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.
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.
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.
Frank Antenori, a former Arizona state senator who’s in Cleveland this week as one of Arizona’s 58 Republican delegates, has been convicted of unlawfully entering a military base.
The ex-Green Beret, who lives in Cochise, pleaded guilty in federal court last month to a charge of entering a military reservation for an illegal purpose, a Class B federal misdemeanor.
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.
Former Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, who was recalled from office in 2011 over the disastrous Marlins Park deal, has been arrested for domestic violence against his girlfriend of 14 years, according to an arrest affidavit from Coral Gables Police.
The affidavit says Alvarez’s girlfriend visited his home to return his cat, though there’s no explanation why she had the feline.
Afterward, the two got into a heated argument. Alvarez’s girlfriend told police the former mayor grabbed her arms, pinned her against the wall of his building’s parking garage, spit on her, and yelled profanities.