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August 2019 Archives

Coercive plea bargaining is common in criminal cases

A recent Pew Research Center study reveals that only 6% of state criminal prosecutions around the country go to trial. Plea bargains are even more common in the federal system with 97% of prosecutions being resolved in this way. Texas prosecutors like plea agreements because they are quick and straightforward and allow them to avoid the risks of arguing their cases before a jury, but civil rights advocates are disturbed by some of the tactics they use to obtain them.

For-profit prisons might impact sentences after convictions

A person involved in the criminal justice system usually has one huge concern hanging over their head – prison. Just about any conviction for a federal or state felony comes with the possibility of incarceration. While it is possible to avoid time behind bars, there is a lot of pressure for the courts to "punish" people convicted of crimes.

Civil rights groups want all prosecutors to keep Brady lists

Prosecutors in Texas and other states have received letters from progressive advocacy groups including Black Lives Matter and the American Civil Liberties Union. The letters were written after media outlets in Florida exposed violent and racist Facebook posts written by sheriff's deputies, and they ask prosecutors not to pursue criminal cases that rely on testimony from police officers with a history of misconduct, bias or racism. The letters also urge prosecutors to compile lists of officers with troubled pasts that may be shared with criminal defendants and their lawyers.

Nine detained in Texas on weapons, drug charges

Nine individuals in Texas were indicted in early July 2019 on alleged weapons and narcotics violations. The individuals were detained by police later in the same month. The indictments were the result of an investigation by the ATF Eastern District of Texas Violent Crime Task Force. The task force is a cooperation of the Paris Police Department; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and other law enforcement agencies.

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