Update (4/3): In a last-minute decision Wednesday night, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the lower federal district court's decision to halt the execution of death row inmate Tommy Sells, who is scheduled to die today, Thursday, April 3.
The execution had been halted pending a privacy-disclosure case involving the pharmacy manufacturing the drugs being used in the execution. Sells' attorney says she will be taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry wrote a letter to the U.S. attorney general last week. In it, Perry stated he would not be able to certify Texas prisons under the guidelines of the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA).
Perry cited several points of issue, with the largest being cross-gender monitoring.
The guidelines establish that only members of the same sex should monitor prisoners in private settings like showers and dressing areas. Perry called the restriction "impossible" to enforce.
Update (3/28): The Associated Press is now reporting that the Texas Supreme Court has halted the court decision that ordered the state to disclose the name of the compounding pharmacy that makes the drug pentobarbital.
Texas Matters: A court has ruled that privately-run jails are, in effect, governmental bodies when it comes to Texas open records law, so what will be uncovered from the new level of transparency that these institutions must follow? Will the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association be ready to pay out in the event of a destructive hurricane? Also on this show: Whooping crane populations along the coast and a new ocelot kitten in South Texas.
In US prisons 80,000 people are held in solitary confinement every year, spending more than 22 hours completely alone. It's expensive, its effectiveness is questionable and a growing body of work shows it exacerbates mental health issues. In addition to exacerbating mental health issues already present there is substantial research showing it causes mental health problems.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has changed the method for notifying victims of violent crime if their attacker has violated parole.
Karin Richmond is a former lobbyist, both in Austin and in Washington, D.C.. In 1983, while in her hotel room in Austin, Richmond was brutally stabbed more than a dozen times, her nose cut off, and blinded by her attacker, an employee of the hotel.
“He was imprisoned for a sentence of 90 years which came to 30 years and now he’s been released on parole with a GPS monitoring bracelet," Richmond said.
The United States internet service providers are charging more money for less broadband access according to a report from the New America Foundation. Can the country continue to foster innovation as the country falls behind in access?
A longtime medical examiner for Bexar County has been appointed to the newly-formed National Commission on Forensic Science.
The commission, which meets for the first time in February, was created last year to establish national standards to help assure the scientific value and accuracy of evidence in criminal cases and investigations.
Dr. Vincent DiMaio of San Antonio, who is now a consultant, said lawmakers and the president became interested in standardizing evidence after DNA evidence began to disprove convictions.
The last member of the Texas Syndicate on a 20-defendant federal indictment has been sent to prison, and federal officials say the sentencing effectively shut down the prison-based gang in San Antonio.
Of the handful of prison gangs in Texas, the TS had operated mainly in the other big cities in the state -- Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Joey Contreras in San Antonio said the government’s earlier success in getting rid of the Mexican Mafia allowed the TS to get a foothold here.