Texas enforcement officials might characterize the state's criminal laws as intended to ensure public safety and harmonious living. Federal and state laws are intended to protect all people. At their best, criminal laws benefit those without a voice or who could not otherwise protect themselves in a lawless society.
A Texas grand jury recently voted against indicting former District Attorney Pat Lykos for a charge of misuse of public resources. Lykos was charged with unlawfully investigating another grand jury's deliberations about the Houston Police Department's breath alcohol testing vehicles.
A Texas town recently released profiling data for motor vehicle stops made in 2012. According to the report, local police stopped approximately 1,270 motorists, of whom the biggest portion -- around 59% -- were Caucasian. Hispanic and African American drivers were the second and third largest groups, respectively.
Our Texas readers know that residents of our state hold family as one of the highest of values in life. The family unit is an essential part of the Texan lifestyle across the state and many would sacrifice almost anything to protect their families.
In keeping with our series discussing criminal justice reforms for certain demographics, today's post explores the proposal recently advanced by a federal judge concerning criminal sentencing of the elderly.
Texas readers may have conflicting beliefs about the mission of the criminal justice system. Some may believe the primary purpose behind prosecuting and jailing criminals is the protection of society. Others may believe that segregating criminals from society is necessary only for violent crimes, and that imprisonment is an outdated approach to other types of offenses. Rehabilitation, or giving an offender an opportunity to conform his or her ways, is yet another, more idealistic explanation. Perhaps the system strives to accomplish all of these rationales.
In a time of economic recession, some may have concerns about agencies cutting staffing or other resources. Even corporate leaders may be tempted to cut corners in safety or regulatory compliance matters, in an effort to reduce costs.
According to the Texas Council on Family Violence, there are nearly 200,000 reports of family violence each year in Texas, and more than 100 people are killed as a result of the abuse. For that reason, organizers at the Texas Access to Justice Foundation are using the month of October, which is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, to educate and offer resources to victims of domestic violence.
The housing and foreclosure crisis has left a glut of vacant homes in many cities throughout the state of Texas. Often, these homes are simply left to sit empty until someone purchases them and rehabilitates them back to usable condition. In other cases, though, "squatters" are moving into the properties and living in them as if they were their own homes.
Anybody who has ever gotten caught in a speed trap knows the sinking feeling that comes with the knowledge that you're about to owe a lot of money. Try to save your fellow motorists from a similar fate, however, and you could be in for much, much worse.