LAW & ORDER

"Criminal Aliens" Flashpoint of Border Security Debate

A group of undocumented Mexican national ex-offenders enter Mexico at the US-Mexico border crossing at Brownsville/Matamoros after being deported from the United States on Nov. 4, 2015.
A group of undocumented Mexican national ex-offenders enter Mexico at the US-Mexico border crossing at Brownsville/Matamoros after being deported from the United States on Nov. 4, 2015.

How to deal with, or talk about, foreigners who commit crimes in the United States — the government’s term for them is the politically incorrect “criminal aliens” — has prompted heated calls for vastly different solutions. This story is part of our "Bordering on Insecurity" series.

State Officials Investigating Rep. Dukes' Use of Staff

Texas State Representative Dawnna Dukes is honored at the unveiling of the African American Portrait Project at the African American Cultural and heritage Facility in Austin, Texas. June 9, 2014.
Texas State Representative Dawnna Dukes is honored at the unveiling of the African American Portrait Project at the African American Cultural and heritage Facility in Austin, Texas. June 9, 2014.

The State Auditor's Office is investigating whether state Rep. Dawnna Dukes improperly required her legislative staffers to participate in work for a nonprofit group that she founded, a Capitol source told The Texas Tribune on Friday. 

Houston Sheriff Still Shielding Killer's Record

Victor Reyes, shown in 2001 jail mug shot from Hidalgo County. Authorities say Reyes, an undocumented immigrant, went on a January 2015 shooting spree in Harris County that killed two and wounded three.
Victor Reyes, shown in 2001 jail mug shot from Hidalgo County. Authorities say Reyes, an undocumented immigrant, went on a January 2015 shooting spree in Harris County that killed two and wounded three.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office has decided to keep secret its investigative files on a Mexican national whose 2015 shooting spree in Houston left two people dead and three injured.  

 

Court of Criminal Appeals Candidates Emphasize Experience

Democrat Lawrence "Larry" Meyers (top left) will face the winner of the Republican primary for Court of Criminal Appeals Place 2. The GOP candidates are Mary Lou Keel (top right), Chris Oldner (bottom left) and Ray Wheless (bottom right).
Democrat Lawrence "Larry" Meyers (top left) will face the winner of the Republican primary for Court of Criminal Appeals Place 2. The GOP candidates are Mary Lou Keel (top right), Chris Oldner (bottom left) and Ray Wheless (bottom right).

Although the Court of Criminal Appeals is the highest criminal court in the state — and it deals with a number of hot-button issues including the death penalty — its nine judges don’t attract much attention. That can make campaigning for a seat on the court difficult.

Trooper in Sandra Bland Case Set for Arraignment

The booking photo (left) of Brian Encinia, the DPS trooper who pulled over and arrested Sandra Bland, on Jan. 7, 2016. Bland committed suicide in her Waller Co. jail cell a few days after her arrest.
The booking photo (left) of Brian Encinia, the DPS trooper who pulled over and arrested Sandra Bland, on Jan. 7, 2016. Bland committed suicide in her Waller Co. jail cell a few days after her arrest.

Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Brian Encinia's arraignment on a perjury charge related to his arrest of Sandra Bland will be held in March, the Waller County District Clerk's office confirmed.

Faces of Death Row App Gets an Update

Mark Anthony Gonzalez arrived on death row last week after being convicted in the shooting death of Bexar County Sheriff Sgt. Kenneth Vann. With his arrival and the executions of Richard Masterson and James Freeman in January, there are now 252 people in Texas living with a death sentence.

 

Lawyers for Texas Talk Strategy on SCOTUS Immigration Hearing

Texas First Assistant Attorney General Chip Roy and Solicitor General Scott Keller sat down with Tribune reporter Julián Aguilar on Feb. 1, 2016 to discuss an upcoming case on illegal immigration headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Texas First Assistant Attorney General Chip Roy and Solicitor General Scott Keller sat down with Tribune reporter Julián Aguilar on Feb. 1, 2016 to discuss an upcoming case on illegal immigration headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a case challenging President Barack Obama's executive order on illegal immigration, the two top lawyers for Texas spoke to the Tribune about what the state is fighting for.

As Feds Plan to Cut Border Monitoring, Texas Officials Ask Why

A Customs and Border Protection vehicle patrols on the Texas border near the Rio Grande, Thursday, July 24, 2014, in Mission, Texas. Texas is spending $1.3 million a week for a bigger DPS presence along the border.
A Customs and Border Protection vehicle patrols on the Texas border near the Rio Grande, Thursday, July 24, 2014, in Mission, Texas. Texas is spending $1.3 million a week for a bigger DPS presence along the border.

Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Laredo Democrat, pressed the Department of Homeland Security on Monday to explain why the agency plans to reduce its aerial surveillance on the Texas-Mexico border.

 

Man Who Killed Texas Game Warden Executed

James Garrett Freeman shot and killed Justin Hurst, a game warden, in 2007, according to court documents.
James Garrett Freeman shot and killed Justin Hurst, a game warden, in 2007, according to court documents.

James Garrett Freeman shot and killed Justin Hurst, a game warden, following a high-speed chase in 2007. He was executed Wednesday evening, the second execution in Texas this year.

Police Group Upset Over DPS Director's "Spit" Comment

Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, is interviewed by Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith on Jan. 19, 2016.
Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, is interviewed by Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith on Jan. 19, 2016.

When asked about escalations with law enforcement, Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw said last week that officers need to respond professionally and added, "Anybody that’s been spit at ... you just take it."

Facing Felony Charges, Anti-Abortion Group Cites Free Speech Protections

The waiting room at Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast's ambulatory surgical center in Houston Friday, August 2, 2013.
The waiting room at Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast's ambulatory surgical center in Houston Friday, August 2, 2013.

As more details about the charges against anti-abortion activists who secretly-recorded Planned Parenthood staff come to light, the videographers are vowing to fight back — setting up a possible legal battle over First Amendment protections.

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