Pubdate: Sat,  7 Sep 2002
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Copyright: 2002 Houston Chronicle Publishing Company Division, Hearst Newspaper
Author: Thom Marshall
Please: see and


WE STILL HAVE 13 people from Tulia locked in Texas prisons across the state 

Cash Love is in Livingston doing 99 years.

At the very least, someone in power should figure out how to release them 
on personal recognizance bonds, pending the outcomes of state and federal 
inquiries into the Tulia drug bust of 1999.

Joe Moore is in Abilene doing 90 years.

What put them in prison was the word of one itinerant undercover cop whose 
methods and ethics and reputation have sparked many serious questions, 
investigations, lawsuits and even changes in state law and policy.

Kareem White is in Kenedy doing 60 years.

The 13 were arrested in the same roundup that netted more than 40 people 
identified as drug dealers by undercover cop Tom Coleman. Arresting 
officers found no evidence to support Coleman's contention no inventory of 
drugs, no arsenal of weapons, no wads of cash, no other corroboration.

Jason Williams is in Childress doing 45 years.

Politics All Over the Place

A spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry has said the governor can't do 
anything about setting the Tulia 13 or any other prisoner free unless the 
Board of Pardons and Paroles tells him he can. Of course, the governor does 
appoint the board members of that body.

Kizzie White is in Gatesville doing 25 years.

The governor's Democratic opponent, Tony Sanchez, campaigned this week in 
Tulia, where he said the Tulia bust should not be politicized. His 
spokesman told me Friday that Sanchez was "looking forward to seeing the 
results" of the probe recently announced by Texas Attorney General John Cornyn.

Chris Jackson is in Snyder doing 20 years.

That was pretty humorous, candidate Sanchez campaigning in Tulia and saying 
Tulia should not be politicized. If he'd been serious about that he'd 
simply have stayed out of Tulia. I believe he intended to draw attention to 
the issue and cost his opponent some votes but also wanted to avoid taking 
a stand on it himself.

Freddie Brookins is in Livingston doing 20 years.

The problem with looking forward to investigation results is that some 
investigations never end. That federal probe into possible civil rights 
violations got bogged down. Some people who are working to get all the 
Tulia bust convictions overturned have said that no federal investigators 
have been in Tulia asking questions since George W. Bush moved to Washington.

Dennis Allen is in Navasota doing 18 years.

A Perry spokesman said that since most candidates in Texas agree that 
Cornyn is doing the right thing by conducting a state investigation, the 
Tulia bust "will not be a campaign issue."

Timothy Towery is in Lamesa doing 18 years.

Dealing with a controversial issue like Tulia is walking a tightrope for 
politicians. They would like it to go away, at least until after the election.

Willie Hall is in Huntsville doing 18 years.

Simply announcing another investigation is not enough to make it go away. 
Not when we don't know how long the investigation is going to take and the 
Tulia 13 already have been sitting in jail unjustly for far too long.

Daniel Olivarez is in Hondo doing 12 years.

No Move Will Be Fast Enough

What might work for the politicians is releasing the Tulia 13 on personal 
recognizance bonds, pending the outcomes of the investigations. That way 
the campaigners could avoid taking a stand and still turn down the volume 
of the growing number of people calling for freedom for the Tulia 13.

Landis Barrow is in New Boston doing 10 years.

When I called Cornyn headquarters on Friday to ask about the chances of 
such a release arrangement, a spokesman said it isn't on the table.

Mandis Barrow is in Woodville doing 10 years.

Meanwhile, in Harlingen on Friday, the state's House Committee on Judicial 
Affairs heard from Assistant Attorney General Howard Baldwin on the Tulia 
matter. He said the state investigation (that was not begun until three 
long years after the bust) would be done "as quickly as we can."

Whatever that means, it won't be quick enough for the Tulia 13. 
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