Crime & Justice

Texas Standard
5:16 pm
Mon July 6, 2015

Texas Observer Reports Mass Graves Investigation May Have Been Botched

Grave markers next to a Brooks County burial plot marked for exhumation in May 2013 by the Baylor University forensics team.
Texas Observer

From Texas Standard:

John Carlos Frey, a reporter with the Texas Observer, joins the Texas Standard to talk about the wrong-doings he found while looking into an inquiry led by the Texas Rangers.

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Crime & Justice
3:00 pm
Sat June 20, 2015

From Death Row, an Inmate Reflects on Fatherhood

Rodolfo Medrano is sentenced to death for his role in providing weapons that were used in the murders of six men in Hidalgo County in 2003.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

Sunday is Father's Day, and as we celebrate the fathers in our lives, we realize that roles are changing.

Little by little, more men are participating in the upbringing of their children. Of course, some fathers are more hands-on than others.

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Crime & Justice
4:42 pm
Mon June 15, 2015

After Shootings at Police Headquarters, Departments Consider Bulletproof Glass

Neither Dallas' nor Austin's police headquarters have bullet-resistant windows. After Saturday's shooting in Dallas, officials there are considering it.
wikimedia commons

After a shooting early Saturday at the police headquarters in Dallas, officials there are calling for more building security. One of the improvement measures they are considering is installing bulletproof glass.

Austin had its own shooting on police headquarters back in November, and repairs on the building will start in a few weeks. But the department did not have bulletproof glass before the shooting, and there are no plans to install it now.

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Same-Sex Marriage
7:52 am
Tue April 28, 2015

Legal Battle Over Gay Marriage Hits The Supreme Court Tuesday

Protesters hold a pro-gay-rights flag outside the US Supreme Court on Saturday, countering the demonstrators who attended the March For Marriage in Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court meets on Tuesday to hear arguments over whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to wed in the United States, with a final decision expected in June.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 28, 2015 4:50 pm

People have been lining up outside the U.S. Supreme Court for days hoping that they will be among the lucky ones to get a seat for Tuesday's historic arguments on gay marriage.

As of now, gay marriage is legal in 36 states. By the end of this Supreme Court term, either same-sex couples will be able to wed in all 50 states, or gay marriage bans may be reinstituted in many of the states where they've previously been struck down.

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Crime & Justice
2:58 pm
Fri April 17, 2015

Drunk Driving Awareness March

Surviving family members of victims of drunk driving and APD officers march around the Texas Capitol to raise awareness. Central Texas mother Nancy Pratt (centered) lost her daughter Brianne in a DWI crash in 2013.
Anthony Green/KUT News

Austin police Chief Art Acevedo and Texas state representative Jason Villalba joined AAA Texas, community members and leaders Friday in honoring local lives lost to drinking and driving. 

A press conference was followed by a silent march around a cloud-covered Texas Capitol for the city's third annual March for Change. Last year, Texas drivers experienced more than 24,000 alcohol related crashes that resulted in over 1,000 deaths, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

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Crime & Justice
10:26 am
Fri March 20, 2015

Can Texans Help Find the 43 Missing Students From Southwest Mexico?

Omar Garcia Velazquez, 24, a student survivor, gives an interview with Mexico's W Radio.
sopitas.com

Next week will be six months since 43 students from a rural teaching school disappeared in Southwest Mexico.

The government of Mexico says the students are dead.

But family members believe the government is misleading them. That's why some came to Texas hoping to keep their case alive.

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Crime & Justice
1:08 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

In Wake of Last Month's Uprising, Bureau of Prisons Cuts Willacy Facility's Contract

Kate Ter Haar/flickr

The company that runs an immigrant prison in Raymondville, Tex., has lost its contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The facility was nicknamed "Ritmo" – like Guantanamo Bay's Gitmo. But, the reported abuses that earned it its Gitmo-like reputation are not the reason why it lost its contract. The contract was revoked after a two-day riot broke out there last month.

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Crime & Justice
11:27 am
Wed March 11, 2015

ACLU Asks Justice Department to Investigate Texas Prison Riot

The ACLU is calling for a Department of Justice investigation into last month's riot at a prison in Raymondville.
Caleb Bryant Miller/KUT News

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) wants the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate last month's riot at a private immigrant prison in Raymondville, Tex. That's because the ACLU does not believe the prison is able to do a good job investigating itself.

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Texas Standard
11:35 am
Thu March 5, 2015

Eighty-Five Year Old Advocates for Marijuana Reform

Eighty-five-year-old Ann Lee (left), founder of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, with Senator Ted Cruz (center).

Ann Lee, founder of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition (RAMP), says it was her son's health that prompted her activism.

 

A new bill in the Texas House of Representatives would strike all references to marijuana from state statutes. Representative David Simpson (R-Longview) filed House Bill 2165 on Monday. The bill would effectively end the state-wide prohibition of the drug.

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Crime & Justice
2:17 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Judges Now Required to Allow Juries to Consider Seat Belt Use in Accident Settlements

Last week's Texas Supreme Court ruling allows juries to consider how seatbelt use impacts accident victims in civil lawsuits.
ffion atkinson/flickr

Nothing puts the brakes on Austin drivers like winter weather. In a freeze last year, emergency services responded to more than 250 accidents, none of which were fatal, in one day. While the late starts at schools and offices across the city this morning preempted a slew of pileups, drivers in North Texas could see as much as four inches of snow from a cold snap that’s expected to last until tomorrow morning.

Suffice to say, there are sure to be a few accidents in Texas over the next few days, but, snow or no, a recent ruling from the Texas Supreme Court could affect court cases handling everything from fender benders to fatal accidents to faulty airbag lawsuits in courts.

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Crime & Justice
4:22 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Marijuana Activists Lobby for Lower Penalties, Medical Access

Credit Jaypeg21/flickr

Nearly 300 marijuana advocates gathered today at the Texas State Capitol to lobby for lower criminal penalties for possession, such as those proposed in House Bill 507, and for access to medical marijuana. 

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Crime & Justice
1:42 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

Fort Hood Victims To Receive Purple Hearts

An administrative hearing will be held Thursday for Major Nidal Hasan, the accused Fort Hood shooter.
KUT News

Victims of the 2009 Fort Hood shooting attack will be awarded Purple Heart medals for their service and sacrifice.

The Army announced in a press release that because of changes to the eligibility criteria for the medals, the victims of the attack on the Fort Hood Army Base can now receive the awards.

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Crime & Justice
5:40 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

Supreme Court Stays Next Texas Execution

Huntsville facility in Texas.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

The U.S. Supreme Court Thursday put a stop to the upcoming execution of convicted killer Lester Bower.

Bower, 67, was scheduled to be executed in the Huntsville facility on Feb. 10, next Tuesday. He murdered four men at an airplane hangar outside of Dallas in 1983. He was one of the longest serving inmates on death row, having resided there for more than 30 years. The length of his stay may be one of the reasons that the court decided to halt the execution and consider the prisoner's three-part appeal.

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Crime & Justice
1:11 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

Jury Selection Starts Thursday In Chris Kyle Murder Trial

In 2013, Chris Kyle and his neighbor Chad Littlefield were killed at an Erath County shooting range.
Shutterstock/231370435 Shutterstock.com

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 10:54 pm

Jury selection starts Thursday morning in the murder trial of the man accused of killing Chris Kyle -- the veteran Navy SEAL who’s the subject of the hit movie American Sniper.

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Crime & Justice
3:13 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Third Member of 'Texas 7' Set for Execution Wednesday

Credit Mark Britain/flickr

One of the men involved in the biggest prison break in Texas history is set to be put to death today for the murder of 29-year-old Aubrey Hawkins, an Irving police officer, in December 2000.

Update: Newbury was pronounced dead at 6:25 p.m. Wednesday.

Donald Newbury, scheduled to be executed by lethal injection in Huntsville today after 6 p.m., was one of the “Texas 7,” the inmate gang that escaped from a South Texas prison and went on a six-week crime spree 14 years ago.

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Crime & Justice
1:20 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Report Finds No Clear Warning Signs Before Deadly 2014 Fort Hood Shooting

Fort Hood the day after the 2014 shooting.
Credit KUT News

The U.S. Army has closed its investigation into the April 2014 shooting at Fort Hood that left four people dead. The Army concluded that there was “nothing in the assailant’s background, medical or military profile” that might have provided officials with warning signs that he would act violently.

Specialist Ivan Lopez opened fire on the Army base on April 2 of last year, killing three soldiers and injuring 12. Lopez then took his own life.

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Crime & Justice
2:58 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Texas' First Execution of the Year Set for Wednesday

Credit Andres Rueda/via Flickr

The first Texas execution of 2015 is scheduled to happen today sometime after 6 p.m.

Arnold Prieto, 41, will be put to death for the murder and robbery of three people in 1993 in Bexar County. Two of the victims were Prieto's own great-aunt and great-uncle. No late appeals were filed to try to stop the execution from taking place.

Not only is this the first execution of the year, it is the first execution to happen under the governorship of Greg Abbott. 

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Paris Attacks
7:36 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Post-Attack Edition Of 'Charlie Hebdo' Sells Out In France

Jean Paul Bierlein reads the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo outside a newsstand in Nice, southeastern France, on Wednesday.
Lionel Cironneau AP

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 7:54 am

The first post-attack edition of Charlie Hebdo has sold out in France, just hours after it was released.

France 24 reports that people lined up in front of newsstands as they opened. The network adds:

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Crime & Justice
10:29 am
Fri January 9, 2015

Suspects In Paris Magazine Attack Killed; Market Gunman And 4 Hostages Also Dead

Armed security forces fly overhead in a military helicopter in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris, on Friday.
Thibault Camus AP

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 10:39 am

(This post was last updated at 6:50 p.m. ET.)

A nationwide manhunt for the suspects of France's deadliest terrorist attack in more than 50 years ended in a hail of gunfire on Friday.

After hours of tension in two separate standoffs that shut down parts of the Paris metro area, the two main suspects in the attack on a satirical magazine and a man who took hostages at a kosher grocery are dead, President François Hollande said in a speech to the nation.

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Texas Standard
2:28 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

How Texas is Fighting Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery

A map illustrating potential human trafficking cases from 2007 to 2012. Currently, nearly one in 100 calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline come from Texas.
Polaris

Slavery still exists in Texas – it just isn't always easy to see. But a new project hopes to bring awareness to a problem that often hides in plain sight.

The Texas Slavery Mapping Project is a two-year initiative to gather data about human trafficking in the state. The project, a partnership between the Institute of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault at the University of Texas at Austin and Austin-based Allies Against Slavery, just received a $500,000 grant from the Governor's Office to research existing data and compile resources for survivors. 

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