Interim Update: July 2016

            This month’s update is being issued a week early because, for the first time in two years, the author is taking a summer vacation next week. #Blessed

Important notice about Adderall

            Visit to read an important update about any prosecution involving the Penalty Group 2 (PG2) drug Adderall—which is no longer a PG2 drug, retroactive to September 1, 2015, as we are just now discovering. This may require immediate action on your part, so don’t delay—click on the link today!

Jailhouse informant policies

            As we reported last month, the Timothy Cole Exoneration Review Commission is looking into various criminal justice issues that might merit reform (in their opinion). One of those issues is the use of jailhouse informants. To that end, some members of the commission want to know how many Texas prosecutor offices have policies related to the use or internal tracking of jailhouse informants, as was recently adopted by the Tarrant County Criminal DA’s Office (see this article for the reason behind that new policy). To answer that question, the commission is asking that each office reply to Terri Peirce, Judicial Information Data Analyst at the Office of Court Administration, at [email protected], and include copies of any written policies you might have on this topic. (And if you do so, please cc that reply to Shannon at [email protected], too.) All replies should be submitted by Friday, August 12, to give the commission staff adequate time to prepare the information for their next meeting in early September.

Interim hearing recap

            As we enter the dog days of summer, not much of interest is going on at the state capitol (unless you are a Pokemon Go player). Various committees did meet to discuss the CPS/foster care crisis, the mental health crisis, and the trauma care funding crisis (that word “crisis” kind of loses its meaning when it gets used so much, doesn’t it?), but no actionable information came from any of those hearings.

Upcoming hearings

            The only interim committee hearings posted for August so far are the following:

Senate Committee on Criminal Justice
Tuesday, August 23, at 1:30 p.m., State Capitol Extension, Room E1.016
Topic: Asset forfeiture

House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence
Wednesday, August 24, at 1:00 p.m., Del Mar College Center for Economic Development,
3209 S. Staples Street, Room 106, Corpus Christi, Texas
Topic: Family violence

If you have questions about these interim hearings, call or email Shannon for more information. 

Welcome TDCAA’s newest (honorary) staff member

         Congratulations to Ashley Martin, our research attorney, and her husband Matt on the birth of their son, August James Martin, born in the early morning hours of July 7th. Mother and baby are both doing well, but momma won’t be available to answer your pressing legal questions anytime soon, so please be patient if it takes us a tad longer to respond to requests for legal research.

Free DNA training opportunity

            The Texas Forensic Science Commission is hosting a *free* one-day CLE training on DNA mixture cases at St. Mary’s Law School in San Antonio on Friday, August 12. For more details, visit

Quotes of the month

“We’re asking cops to do too much in this country. Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding—let the cop handle it. Not enough drug addiction funding—let’s give it to the cop. Here in Dallas, we’ve got a loose dog problem—let’s have the cops chase loose dogs … that’s too much to ask. Policing was never meant to solve all those problems.”
            —Dallas Police Chief David Brown, at a press conference in the wake of the attack that killed five Dallas officers.


“Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions.”
            —Former President George W. Bush, speaking at a memorial service for those officers killed in the Dallas shootings.


“This is one of the results of the legalization of marijuana in Denver, and we’re going to have to deal with it.”
            —Denver (CO) Mayor Michael Hancock, responding to yet another recent incident of seemingly random street violence in the popular 16th Street Mall area of downtown Denver.


“From ridesharing, to setting minimum wages, to rent control, there are many issues where the Legislature has an obligation to step in and pre-empt political subdivisions.”
            —State Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas), during an explanation of his opposition to a plastic bag ban in Laredo. (So much for “local control,” eh?)


“Last session may have been a great session to retire.”
            —Dale Craymer, president of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association, on the state’s impending budget crunch in 2017.


“You’re on fire, stupid! You’re on fire!”
            —Overheard from one of the police officers responding to a flag-burning rally put on by communists (who knew they were still around?) at the Republican national convention in Cleveland, Ohio.


“But when one of the teams advances, to a big bowl game or a national championship, don’t you root for the Aggies if you are a Longhorn? [laughter from the crowd] You don’t? … Holy moly. This explains everything right now. Geez.”
            —Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), trying to use a college football analogy in front of the Texas delegation of the Republican National Convention to explain why Republicans should rally around the party’s nominee after a heated primary. (Speaker Ryan is clearly unfamiliar with our particular brand of politics and football!)


“Cruz spoiled that … with a speech that’ll be remembered as one of the fattest middle-finger salutes in American history.”
            —Ross Ramsey, executive editor of the Texas Tribune, the day after Sen. Ted Cruz’s non-endorsement of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.