Category Archives: DA Watch

Fighting the Prosecutor on Just Punishment: Evidence on Sentencing and Probation After a Conviction in Texas

For many people, maybe because it seems like it in so many TV shows, criminal trials are one big event.  It’s exciting and fast-paced, where the attorneys roam the courtrooms, there’s very little paperwork, and there are lots of people going up to the witness stand for short stints. In reality, things are different. Two…

Update on Law of Asset Forfeitures: Federal and Texas – Are You Any Safer?

As the general public becomes more and more aware, and more and more shocked, over police forfeiture actions – where private property is taken by law enforcement regardless of whether or not the owner has been involved in a crime, much less convicted, there’s been talk about changing forfeiture laws at both the federal and…

FBI Scandal: Forensic FBI Experts Give False and Flawed DNA Evidence To Get Convictions

This is very bad and it’s going to get worse. Yesterday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice finally came forward and admitted that the FBI forensic evidence provided in countless criminal trials over the past two decades has in almost every single case been flawed and unreliable if not downright…

Dallas D.A. Forfeiture Funds: The Temptation of All That Stuff and the Craig Watkins Scandal

Here in Dallas, more and more people are aware of how government authorities have been seizing property from people without sufficient judicial process and keeping those assets for their own uses. This is good because forfeiture is a big problem that not enough folk realize exists. We’ve been discussing this problem — the problem of…

Stingray Use by Feds and Local Police is Growing: Are You Being Monitored?

Police officers and law enforcement agencies are limited by the federal constitution as well as federal and state laws in what they can do. They are not supposed to snoop on citizens or eavesdrop on people unless they’ve got specific legal authorization to do so. . . The problem is — as any experienced criminal…

Police Who Lie On the Witness Stand: Did You Know Prosecutors Keep Lists of Their Names?

It wasn’t until 1963 that the U.S. Supreme Court forced prosecutors to do the right thing and share all the facts about a case with defense lawyers before they tried someone for a serious crime and tried to get a conviction. In the case of Brady v. Maryland, John Brady had been convicted of murder…

Prosecutorial Misconduct Still a Big, Big Problem: District Attorneys Do Bad Things

We monitor cases of prosecutorial misconduct here in Texas and elsewhere, and in the past we’ve reported on things like:  Trusting Prosecutors With Forensic Lab Evidence? Consider Harris County District Attorney: Notices Sent of 100s of Wrongful Convictions Prosecutorial Misconduct in Texas: Continuing Injustice Prosecutorial Misconduct Rules Issued by Texas Supreme Court: Where is Michael…

Texas Police Excessive Force: Concern Isn’t Just the Police Officer, It’s the Entire Police Department

For the past two nights, there has been rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, in the aftermath of the grand jury determination not to bring charges against a police officer who used lethal force. That’s Missouri; what about police and lethal force here in Dallas and North Texas? Good question. 1. Dallas Web Site: Police Department’s Lethal…

Trusting Prosecutors With Forensic Lab Evidence? Consider Harris County District Attorney: Notices Sent of 100s of Wrongful Convictions

Here in Dallas County, the District Attorney’s Office is getting its very own forensics evidence lab set up smack dab in the courthouse. So convenient, right? We’ve posted on this development here (read the post) and others have voiced their concern over having the prosecutor so very-very-close to the evidence lab. Well, here’s more to ponder…

Dallas County Opens Digital Crime Lab: DA Snoops Your Cell Phone

There was an important news update out of Craig Watkins’ office that may have been overshadowed yesterday, what with all the November 2014 Election coverage and the scoop that Watkins lost his job to Republican challenger Susan Hawk. After all, there’s lots to ponder in Dallas criminal justice circles about what Hawk’s transition into the…