Crime and InJustice

  • Llano County Jail Death Prompts Lawsuit

    NOVEMBER 12, 2012

    TCRP Veterans’ Rights Project

    Texas Tribune

    by Maurice Chammah

    When the Llano County sheriff arrived at her home in August 2011, Shirley Appell thought that her son, Shawn, had escaped from the county jail.

    The 45-year-old Air Force veteran had been arrested five months earlier after driving his car into a local tire shop, which she says was because he was suffering from schizophrenia.

    Violent Felon Sentenced To 96-Months For Illegally Possessing A Firearm Again

    November 21, 2013

    Jeremy Crawford, a 32-year old Venice, Illinois resident, was sentenced today in United States District Court to 96-months in federal prison for illegally possessing a firearm, announced Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois.

  • FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2013

    Overcrowding at S. Texas detention center forces juvie offenders to sleep on floor 

    In Hidalgo County, the recently expanded juvenile detention facility is already full, mostly with misdemeanor offenders, primarily because of paperwork delays by the local PD and the inexplicable failure of Judge Jesse Contreras to show up for work and stay there long enough to move his cases, reported the McAllen Monitor (Nov. 16). “During the past three months, The Monitor observed Contreras routinely arrive late or delay hearings for hours without explanation. On Aug. 30, Contreras suddenly announced a brief recess, left the building and didn’t return for about two hours.” Judge Contreras says the only solution is to build more jail space, but clearly there’s a lot more that can be done on his end to move cases along. These are issues of process, not capacity.


    Judge who berated jurors could have violated judicial canons

    Texas Lawyer’s John Council has a feature (Nov. 21) on the story (covered here on Grits) of a visiting judge in Tarrant County berating jurors for issuing a verdict with which he disagreed in a DWI case. The conclusion of the story suggests the judge may have even violated canons of judicial ethics:

    There’s a reason why judges are well advised to keep their thoughts about a jury’s verdict to themselves, said George Gallagher, judge of the 396th District Court in Tarrant County.

    Citizen complaints rising vs. Austin PD (Grits for Breakfast)

     According to the Austin Police Monitor’s latest six-month update (pdf):
    In the first half of 2013, 674 people contacted the OPM with the intent of filing a complaint. As of this writing, it looks like calendar year 2013 will see more complaints than were received in 2012. If so, this will be the first time in three years, the OPM has seen an increase in the number of complaints.
    In the first half of 2013, the very first mediation session between members of the APD and a member of the public occurred at the Dispute Resolution Center.
    See also their most recent 2012 annual report (pdf), which is much more detailed.
  • The website promises lower interstate phone costs by providing a local phone number that inmates can call and therefore eliminate long distance, state-to-state costs. 
    TDCJ does not allow them to register numbers from ConsCallHome.
    The ConsCallHome website does not have a warning that their phone system cannot be used by the Securis system currently installed at TDCJ facilities. If you are having or have had any problem with this service, please contact the Texas Consumer Protection Services Department.
  • 14 yr-old victim of police brutality

    A 14-year-old boy Pennsylvania boy and his 19-year-old cousin were caught shoplifting in a Tulleytown, Pennsylvania Walmart. His mother says he was influenced by the older cousin and made a bad decision, like a lot of teenagers are prone to do. But what happened next has his mother, Marissa Sergeant, questioning the police version of events:

    Authorities say after the teen’s arrest, and before he was loaded into a police car, he took off running along Route 13 while handcuffed.Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler tells NBC10 that police officers yelled warnings at the teen and fearing for his safety, they fired a stun gun to subdue him. The D.A. says the Taser struck the boy in the face and with his hands cuffed, the boy had no way to brace himself against falling face-first.

    “That doesn’t sound right. There’s no way, if he was running from behind, that he would get hit with a taser in the front of his face,” said Sargeant.

    You can see an interview with Marissa Sergeant (including more graphic photos of her son)here.


 Employee Union: Low Prison Pay Jeopardizes Security

by Maurice Chammah November 21, 2012
Leaders of the state’s prison employee union say that officials are leaving Texas prisons dangerously understaffed. On Wednesday, they renewed calls for better pay, noting that the holiday season is a particularly dangerous time in Texas prisons.

Page 1 of 1

One Texas Department of Public Safety trooper forced a kiss on a stopped motorist. Another used his uniform to get a girlfriend released from jail. There was the trooper who took an inspection sticker off his patrol vehicle and stuck it on his personal car.

Los Angeles (CNN) — Rodney King, whose beating by Los Angeles police in 1991 was caught on camera and sparked riots after the acquittal of the four officers involved, was found dead in his swimming pool Sunday, authorities and his fiancee said. He was 47.

Arena, who fought questionable pedophile test, to be freed from prison

By Chuck Lindell | Friday, June 1, 2012, 11:24 AM
Michael Arena, almost 13 years into a 20-year prison sentence for molesting a young cousin who later said the incident never happened, will be released from prison as early as this afternoon, his lawyer says.

City of Houston
HDHHS Community Re-Entry Network (CRN)

Approximately 15,000 ex-offenders are released into the Houston community from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice each year. In response, HDHHS has developed the HDHHS Community Re-Entry Network, an innovative program and support system for ex-offenders in the Greater Houston area. The goal of the program is to increase successful community re-entry after incarceration. It is designed to focus on areas of the city that are most impacted by re-entry and recidivism, while providing a network of resources and linkages in close proximity. The expected outcomes include reduced recidivism and re-arrests, improved employment and retention rates, stabilized housing for a minimum of one year, and increased familial involvement in service delivery.

For additional information, including enrollment information, call 832.393.5464 or email

Texas Inmate Families Association (T.I.F.A.) 

Mother Of Slain Trayvon Martin Reveals Anguish

I received the following email from Brandi Grissom, reporter with the Texas Tribune and a true friend to TIFA.

I’m working on a story about inmates and organ donation, and I  wondered if you know of any inmates or their families who have been  involved in organ donation who might be willing to talk with me and be  photographed.

The story is about how the process works and also will discuss the  ban on organ donation by death row inmates and whether that might change  in light of the change in the execution protocol.

My deadline is next Thursday (9/6). I will be out of town, but reachable by email and on my cell phone (512)217-3836.

Susan Fenner
Executive Director
TIFA member 15.5 years

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s