Criminal justice

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.

Full Story 
Graphic by Task Force on Indigent Defense


Before adopting the Fair Defense Act in 2001, Texas was considered abysmal in legal circles when it came to providing representation for the poor. Proponents and critics of the current system agree the situation has improved since lawmakers started requiring counties to implement minimum representation standards. But has it improved enough?

Full Story 
Caleb Bryant Miller, iStockphoto

The War at Home

For many of the more than 150,000 Texans who have returned from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, the struggle to cope with the horrors they've seen can result in drug addiction and violent outbursts. To deal with those harsh realities, 10 counties are working to establish "veterans courts" that would emphasize treatment or counseling over punishment.

Full Story 
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.

Full Story 
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.

Full Story 

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.

Full Story 
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.

Full Story 
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.

Full Story 
Comptroller's Office

On the Records: Combs' Open Data Center

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

Full Story 

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.

Full Story 
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.

Full Story 
Bob Daemmrich

Data App: Let's Go to Prison

Our latest interactive database has records on each of the more than 160,000 inmates in Texas prisons, including their names, crimes, hometowns, height, weight and gender, the counties in which they were convicted and their sentencing dates. Explore them all.

Full Story 

TribBlog: Case Against DeLay Aides Will Proceed

Today the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld criminal charges against John Colyandro and Jim Ellis, meaning the case against them related to their work for former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay’s political action committee will proceed at the trial court level.

Full Story 

2010: Did Lehrmann Violate Ethics Rules?

Debra Lehrmann may have violated campaign finance laws during her bid to become the Republican Supreme Court nominee, according to a complaint filed today with the Texas Ethics Commission.

Full Story