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Archive for the ‘Asset Forfeiture’ Category

Texas Asset Forfeiture in the News Again

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

There is a potential conflict brewing between prosecutors with the Texas Attorney General’s Office and local law enforcement entities over how to best seize the assets of suspected criminal masterminds profiting from wrongdoing.  A story in today’s San Antonio Express-News details legislation before the Texas Senate.  The Texas Racketeering and Corruption Act is not yet up for debate because of a rare rift among powerful law enforcement proponents, according to the news story. 

“Prosecutors are worried that a judge would freeze a suspected gang leaders’ bank account, tipping off the suspect that authorities are closing in and possibly jeopardizing a local criminal investigation.  They also are concerned that most of the money from seized bank accounts would go into a state victims’ compensation fund instead of being used locally for law enforcement.”

In other Texas Asset Forfeiture news, CNN has been following a story about a northeast Texas jurisdiction that has been sued for questionable asset forfeiture tactics. I’ve previously noted this debacle and others.  Looks like the locals will be returning plaintiff’s money.

DNA Testing and the Crime Lab

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Most observers of the DNA testing progams and crime labs in Texas will note that many of the wrongfully convicted in Texas that are ultimately released from custody  because of re-testing of DNA material come from Dallas County.  (Blog Grits for Breakfast notes that there have been 19 from Dallas and 35 overall.)  Some would argue that Dallas has been more aggressive in its prosecutions than other places, resulting in more wrongfully convicted individuals.  Lawyers in this particular field might tell you that they are lucky because Dallas kept the DNA material for long periods of time, so re-testing is an option in these cases. Observers will also tell you that the Harris County crime lab became infamous during the first part of the decade for its sloppy procedures and poor work.

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Houston, which has seen five DNA exonerees in recent years, will change many of its policies relating to the handling of DNA evidence in an effort to prevent wrongful convictions.  First and foremost?  The prosecutors office will “require prosecutors to test DNA evidence in every case where it is available and relevant to prevent miscarriages of justice,” reports the Houston Chronicle.

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