Courts

Caleb Bryant MIller

TribBlog: Skinner Asks Perry for Reprieve

Lawyers for death row inmate Hank Skinner sent Gov. Rick Perry a letter yesterday asking him for a 30-day reprieve from Skinner's scheduled March 24 execution. The lawyers also asked Perry to order DNA testing on evidence that Skinner says could prove his innocence.

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Data App: Homeland $ecurity

Loving County, in far West Texas, spent about $1,100 per resident in U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant funds from 2003 to 2008. Compare that with Harris County, which spent less than $6 per resident. Contemplate the disparity — and search for individual purchases with DHS grant money — using our latest data application.

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Caleb Bryant Miller

Starving for Reform

For two months, inmates in a South Texas immigrant detention facility have been on a staggered hunger strike — what the government calls “voluntary fasting" — to protest alleged abuse, lack of medical care and near-nil access to legal resources.

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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Our obsessive-compulsive election day and next day coverage: frenetically updated county-by-county maps and up-to-the-minute returns in every race on the ballot, Hu's awesome crowdsourced liveblog, Ramshaw on the twenty surprise outcomes, Aguilar on recount possibilities and dead incumbents, M. Smith on how judicial races turned out, Rapoport on changes at the SBOE and who was elected before the first vote was cast, Thevenot on whether the GOP has a problem with Hispanics, Hamilton on how the Tea Party fared, Grissom and Ramshaw on the legislative and congressional mop-up, Ramsey on what happens now, Stiles on how much candidates spent per vote; and my post-primary debrief with Rick Perry's pollster and George W. Bush's former strategist. The best of our best from March 1 to 5, 2010.

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Jacob Villanueva

Data App: How Much Votes Cost

Was Farouk Shami, in fact, "on fire"? The Democratic gubernatorial candidate burned through campaign cash, spending $135 for every vote he received in Tuesday's primary on the way to getting trounced by Bill White — more than any other candidate on the ballot, and by far the most of any losing candidate. By contrast, Democratic land commissioner hopeful Bill Burton spent only 2 cents per vote in a narrow loss to Hector Uribe, who spent only 7 cents per vote himself. All told, candidates spent, on average, about $14 per vote. Explore each campaign's bang for the buck in our latest data application.

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The Supremes

As the last numbers crept in late Tuesday night, there were no surprises in the contested races for the seats on the state’s highest civil court. Voters will return to the polls again in April to see who will take over Harriet O’Neill’s old spot, and Rose Vela didn’t manage an upset against recent appointee Eva Guzman.

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Sup. Ct. 3: Green on Top, but Runoff Certain

As of early Wednesday morning, Rick Green has barely broken from the crowd of six GOP candidates vying for the open spot on the High Court, and a runoff is guaranteed. What's unclear is who his opponent will be — Rebecca Simmons, Jim Moseley, and Debra Lehrmann are all hovering close behind. It's likely Jeff Brown, who narrowly trails those three, won't make the cut. The only clear loser of the night is Rick Strange, who didn't keep up with the pack.

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TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Ramshaw on the state's quiet sharing of infant blood samples with the military and on the things Rick Perry's opponents aren't saying about him, Grissom on Farouk Shami's surprising popularity in El Paso, Philpott on the political advantages of a job creation fund and how Debra Medina's supporters are reacting to her "truther" comments, Hu on Debra Medina in the latest installment of Stump Interrupted, Thevenot on how the kids feel about the federal option of closing bad high schools, Rapoport on the newest mutation of the state's pay-as-you-go transportation philosophy, and our roundup of party primaries in the last week before the election: Rapoport on HD-7, Ramsey on HD-11, Aguilar on HD-36 and HD-43, Philpott on HD-47, Thevenot on HD-52 and SD-5, Kreighbaum on HD-105 and one Supreme Court race, M. Smith on another, and Hamilton on the colorful Democratic candidates for Agriculture Commissioner. The best of our best from February 22 to 26, 2010.

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Primary Color: The Final Five

This is the final day of early voting — a period in which many more energized and engaged Texans cast ballots for their favorite candidates than their counterparts did in 2006. During the last two weeks, we've published fifteen installments in our Primary Color series, analyzing the marquee contested party primaries for Texas House and Senate seats, for Congressional seats, and for slots on the State Board of Education and the Texas Supreme Court. Today we present the last five of our stories. Brian Thevenot reports on the face-off between very different GOP insiders to take on state Rep. Diana Maldonado, D-Round Rock, in House District 52. Julian Aguilar looks at the ideological purity test in HD-43, where incumbent Tara Rios Ybarra, D-South Padre Island, has been called a "closet Republican" by her Democratic challenger. Reeve Hamilton explains how Democrats have to choose between an Agriculture Commissioner candidate with ranching experience and one who's the consummate promoter. Andrew Kreighbaum weighs in on the six-way free-for-all to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice Harriet O’Neill in Place 3. And Ross Ramsey contemplates the potential karmic payback of state Rep. Chuck Hopson, of Jacksonville, who quit the Democratic party and filed for reelection as a Republican, only to find two GOP primary opponents lying in wait.

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Primary Color: Supreme Court Place 3

Six Republicans — five judges from across the state and a former House member with no judicial experience — are touting their conservative credentials as they run for that rare thing in Texas politics: an open seat on the Supreme Court.

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Bob Daemmrich

Primary Color: Supreme Court Place 9

Rose Vela is no stranger to challenging establishment-backed judicial candidates — and unlike most who run upstart campaigns, she wins. But this year she's taking on Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, the appointee of a governor with the most formidable political machine in recent Texas history.

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Bob Daemmrich

The Buck Stops Where?

Three of the biggest social services messes of Rick Perry's ten-year tenure — the sexual abuse scandal at the Texas Youth Commission, fight clubs at state institutions for the disabled and deaths of children on Child Protective Services’ watch — have been noticeably absent from the campaign trail. Is it because Texans don't hold him accountable for these tragedies? Or because his opponents think GOP primary voters simply don't care?

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Supreme Court of the United States

TribBlog: Judges Gone Wild

A Supreme Court appeal has breathed new life into a two-decade-old scandal — this one with details a little less banal than a judge’s strict adherence to closing time.

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