Hate Speech

posted on 9/11/17

Perhaps the most discussed aspect of the United States Constitution is theFirst Amendment, which provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peacefully to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of Grievances.” The recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia ignited further discussion about the First Amendment. So-called White Nationalists organized a march to...

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Crime in Prison

posted on 9/4/17

Life in prison isoften unpleasant. Not only does a person lose his or her freedom, but he or she must also deal with prison life. Inmates must sleep in a room with other inmates; often there are multiple inmates sleeping in one big room. Guards are constantly scrutinizing the inmate population for possible rule breakers; fights break out constantly; the feeling of a lack of productivity gets people down. Prisons often have gang problems wherein some inmates join gangs and...

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posted on 8/28/17

One evening, a burglar broke into a large Dallas home and quickly deactivated the alarm. He walked straight from the downstairs window up to the master bedroom. Once there, he opened a bunch of drawers and started taking items of value from the room. He found rings, wedding bands, gold necklaces, and other items. He then spent the next two minutes taking everything of value that was in his sight. After ransacking the place, the man slipped out the window...

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Child Endangerment in Texas

posted on 8/21/17

“Where is Charles?” “Where did he go?” “We have to find him. Has anyone seen him in the last few minutes?” “I am going to look by the toy aisle,...

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Texas Gun Possession

posted on 8/14/17

Compared to other states, Texas has lenient laws with respect to gun possession. Anyone who is 18 years old and older may possess long guns, which are shotguns, rifles, and the like. There is no need to obtain a permit. Similarly, anyone 21 and older can own a handgun without a permit. The person purchasing the firearms must be a Texas resident. There is also no assault weapons ban, meaning that firearms like AK-47s and the like are not banned...

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Crimes of Sudden Passion

posted on 8/7/17

A Dallas man goes away on a business trip to England for two weeks. He tells his wife and family that he will be in England for a certain amount...

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Welfare Fraud

posted on 7/24/17

In the 1960’s, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a “war on poverty,” wherein the United States government would create social programs that provided food assistance, medical care, and other benefits to Americans. This became known as the “Great Society.” These programs were subsequently expanded under Presidents Nixon and Ford. In addition to federal programs, states initiated their own social programs that were aimed at alleviating lower-class suffering. In Texas, programs such as SNAP, or Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, TANF, or...

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Jury Deliberations

posted on 7/17/17

A key component of a criminal trial is the jury. The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him;...

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Terrorism or Mass Murder?

posted on 7/10/17

According to the FBI, the definition of terrorism is based on theCode of Federal Regulations, which defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” Based on this definition, it can be determined whether an act falls under murder or terrorism charges. While mass murder and terrorism may look the same, the intention behind the...

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Ineffective Counsel for Death Row Inmates

posted on 7/3/17

An inmate sitting on death row in Texas is nothing new; in fact, commentators who refer to death row commonly refer to Texas. In death row cases, particularly those in Texas, inmates will often appeal on grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel. That is to say, a defendant on death row will attempt to stay execution by asserting that his or her trial counsel, which is often the public defender, did not provide effective representation in a court of law....

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High Profile Cases

posted on 6/25/17

A common misconception is that athletes and other high profile individuals get special treatment when accused of a crime. People may believe that the system favors the stars. In reality, it is the opposite. When a high profile individual is prosecuted and convicted, the prosecutors are giving each other high fives; when a nameless, faceless, low-level defendant is convicted of a crime, no one gets excited. Sometimes it is the nature of the crime and not the defendant that makes...

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Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

posted on 6/18/17

Texas criminal law has a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard, which means that a jury is charged with finding guilt only if the admitted evidence and testimony suggests that reasonable doubt of guilt does not exist. As such, even if the jury reasonably believes that the defendant is guilty of the crime, the system tasks the jury to provide a no guilty verdict when, despite the belief in the defendant’s guilt, reasonable doubt exists. In turn, a defense attorney’s job,...

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