Effective March 1, the nation’s fourth-largest city will no longer make arrests of those carrying four ounces or less of marijuana
By The Associated Press
HOUSTON — The district attorney in the most populous Texas county has announced a new program in which law enforcement agencies will not arrest individuals caught with four ounces or less of marijuana.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced in Houston on Thursday that her office will offer those possessing misdemeanor amounts of marijuana an opportunity to participate in the program starting March 1.
Individuals won’t be jailed or have to appear in court, but they will have 90 days to complete a four-hour decision-making class. Those completing the program won’t face charges.
A few weeks after a bad breakup, in 1995, Duane Buck stormed into the Houston home of his ex-girlfriend and murdered her while her three children watched. He also killed the man he thought she was sleeping with and shot his own stepsister, a bystander who survived. Though remorseful (and high at the time), Buck never disputed these facts. By the spring of 2011, when Kate Black first reviewed the resulting criminal case, the Harris County District Attorney’s office had already set Buck’s execution date. He had six months to live.
Black is a staff attorney at the Houston-based legal non-profit Texas Defender Services (TDS), charged with directing the impending clemency proceedings for death row inmates. The group is at the center of a small community of elite death-penalty defense practitioners in Texas, who try hard to ensure the judicial system functions properly even in the most extreme circumstances.
“We were doing the petition,” Black says, “and in the course of investigating it, we realized there was this huge issue that hadn’t been litigated.”
Texas allows death sentences only if prosecutors can show that a defendant poses a future danger to society. At Buck’s sentencing hearing, his initial court-appointed defense attorney, Jerry Guerinot, presented testimony from a psychiatrist named Walter Quijano. It was unlikely that Buck, an African-American with no prior violent convictions, would commit similar acts in the future, Quijano stated, but Buck’s race nonetheless “increased the probability.” The claim was scientifically inaccurate and morally bankrupt. The prosecution leaned on it heavily during closing arguments.
Read Full – https://www.houstoniamag.com/articles/2016/12/29/texas-2016-execution-tally-lowest-since-1996
Here is a list of the top rated and best criminal defense lawyers in Houston, TX. These criminal defense attorneys in Houston, Texas that we have listed below may also practice other areas of law besides criminal defense as some of the Houston lawyers practice personal injury for example. Our best lawyers of Houston list below is strictly on their criminal defense reviews and felony court case records. We have located and found the best defense lawyers of Houston based upon their reviews on Houston Yelp, AVVO, Super Lawyers, as well as the US News report about lawyers in Houston, Texas. If you are searching to find the best rated criminal defense attorneys in Houston, you have come to the correct place. These are the top lawyers in Houston, TX. When hiring a Houston, TX criminal defense attorney, you should evaluate the experience and fee structure of the Houston attorney. Some offer a free consultation to discuss your case.
Here are the top rated defense lawyers in Houston, TX
Philip M. Gommels
Jed R. Silverman, Trinidad Zamora III
David A. Breston, Alma Garcia
John T. Floyd, Christopher M. Choate
Neal Davis, Tyler Brock
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A legal standoff will not stop the ongoing resettlement
Three Syrian refugee families—including a dozen children between the ages of two and 15—will arrive in Dallas and Houston this week, despite Texas’s on-going lawsuit challenging the federal government’s process in resettling Syrian refugees in the state.
The Obama administration said in a court filing on Friday that a family of six Syrian refugees, who were originally scheduled to arrive in Dallas on Dec. 4 , will now arrive Monday, after spending the weekend in New York. A second family of six is also expected to arrive in Houston Monday. A third, eight-member family, as well as a 26-year-old woman whose mother has already been placed in the area, are expected in arrive in Houston on Thursday.
Last week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, with the backing of Governor Greg Abbott, filed a lawsuit requesting an immediate order blocking the arrival of all new Syrian refugeesin the state, in light of “reasonable concerns about the safety and security of the citizenry of the state of Texas.”
Two days later, on Dec. 4, Paxton’s office said it would no longer seek an immediate order blocking the arrival of the refugees, but said it would continue with the lawsuit pressing federal authorities to provide more information on those already slated for resettlement in Texas. Paxton rolled back his initial demand after federal authorities provided state officials with demographic information about the Syrian families arriving today, according to his office.
The shift, however, which came just hours before a federal judge was expected to rule on the case, did not sit well with some Texas conservatives. Abbott’s office remained quiet about the decision, which one Texas official told TIME was “not the governor’s first choice.” Abbott has since said publicly that he opposes accepting any more Syrian refugees on the grounds that the background check process is “inadequate.”
Katherine Wise, a spokeswoman for Paxton, told TIME that the attorney general’s office will continue to pursue a lawsuit against both the federal government and the International Rescue Committee, a non-profit that works to resettle refugees, to determine whether federal authorities are complying with the requirements under the 1980 Refugee Act. The state argues that the law requires federal authorities to regularly consult with, and provide information to, state and local officials in advance of resettling refugees in those localities.