LAW & ORDER

U.S. Border Patrol agents patrolling in the Rio Grande Valley.
U.S. Border Patrol agents patrolling in the Rio Grande Valley.

Congress Fully Funds Homeland Security

The 8,900 U.S. Border Patrol agents stationed on Texas’ border with Mexico can clock in next week knowing they’re still going to get paid after Congress Tuesday voted to fund the Department of Homeland Security through September.

Former David Dewhurst consultant Buddy Barfield walks to Austin federal court in October, 2014, to plead guilty to embezzling almost $2 million in campaign funds.
Former David Dewhurst consultant Buddy Barfield walks to Austin federal court in October, 2014, to plead guilty to embezzling almost $2 million in campaign funds.

Dewhurst Adviser Gets 7 Years for Embezzling Millions

Buddy Barfield, once an adviser to former Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, was sentenced Friday to 87 months in prison for embezzling millions of dollars from Dewhurst’s campaign for the U.S. Senate. 

Dewhurst Adviser Gets 7 Years for Embezzling Millions

Former David Dewhurst consultant Buddy Barfield walks to Austin federal court in October, 2014, to plead guilty to embezzling almost $2 million in campaign funds.
Former David Dewhurst consultant Buddy Barfield walks to Austin federal court in October, 2014, to plead guilty to embezzling almost $2 million in campaign funds.

Buddy Barfield, once an adviser to former Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, was sentenced Friday to 87 months in prison for embezzling millions of dollars from Dewhurst’s campaign for the U.S. Senate. 

Featured Data

Visualization: Executions on Rick Perry's Watch

Rodney Reed Wins Stay of Execution

Death row inmate Rodney Reed, scheduled to be executed on March 5, 2015.
Death row inmate Rodney Reed, scheduled to be executed on March 5, 2015.

The state's highest criminal court on Monday issued a stay of execution for Rodney Reed so new evidence can be considered that defense attorneys say proves their client's innocence. 

Judge Urges Lawmakers to Fix School Finance

District Court Judge John Dietz of Austin is shown in his courtroom on Feb. 4, 2013, before he ruled that the state's school finance system was unconstitutional.
District Court Judge John Dietz of Austin is shown in his courtroom on Feb. 4, 2013, before he ruled that the state's school finance system was unconstitutional.

Retired state District Judge John Dietz, who found the Texas school finance system unconstitutional last year, told teachers Sunday that Texas is "dooming a generation" of children. The Legislature, not the courts, should fix the problems, he said. 

Prosecutors Lift Veil on Perry's Alleged Crimes

Prosecutor Michael McCrum gathers his thoughts as testimony continues in Travis County District Court on the Gov. Rick Perry case on Nov. 6, 2014.
Prosecutor Michael McCrum gathers his thoughts as testimony continues in Travis County District Court on the Gov. Rick Perry case on Nov. 6, 2014.

Prosecutors on Friday followed a judge's direction and sharpened their two-count indictment against Rick Perry, providing the clearest look yet at the crimes they believe the former governor committed.

 

DPS Chief: Border Surge Wears on Officers, Resources

Texas Department of Public Safety officers patrol Anzalduas Park as part of Operation Strong Safety. Texas National Guard soldiers deployed to the area on Monday will help DPS in its mission, officials said.
Texas Department of Public Safety officers patrol Anzalduas Park as part of Operation Strong Safety. Texas National Guard soldiers deployed to the area on Monday will help DPS in its mission, officials said.

The multimillion-dollar influx of state police on the border is stemming the tide of illegal immigration, but parts of the operation are largely inefficient, the state’s top law enforcement officer told the House budget-writing committee.

 

Senate Bill Would Expand DNA Testing for Criminal Cases

Senators John Whitmire, D-Houston, left, and Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, congratulate Michael Morton, right, at a court hearing in Georgetown on April 19, 2013. That day, a judge issued an arrest warrant for former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson, after finding probable cause to believe Anderson withheld critical evidence in Michael Morton's 1987 murder trial.
Senators John Whitmire, D-Houston, left, and Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, congratulate Michael Morton, right, at a court hearing in Georgetown on April 19, 2013. That day, a judge issued an arrest warrant for former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson, after finding probable cause to believe Anderson withheld critical evidence in Michael Morton's 1987 murder trial.

Michael Morton, who spent nearly 25 years in prison for murdering his wife before DNA evidence exonerated him, said he wouldn’t have had access under current testing requirements to the evidence that set him free. A new bill by state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, would expand access to DNA testing in criminal cases.

Abbott's Tune Has Changed on Gun Laws

Gov. Greg Abbott annouces several emergency legislative items in his first State of the State speech on Feb. 17, 2015.
Gov. Greg Abbott annouces several emergency legislative items in his first State of the State speech on Feb. 17, 2015.

On the campaign trail, Republican Greg Abbott argued for expanded gun rights — with certain limits. But now that he's been elected governor, the nuance he initially proposed appears to be gone. 

Leaders Say State Will Win Immigration Case

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Greg Abbott, Attorney General Ken Paxton and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick praise a judge's ruling against Obama's immigration program at a Capitol press conference on Feb. 18, 2015.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Greg Abbott, Attorney General Ken Paxton and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick praise a judge's ruling against Obama's immigration program at a Capitol press conference on Feb. 18, 2015.

At a celebratory press conference Wednesday, Greg Abbott, Ted Cruz, Ken Paxton and Dan Patrick hailed a federal judge's ruling to block President Obama's immigration plans, and confidently predicted that Texas will keep winning on appeal.

 

Chief Justice Presses Lawmakers on Legal Aid for Veterans, Poor

Texas Chief Justice Nathan Hecht delivered a State of the Judiciary speech to the Texas Legislature on Feb. 18, 2015.
Texas Chief Justice Nathan Hecht delivered a State of the Judiciary speech to the Texas Legislature on Feb. 18, 2015.

UPDATED: Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht on Wednesday called on state lawmakers to continue their support for legal aid to the poor and military veterans and to complete unfinished work on student truancy reform. 

 

In State of the State Address, Abbott Proposes Sweeping Agenda

Gov. Greg Abbott announces five emergency items for Texas legislators to consider during his State of the State speech on Feb. 17, 2015.
Gov. Greg Abbott announces five emergency items for Texas legislators to consider during his State of the State speech on Feb. 17, 2015.

UPDATED: Gov. Greg Abbott, delivering his first major policy address to the Texas Legislature, laid out an ambitious agenda, including an expansion of pre-kindergarten, massive tax cuts and roads as far as the traffic-glazed eye can see.