Brandi Grissom Managing Editor

Brandi Grissom is The Texas Tribune's managing editor and joined the staff when the online publication launched in 2009. In addition to editing duties, Grissom leads the Tribune's coverage of criminal justice issues. During her tenure at the Tribune, she was chosen as a 2012 City University of New York Center on Media, Crime and Justice/H.F. Guggenheim Journalism Fellow and was a fellow at the 2012 Journalist Law School at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. Grissom, along with Tribune multimedia producer Justin Dehn, received a 2012 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative reporting for work on the case of Megan Winfrey, who was acquitted of murder in February 2013 after the Trib’s coverage brought statewide attention the case. Grissom joined the Tribune after four years at the El Paso Times, where she acted as a one-woman Capitol bureau. Grissom won the Associated Press Managing Editors First-Place Award in 2007 for using the Freedom of Information Act to report stories on a variety of government programs and entities, and the ACLU of Texas named her legislative reporter of the year in 2007 for her immigration reporting. She previously served as managing editor at The Daily Texan and has worked for the Alliance Times-Herald, the Taylor Daily Press, the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung and The Associated Press. A native of Alliance, Neb., she has a degree in history from the University of Texas.

Recent Contributions

Prison Phones Generate Less Money Than Hoped

Texas prisoners have made and received more than 4.7 million telephone calls and sent and received 1.8 million e-mails since 2009, when the state became the last in the nation to allow inmates phone and e-mail use. But all those calls and messages haven’t generated the amount of revenue the state expected. The issue is balancing greater access for prisoners and their friends and family and the need to ensure security. 

Molly Molloy: The TT Interview

Molly Molloy, New Mexico State University librarian and professor
Molly Molloy, New Mexico State University librarian and professor
As 2010 drew to a close, the death toll in Juárez surpassed an astonishing 3,100 for the year. Since 2008, New Mexico State University librarian and professor Molly Molloy has been painstakingly keeping a daily tally of each one of the drug war killings that has made the city across the Rio Grande from El Paso one of the most dangerous in the world.

A TT Interview With Prisons Expert Michele Deitch

The jail conditions expert and professor at the University of Texas' LBJ School of Public Affairs on why maintaining treatment programs that keep offenders in their communities and reducing some of the harsh, long-term jail sentences often doled out in Texas' notoriously tough criminal justice system could be more cost-efficient and allow Texas to close prisons.

Loopholes Allow Cockfighting to Thrive

A rooster that was euthanized because it was severely injured during a forced fight at a southeast Dallas cockfighting ring that police busted Oct. 18.
A rooster that was euthanized because it was severely injured during a forced fight at a southeast Dallas cockfighting ring that police busted Oct. 18.

Cockfighting in Texas has been illegal for decades, but a lengthy Humane Society investigation uncovered more than a dozen active rings throughout the state. What's not illegal is raising fighting game cocks, attending a cockfight or possessing paraphernalia related to cock fights — such as gaffs, the razor blades owners strap to the birds' legs to make them even more lethal. Animal rights activists came close in the last legislative session to getting such activities criminalized, which they say is critical to putting an end to cockfighting. They plan to try again next year. 

Per National Trend, Perry Stingy With Pardons

Gov. Rick Perry in an interview with Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith
Gov. Rick Perry in an interview with Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith

Pardoning has become a holiday tradition for governors and the president, who each year choose a fortunate few whose criminal records will get wiped clean. But experts say state and national leaders are granting fewer pardons these days — and doing it in a way that undermines a critical criminal justice process that allows rehabilitated offenders to lead normal lives. Gov. Rick Perry, for example, has granted only about 180 pardons since 2001. By contrast, Bill Clements issued more than 800 pardons during his eight-year tenure, while Mark White issued nearly 500 in four years.

Budget Woes May Close More Texas Youth Facilities

Lawmakers, bureaucrats and criminal justice advocates all agree that the state’s trouble-ridden Texas Youth Commission ought to close down two of its correctional facilities. Like other state agencies, TYC has been asked to cut its budget for the next biennium by 10 percent, or $40 million. But no one at TYC is saying which lockups should get shuttered. “They don’t want to bite that bullet and show leadership,” says state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston.

Hispanic Farmers Call Settlement Offer Inadequate

Victor Elizando and Noe Obregon rest in the shade during a visit to the farmland Obregon used to tend before the USDA's discriminatory loan practices put him out of business.
Victor Elizando and Noe Obregon rest in the shade during a visit to the farmland Obregon used to tend before the USDA's discriminatory loan practices put him out of business.

A decade after Hispanic farmers in Texas and other states sued the USDA, alleging discrimination in the awarding of loans and other federal benefits to minorities, the government has tendered a settlement offer. The plaintiffs think it's laughable.

Judge to Rule on Death Penalty Constitutionality

Harris County District Judge Kevin Fine is set to hold a hearing Monday in the case of John Edward Green, who is charged with fatally shooting a Houston woman during a robbery in June 2008. Green’s attorneys and capital punishment opponents want Fine to find that prosecutors can’t seek the death penalty because the way we administer it in Texas is unconstitutional. “The current system is profoundly and fundamentally flawed from top to bottom,” says Andrea Keilen, executive director of the Texas Defender Service. Prosecutors counter that the ruling should be made by higher courts, not a trial judge.