Criminal justice

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Grissom on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to stay Hank Skinner's execution, Thevenot on the myth of Texas textbook influence, Rapoport on the wild card who was just elected to the State Board of Education, Ramshaw on the price of health care reform, Philpott on the just-enacted prohibition on dropping kids from the state's health insurance rolls, M. Smith on the best little pole tax in Texas, Ramsey on the first corporate political ad and the reality of 2011 redistricting, Stiles on the fastest-growing Texas counties, Aguilar on the vacany at top of Customs and Border Protection at the worst possible time, Galbraith on the state's lack of renewable energy sources other than wind and its investment in efficiency, and Hu and Hamilton on the runoffs to come in House districts 52 and 127. The best of our best from March 22 to 26, 2010.

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Barely Speaking

The state says that if it has the power to ban alcohol in strip clubs, then it can levy a $5 "pole tax." But the clubs argued before the Texas Supreme Court on Thursday that nude dancing is a form of protected speech and that the tax violates the First Amendment.

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Callie Richmond, Caleb Bryant MIller

2010: White Attacks Perry's Border Crime Claims

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White today called on GOP Gov. Rick Perry to remove claims on his public and campaign Web sites that crime on the Texas border has dropped 65 percent. Perry campaign spokesman Mark Miner defended the claims. He said Perry's claim refers to temporary crime drops in discreet areas during so-called "border surge" operations.

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Caleb Bryant Miller

Skinner Gets a Stay

Hank Skinner was set to die Wednesday for the 1993 murders of his live-in girlfriend and her two mentally disabled adult sons — a crime he insists he did not commit. About an hour before he was to have poison pushed through his veins, the U.S. Supreme Court spared his life.

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Caleb Bryant Miller

TribBlog: Lawmakers Urge Perry to Grant Skinner Reprieve

State Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, and state Rep. Elliott Naishtat, D-Austin, wrote Gov. Rick Perry letters today urging him to grant a 30-day reprieve for death-row inmate Hank Skinner, who is scheduled for execution tomorrow.

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TribBlog: Read Abbott's Health Care Lawsuit

President Barack Obama signed the health care reform bill into law this morning. Texas and 12 other states promptly filed a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality.  Read that lawsuit here.

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Mexico's Drug War Spills Over

Lawmakers from both sides of the US/Mexico border were in Mexico City this week working on plans to combat growing border drug violence. Violence that has grabbed headlines in Texas in recent days. KUT’s Ben Philpott reports on the plans to curb border violence. Full Story 

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Grissom on the 1.2 million Texans who've lost their licenses under the Driver Responsibility Act and the impenetrable black box that is the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, Ramshaw and Kraft on nurses with substance abuse problems and rehabilitation that can get them back to work, M. Smith finds it's not easy being Rick Green, Stiles on counting Texans (and everybody else), Rapoport on the State Board of Education's war with itself and the runoff in SBOE District 10, Thevenot's revealing interview with a big-city superintendent on closing bad schools, Aguilar on the tensions over water on the Texas-Mexico border, Hamilton on the new Coffee Party, Hu on Kesha Rogers and why her party doesn't want her, Philpott on the runoff in HD-47, Ramsey on Bill White and the politics of taxes, and E. Smith's conversation with Game Change authors Mark Halperin and John Heleimann: The best of our best from March 15 to 19.

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Caleb Bryant Miller

The Secret Pardon

Barring the intervention of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles is Hank Skinner’s last hope for reprieve from the poison-filled syringe he is set to meet on Wednesday. The board makes life-or-death decisions, recommending to the governor whether an execution should be delayed, called off or carried out, yet it’s one of the least transparent agencies in state government.

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Caleb Bryant MIller

TribBlog: AZ Lab Offers Free Testing for Skinner

Chromosal Laboratories, a DNA testing lab in Phoenix, Ariz., told Gov. Rick Perry that it will test evidence in the Hank Skinner case for free and within 30 days if he grants a reprieve of the convicted murderer's March 24 execution date.

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