Criminal justice

 Edward A. Ornelas\The San Antonio Express-News

Crime, Guns and Money

When the state's concealed handgun statute was approved 15 years ago, lawmakers argued it would help citizens defend themselves — but residents of low-income, largely Democratic nieghborhoods aren't applying for gun permits as often as those in wealthier, more-conservative areas, according to a Texas Tribune/San Antonio Express-News analysis.

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A Place to Shoot

In a pattern that's playing out in San Antonio and other major metro areas in Texas, residents in low-income neighborhoods aren't taking advantage of the state's concealed-carry law as often as residents living in wealthier, more conservative areas.

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 Edward A. Ornelas/San Antonio Express-News

An Obama Gun Rush?

In the two years since Barack Obama was elected president, many Texas gun owners — afraid of losing their Second Amendment rights — have stocked up on weapons and ammo. Texans have also sought a record number of concealed handgun licenses. Coincidence?

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Ana Yañez-Correa: The TT Interview

The executive director of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition on how criminal justice austerity measures demanded by state leaders would affect Texas prisons, poor people accused of crimes and the counties responsible for overseeing overcrowded jails.

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The Weekly TribCast: Episode 48

Our topics this week include the renewed debate over concealed handguns on campus, the advantages of not debating or talking to the press and the hotly contested battle between Congressman Chet Edwards and Republican Bill Flores in CD-17.

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 Bob Daemmerich

TribBlog: Jail Official's Indictment Dismissed

A judge in Nueces County today dismissed a criminal indictment against Texas Commission on Jail Standards Executive Director Adan Muñoz, who was charged in connection with his release of information about a jailhouse suicide. Open government advocates have called the indictment outrageous.

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 Illustration by Todd Wiseman

A Burning Issue

The Innocence Project of Texas will launch a campaign today not only to exonerate Sonia Cacy, a woman who experts say was wrongly convicted of setting fire to her uncle, but also to overhaul of the use of "junk science" in the prosecution of criminal cases.

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 Caleb Bryant Miller

Slideshow: A Shooting on the UT Campus

Caleb Bryant Miller, a Daily Texan photographer and frequent contributor to The Texas Tribune, was home preparing for a history test news when broke of a shooting on the campus of the University of Texas, where he's enrolled as a second-semester senior. He ditched his books, grabbed his telephoto lens, hopped on his bike and headed to the Forty Acres to capture images of a tragic and frightening day.

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 Todd Wiseman

Have Guns, Will Travel

Some Texas officials believe that refusing to pass laws aimed at controlling firearms makes the state safer, arguing that a well-armed population makes would-be criminals think twice. But as Matt Largey of KUT News reports, a new study says guns from states like Texas are being used to commit crimes elsewhere.

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 Illustration by Jacob Villanueva

Go Directly to Jail

Across Texas, defendants charged with misdemeanor offenses are choosing to spend time in the local lockup rather than endure months on probation. They don’t want to deal with the hassle of probation's conditions, and they can’t afford the thousands of dollars in fees that it requires. People on both sides of the criminal justice system agree that the trend is troubling: It’s helping to fill local jails beyond capacity, and even worse, it means that people charged with DWI, possession of small amounts of drugs and family violence are not getting the treatment they need.

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Judge Orders TWIA Settlement Kept Private

In an issue that's sparked a nasty political fight, attorneys for the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association and attorneys for the homeowners who sued them appeared at a Monday hearing to argue whether the legal fees in a record $189 million Hurricane Ike settlement should be kept private. Judge Susan Criss ultimately sided with homeowners' attorney Steve Mostyn and granted a new temporary restraining order that keeps TWIA from releasing settlement details, at least for now.

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 Caleb Bryant Miller

Justice on the Cheap

As part of an occasional series looking into how shortfall-inspired budget cuts could affect different state agencies heading into the 2011 legislative session, Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports on the likely impact on the state's criminal justice system.

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 Illustration by Todd Wiseman

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Aguilar on Mexican journalists in grave danger, Galbraith on the continuing saga of Texas vs. the EPA, Ramshaw on whether a broken hospital bed constitutes medical malpractice, M. Smith on the latest delay in the Cameron Todd Willingham case, Hamilton interviews a Sarah Palin-approved GOP candidate for Congress, Stiles goes all interactive in chronicling the massive increase in legislative filings in the last 20 years, Grissom talks about the criminalization of mental illness with an author who knows the subject first-hand, Philpott on closing the budget gap without federal stimulus money, Ramsey on everyone ignoring down-ballot candidates, Hu on the mysterious lack of Rick Perry yard signs and yours truly sits down with the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor: The best of our best from September 20 to 24, 2010.

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 Graphic by Jacob Villanueva

It's Getting Hot in Here

Come January, the Environmental Protection Agency will begin regulating greenhouse gas emissions around the country for the first time — but not if Texas can help it. Attorney General Greg Abbott last week lodged legal challenges in a federal court against EPA actions on multiple fronts, including a reiteration of the state's long-standing argument against the agency's scientific foundation for determining the dangers of greenhouse gas pollution.

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Witch Hunters?

Talking point No. 1 for an elected official facing an ethics investigation in Texas: Blame the politicization of the Public Integrity Unit, which is funded by the Legislature but operates out of the district attorney's office in heavily Democratic Travis County.

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