AM Update 7/19/12
9:00 am
Thu July 19, 2012

AM Update: Inmate Executed With Single Drug, Juvenile Inmate Violence, Dewhurst and Cruz's History

Texas Inmate Put to Death Using Single-Drug Concoction

The State of Texas executed Yokamon Hearn yesterday evening. He was put to death for the 1998 carjacking and murder of 23-year-old Frank Meziere in Dallas.

Hearn was the sixth prisoner executed in the state so far this year.

He was the first put to death using a single drug lethal injection procedure. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice switched to the single drug because of a shortage of the two other drugs normally used in lethal injections.

New Movement to Curb Violence in Juvenile Justice Facilities

State officials are working to remove youth who have been violent behind bars from the state’s six juvenile-justice locations. According to The Austin-American Statesman, this effort to decrease the number of assaults means that youth who are deemed too violent will be referred back to their judge. Chances are, they’ll simply be removed and placed in an adult prison.

The Statesman reports there are at least 230 incarcerated youth aged 17 to 21 who are currently in line for review for persistent violent behavior. In the past five months, 23 juveniles have been transferred to adult prison. However not all transfers are related to violence -- some may have just gotten too old for the system.

Jay Kimbrough, longtime “go-to” man for Gov. Rick Perry, has been appointed special assistant for safety and security at Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) facilities. His job is to address issues involving security and safety at state-run centers that are home to juvenile offenders. Kimbrough’s first move was to ensure that seven violent juveniles are heading back to court for transfer to adult prisons.

“If we don’t have safety and order in our facilities, we can’t have rehabilitation,” Kimbrough told the Statesman.

The six lockups in the Texas juvenile corrections system house around 1, 100 offenders total. Many of these centers, like the Giddings State School, a high security prison, have had increasing issues with gang activity, assaults, and riots.

Another Facet to the Cruz and Dewhurst Battle

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and former Solicitor General Ted Cruz are in a heated runoff race for the Texas’ open Senate seat. But, it turns out, the election isn't their first tension-filled run-in. The Texas Tribune reports that in 2009, Cruz sent Dewhurst a $50,000 bill for legal work.

Before the campaign rivalry, these Cruz and Dewhurst worked together on legal issues with the Voter ID bill. At the time, Cruz worked for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. Dewhurst brought Cruz in to help with the case.

The Tribune reports that Cruz worked for 10 days (slightly more than 70 hours) of legal work and at an hourly rate of $695. Dewhurst and his staff felt the final bill was unfair and, eventually, the bill was shot down to $10,000. Because of attorney-client privileges, Cruz cannot comment on the representation or what caused the nearly $40,000 drop in charges.

This specific exchange hasn’t surfaced in either candidate’s arguments.