Before adopting the Fair Defense Act in 2001, Texas was considered abysmal in legal circles when it came to providing representation for the poor. Proponents and critics of the current system agree the situation has improved since lawmakers started requiring counties to implement minimum representation standards. But has it improved enough?Full Story
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.
In Texas law, marriage and gender are a simple affair: Born a man, always a man, never marry another man. Same for a woman. But sexual identity and love in the modern world are rarely so black and white. So what's the state to do when a woman who was born a man wants to marry another woman? It’s a conundrum that dismays social conservatives, confounds county clerks and has advocates for gay and transgender rights calling for clarification. But for all the handwringing by politicians and advocates of all stripes, the saga of two women who married legally last week is infinitely more complicated and agonizing.Full Story
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author and University of Texas professor, whose latest book is a modern history of capital punishment in America, says he doesn't oppose the death penalty — but he believes it's scandalously implemented in Texas.Full Story