Harris County

Houston Chronicle calls for the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Texas

BY David Carroll on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 10:54 AM

The Houston Chronicle started off 2011 by calling for the abolition of the death penalty in Texas in a January 1st editorial.  The position was taken, in part, because of the very real likelihood that Texas has executed two innocent people.  The September 2009 edition of the New Yorker has an excellent expose on the Cameron Todd Willingham case and the work of The Innocence Project on his behalf.  The Innocence Project also has further information on the case of Claude Jones.  The Chronicle notes that a drop in the number of death sentences has occurred since the Texas legislature passed a life-without-parole statute in 2005. 

Gideon Alert: Harris County TX struggles with independence in seeking state funds

BY David Carroll on Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 12:53 PM

Former Federal Bureau of Investigations Director William Sessions and Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Charlie Baird strongly back the need for judges to be out of the business of overseeing indigent defense in an opinion piece in the Houston Chronicle (June 9, 2010).&n

As of May 2010, Harris County remains the most populous county in the United States that does not have a staffed public defender office. NLADA writes to commend the Harris County Board of Commissioners on their desire to enhance the current provision of services for indigent defendants in a manner that provides quality representation and fiscal predictability, as expressed in the 2011 Harris County Discretionary Grant Application Narrative. However, the structure of the proposed pilot office does not adequately address certain systemic deficiencies in public defense services that presently exist in Harris County and will fail to fully achieve the commission's laudable aims, as this letter details.

Author/Organization: National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA)
Publication Date: 05/20/2010

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Gideon Alert: Texas' Dallas County struggles with undue political & judicial interference

BY David Carroll on Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 2:08 PM

An article in the Dallas Morning News  on May 12, 2010 discusses an impasse in the Dallas courts between the executive and judicial branches of government over how to make the courts more efficient.  At iss