LAW & ORDER

HHSC Ditching Anti-Fraud Initiative Started by Stick

Jack Stick in the evidence room of the state Office of Inspector General in Austin on June 18, 2012.
Jack Stick in the evidence room of the state Office of Inspector General in Austin on June 18, 2012.

After Jack Stick joined the Health and Human Services Commission's Office of Inspector General, he incorporated sales quota-like performance standards for investigators. The effort got results, but reviews have been mixed and the initiative is being shut down.

McCaul Plan Would Fund Guard, Aid Border Patrol

U.S. Border Patrol agents say that illegal traffic on public and private land in the Rio Grande Valley has triggered the need for additional resources in the region this year.
U.S. Border Patrol agents say that illegal traffic on public and private land in the Rio Grande Valley has triggered the need for additional resources in the region this year.

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, is pushing new border security legislation that would make it easier for Border Patrol agents to operate on protected lands, and fund continued National Guard presence.

Court Suspends Death Row Inmate's Lawyer Over Late Filing

Texas Death Row inmate Miguel Angel Paredes.
Texas Death Row inmate Miguel Angel Paredes.

The Court of Criminal Appeals has suspended a criminal defense lawyer, arguing that he filed motions to stop executions too late. The move is part of a ongoing feud in Texas between such lawyers and judges who rule on their claims. 

Judge Hears Arguments in Immigration Policy Case

Attorney General Greg Abbott speaking on Dec. 3, 2014, about the lawsuit filed by Texas and other states against the Obama administration over immigration policy.
Attorney General Greg Abbott speaking on Dec. 3, 2014, about the lawsuit filed by Texas and other states against the Obama administration over immigration policy.

UPDATED: A judge heard arguments Thursday on a request to halt a White House immigration policy that could affect hundreds of thousands of Texans living in the country illegally. The judge did not indicate when he would make a ruling.

Attempts to Dupe Immigration Agents on the Rise

International Bridge 1, for passenger vehicles and pedestrians, in Laredo.
International Bridge 1, for passenger vehicles and pedestrians, in Laredo.

Instead of trusting human smugglers or risking clandestine border crossings, an increasing number of people trying to enter the U.S. illegally are taking a more brazen approach. They try to slip through legal entry points using fake papers, or documents that belong to someone else. 

Gay Marriage Ban on Precarious Legal Ground

Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman, plaintiffs in the Texas same-sex marriage lawsuit, pose before a a town hall discussion about the upcoming hearing before the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman, plaintiffs in the Texas same-sex marriage lawsuit, pose before a a town hall discussion about the upcoming hearing before the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Almost a decade after voters overwhelmingly added it to the Texas Constitution, the clock may be running out on the state's gay marriage ban. 

A Push to Award a Degree to a Symbol of Injustice

Attorney General Greg Abbott and state Sen. Wendy Davis were among those attending the unveiling of a statue of Timothy Cole at a Lubbock park on Sept. 17, 2014. Cole was wrongfully convicted of rape in 1985 and died in prison in 1999. He was posthumously exonerated in 2009.
Attorney General Greg Abbott and state Sen. Wendy Davis were among those attending the unveiling of a statue of Timothy Cole at a Lubbock park on Sept. 17, 2014. Cole was wrongfully convicted of rape in 1985 and died in prison in 1999. He was posthumously exonerated in 2009.

Texas Tech University expelled Tim Cole after he was arrested in 1985 and charged with rape. Cole died in prison, but DNA evidence cleared the way for a posthumous pardon in 2009. Now there's a push for Tech to award Cole an honorary degree.

New Leaders Hope to Burnish Laredo's Image

Laredo has become the state's 10th-largest city, but it grapples with a reputation for corruption, crime and poverty.
Laredo has become the state's 10th-largest city, but it grapples with a reputation for corruption, crime and poverty.

After eight years of growth, change and public corruption scandals, new leaders in Laredo and Webb County are greeting 2015 with a sense of optimism. 

CCA Offers Guidance to Courts Trying Teens as Adults

Detainees are moved from location to location within the Travis County Juvenile Detention Center in Austin, Texas, Monday, June 24, 2013.
Detainees are moved from location to location within the Travis County Juvenile Detention Center in Austin, Texas, Monday, June 24, 2013.

The state's highest criminal court on Wednesday ruled that a Houston teen should not have been tried as an adult and spelled out better guidance for courts to consider before transferring youth defendants into the adult court system.