There are big questions about the final hours of Sandra Bland’s life. The official story is that the 28-year old committed suicide by hanging herself in a Waller County jail cell. Her family doesn’t buy it.
In May 2014 Joe Cotten’s 85-year-old parrot, Oliver, went missing from his backyard. When he received word that the bird, which he believed had been stolen, had been turned in at the Tyler police station, he probably didn’t expect that his trip to retrieve Oliver would end with him in handcuffs.
There’s never been a shortage of competition for the title of Worst Lawyer in Texas. A top contender for years was the now-deceased Joe Cannon, who slept through much of the 1984 capital murder trial of his client Calvin Burdine, resulting in a death sentence that was later overturned on appeal.
Scott Henson has been infuriating people since his college days at the University of Texas at Austin, when he co-published a magazine called Polemicist, which took university officials to task for various misdeeds. After graduation, he wrote for the Texas Observer and worked as a political consultant, in the process learning the ins and outs of the Legislature.
It’s been nine long years since the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found that Charles Sebesta, the Burleson County DA who prosecuted Anthony Graves for capital murder, had withheld favorable evidence and used false testimony to secure a conviction—a conviction that sent Graves to death row. Graves spent eighteen years in prison, most of it in solitary confinement.
Today, finally, a small measure of justice was served when the State Bar of Texas stripped Sebesta of his law license and formally disbarred him.
District judge Carter Tinsley Schildknecht, of Dawson County, was reprimanded by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct for, among other offenses, holding a fifteen-hour court session that ran until four in the morning, during which she allowed no formal meal or bathroom breaks.
There’s an old adage in journalism that you’ve probably heard: a dog bites a man, that’s not a story. A man bites a dog, that’s a story.
You have to keep this in mind when covering the great state of Texas. A lot of noteworthy things happen—noteworthy except for the fact that we see them a lot. And that makes the question of whether we cover the video below, of an incident on Sixth Street that happened over the weekend between Austin police officers and the citizens they’re sworn to protect and serve, a tough call from a news perspective. Take a look.
There’s an undeniable history in this country of police treating black people, especially young black people, like they must be controlled. As a result, many black people, especially young black people, feel that when the police show up, they’re in danger. The police are there to protect and serve somebody, but there’s no reason for a black teenager in a planned suburban enclave like McKinney’s Craig Ranch to believe that that somebody is him.