Mending Defenses

Thank you for the powerful article on the broken Texas criminal justice system [“No Defense,” September 2019]. I have been an attorney in Texas since 1974, and I have seen firsthand the dysfunction and failure my entire career. Having served as a defense attorney and elected prosecutor, I have seen both sides. The injustice is built into the system, and change does not come easy. My hat is off to Drew Willey, who had the courage to take on the system and the judges. His nonprofit, Restoring Justice, is an innovative idea and will make a difference for his clients and the indigent defense system. As long as Texas has elected judges who depend on local attorneys for their jobs, real change will not happen. All attorneys, including judges, take an oath to do justice, and we owe this duty to our clients and to the people of Texas who are paying for the injustice that happened to Mr. Wilford and the thousands of others who languish in jail for no good reason.
Tom Goff, New Braunfels

Jean Pull

I couldn’t help but notice the huge error on the cover photo of this issue [September 2019]. It’s not that the requisite Skoal ring in the man’s blue jeans was replaced by an effete blue bandanna. That could be a good thing. I’m talking about that red Levi’s tag. When I attended high school in Houston, back in the seventies, one tribe of boys sported Levi’s, long hair, and a black concert T-shirt as they drove Camaros to school. A distinctly different tribe of boys wore Wranglers, boots, and a feed cap as they drove their pickups to school. Without exception, Levi’s were worn by hippies and Yankees. Wranglers were worn by the guys in FFA and FCA. I’m sure this cultural divide played out in high schools across the state, and as a former long-haired hippie, I expect you’ll receive a whole bunch of mail on this subtle difference between the species.
Keith Meehan, Los Gatos, California

As a person born into a ranching family and myself a rancher for over sixty years, I feel qualified to correct [a bartender’s statement on the whereabouts of a turkey’s testicles] in your story [“Long Live Honky-Tonks,” September 2019]. My dad bought cattle four days a week for our operations. We’d work them on Saturday. We harvested calf testicles in the morning and would eat them that night. I have experience in that area. To say a turkey’s nuts are under the wing is like saying a calf’s nuts are under their tail. If you want to eat some, I can direct you to the best. Not trying to criticize your duds, but straight-leg Levi’s with tag attached, bandanna stuffed in back pocket, Western shirt with rolled-up sleeves, and felt hat spell “wannabe.” Keep up the nice work. I read [Texas Monthly] cover to cover.
John Everett, Scurry

Editors’ note: Writer (and cover subject) Christian Wallace would like to respond. “Well, fellers, I’m sorry to get your Wranglers in a wad, but to paraphrase Terry Allen, I don’t wear no Stetson, but I’m willing to bet, son, that I’m as big a Texan as you are.”