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Archive for February, 2009

DWI. DUI. Driving While Texting? Driving While on the Mobile Phone?

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

The Texas Legislature is looking to put restrictions on the manner that Texas drivers use their mobile phones while driving.  Today’s Houston Chronicle outlines the proposed legislation here.

The Bill affecting mobile phones and teen drivers can be found here. It appears that the offense would be a Class C misdemeanor, and not involve jail time.  A bill proposing to double fines for inattentive drivers is also before the legislature.

Update:  Uh, the legislature may need to add some language to the bill…check out this story from Dayton, Ohio.

March to be Put-Up or Shut-Up time in the Bexar County Courthouse.

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

The Bexar County District Courts will be hopping in March, according to this story in today’s San Antonio Express-News. The District Court judges have decided to bring all cases over a year old and set them for plea or trial.  The idea is to clear out old cases (averting speedy trial problems, and getting people out of an overcrowded Bexar County Jail).

Dockets seem to be clogged for a number of reasons (sheer population growth with no added courts, unreasonable plea offers from the Bexar County District Attorney’s office, chief among them).  It remains to be seen if the measures will have the desired effect.  As the story in today’s Express-News seems to imply:  the whole thing could be an exercise in futility if each defendant, some of whom have been waiting in jail for over a year, insists on his day in court.

Mobile Data Devices – Breakin’ the Law

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

Last fall, I had an interesting conversation with a prosecutor about the definition of child pornography.  The definition of child pornography, the definition of dissemination, and the definition of receipt were at the heart of our discussion.  In that conversation, I kind of stumbled onto the notion that within two miles of where we sat, there were digital devices chock full of images that met the definition of child pornography loaded with images that met the definition of child pornography.  The catch?  The were possessed by children themselves. Would the prosecutor’s office be interested in prosecuting those individuals, most of them juveniles?

Sexting is the term used to refer to the swapping of explicit images via mobile device.  Slate.com’s Dahlia Lithwick wrote a thorough treatment of the subject that appears here.  A survey conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy appears here.

Update:  CNN Story about lifetime sex offender registration for “sexting” offender.

Forfeiture Horror Stories Continue in Texas

Sunday, February 8th, 2009


Click for a link to a story in the San Antonio Express-News on asset forfeiture abuses in an East Texas town.

Here’s a link to a story of an Austin man’s travels to South Texas and his experiences in the asset forfeiture realm:  http://texasobserver.org/article.php?aid=2760