StandDown Texas Project

The StandDown Texas Project identifies and advocates best practices in the criminal justice system. To stand down is to go off duty temporarily, especially to review safety procedures. That is what Texas needs to do with its death penalty.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Visit the New Site

If you got here through a link, please visit the new site.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Federal Death Penalty Trial in Houston

The Houston Chronicle reports that a trial date has been sent in the case of the truck driver involved in the 2003 human smuggling case.

The link is here.

Jury selection is scheduled for Oct. 3 in the second trial of Tyrone Williams, who is accused in the deaths of 19 illegal immigrants who were packed into his truck trailer during a failed smuggling attempt in 2003.

Two challenges planned by defense attorney Craig Washington could still head off that trial, however.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Scalia, Congress, and International Law

Justice Scalia told Congress to back off from criticism of the Court and the use of citing international law in a speech yesterday. Though Scalia has been critical of citing interantional law in Supreme Court rulings, his remarks demonstrate a unity with the other justices on the issue of judicial independence.

Legal Times' Tony Mauro has a report here.

Washington Post coverage is here.

The Los Angeles Times coverage is here.

Server Crash

StandDown's ISP had a server crash yesterday, and they are still attempting to get the site fully back in operation. At least for the next few days we will posting on this old site.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

This Blog Has Moved

This blog is now linked directly to the StandDown Texas Project's website. Please follow the link to for the latest posts.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

U.S. Supreme Court's Impatience With Texas

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a series of Texas death penalty cases, has criticized the state Court of Criminal Appeals and the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for failing to properly review the cases. The tone has grown sharper with every rebuke.

Even the most casual, uninformed reader can sense the Court's impatience in its latest Texas ruling. In Smith v. Texas, the Court took the highly unusual step of rendering judgement without even hearing oral arguments in the case. You can read the Court's opinion here.

Ralph Blumenthal, the Times Bureau Chief in Houston, and Adam Liptak, who covers legal issues, look at the simmering controversy in the linked article. [Note: free registration required to view NYT content]

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Perry Issues Reprieve in Frances Newton Case

Newton's case has attracted world-wide attention because she is female and has a serious claim of actual innocence. Her case had recently caught the attention of Judges William Sessions and Charles Baird.

The OpEd is here.

Earlier today, Houston Mayor Bill White called on the governor to issue the reprieve, echoing Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt's earlier call for a moratorium on executions from Harris County until crime lab problems are settled.

South Africa's Mail & Guardian had a report on the Newton case. LINK

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

U.S. Supreme Court Rebukes Texas Again

Courts generally use very deferential language. Yesterday's ruling by the Supreme Court overturning a Texas death sentence is unusually blunt in it's criticism that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals are not following prior rulings by the high Court.

The matter was so clear to the Supreme Court that it did not even hold oral arguments in the case.

The Times article is linked above. The opinion is here.

The Topic Is Innocence

Today's Christian Science Monitor picks up where the Texas Poll left off. Problems with the HPD Crime Lab and recent exonerations are causing people to re-examine how well the criminal justict system is working.

The Monitor article is here.