Category Archives: Texas Government Watch

Open Carry of Handguns in Texas: Get Ready

You may assume that it’s not allowed anywhere in the United States for an ordinary citizen to carry their gun openly in public display, but you’re wrong if you do. It’s not. In fact, it’s strange but true that until this month Texas (that’s right, Texas!) was one of only a few states (the others…


Police Cameras: Things to Know Before Filming Texas Police in Action

The power of the people to film or photograph police doing bad things — and then sharing those videos or photographs online in social media like Twitter or YouTube — is undeniable. From the use of smartphones, just last week we saw the police officer shooting a man in the back over in South Carolina….


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…


Synthetic Drugs Law: Will New Texas Law Succeed in Outlawing Spice, K2, and Other Synthetic Highs?

Here in Texas, law enforcement and the Texas Legislature are trying hard to keep up with the growing market for synthetic marijuana and designer drugs that are being sold all around the state in shops as well as online on legal web sites. Synthetic marijuana, for example, is sold as an easy to get alternative…


Will Media Coverage Finally Stop Government From Grabbing Your Property in Forfeiture?

 Finally, the public is waking up to the wrong that is civil forfeiture laws – something that we’ve been monitoring here since April 2010. There’s still lots to be done, but there is reason to be optimistic that the government’s ability to grab your property without any criminal wrongdoing even being alleged on your part…


Defense Lessons of the Dallas Crime Lab and the Michael Phillips Exoneration

The Dallas Crime Lab has made the national news (along with the history books) by being the first crime lab to have its DNA evidence form the basis of a wrongful conviction exoneration where the defendant didn’t move for the re-testing of the crime lab results. This is a big national news story.  You can…


What is the Texas Driver’s Responsibility Surcharge for DWI Cases and Why (Hopefully) Its Days may be Numbered

This week down in Austin, some Texas legislators gave us all hope that something may be done sometime in this decade about the Texas Driver’s Responsiblity Surcharge Program. Fingers crossed. We’ve been discussing the unfairness of the Texas Driver Responsibility Surcharges for years now; check out our prior posts for a history of this state…


Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Do Not Trust Prosecutor’s Crime Lab Forensic Evidence, When Will Public Become Aware that Crime Lab Results Aren’t Like TV Forensics?

Forensic evidence seems so darn scientific and reliable when you watch TV. Unfortunately, things are NOT the same in the real world as they are on television shows and we’ve been monitoring how bad Texas Crime Labs can be in processing evidence to be used in criminal trials for a long while now. (See, for…


National Drug Use Study: Marijuana and Heroin Use Skyrocketing and Local Prosecutors Are Revving Up for Severe Sentences

The federal government monitors drug use — specifically illegal drug use (including alcohol) — in several ways, including research studies like the one just released this week by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This study, done each year by the SAMHSA, is the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and…