Crime & Justice

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. 

Read more
Austin Shooting
3:14 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Calling Austin Shooter an 'Extremist', Acevedo Gives Details of Investigation

The scene outside APD headquarters on Friday November 28, 2014 following a shooting by Larry McQuilliams.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Austin Police are giving more details of what they've found so far in their investigation of Friday's early morning shootings in downtown Austin.

Larry McQuilliams, 49, shot at several downtown buildings, including the Mexican Consulate and APD headquarters, before he was fatally shot by Sgt. Adam Johnson at approximately 2:32am Friday.

McQuilliams had the words "Let me die" written on his chest at the time of his death.

APD Chief Art Acevedo commended Johnson, saying the officer took only one shot from 312 feet away, to end the incident. 

Read more
Texas Standard
2:49 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Riot Anxiety: How Ferguson Police Prep May Spark It

A vigil in support of Michael Brown occurs outside of the Ferguson Police Department. Ferguson police have been criticized for what some have called an overly miliarized response.
flickr.com/sierraromeo

The city of Ferguson, Missouri anxiously awaits a Grand Jury verdict for the officer involved in shooting Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager.

The incident has sparked widespread public outrage and conversation, culminating in a string of protests and demonstrations nationwide, some which turned violent. Another source of contention has been police response itself – particularly in Ferguson, where police were criticized for being overly aggressive and overly armed. 

Read more
Canada
1:14 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Soldier Killed, Suspect Dead In Shooting Near Canadian Parliament

A Canadian soldier who was shot outside the war memorial on Parliament Hill in tended to in Ottawa on Wednesday.
Daniel Thibeaut/CBC Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 7:44 pm

A gunman opened fire at Canada's National War Memorial on Wednesday, killing one soldier, Ottawa police said in a statement.

Witnesses in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, say the gunman then ran into the main Parliament building, where dozens of shots were fired.

Read more
Crime & Justice
6:14 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Off-Duty St. Louis Officer Fatally Shoots 18-Year-Old Black Man

Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 11:04 am

An off-duty white police officer in St. Louis shot and killed an 18-year-old black man who police say opened fire during a chase in south St. Louis. The incident sparked renewed protests in a city already rocked by anger over the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in the suburb of Ferguson in August.

St. Louis Public Radio live-blogged the protests here.

Read more
Crime & Justice
11:17 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Big Impact and Little Payouts in Austin's Small Claims Courts

A judge awarded Veronica Avila Zavala $6,900 of the $12,000 she claimed a fake attorney stole from her, but has so far only received $900.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Most probably couldn't articulate what a justice of the peace exactly does.

Television shows like “Judge Judy” and “The People’s Court” often trivialize the role of justices of the peace and the small claims courts they preside over.

Five small courtrooms of the Travis County justices of the peace handle settlements of $10,000 or less. In the grand scheme of things, the settlements are miniscule, hence the moniker of “small claims," but for some the rulings in these courts have huge implications.

Read more
Same-Sex Marriage
3:15 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

What Does the Supreme Court Punting on Same-Sex Marriage Mean For Texas?

A challenge to Texas' gay marriage ban is still tied up in a federal appellate court and was largely unaffected by the Supreme Court's inaction.
Tyler Pratt/KUT

It’s a big day for supporters of same-sex marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to take up the issue this year, which means same-sex marriages can continue in five states that currently ban the practice.

But where does that leave Texas? 

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision against weighing in on same-sex marriage means it will soon be legal in 30 states and the District of Columbia. 

But, in Texas, the marriages will not be allowed. A federal district judge ruled earlier this year that the Texas constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman relegates same-sex couples to second-class citizenship. But the judge also allowed the ban on same-sex marriages to continue while the case winds through the appeals process.

Read more
Supreme Court
12:05 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Supreme Court Won't Hear Gay Marriage Cases In New Term

The Supreme Court has denied petitions to review same-sex marriage cases in several states, including Utah. In January, supporters of same-sex marriage held a rally at Utah's Capitol in Salt Lake City.
Jim Urquhart Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon October 6, 2014 1:15 pm

The Supreme Court's new term will not include any cases that might decide the issue of same-sex marriage in the U.S., a development that comes after many lower and appeals courts have ruled against states' bans on gay marriage. Advocates on both sides of the issue have been calling for the high court to review the issue and make an official ruling.

The court's refusal of all the petitions related to bans on gay marriage means that the appeals courts' decisions allowing gay marriage can now take effect. They had been on hold pending a potential review by the Supreme Court.

Read more
Supreme Court
6:37 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Supreme Court To Weigh Facebook Threats, Religious Freedom, Discrimination

Originally published on Mon October 6, 2014 11:32 am

The U.S. Supreme Court opens a new term Monday, but so far the justices are keeping quiet about whether or when they will tackle the gay marriage question. Last week, the justices met behind closed doors to discuss pending cases, but when they released the list of new cases added to the calendar, same-sex marriage was nowhere to be seen.

But that really doesn't mean very much.

Read more
Crime & Justice
6:38 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Crime Falls As U.S. Locks Up Fewer People, Attorney General Holder Says

In the past year, the U.S. prison population fell by roughly 4,800, the first time in decades the number has gone down, according to the Justice Department. Attorney General Eric Holder discussed the findings in New York on Tuesday.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 5:20 pm

The U.S. is seeing "historic" progress in reducing both its crime and its incarceration rates, Attorney General Eric Holder said, with the federal prison population falling by some 4,800 inmates in the past year — "the first decrease we've seen in many ‎decades."

Read more
Crime & Justice
8:06 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Houston Man Executed For Double-Murder in 1993

Death row prisoners in Texas are strapped to this gurney in Huntsville before they are executed.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice

A Houston man was executed tonight for murdering two people in 1993. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice says the execution drug pentobarbital was administered to Willie Trottie at 6:13 p.m. He was pronounced dead at 6:35 p.m. 

In 1993, Trottie burst into the family home of his ex-girlfriend Barbara Canada and shot her to death. He also killed her brother execution-style and wounded Canada's mother and sister, according to the TDCJ's offender information.  

Read more
Texas Standard
3:42 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

The Dark Corners of the Web That Hacked Nude Celebrity Photos

Flickr user Marco Manna, https://flic.kr/ps/mRKBS

It's being called Celebgate: private photos of some of entertainment's most famous women, ricocheting around the web.

Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst and Lea Michele are among the female entertainers targeted. And the anonymous hacker claims to have private images of dozens more celebrities.

Fernando Alfonso III is a reporter with the Austin-based website The Daily Dot. He tells Texas Standard most photos appear to be gleaned from the performers' cloud storage accounts online. The photos were then posted to what the Dot describes as "the seediest corners of the Web," including the infamous, unmoderated image board called 4chan.

Read more
Crime & Justice
11:19 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Back Home, Freed American Journalist Says He's 'Overwhelmed By Emotion'

Peter Theo Curtis smiles as he talks with reporters outside his mother's home in Cambridge, Mass., on Wednesday.
Charles Krupa AP

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 1:46 pm

American journalist Peter Theo Curtis was back home in Cambridge, Mass., today, after he was released by a militant group in Syria.

Read more
Crime & Justice
7:25 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Round Rock Teen Accused of Selling Pot Brownies Won't Get Life Sentence

Jacob Lavoro faced a sentence of up to life in prison for selling pot brownies.
Credit Williamson County

A 19-year-old in Round Rock is no longer facing the possibility of life in prison for allegedly making marijuana brownies and selling them for $25 each. The case involving Jacob Lavoro attracted national attention. An online petition against the punishment has more than a quarter million signatures. 

Williamson County assistant District Attorney Mark Brunner says they decided not to pursue a charge based on the total weight of the brownies to avoid jury "distraction" during a possible trial. 

Read more
Crime & Justice
10:14 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Increases in Child Abuse & Neglect Cases Strain Travis County Courts

Private attorneys are being hired to represent child abuse and neglect cases in Travis County because of a shortfall of attorneys.
flickr.com/fabliaux

This story comes to us from our city hall reporting partner, the Austin Monitor.

Representatives of Travis County children and parents involved in legal abuse and neglect cases have only 10-minute judicial hearings to present evidence of their safety and living situations, according to county civil court judges. County attorneys for indigent children and parents say their caseloads are to the point that they must hire private attorneys to help represent those involved.

Read more
Crime & Justice
1:21 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

How Dallas is Trying to Prevent Another Ferguson From Happening

Protestors hold signs in solidarity with Ferguson, MO shooting victim Michael Brown.
Flickr user Light Brigading, https://flic.kr/ps/CcMsa

Police in Ferguson, Missouri finally released the name of the officer involved in the shooting death of Michael Brown this morning. Brown, an African-American teenager, was reportedly unarmed and with his hands in the air when he was killed August 10. The event has sparked public outrage in the predominately African-American community – outrage that has spread over the country.

The Ferguson Police Department has been criticized for its delay in releasing the officer's name, plus its militarized reaction to protestors including rubber bullets and tear gas. But officer involved shootings aren’t limited to Missouri – the reality is that they can happen anywhere.

Read more
Crime & Justice
7:02 am
Thu August 14, 2014

In Tense Ferguson, Mo., 2 Reporters Caught In Arrests

A Demonstrator protesting the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown holds up a sign Wednesday in Ferguson, Missouri.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 1:03 am

When SWAT officers gathered up everyone at a McDonald's restaurant on Wednesday night, they arrested not just locals, but reporters for The Washington Post and The Huffington Post, The Associated Press reports.

Both reporters later were released without being charged.

Read more
Crime & Justice
7:15 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Protesters In St. Louis-Area Call For Accountability In Teen's Death

Protesters confront police during a rally protesting the shooting of Michael Brown, 18, by police in Ferguson, Mo. Brown died following a confrontation with police, according to St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar.
Sid Hastings AP

Originally published on Mon August 11, 2014 5:47 pm

This post was updated at 6:40 p.m. ET.

In suburban St. Louis, business owners are cleaning up after a prayer vigil turned violent over the weekend. Meanwhile, protests continue over the death of an unarmed teenager who was shot by police on Saturday.

Reporter Rachel Lippmann of St. Louis Public Radio says about 60 people gathered outside of the Ferguson, Mo., police department Monday. They're calling for police to identify the officer involved and to charge him with murder. Others want the police force diversified in the majority-African-American city.

Read more
Crime & Justice
7:29 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Austin Toddler Abducted

2-year-old Cheyenne Johnson and 33-year-old Jesse Thomas
APD

Final update on this story (Saturday 10:00 a.m.): The Austin Police Department and  the Texas Department of Public Safety say this Amber Alert has been canceled. They say two-year-old Cheyenne Johnson is now safe and the suspect, Jesse Thomas, is in custody after a standoff with authorities in northwest Harris County.

UPDATE (10:00 p.m.):  An Amber Alert has now been issued for Cheyenne Johnson. Anyone who may have information about this abduction is asked to call the Austin Police Department at (512) 297-0825 or 9-1-1.

Austin police are asking for help from the public in locating a child who was last seen at 1:54 Friday afternoon on the 1800 block of Anita Drive in South Austin.

Two-year-old Cheyenne Johnson is about two-and-a-half feet tall, weighs 25 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes.  She was wearing a navy blue shirt with flowers on it and navy blue shorts. She was last seen with 33-year-old Jesse Thomas, 6'01", about 220 pounds. 

Read more
Austin Police
7:22 am
Mon August 4, 2014

How Much It Costs Austin Every Time SWAT Teams Roll Out

Officers train at the police department's shooting range in Southeast Austin.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

By the end of July, there had been twelve SWAT operations so far this year in Austin. Naturally, every time a SWAT team is deployed it costs money. But it’s not always the same amount – weekends and after-hours are a bit pricier than, say, a mid-day operation.

But, no matter the time, every time one of Austin's three SWAT teams rolls out on a call, it costs thousands of dollars an hour.

Read more

Pages