Courts

TribBlog: It's Lehrmann

Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Judge Debra Lehrmann to the Place 3 seat that Harriet O’Neill will soon vacate on the Texas Supreme Court. Lehrmann, a Fort Worth District Court judge, won the Republican nomination for that seat in a runoff against former state Rep. Rick Green, R-Dripping Springs.

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Caleb Bryant Miller

Justice Delayed

Death row inmate Hank Skinner bought himself some time Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to address whether he can bring a federal civil rights lawsuit instead of making a habeas corpus claim. But legal experts say he's unlikely to escape his ultimate punishment.

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Graphic by Jacob Villanueva

The Price of Innocence

Let's say you served time for a crime you didn't commit: How much is each year you lost really worth? A new law increases the state's payout to exonerees, but the process of getting compensated is its own form of punishment.

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Caleb Bryant Miller, Jacob Villanueva

On the Records: Paycheck U.

Today we're adding another 17 agencies to our government salaries database, an extra 67,000 workers who collectively earn $2.9 billion in public payroll. The database now has records on more than 550,000 employees working at 62 of the largest state agencies, cities, universities, counties and mass-transit authorities.

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Google Maps

On the Records: The Capitol in 3-D

The next legislative session is more than eight months away, but that doesn't mean you can't explore the Capitol grounds — from your desk — thanks to Google Maps.

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TribBlog: Senators Get Social

With more and more state employees and elected officials using websites like Facebook and Twitter the onslaught of social media use within governmental bodies brings with it a lot of questions.

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Texas A&M University

On the Records: Come and Take Our Data

Records in the Texas Tribune's data library are licensed under Creative Commons, which means you're free to download them, remix them and republish them — so long as you comply with our simple terms.

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Texas Supreme Court

TribBlog: O'Neill Signs Off

Texas Supreme Court Justice Harriet O'Neill, who isn't seeking reelection to the court, also isn't finishing her term. She told Gov. Rick Perry and the other members of the court today that she will step down from the bench on June 20.

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Comptroller's Office

On the Records: Combs' Open Data Center

Susan Combs' new texastransparency.org includes an Open Data Center, where anyone can download dozens of raw data sets, much like the federal government's data.gov.

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David Oshinsky: The TT Interview

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.

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Graphic by Jacob Villanueva, Matt Stiles

The Case of the Missing Prosecutors

Texas has more unfilled U.S. attorney positions than any other state — and that isn’t going to change soon. Currently, none of the four Texas districts have "presidentially confirmed" federal prosecutors, who are responsible for enforcing federal laws. Last week, John B. Stevens, a state district judge in Beaumont who was Barack Obama's only nominee in Texas, withdrew his name from consideration, citing the protracted confirmation process. And that means we risk being left out of the administration’s inner circle on criminal and civil justice issues.

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Jacob Villanueva

The Big Stall

Since his appointment, the alternately amiable and peevish, typically cowboy-boot-shod chairman of the Texas Forensic Science Commission has comported himself as a virtuoso of the bureaucratic dawdle. With the commission's investigation of the now-notorious Cameron Todd Willingham case "still in its infancy," John Bradley has this to say about when it might conclude its review: "However long it takes, that’s however long it takes.”

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Data App: 5,800+ Schools Ranked

We've built a searchable database of public school rankings based on data collected by the Houston-based nonprofit Children At Risk. In contrast to the Texas Education Agency's "ratings," which rely almost entirely on the percentage of students passing the TAKS test, the rankings blend 12 different measures for elementary schools, 10 for middle schools and 14 for high schools — including TAKS results, ACT and SAT scores, AP exams, attendance rates, graduation rates and the percentage of economically disadvantaged students on every campus. How does your school stack up?

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