white nationalists that don’t think they’re white supremacists traipsed around the Rice University campus and placed at least four “recruitment” fliers on trees and traffic-light boxes as part of their mission to save white people from the genocide they see on the horizon.

According to Rice University police, students began reporting the fliers and chattering about them on Twitter. One flier, signed by the American Vanguard, said, “We have a right to exist” with a picture of white people’s faces, and another said “Defending your people is a social duty, not an anti-social crime” with a picture of mom and child, according to Rice spokesman B.J. Almond. Others posted at Texas universities including Texas State and the University of Texas – Dallas drew inspiration from President Donald Trump.

capitold_1024Photo from the Texas Legislature

Civil asset forfeiture sounds reasonable enough on the outside. Police seize property belonging to people they suspect of being involved in criminal activity. (It was set up in the 1980s to help law enforcement seize drug-related items and cash.)

The thing is, here in Texas, where the law on asset forfeiture is notoriously loose, seized assets go into a civil proceeding and can be taken, whether you’ve been convicted of a crime or not.

When the 85th Biennial Texas Legislative Session convenes in January, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are going to wade into the issue once more to see if they can get some sort of civil asset forfeiture reform through the legislative process.


In the 15 years that Andy Kahan, victims’ rights advocate for the City of Houston, has closely monitored “murderabilia” from serial killers sold online, he has never seen anything for sale from convicted baby killer Genene Jones.

Then he found a Christmas card Jones had written to someone from prison, for sale on a website called for $750.


You would think that if corrections officers wanted to talk in graphic and violent terms about the people they get paid to watch and, theoretically, take care of every day, they would do so in private.

But apparently not.

After the Texas Observer published a story about a transgender inmate appealing a federal judge’s dismissal of her lawsuit seeking gender confirmation surgery, people who self-identified on Facebook as working for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice posted the story in a group called Texas Correctional Employees – Huntsville and proceeded to make crude and violent comments about the inmate.

houston-press-abbott-gage-skidmore-ccGage Skidmore

Governor Greg Abbott has used the proposed rule to cremate and bury aborted fetuses as a great excuse for fundraising.

The lawyers who fought Texas all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court over its restrictive abortion laws are suggesting state health officials take another gander at the high court’s ruling that struck them down. They aren’t too sure Texas paid much attention to the ruling, evidenced by the new abortion regulations health officials quietly proposed shortly after losing the Supreme Court case.

State officials announced in the obscure Texas Register  that they wanted to start mandating the cremation or burial of aborted or miscarried fetuses — an idea that came just four days after Texas lost Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt. The 5-3 Supreme Court decision prevented the state from implementing restrictive abortion regulations that were expected to shutter all but nine abortion clinics in Texas.

This week, lawyers for the Center For Reproductive Rights — which fought Texas in court — wrote in a letter to the state that these proposed rules will “almost certainly trigger costly litigation for Texas.”  The lawyers’ argument mirrors the same one they used to fight Texas in the Supreme Court.


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