Category Archives: Crime and Punishment

Mayor’s committee on HPD dropped cases provides its report

Up to Council and HPD to take action now. The independent panel reviewing the ongoing Houston Police Department scandal over suspended cases identified an interim police chief as the one who ordered the creation of the “SL” lack of personnel … Continue reading

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Is this an opportunity for cooperative cost savings?

Reading through this story about how Harris County is spending the public safety portion of its 2022 bond funds, I have a question. New Harris County law enforcement facilities are one step closer to breaking ground after Commissioners Court earlier … Continue reading

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More on the Finner departure

That email was the final straw. After months of controversy surrounding the Houston Police Department’s practice of suspending cases due to short staffing, the revelation Tuesday that Chief Troy Finner was on an email discussing one such case in 2018 … Continue reading

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HPD Chief Finner retires

This came suddenly. Troy Finner has stepped down as chief of the Houston Police Department, Mayor John Whitmire announced in a late-night, four-paragraph email to city employees Tuesday. “I have accepted the retirement of Troy Finner as Chief of Police, … Continue reading

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Tarrant County DA still wants to prosecute Crystal Mason

What an asshole. Tarrant County District Attorney Phil Sorrells wants Crystal Mason’s illegal voting conviction reinstated, his office announced Thursday. Mason, a Tarrant County resident, was acquitted of an illegal voting charge last month. Sorrells’ office is now asking the … Continue reading

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Ogg brings in Paxton on Hidalgo aides case

Really? I mean, really? Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Thursday she is handing the pending criminal cases against three of County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s former staffers to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office. Ogg stopped short of calling … Continue reading

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Some of those dropped HPD cases were connected to other cases

Shocking, I know. Of the suspended sex crime incident reports submitted by the Houston Police Department to the Houston Forensic Science Center, nearly 100 came back with links to other cases, Chief Troy Finner said Monday evening. […] In HPD’s … Continue reading

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Wife of Harris County Justice of the Peace arrested on murder charge

Wow. A woman who is accused of fatally shooting her nephew following a fight in northwest Harris County made her first court appearance early Saturday morning, according to documents. Mei Wolfe, 48, is facing a murder charge after a deputies … Continue reading

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The Paxton prosecutors’ personal dispute

I’m just going to leave this here. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton never would have been sent to prison if his fraud case had gone to trial, the prosecutors now say. In the week since Paxton, a Republican, cut a … Continue reading

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Crystal Mason’s conviction for illegal voting overturned

Justice at last. A Texas appeals court on Thursday overturned the illegal voting conviction of Crystal Mason, who was given a five-year prison sentence for casting a provisional ballot in the 2016 election while on supervised release for federal tax … Continue reading

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More on the Paxton deal

This Chron story goes into some detail about how we ended up with the deferred adjudication deal that brought an abrupt end to the Ken Paxton securities fraud trial. Special prosecutors assigned to the case said years-long procedural delays made … Continue reading

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Paxton gets his deal

Welp. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will have his felony securities fraud charges dismissed in exchange for doing 100 hours of community service and meeting other requirements, according to a last-minute deal announced Tuesday. The agreement requires Paxton, 61, to … Continue reading

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Teare says he will recuse the DA’s office from the Hidalgo aides case

I’ve already said this was the right thing to do, so I obviously agree with it. Whether politics played a role in the criminal indictment of three of Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s former aides was hotly debated during the … Continue reading

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Paxton could be getting a plea deal

I don’t know what to say. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is nearing a resolution to the 9-year-old securities fraud charges that have dogged his tenure as the state’s top attorney through a special agreement with prosecutors, the American-Statesman has … Continue reading

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Here’s your committee to investigate the HPD dropped cases situation

I wish them luck. Mayor John Whitmire on Wednesday named the five people who will run an independent investigation into the Houston Police Department’s handling of over 264,000 suspended incident reports. The committee will be led by a former state … Continue reading

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Nate Paul to finally serve that jail time for contempt

Sometimes you forget how slowly the wheels of justice can turn. And sometimes you’re reminded. A real estate investor accused of bribing the Texas attorney general is facing jail time after the Texas Supreme Court denied his appeal of an … Continue reading

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In which I learn about our use of “Dataminr”

I have three things to say about this. The Houston Police Department will stay in the ranks of law enforcement agencies around the country using software to monitor social media for information on criminal activity following a City Council vote … Continue reading

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More on the HPD dropped cases

Mayor Whitmire wants some answers. Houston Mayor John Whitmire on Wednesday called for an independent investigation into the Houston Police Department over how and why more than 264,000 cases were declared suspended for lack of personnel. “I trust and believe … Continue reading

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City of Uvalde gets its report on police performance at Robb Elementary

It landed with a thud. A city-commissioned independent review of Uvalde police’s response to the Robb Elementary School shooting cleared local officers of wrongdoing, infuriating parents of the 19 children killed in the massacre and at least two city council … Continue reading

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The HPD suspended cases situation

I don’t know what to make of this. A review of sex crimes cases suspended with an internal code citing a lack of personnel has expanded department-wide to include more than 264,000 cases, Police Chief Troy Finner said Monday. The … Continue reading

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So what happened with the original Woodfill investigation?

Good question. Five years ago, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg appeared poised to prosecute Jared Woodfill, a prominent local attorney and Republican activist, for serious financial crimes. Ogg’s office received a judge’s permission to conduct a raid of his … Continue reading

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The Devine connection to Woodfill and Pressler

Birds of a feather. A very rancid feather. In 2022, the Texas Supreme Court declined to kill a high-profile sex abuse lawsuit against former Southern Baptist Convention leader Paul Pressler and his longtime law partner, Jared Woodfill. For Justice John … Continue reading

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Judge rejects Paxton’s “but I’m an orphan!” motion

Good. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton remains on track to be tried for felony fraud this spring after the presiding judge shot down his attempts to have the charges thrown out. During a Friday court hearing in Houston, Harris County … Continue reading

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Paxton prosecutors respond to his “but I’m an orphan!” motion

They’ll fight it out on Friday. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will be in a Houston court Friday in a nearly 9-year-old securities fraud case he is now seeking to dismiss. Paxton could face trial as early as April 15. … Continue reading

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Don’t expect much from that Uvalde grand jury

I mean, I wasn’t, but in case you were, don’t. After more than a year of pressure to file criminal charges against some of the Texas law enforcement officers responsible for the botched response to the Robb Elementary School shooting, … Continue reading

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Judge Aguilar suspended

As expected. A judge charged in January after a domestic violence allegation by his girlfriend has been suspended from the bench with pay, officials said. The State Commission on Judicial Conduct signed a suspension order Wednesday against 228th District Court … Continue reading

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Yes, please do investigate Jared Woodfill

Is there a petition I can sign for this? A former client of Houston attorney and Texas House candidate Jared Woodfill is asking state and federal investigators to give fresh scrutiny to a 2017 investigation into allegations that he misappropriated … Continue reading

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Paxton invokes the “but I’m an orphan!” defense

This fucking guy, I swear. Attorney General Ken Paxton’s legal team is asking a Harris County district judge to dismiss his securities fraud charges, claiming his right to a speedy trial has been violated in the case that has gone … Continue reading

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Uvalde grand jury investigating police response

I admit to having mixed feelings about this. A special grand jury first convened [January 19] in Uvalde will investigate law enforcement’s delayed response to Texas’ deadliest school shooting to determine whether criminal charges can be filed against officers, the … Continue reading

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On hiring more cops

Not as easy to do as you might think. Halfway through his inaugural speech, Houston Mayor John Whitmire said the city made it far too hard for people to join the Houston Police Department. As an example, Whitmire pointed out … Continue reading

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DOJ releases its Uvalde report

It’s brutal. Officers had many opportunities as the 2022 school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, was still unfolding to reassess their flawed response to the shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead, the US Justice Department concludes in a … Continue reading

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On solving the crimes

This is a nice profile of Precinct One Deputy Constable Joe Bowden, who is good at his job. His specialty is solving bike thefts, and I want to highlight this bit that shows him in action, and then share some … Continue reading

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County criminal court judge arrested on domestic violence charge

Not great. Deputies in Galveston arrested a Harris County district court judge on New Year’s Eve following a domestic violence allegation, according to authorities. Frank Aguilar, the elected jurist in the 228th District Court, was arrested by Galveston County Sheriff’s … Continue reading

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A crime threefer

Houston on pace to post 20% decline in homicides in 2023 Houston’s homicide rate is down 20% compared to the year before, outpacing a historic decline in killings nationwide. The city logged 339 homicides thorough Dec. 18, down from 425 … Continue reading

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