Sierra Blanca county in Texas with two U.S. Border Patrol highway checkpoints is refusing to prosecute drug cases previously sent to it from those checkpoints.
The county—and all four states bordering Mexico—wants funding from Washington, D.C. to handle cases that federal prosecutors decide to send to state courts…
A program that reimbursed California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas for prosecuting federally initiated cases hasn’t been funded since 2013…
You might ask those folks in Congress – the ones who whine the loudest about border security – why they cut back on funding for law enforcement along the border with Mexico.
The straw that broke the camel’s back here was the end of a Drug Enforcement Administration grant in late 2014. The grant helped the county after the Southwest Border Prosecution Initiative ended.
County Judge Mike Doyal is Hudspeth County’s chief elected official. He said his county lost more money than it earned by accepting federally initiated drug cases.
“And they [the DEA] said, ‘We’re not renewing the grant.’ And we said, ‘We’re not taking any of the cases,’” said County Judge Mike Doyal, the chief elected official in Hudspeth County.
There are no current plans in Congress to bolster funding for border states prosecuting federally initiated cases.
The term “Congressional cheapskates” comes to mind. Along with Tea Party “idjits”.
All the fear-mongering in the world ain’t about to get drug traffickers put into the slammer on good looks alone. Someone has to cover the paychecks for law enforcement and counties like Sierra Blanca can’t afford it.
Used to be a regular stop for me when I was on the road from El Paso to visit clients in the Permian Basin. Mostly played-out mines leftover from the last time they had a local economy. Though there still is a working talc mine part way between El Paso and the Sierra Blanca exit off I-10. Think about it next time you powder a baby’s butt.
Teachers would be able to use deadly force against students, and would be safe from prosecution, under legislation filed last week in the Texas state House.
The Teacher’s Protection Act by Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, would allow educators to use force or deadly force if they feel they need to protect themselves against a student or anyone else on school grounds. It also allows teachers to use deadly force to protect school property, and to avoid prosecution “for injury or death that results from the educator’s use of deadly force…”
Monty Exter, lobbyist with the state’s largest educator group, said the Association of Texas Professional Educators believes these policies should be determined at the local level. Currently, Texas law allows educators who use reasonable force against a student to be immune from disciplinary proceedings. Flynn’s additional would doubly protect teachers, since the law also states the “use of force, but not deadly force, against a (student) is justified.”
Exter added the ATPE’s legal team doesn’t believe Flynn’s legislation adds any additional protections for teachers that don’t already exist for every Texan claiming self-defense: “We understand he’s trying to carve out some liability protections. But, we can’t see that the liability protection in that particular bill is any different than the protection that exists in law for a regular citizen.”
“Educators in Texas actually do have some legal protections that do allow them to use physical force to protect themselves and protect others, as long as the use of physical force is reasonable,” said ATPE managing attorney Paul Tapp.
Being allowed to kill your fellow Texans, visitors and passersby for pretty much any reason is a long-standing Texas tradition. You need only make a convincing case to a judge who probably was elected on a platform pre-approved by the NRA. Shucks – his grand-daddy likely couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about the occasional lynching.
Another data point supporting the argument that too many police agencies just aren’t adequately equipped to deal with the mentally ill.
It started when a friend concerned for [Chad] Chadwick’s emotional well-being called Missouri City police to Chad’s Sienna apartment where he’d been distraught, drinking and unknown to anyone, had gone to sleep in the bathtub.
A SWAT team was summoned.
“They told a judge I had hostages. They lied to a judge and told him I had hostages in my apartment and they needed to enter,” said Chadwick.
Chadwick did own a single shotgun, but had threatened no one, not even himself. Chadwick’s firearm possession apparently prompted SWAT to kick in his door, launch a stun grenade into the bathroom and storm in, according to Chadwick, without announcing their identity.
“While I had my hands up naked in the shower they shot me with a 40 millimeter non-lethal round,” said Chadwick.
A second stun grenade soon followed.
“I turned away, the explosion went off, I opened my eyes the lights are out and here comes a shield with four or five guys behind it. They pinned me against the wall and proceeded to beat the crap out of me,” said Chadwick.
That’s when officers shot the unarmed Chadwick in the back of the head with a Taser at point blank range.
“They claimed I drew down with a shampoo bottle and a body wash bottle,” said Chadwick . . .
“They grabbed me by my the one hand that was out of the shower and grabbed me by my testicles slammed me on my face on the floor and proceeded to beat me more.”
Denton folks Michael Hennen and Susan Vaughan campaign to ban fracking
The fracking ban that came into effect on Tuesday in the heart of Texas might never have happened at all, if industry had not insisted on fracking beside a local hospital, a children’s playground, and the 100-year-old farmhouse that was Cathy McMullen’s retirement dream.
That brought fracking a step too far. McMullen believes such overreach – typical under the Texas regulatory framework – helped turn a ruby-red Republican town against fracking.
Despite industry objections – and death threats for McMullen and other activists, Denton voted by 60% to ban fracking last month. The victorious activists like to call their fight David v Godzilla, because the oil industry is so powerful in Texas. That fight is not over yet.
George P Bush, the nephew and grandson of the former presidents, will soon take charge of the General Land Office – one of two Texas state agencies that have joined an industry lawsuit to overturn the ban.
But McMullen and the small group of mainly female activists behind the ban are already inspiring towns in Texas and elsewhere that are looking for ways to rein in an industry that so far has enjoyed supreme rights to frack.
The oil and gas companies probably would be fracking still in Denton if they had not completely dismissed McMullen’s concerns, she said.
“They underestimated us completely,” she said. “I think they all just thought: ‘Oh, it’s just Cathy.’ I don’t think they saw the storm clouds on the horizon, and that industry was creating this storm, and that it was going to blow into town, and everybody was just sick of it.”
RTFA. It’s a great tale of ordinary folks not especially political in their daily life – until they asked questions, tried as citizens of the United States and that supersized state of Texas to bring back the quality of life they had – before fracking started in the city limits of Denton, Texas.
Their victory has inspired others. Something the Godzillas of fossil fuel hate as much as an individual like Cathy McMullen winning her fight in Denton. Now, Reno, Texas, is cranking up the alarm of opposition to fracking in their small Texas town.
And they have to get things done on their own – just like in Denton. If there’s anything that the Oil Patch Boys own in Texas – it’s politicians.
Thanks, Mike — GMTA
As one might expect, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had no difficulty putting her finger on the point of Texas’ voter ID law: it’s openly racist.
Ginsburg’s colleagues voted 6-3 to allow the Texas law to remain in effect for the upcoming election. But as she observed in a scathing dissent issued Saturday, the measure may prevent more than 600,000 registered voters, or 4.5% of the total, from voting in person for lack of accepted identification. “A sharply disproportionate percentage of those voters are African-American or Hispanic,” she wrote.
The law’s intent is “purposely discriminatory,” Ginsburg concluded. Citing the U.S. District Court ruling that declared the Texas law unconstitutional, she observed that since 2000, Texas has become a majority-minority state. That gave its Legislature and governor “an evident motive to ‘gain partisan advantage by suppressing'” the votes of blacks and Latinos.
Is there any better testament to the bankruptcy of Republican political ideas than the party’s consistent effort to win elections by limiting the vote?…
Like all the Republican-governed states using this ploy to stop folks from voting, Texas turned up two cases that it to court. Time and again these states waste taxpayer dollar$ trying to prove their patent-leather lies.
Here in New Mexico, our Republican Secretary of state wasted hundreds of thousands of dollar$ trying to prove “widespread fraud” as preamble to forcing a law as criminal as the Texas variety. At the end she found a dozen people improperly registered and a couple who thought they were supposed to vote. And tried. And were turned away.
End of story. Meanwhile, crooks masquerading as constitutional experts run this crap through the Supreme Court as progress because right-wing bigots say we are a post-racial society. I would gladly start believing in some sillyass deity if these turds were struck by lightning for their lies.
Manuel Velez – a free man
A building worker from Texas, who was sentenced to death for a murder he did not commit, was released on Wednesday after spending nine years in prison, four of them on death row.
Manuel Velez, 49, emerged from Huntsville prison a free man at 11.32pm CT. He was arrested in 2005, and sentenced to death three years later, for killing a one-year-old who was partially in his care.
But over the years the conviction unravelled. Tests on the victim’s brain showed that Velez could not have caused the child’s head injuries. Further evidence revealed that the defendant, who is intellectually disabled, had suffered from woeful legal representation at trial, and that the prosecutor had acted improperly to sway the jury against him.
Golly – there’s a surprise.
Brian Stull, a senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who has represented Velez since 2009, said that “an innocent man went to death row because the entire system failed him. The defence counsel who are meant to defend him let him down, the prosecutor who is meant to secure justice committed misconduct, and even the judge made errors that were recognised on appeal…”
…When lawyers with the private firms Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, and Lewis, Roca, Rothgerber took up Velez’s case after he was put on death row, they were astonished by what they found. They discovered that expert opinion had been given in 2006 – fully two years before the trial – that destroyed the state’s case against him.
A neuropathologist had examined Angel’s body and recorded blood on the brain caused by a haematoma that was “well developed”. Crucially, the brain injury was at least two weeks old and was almost certainly inflicted between 18 and 36 days before Angel died.
The timing was critical, as Velez was not in contact with Angel until he moved into the Moreno home on 14 October, 17 days before the boy died. In fact, within the 18- and 36-day period specified by the neuropathologist, Angel was some 1,000 miles away in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was on a building job.
This key detail went unnoticed by Velez’s original defence lawyers who made nothing of it at trial, even though it had been prominently incorporated into the official autopsy report on Angel Moreno. The neuropathologist who made the finding was similarly never called as a witness…
Late Friday officials at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said that the nurses and doctors who initially treated and released an Ebola patient knew that the man, Thomas E. Duncan, had recently arrived from Liberia.
Earlier the hospital claimed the its electronic health record used separate workflows for physicians and nurses so that the travel history in the nursing section “would not automatically appear in the physician’s standard workflow.”
In its latest statement “the hospital effectively retracted that portion of its statement, saying that ‘there was no flaw‘ in its electronic health records system. The hospital said ‘the patient’s travel history was documented and available to the full care team in the electronic health record (E.H.R.), including within the physician’s workflow…’
The hospital’s initial account triggered significant discussion of potential problems with EHRs.
The hospital offered no explanation for the conflicting accounts.
Har. Anyone can be guilty of a screwup but doctors. Nurses may have known and didn’t tell the doctors. The updated electronic health records system required by Obamacare must have been flawed – and therefore the doctors didn’t know the patient may have been exposed to Ebola.
Hogwash! One can only presume by Monday the hospital administration will have come up with a new and creative excuse for sending Thomas Duncan away the first time he arrived at the ER.
…There’s always some idle secession chatter in the freedom-and-independence-loving United States, too. A new poll shows one in four Americans support “the idea of your state peacefully withdrawing from the United States of America and the federal government.”
But could it ever be more than a rhetorical phenomenon in the States? It seems unlikely, given that those who benefit most from union are those most interested in secession…
Secession got more support from Republicans than Democrats, more from right- than left-leaning independents, more from younger than older people, more from lower- than higher-income brackets, more from high school than college grads…. Of the people who said they identified with the Tea Party, supporters of secession were actually in the majority, with 53 percent.
In other words, it’s recipients of government largess who want to get out. It’s net donors to the government who want to stay. To wit, only one in five residents of the wealthy New England states supports secession, separatist-lusty Vermont included, versus one in three residents of the poorer southwest, where the urge is more pronounced…
None of that should surprise you. Survey polls like this also need to factor in a blowhard index?
But it takes a lot more than grit to make it as a new country — and generally, the poorer, smaller, and less-diversified the state, the worse it would fare after independence. Secession itself would also be extremely costly, though how costly would depend on whether the United States acceded to the plan (not likely) and how much it wanted to antagonize New Kansas or Free Texas or what have you. Would it forgive said state’s debts? Would it implement airspace restrictions, travel restrictions, sanctions, or even a full embargo? Might it bar a new country from the global payments system?
But let’s say we’re in a heartless, rationalist thunderdome-type situation. In that case, who deserves to get kicked out?
The article wanders through West Virginia, Wyoming, Hawaii, Alaska, Texas, Kansas and Vermont as states we’d miss the least.
I love when Annie Lowrey gets down to the real losers we wouldn’t pay to stay: Ohio and Florida. Both states trying their best to screw everyone with the wrong color, unacceptable sex, too old to care about education and too poor to be registered to vote.
And especially calling Florida America’s lunatic dongle really warms my looney geek-heart the most.
Connie Wilson, her spouse and one of their children
A new Houston resident is upset that she was refused a legal Texas driver’s license.
When Connie Wilson, her spouse, and three kids packed up their life and moved halfway across the country to Texas, the last hurdle she expected was getting a Texas driver’s license. She was in for a surprise when she went to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) branch office in Pasadena.
Wilson presented her California marriage license to DPS employee as a secondary form of identification. She and her spouse Aimee were legally married in California, and Connie took Aimee’s last name, Wilson…
Texas doesn’t recognize same sex marriage. The DPS employee told Wilson even though she and her spouse are legally married, the certificate cannot be used to authenticate who she is. She was denied a Texas License.
Reached in Austin, DPS officials sent Eyewitness News the following statement: “To receive a Texas driver license or identification card reflecting a name change from a same-sex marriage, a court order is required.”
Wilson says she doesn’t understand why she needs to spend money on a court order when the license already states her legal name…
In addition, Wilson is worried the closing on her house could have been hampered, and her inability to vote in the upcoming election…
Frustrated, the Wilsons reached out to Texas State Senator Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston), who is looking into the DPS decision.
“This is something that deeply concerns us, and we’re looking at this, because we don’t want this to happen to anyone else in Texas,” said the Senator. “This is not the way to treat someone who is relocating to our state, we need to make sure they can buy homes, get jobs, and register to vote.”
Wilson’s first mistake was presuming officials of a state as politically backwards as Texas would respond to logic.
The second was assuming Texas politicians recognize the United States of America and our Constitution as having authority and priority over the fear and ignorance of homophobic nutballs.