Criminal justice

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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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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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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covertress.blogspot.com

TribBlog: Packin' in the Park

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who has been taking his gun to Big Bend National Park anyway, says he is glad he can now carry without violating the rules.

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Data App: Day Care Danger

More than 120 federally subsidized day care centers had their licenses denied or revoked by the state for violations of regulations and minimum standards in the last two years. Map their locations and drill down into the records by the provider name or action taken by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

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Caleb Bryant MIller

TribBlog: Skinner Execution Postponed

The trial judge who initially decided Hank Skinner would die Feb. 24 — one week from today — has pushed the execution date back to March 24, says Skinner attorney Rob Owen, co-director of the University of Texas at Austin’s Capital Punishment Clinic.

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Ante Vekic

On the Records: If You Can See This ...

... you aren't among the 40 percent of Texans who don't use the Internet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Only Mississippi and West Virginia have a lower percentage of residents using the Web.

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Jacob Villanueva

Survey Says...

Texans are more worried about the economy and the direction of the country than anything else, according to the new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll. Other notable findings: Nearly two-thirds support either gay marriage or civil unions, nearly half prefer private health insurance to a government-run plan, and more than a third think the Legislature meets every year.

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Caleb Bryant Miller, Jacob Villanueva

A Better App: Public Employee Pay

Find the salaries of more than 340,000 public employees with our enhanced data application, including those working at the largest state agencies as well as individual public schools, cities and mass-transit operators. And universities: Did you know, for instance, that of the 10 highest-paid professors at the state's two largest universities, nine are Aggies?

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Jacqueline Mermea

On the Records: Sunrise?

The Texas Ethics Commission and the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts are opening up more of their data to the public at no charge.

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