Criminal justice

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.

Full Story 

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.

Full Story 

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.

Full Story 
 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.

Full Story 
 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?

Full Story 
 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.

Full Story 

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.

Full Story 
 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.

Full Story 
 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.

Full Story