Monthly Archives: October 2017

Can the City Put a Placard on My Door Due to Habitual Criminal Activity?

Are Dallas police able to mark your home or business to warn others that habitual crime takes place there? A newly proposed ordinance would allow it. The ordinance is part of a set of changes the Dallas Police Department is pushing to help better combat crime in problem areas. The process is called nuisance abatement, and would work something like this: If five abatable crimes – thinks like trespassing, prostitution, gambling, drug transactions, arson or…
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What Do I Do If I Am Accused of Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault and harassment tales are a constant in the news ever since the breaking news story regarding movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. And if you are reading this, you may be facing accusations of sexual assault yourself. If you have been accused of sexual assault in Texas, there are several potential defenses you can utilize. The three main defenses are: Innocence – that the accused did not actually commit the crime. The burden of proof…
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Livin’ Fajita Loca – Texas Man Arrested in Million-Dollar Meat Theft Scheme

Holy guacamole! A South Texas man has been arrested after stealing $1.2 million worth of fajitas over nine years. The bizarre plot led to first-degree theft charges, a felony with a potential sentence of several years in jail. Gilberto Escamilla was a worker at the Darrell B. Hester Juvenile Justice Center. On August 7, he took the day off work to attend a medical appointment. While he was away, a driver with Labatt Food Service…
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Has the Say Something App Led to Any Arrests?

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) recently released a free app for riders called Say Something. Named after the phrase “If you see something, say something,” the app allows riders to instantly report crimes in progress on the DART system. According to DART police, over 1,700 people have downloaded the app since its launch and several crimes have been reported. The organization would not say if any arrests have resulted from the app. Besides simply reporting…
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Can This One Change Fix Our Prison System?

Can the Reverse Mass Incarceration Act singlehandedly reduce both crime AND incarceration rates in the United States? The bill was introduced in the House in early October by Rep. Tony Cárdenas of California, following its introduction in the Senate by Senators Cory Booker and Richard Blumenthal. The bill would send federal funds to states that reduce crime and incarceration together. Since the passage of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, commonly known…
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What is Deadly Conduct under Texas Law?

Viral videos from Houston recently showed two people firing guns indiscriminately out of their car window. The couple posted the videos on the social media platform Snapchat. At first, the police said that no one had reported anything about the shooting, so they could not investigate it. But a day later, they confirmed they were actively investigating the incident. The woman in the videos was arrested shortly after the shootings. The man showed up at…
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Texas Takes Steps to Stop Wrongful Convictions

Since 2010, Texas has exonerated over 200 people for crimes they did not commit, based on evidence of innocence. Wrongful convictions, unfortunately, are a fact of life in Texas. Texas, according to the Innocence Project, is the state with the highest number of prisoners found to be innocent following DNA testing. The Innocence Project is an organization that works to exonerate people who are wrongfully convicted of crimes. In 2015, 149 people were cleared of…
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Are Police Required to Release Bodycam Footage?

Who should have access to footage filmed by police body cameras? Are the police allowed to withhold this footage? Recently, Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. (D-Brownsville) asked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton if police were allowed to withhold certain footage, not only from the public, but from civilian supervisors. The question hinges on whether this footage would interfere with the detection, investigation or prosecution of a crime if viewed. These civilian supervisors could include a city…
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