Tulia, Texas
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21 US TX: 10 From Tulia Could Be Denied Cash For Jail TimeTue, 29 Aug 2006
Source:Austin American-Statesman (TX) Author:Copelin, Laylan Area:Texas Lines:112 Added:08/29/2006

Some Stuck In Legal Limbo; Abbott's Opinion Sought.

On Monday, Kareem White, one of 35 Tulia drug defendants pardoned by Texas Gov. Rick Perry three years ago, got the first half of $100,000 from the state for being wrongly imprisoned.

In all, 20 residents of the tiny Panhandle town that was rocked by a drug sting gone wrong have filed claims of more than $1.3 million against the state. However, 10 of them are in a legal limbo that could delay - or prevent - them from collecting for the prison time they served.

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22 US GA: ACLU Targets 'Meth Merchant'Fri, 16 Jun 2006
Source:Rome News-Tribune (GA) Author:Gregory, Lauren Area:Georgia Lines:107 Added:06/19/2006

The ACLU Hopes New Evidence Monday Will Prove "Operation Meth Merchant" Targeted South Asians

A little more than a year after 49 Northwest Georgia convenience store owners and employees first appeared in U.S. District Court as a result of "Operation Meth Merchant," more than 60 percent of the cases have been resolved through plea agreements. But that doesn't mean 60 percent of the defendants are guilty, according to civil rights advocates scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Rome on Monday.

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23US LA: OPED: Snitch Testimony On TrialThu, 30 Mar 2006
Source:Advertiser, The (Lafayette, LA) Author:Bean, Alan Area:Louisiana Lines:Excerpt Added:04/05/2006

When I left the federal courthouse in Lafayette at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, the lawyers were still hammering out language for the judge's charge to the jury. For all I know they are still at it.

With the jurors, spectators, court employees and defendants out of the room, Judge Tucker Melancon stripped off his snappy blue robe and rolled up his sleeves.

"I would like to ask the gentleman at the back of the room to identify himself," he said. The judge had been laboring under the mistaken impression that I was an expert of some kind.

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24 US TX: Task Force Disbanding ... What's Next?Sun, 26 Feb 2006
Source:Lufkin Daily News (TX) Author:Taravella, Emily Area:Texas Lines:194 Added:03/04/2006

NACOGDOCHES -- With the closing of the Deep East Texas Narcotics Trafficking Task Force a few weeks away the question remains, "What does the future hold, with regard to drug enforcement in rural East Texas?"

Ten agencies participate in the DETNTTF, including sheriff's offices in Nacogdoches, Angelina, Houston, Sabine and Tyler counties, and police departments in Nacogdoches, Diboll, Crockett, Hemphill and Woodville.

County officials have set about the difficult task of dismantling the organization, turning over pending cases to individual jurisdictions and allocating assets.

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25 UK: Book Review: Tulia: Race, Cocaine and Corruption in a Small Texas TownSun, 19 Feb 2006
Source:Scotland On Sunday (UK) Author:Blakeslee, Nate Area:United Kingdom Lines:135 Added:02/23/2006

Basic Books, UKP15.99

ONE morning in the summer of 1999, 47 people were arrested in the Texas Panhandle town of Tulia and charged with dealing cocaine. From the start, the indictments should have appeared suspicious. Most of those arrested were black; in fact they represented one in every five black adults in Tulia.

Was it really credible that such a significant proportion of a very small community were dealers? And who were they dealing to? They were accused of dealing in powdered cocaine, but crack was the local drug of choice.

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26US CA: Column: Your Tax Dollars on DrugsSun, 12 Feb 2006
Source:San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Author:Saunders, Debra J. Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:02/12/2006

IF YOU want to understand how difficult it is to cut the federal deficit -- it will surpass $400 billion in the 2007 budget -- take a look at the Byrne grants. Named after New York City police officer Edward Byrne, who was killed by drug dealers, the grants have provided about $500 million annually to local law-enforcement efforts since the program was signed into law by the first President Bush. Critics on the left and the right consider the program to be ill-conceived and ineffective, and they've urged Washington to eliminate the grants. But Congress keeps pouring millions into the program.

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27 US TX: Schools Conduct Random Drug TestsSat, 04 Feb 2006
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Author:Dickerson, Paige Area:Texas Lines:107 Added:02/09/2006

Many Panhandle school districts have implemented drug-testing programs to give students a reason to say no, officials said, but some school districts faced challenges.

The drug-testing programs in Farwell Independent School District and Tulia Independent School District were challenged in lawsuits years ago. In the Tulia case, a U.S. District Court judge ruled in favor of the families, but the judge dismissed the lawsuit in 2002 following a U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld drug testing in a similar Oklahoma case. The U.S. Supreme Court decision cleared the way for more school districts to start drug-testing programs.

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28 US TX: Editorial: School Drug Tests Passing The TestTue, 07 Feb 2006
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:47 Added:02/08/2006

More Districts Implementing Program

It took the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the issue, but public school districts can legally conduct student drug tests on a random basis.

Many school districts in the Texas Panhandle have been doing so for years, some since the mid-1990s for students choosing to participate in extracurricular activities.

And guess what?

There's been no mass exodus of students unwilling to submit to random drug testing, no governmental crackdown of the "Big Brother" variety and no shredding of the U.S. Constitution.

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29 US: Web: OPED: Justice, Texas StyleSat, 31 Dec 2005
Source:AlterNet (US Web) Author:Shemkus, Sarah Area:United States Lines:166 Added:01/05/2006

Early one morning in 1999, dozens of young men, most of them black, were rounded up by police in Tulia, Texas, and charged with dealing cocaine. Texas Observer reporter Nate Blakeslee discussed the defendants' eventual exoneration, the corruption of the system, and his new book, Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town.

What was it about what happened in Tulia that caught your interest?

The first I heard about Tulia was after the bust had taken place and there had been about five trials. No one was accused of dealing more than a few hundred dollars' worth of cocaine, but the juries were handing down these amazingly long sentences.

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30 US TX: Narcotics Task Force Dissolves March 31Mon, 26 Dec 2005
Source:Lufkin Daily News (TX) Author:Taravella, Emiily Area:Texas Lines:250 Added:12/27/2005

NACOGDOCHES - Kim Courtney-Graham nearly died when she was shot while working undercover as a narcotics officer on Aug. 26, 1998.

She lost 50 percent of her blood, and her trauma surgeon didn't think she would pull through.

Her daughter was in the seventh grade at the time, and her son was 6 years old.

Courtney-Graham fought for her life, because of her children. And after she recuperated she returned to the streets and kept fighting drugs, because of her children.

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31 US AL: Narcotics Task Force Dissolves March 31Sun, 25 Dec 2005
Source:Daily Sentinel, The (Scottsboro, AL) Author:Taravella, Emily Area:Alabama Lines:257 Added:12/27/2005

Kim Courtney-Graham nearly died when she was shot while working undercover as a narcotics officer on Aug. 26, 1998.

She lost 50 percent of her blood, and her trauma surgeon didn't think she would pull through.

Her daughter was in the seventh grade at the time, and her son was 6 years old.

Courtney-Graham fought for her life, because of her children. And after she recuperated she returned to the streets and kept fighting drugs, because of her children.

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32 US NY: Book Review: 'Tulia': The Case of the Lone Star WitnessSun, 30 Oct 2005
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Mosle, Sara Area:New York Lines:171 Added:10/30/2005

Tulia, Tex., doesn't quite have the ring of Jasper - the East Texas town where a black man was dragged to his death in 1998 - but from 2000 to 2003, this dying cow and farming town in the Texas panhandle became increasingly notorious for a bogus drug sting that unjustly sent a good portion of the town's blacks to prison.

The media glare didn't prompt a lot of soul-searching in white, official Tulia. (The Chamber of Commerce put out a bumper sticker, "Hallelujah, I'm from Tulia.") If anything, such scrutiny added to an aggrieved sense of being misunderstood by the rest of the country.

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33 US TX: Crackpot CrackdownFri, 21 Oct 2005
Source:Austin Chronicle (TX) Author:Smith, Jordan Area:Texas Lines:758 Added:10/21/2005

Jackson County's DA Has Convicted 28 Black People on Drug Charges Via Manufactured Evidence and Railroaded Trials. Now a Small-Town Exile, Her Family, and a Few Neighbors Are Fighting Back

Frederick "Rick" Patterson was born in the small Southeast Texas city of Edna, seat of Jackson Co. and just north of Port Lavaca, in 1954, the same year the rural community earned its first moment in the national spotlight. That January, the U.S. Supreme Court heard an appeal brought by convicted murderer Pete Hernandez, an agricultural worker in Edna, who argued that Jackson Co. prosecutors denied his right to equal protection under the law by excluding Mexican-Americans from the jury pool. Hernandez's attorneys had discovered that from 1929 to 1954, not a single Mexican-American had ever served on a Jackson Co. jury - nor, for that matter, had any black juror. The state Court of Criminal Appeals had rejected Hernandez's argument - ruling that Hispanics were a subset of whites and therefore could not be considered a "special class" under the 14th Amendment. But on May 3, 1954, in a precedent-setting opinion authored by Chief Justice Earl Warren, a unanimous Supreme Court disagreed. Hernandez had "the right to be indicted and tried by juries from which all members of his class [were] not systematically excluded," Warren wrote. Indeed, Warren noted that courthouse practice itself belied Jackson Co. officials' assertion that Mexicans were considered equal to whites, for the courthouse had two separate men's restrooms - one for whites, and the other labeled for "Colored Men" and "Hombres Aqui."

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34US TX: Book Review: Book Puts Tulia Process on TrialSun, 02 Oct 2005
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Weeks, Jerome Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:10/02/2005

Texas justice went horribly wrong in Tulia in 1999, columnists and pundits quickly agreed. Forty-seven people, many of them black, all of them poor, were arrested for selling cocaine. There was no coke found, no videotape of any drug buy and several of the accused had no criminal records.One wasn't even in town for her alleged drug deal. But in weighing the vague, unsupported say-so of a single narcotics officer against all these people from the wrong end of town, Tulia juries kept giving them 20 years, 60 years, 361 years, until a clutch of local cranks, incensed attorneys, drug-war opponents and honest cops stopped the railroading.

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35 US TX: Vets Against The (Drug) WarWed, 28 Sep 2005
Source:Fort Worth Weekly (TX) Author:Gorman, Peter Area:Texas Lines:653 Added:09/30/2005

This Is Your Society. This Is Your Society On An Endless, Losing Campaign Against Drugs. NOW DO YOU GET IT?

Howard Woolridge is outside of Utica, N.Y., heading east on horseback on a beautiful late summer day. He's wearing a t-shirt with the slogan "Cops Say Legalize Drugs. Ask Me Why." For the last 3,000 miles, he's been switching off between his two horses, Misty and Sam. But the t-shirt slogan has stayed the same.

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36 US TX: Drug Task Force Faces Funding QuestionsTue, 20 Sep 2005
Source:Daily Sentinel (TX) Author:Taravella, Emily Area:Texas Lines:103 Added:09/20/2005

The Deep East Texas Narcotics Task Force faces an uncertain future, with regard to program funding.

"We were notified that the funding, as we know it, will end March 31, 2006," Sheriff Thomas Kerss said. "It will be replaced with something else, but no one knows exactly what that will consist of or what it will mean for local jurisdictions."

The one thing that Kerss does know is that East Texas and other areas throughout the state will experience a significant loss in law-enforcement resources, come April 1.

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37 US TX: Drug Task Force Sees Little Effect From New LawThu, 01 Sep 2005
Source:Corpus Christi Caller-Times (TX) Author:Eaton, Tim Area:Texas Lines:76 Added:09/02/2005

Limit To Unit's Range Is Result, Lawmaker Says

AUSTIN - In months after the passage of a drug task force law, not too much has changed, law enforcement officials said.

The law by Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Rep. Terri Hodge, D-Dallas, said proceeds from any forfeited contraband seized by that task force must go to the state's general fund unless a task force complies with Texas Department of Public Safety policies and procedures.

The law took effect in June, but so far, drug task forces across the state have been pretty much operating as they always have, without guidance from DPS, according to task forces commanders.

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38US CA: Column: Never Steal A Turkey In Lubbock, And Other TalesMon, 20 Jun 2005
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Ivins, Molly Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:06/20/2005

Racism, 'Tuff on Crime' judges and gutless politicians warp the system.

The U.S. Supreme Court rules yet again that another Texas case was wrongfully decided -- this time because 19 of 20 blacks had been knocked off the jury pool -- and I'm asked to explain what's wrong with criminal justice in Texas, in 750 words. Sure, no problem.

I don't like to be cynical, but one can get a little tired after a long time watching justice meted out in this state. The story doesn't change much, and nothing seems to get better. But for what it's worth, here's what's at the bottom of it.

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39 US: Web: War on Crime, Not on DrugsWed, 15 Jun 2005
Source:AlterNet (US Web) Author:Stamper, Norm Area:United States Lines:308 Added:06/15/2005

Editor's Note: The following excerpt is reprinted with permission from "Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing (Nation Books, 2005).

I say it's time to withdraw the troops in the war on drugs.

For a jaw-dropping illustration of drug enforcement's financial costs, take a look at DrugSense org's Drug War Clock. To the tune of $600 a second, taxpayers are financing this war. For the year 2004 the figure added up to over $20 billion, and that's just for federal enforcement alone. You can add another $22 to $24 billion for state and local drug law enforcement, and even more billions for U. S. drug interdiction work on the international scene. We're talking well over $50 billion a year to finance America's war on drugs.

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40US TX: Civil Rights Lawsuit Is Settled In HearneWed, 11 May 2005
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:05/12/2005

Years Of Narcotics Raids Were Motivated By Race Bisa, ACLC Alleged

HEARNE -- Robertson County and the American Civil Liberties Union announced a settlement today in a civil rights lawsuit over a narcotics raid that has been compared to the discredited drug busts in Tulia.

The suit, filed in 2002 by the ACLU, accused Robertson County District Attorney John Paschall and the South Central Texas Narcotics Task Force of engaging in racially motivated drug sweeps of Hearne's black community over 15 years.

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