Author Meagan Flynn

paulwall_dec23Eric Sauseda

Houston rapper Paul Wall and Baby Bash might as well volunteer to be DD’s this New Year’s Eve, because on Tuesday, a judge ordered that they not drink alcohol or do any drugs as part of their bond conditions. Just before Christmas, the rappers and several others were arrested and charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and possession of THC with intent to deliver, both felonies.

Each told judges they would not pass their drug tests if made to pee in a cup.

wilforkGalveston County Sheriff's Office

A University of Houston football player has been kicked off the team after allegedly getting caught with drugs, as KPRC reported late Tuesday.

D’Aundre Holmes-Wilfork, a safety on the Cougars football team, was charged with possession of between 200 and 400 grams of a controlled substance in Galveston County last week, according to court records.

houston-press-temple-family-evidence-1Trial Exhibit

Greeted by his family and a wall of reporters outside the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday, David Temple, who was released from prison nine years after being convicted of his wife’s murder, said he wants “the people who put me in [in prison], who lied and cheated, [to]be held accountable,” the Houston Chronicle reports.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in a split decision last month that lead prosecutor Kelly Siegler did not timely turn over crucial evidence — mostly investigators’ notes — to Temple’s defense attorney, Dick DeGuerin, before Temple’s 2007 trial.

Read more about one of the messiest capital murder cases in Harris County as of late.

6711234961_acc07b9688_zVictor/Flickr

On Christmas Eve, Lucas Lomas was accused of stealing five DVDs and a speaker, and on December 26, Carlos Eaglin was arrested for possession of less than two ounces of weed — two defendants out of roughly 1,400 handcuffed every week in Harris County.

But attorneys now claim that the problem with their arrests and thousands of others is that the alleged facts of their cases — which are summarized by police and presented at probable cause hearings — were never sworn under oath, as the Constitution requires.

That’s according to the third federal lawsuit that the national organization Civil Rights Corps has filed against local criminal justice officials this year over what it claims are unconstitutional court practices.

joshuaCourtesy of the Rondons

A part of Amelia Rondon almost did not want to attend her son’s detention hearing, held three days before Christmas. She had been told that her 15-year-old son Joshua, who had been charged with nonviolent misdemeanors, would probably be able to go home, especially because it was Christmastime.

But Amelia didn’t want to get her son’s hopes up — or even her own. Two weeks earlier, Judge Glenn Devlin had denied her son’s release, and she was afraid nothing would change.

It turns out she was correct.

Despite a recommendation from Joshua’s probation officer that he be released — and despite the fact that national best practices in the juvenile justice system are to keep nonviolent kids out of detention — Joshua will be spending Christmas and the first days of the new year cooped up in an overcrowded juvenile detention center. And advocates are calling foul.

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.

fullsizer_6_After receiving concerning phone calls from three crime victims, District Attorney-elect Kim Ogg made some weighty allegations at a press conference outside the criminal courthouse on Tuesday morning.

Each crime victim’s case had belonged to prosecutors Ogg had recently fired, and the crime victims, Ogg said, had expressed uncertainty and confusion about their cases and were afraid they would not be handled properly going forward. So on Tuesday, Ogg suggested the prosecutors had made the phone calls to the victims or their families to intentionally provide misinformation about the cases to undermine her new administration, then directed them to complain to Ogg about it. Ogg said they were “sabotaging” the cases for political purposes.

Problem: she had not bothered to call any of them to ask for their side of the story.

img_0210_1_In a rare move, District Attorney Devon Anderson intervened in a misdemeanor case to personally dismiss a DWI charge against prominent Houston defense attorney Tony Buzbee, the Houston Press discovered Monday morning.

In a statement to the Press, Anderson said the reason she decided to dismiss the case was that it was “the right thing to do.”

“He qualified for pre-trial intervention and completed all of the requirements typically mandated for a first offender DWI defendant,” Anderson said. “He did not contribute to my campaign in 2016 cycle.”

Yet even though Anderson’s own DWI diversion program requirements state that it is a one-year program, the case was dismissed after only eight months. 

screen_shot_2016-11-28_at_4-20-40_pmScreenshot/YouTube/HoustonMediaSource

After defeating Sheriff Ron Hickman in the election this month, Sheriff-elect Ed Gonzalez is already sticking his nose in Hickman’s official business — mainly, the lawsuit filed against him.

Hickman, along with the county, all the county judges and five bail hearing officers, has been sued for participating in what a national civil rights group calls an unconstitutional bail system. The group that sued on behalf misdemeanor defendants, Civil Rights Corps, argue that poor people in Harris County are being systematically jailed before trial just because they cannot afford to pay an arbitrary bail amount, unlike wealthier people charged with the same crime.

Turns out Hickman’s successor agrees.

rapisthpdHouston Police Department

Houston police believe a 30-year-old man being held on two sexual assault charges may have committed at least six sexual assaults in southeast Houston since May.

David E. Beard has been in Harris County Jail since October 5, after two women identified him as their attacker, according to a Houston Police Department press release. Beard allegedly had a very peculiar M.O.

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