Tag Archives: texas

Houston area decriminalizes possession of small amounts of weed

Effective March 1, the nation’s fourth-largest city will no longer make arrests of those carrying four ounces or less of marijuana

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.

Read Full – http://www.thecannabist.co/2017/02/17/houston-marijuana-possession-misdemeanor/73835/

Texas’s 2016 Execution Tally Was the Lowest Since 1996 — Here’s Why

Houston-based Texas Defender Services is trying to ensure the judicial system functions properly even in the most extreme circumstances.

By Adam Doster 12/29/2016 at 8:00am

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

Best Criminal Defense Lawyers In Houston, TX

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

  1. Zack Fertitta
  2. Hunter Simmons
  3. Alan Cohen
  4. Philip M. Gommels
  5. Fred Dahr
  6. Jed R. Silverman, Trinidad Zamora III
  7. David A. Breston, Alma Garcia
  8. Ed Chernoff
  9. John T. Floyd, Christopher M. Choate
  10. Neal Davis, Tyler Brock

If you have any questions about hiring a Houston defense lawyers give Wise Laws a call at 800-270-8184 as they currently work with some of these top 10 lawyers.

Officials searching for Texas Mexican Mafia gang member with ties to Dallas

Follow @clairezcardona ccardona@dallasnews.com

Officials are searching for a Texas Mexican Mafia gang member with ties to Dallas who is wanted on a kidnapping charge and parole violation.

Johnny Garcia, 35, was last living in Kirby and has ties to Dallas, San Antonio and the Bexar County area, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Bexar County issued a warrant for his arrest in May related to the kidnapping of a female associate, according to DPS.

Garcia was convicted of assaulting a public servant when he was in prison in 2006 and sentenced to eight years. He punched and kicked a corrections officer, striking him on the head and face several times with the officer’s radio, according to DPS.

He also has convictions for assault, weapons offenses and drugs. He was paroled in 2014.

Garcia is 5-10 and weighs about 210 pounds. He has numerous tattoos, including “Mexicano” on his neck, “XIII” on his abdomen, “Garcia” on his back, Pancho Villa on his left arm and a tear drop near his left eye. He may go by the nicknames “Johnny Loco” or “Red Dog,” which he has tattooed on his left leg.

A $7,500 cash reward is being offered for information leading to his capture.

To be eligible for the reward, tipsters must provide information either by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-252-8477, texting the letters DPS followed by the tip to 274637, or submitting a tip through the DPS website, Facebook or the DPS mobile app.  All tips are anonymous.

New state voting laws face first presidential election test

, USA TODAY10:22 p.m. EST January 29, 2016

WASHINGTON — Battles are being waged across the country over new voter ID laws and other election changes that have never before been tested in a presidential election.

National and local civil rights groups also have launched grass-roots efforts to fight state laws that they say could suppress voting by minorities and the elderly.

President Obama joined the cause in pledging during his Jan. 12 State of the Union Address to travel the country lobbying for steps to make voting easier.

“You’re going to see some ramping up of activism,’’ said the Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP. “The president is right, but everybody should be joining in that (effort).’’ Barber’s group will lead a voting rights rally Feb. 13 in Raleigh.

Some of the new state election laws require would-be voters to show specific forms of identification. Others cut back on the time period that voters can cast ballots early, or make it more difficult to register to vote.

Supporters of the laws say they protect against voter fraud. They say Obama and voting rights groups should leave the issue to states.

“It seems that the president is moving to … federalizing the way we handle elections,’’ said Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Fifteen states have enacted more restrictive election laws never before tested in a presidential election, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.

Those states — Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin — account for 162 electoral votes of the 270 necessary to win the presidency.

Myrna Pérez, director of the Brennan Center’s Voting Rights and Election Project, said voters in some of those states, “are going to be voting in a presidential election with fewer federal protections than they’ve had in the last 50 years.”

In some states, new voting laws took effect soon after a 2013 U.S. Supreme Courtdecision nullifying a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Under that provision, states and other jurisdictions with a history of voter discrimination — mostly in the South — had to obtain advance permission, or “pre-clearance,” from federal officials before making any changes to their election systems.

The new laws attracting the most attention were adopted by Republican-run state legislatures and focus on voter ID requirements. Thirty-three states have voter ID laws — some enacted many years ago — that will be in place on Election Day in November, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Mississippi’s 2012 voter ID law didn’t hamper participation in last year’s governor’s race, according to Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.

The law requires would-be voters to show one of 10 forms of photo ID. Eligible IDs include a driver’s license, a firearms license, a passport, and any state or federal government ID bearing a photo.

​Hosemann said Mississippi is the only state that wasn’t sued by the Justice Department over its voter ID law, “because we did it right.’’

“President Obama doesn’t have to come here to talk about voter ID because that’s in our rearview mirror … We’re moving on,’’  he said.

Last week, Hosemann proposed an election law package that includes allowing people to register to vote online, a 21-day early voting period, tougher penalties for election-law crimes, and moving the state’s presidential primary up by a week to the first Tuesday in March. The package is expected to be part of legislation introduced next week.

“I’m just real pleased about where we’re going in Mississippi,’’ Hosemann said. “Right now it’s such a difference from where we were half a century ago.’’

Derrick Johnson, president of the Mississippi NAACP, which opposed the voter ID law, said the group continues to review complaints and monitor its implementation.

Read Full Article – http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/01/29/new-state-voting-laws-face-first-presidential-election-test/79534420/