Tulia, Texas
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41 US TX: PUB LTE: Coleman ConvictionSat, 29 Jan 2005
Source:Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (TX) Author:Madison, Harvey Area:Texas Lines:40 Added:01/29/2005

We of the ACLU of Lubbock and Texas wish to acknowledge all the kind words from those who have contacted us regarding the successful conviction of Tom Coleman, the discredited undercover agent in the Tulia drug debacle. It was the ACLU that started the long and tortuous legal and public process of reversing the tragic injustices committed by Coleman and others.

It is those others, however, that we remain concerned about. While we urged the indictment of others involved in the Tulia sweep, none has been charged by investigators for anything in the Tulia drug operation.

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42 US TX: Coleman Convicted Of PerjurySat, 15 Jan 2005
Source:Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (TX) Author:Lunsford, D. Lance Area:Texas Lines:134 Added:01/16/2005

Jury Recommends Probation For Former Tulia Drug Agent

Perhaps, it was already decided that Tom Coleman would never work in law enforcement again because of his 1999 flawed undercover drug bust in Tulia, leading to his own aggravated perjury charges.

A jury completely annihilated the possibility of continuing any such career late Friday when it handed down a guilty verdict and seven years in prison for Coleman.

The sentence offered a brief, shining moment of happiness for former Tulia defendants in the back of the courtroom, who peered on with hopeful faces.

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43 US TX: The Usual SuspectsWed, 03 Nov 2004
Source:Texas Observer (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:217 Added:11/04/2004

Were there really 72 crack dealers in rural Anderson County?

It began, as many drug stings do, with a lucky break.

In November 2002, a traffic cop pulled over a driver ferrying crack cocaine on U.S. Highway 79 into the small East Texas town of Palestine. Police believed they had caught a glimpse into a drug ring that was smuggling crack from Houston and Dallas into rural Anderson County, 40 miles southwest of Tyler. The Dogwood Trails Narcotics Task Force, a regional alliance of local, state, and federal law enforcement, promptly launched an investigation.

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44 US TX: Editorial: Many To Blame For Tulia StingFri, 29 Oct 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:55 Added:10/29/2004

APD'S Mike Amos Gets Unfair Share

Lt. Mike Amos retires today from the Amarillo Police Department.

Hopefully, his association with the infamous 1999 Tulia drug sting will be retired as well.

Amos, the former head of the defunct Panhandle Regional Narcotics Trafficking Task Force, took much of the heat for the Tulia fiasco, most of it unwarranted.

The majority of the blame for what happened in Tulia rests squarely on the shoulders of Tom Coleman, the discredited former undercover officer whose questionable actions resulted in the arrests of 46 people, most of them pardoned. Coleman faces legal troubles of his own, having been indicted on three counts of perjury.

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45 US TX: Task Force Commander RetiresThu, 28 Oct 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Author:Cunningham, Greg Area:Texas Lines:81 Added:10/28/2004

The commander of the narcotics task force that supervised the controversial 1999 Tulia drug bust will soon retire, leaving the Amarillo narcotics unit that replaced the task force under new management.

Lt. Mike Amos will end his career with the Amarillo Police Department on Friday, leaving behind a decades-long record of service that supervisors characterized as excellent. That service is marred, however, by the controversy surrounding the Tulia drug bust, which

operated under Amos' supervision.

"Lt. Amos has had a long and distinguished career with the APD, most of that as a supervisor," said Col. Robert Francis. "He's always been one of our most dependable, conscientious supervisors.

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46 US WI: PUB LTE: Sensenbrenner Abuses ResponsibilitiesSat, 23 Oct 2004
Source:Waukesha Freeman (WI) Author:Haitsma, Glenn Van Area:Wisconsin Lines:50 Added:10/23/2004

As an independent voter in this election season, my vote will go to the candidate who most consistently demonstrates a humane concern for all persons, regardless of their fame or fortune or party affiliation. By that principle, my vote will go to the 5th Congressional District candidate Bryan Kennedy, not to incumbent F. James Sensenbrenner.

Consider this case in point: As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Sensenbrenner has been asked repeatedly to schedule hearings on glaring human rights abuses, as well as misuse of funds, in the 16-year-old federal grant program known as the Byrne Grant. He repeatedly puts off such hearings.

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47 US TX: Editorial: Venue Change Good for JusticeSat, 02 Oct 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:54 Added:10/02/2004

Coleman Case Creates Unique Situation

Tom Coleman will have to take his act on the road.

Coleman, a former undercover officer and central figure in the infamous 1999 Tulia drug sting, will have his perjury trial moved to Lubbock.

Visiting Judge David Gleason ruled Wednesday for a change of venue for Coleman, whose questionable integrity and competency created, and is ultimately the cause of, the Tulia fiasco.

In a normal situation, change of venue deprives the segment of the public most related to the alleged crimes of the accused from rendering justice.

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48 US TX: Coleman Trial to MoveThu, 30 Sep 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Author:Cunningham, Greg Area:Texas Lines:98 Added:09/30/2004

Perjury Case to Be Heard in Lubbock Court in January

TULIA - Eight Swisher County juries backed Tom Coleman in the 1999 Tulia drug bust, but a ninth jury, which will have the final say on the controversial undercover officer's fate, will not be from Tulia.

Visiting Judge David Gleason overruled defense attorneys' objections Wednesday and ordered the perjury trial of Coleman moved to Lubbock early next year.

"In my opinion, the publicity surrounding the entire situation - including Mr. Coleman's appearance on national television - has been vast, to say the least," Gleason said in handing down his decision. "It is the court's opinion that a fair trial cannot be held in Swisher County."

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49US TX: Ex-agent's Tulia Drug Trial MovedThu, 30 Sep 2004
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:09/30/2004

Citing Fairness, Judge Sends Perjury Case To Lubbock In January

Declaring that the former undercover agent at the center of discredited drug busts in Tulia cannot receive a fair trial in Swisher County, a judge moved Tom Coleman's perjury case to Lubbock, 66 miles away.

Visiting Judge David Gleason set trial for the week of Jan. 10.

Of the 46 people arrested in the 1999 drug busts, 39 were black, which led civil rights groups to question if the busts were racially motivated. Coleman is white

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50US TX: OPED: Tulian Offers Different View On TV Report, ArticleSat, 25 Sep 2004
Source:Plainview Daily Herald (TX) Author:Bean, Alan Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:09/26/2004

Richard Orr's article in last Sunday's Herald ("Not so innocent after all" regarding the controversial 1999 drug sting in Tulia) summarized the findings of Todd Bensman, an investigative reporter with the CBS affiliate in Dallas.

Bensman reports that, according to an FBI report mysteriously obtained from an undisclosed source, eight Tulia defendants admitted that they sold drugs to Tom Coleman. The implication is that Governor Perry, had he only known, would never have pardoned the Tulia defendants nor would attorneys for the City of Amarillo have sanctioned a $6 million settlement.

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51 US TX: LTE: Law Officials Not So Wrong On TuliaWed, 22 Sep 2004
Source:Plainview Daily Herald (TX) Author:WaltPerry, Area:Texas Lines:35 Added:09/23/2004

To The Editor:

Well! Well! Well! It seems our district attorney, his assistant district attorney and the law enforcement officer who gathered evidence of sales of drugs and illegal substances in Tulia weren=B4t so wrong after all!

Apparently the incorrect positions were taken by their Amarillo lawyer, the ACLU, the NAACP, the Friends of Justice Founder (Alan Bean) and the governo r for his blanket pardons.

Wonder if any of them will ever admit they were in the wrong? It is doubtful!

One wonders how much of the $4 million settlement the confessed drug peddlers expect to receive? That is, if any is left after the Amarillo attorney takes his =93fee=94!

Surely they deserve nothing!

Walter I. Perry

[end]

52US TX: Column: Stink in Tulia Rises From Undercover Officer'sMon, 20 Sep 2004
Source:San Antonio Express-News (TX) Author:Clack, Cary Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:09/21/2004

If a house stinks because someone set a skunk loose inside and the skunk turned over a carton of milk that soured, or a can of garbage rotted because no one took the time to clean things up, it's no longer important which smell is the most offensive.

It still stinks.

This image comes to mind in the wake of an FBI report into the infamous 1999 Tulia drug sting, in which 46 residents of the tiny Panhandle town were arrested because of the questionable work of an undercover officer named Tom Coleman.

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53 US TX: Some Texans Lose Faith In Bush JusticeWed, 15 Sep 2004
Source:Irish Times, The (Ireland) Author:Marlowe, Lara Area:Texas Lines:134 Added:09/21/2004

Freddie Brookins will not be allowed to vote against George W. Bush on November 2nd. Although he received a pardon from the current Texas governor, Rick Perry, and a substantial cash settlement for the four years of a 20-year sentence he served in prison, Brookins's record has not yet been cleared, making him ineligible. Brookins believes that once Tom Coleman, the undercover narcotics agent who falsely accused him of selling cocaine, stands trial on perjury charges, the slate will be wiped clean.

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54 US TX: Column: Task Force Toppling?Fri, 10 Sep 2004
Source:Texas Observer (TX) Author:Bernstein, Jake Area:Texas Lines:80 Added:09/12/2004

Could the era of Texas' notorious regional narcotics task forces be ending? Possibly. A number of city officials across the state have reflected on the expensive lesson learned by the City of Amarillo-which earlier this year paid a $5 million settlement to victims of the much-discredited Tulia drug sting-and have pulled out of their local task forces in order to avoid the negative publicity, scandalous headlines, and hefty civil suits that seem to plague these law enforcement entities.

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55 US TX: Change Of Venue Hearing SetSat, 11 Sep 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:60 Added:09/12/2004

Each Side In Coleman Case Has Idea For Relocation

TULIA - The perjury trial for the former undercover agent at the center of the Tulia drug bust scandal likely will be headed downstate.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys will meet with visiting judge David Gleason on Sept. 29 in Tulia to determine whether the trial of Tom Coleman should be moved and where it should go, according to court records.

Defense attorneys and prosecutors have filed motions to move the trial to another venue. Special Prosecutor John Nation said Friday that correspondence with Gleason indicates the judge, who could not be reached for comment Friday, is on board with a change of venue, as well.

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56 US TX: Editorial: Task For DPS?Mon, 30 Aug 2004
Source:Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:63 Added:08/31/2004

IT IS UNFORTUNATE that Lubbock police no longer will be participating with neighboring communities as part of the South Plains Regional Narcotics Task Force. We realize Lubbock officers bring to the table certain skills that may not exist in some very small South Plains counties. Nevertheless, Lubbock citizens' safety needs have to take precedence.

Topping the list of Lubbock's concerns was the tremendous level of liability risk for any and all of the cities involved.

As the department responsible for the $655,000 grant that funded the task force, the Lubbock force also was liable for the actions of participating officers in the 18 counties that comprise the task force, according to a police department statement.

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57US TX: Sudden Wealth Comes With Burdens, ObligationsMon, 23 Aug 2004
Source:Houston Chronicle (TX) Author:Buggs, Shannon Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:08/24/2004

Careful Planning May Keep You From Letting a Windfall Blow Away to Nothing

Tonya White had it from a reliable source -- her lawyer -- that she would get a hefty check when her lawsuit settled.

Despite not knowing exactly how much it would be, she figured her share would be enough to buy a car, pay college tuition and finance a move out of the Texas Panhandle and into Shreveport, La.

White is one of nearly four dozen people in Tulia accused of trafficking drugs by an undercover agent who has since been charged with perjury for how he handled the case. She led the mostly African-American group in filing a racial-discrimination lawsuit against the city of Amarillo and 26 counties that had supervision of the agent and his regional drug task force.

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58 US NC: Column: An Unfinished JourneyWed, 11 Aug 2004
Source:Charlotte Observer (NC) Author:Williams, Ed Area:North Carolina Lines:91 Added:08/12/2004

America Has Made Great Progress On Race, But Racism Hasn't Vanished

When you've witnessed, as I have, the astonishing progress in American race relations over the past half-century, it's easy to feel good about how far our nation has come.

It's easy, that is, unless you struggle daily with problems that arise directly from racism or disproportionately affect low-income blacks.

That's what Ted Shaw does.

Shaw was in town Tuesday and stopped by the Observer. A New York native and Columbia University law school graduate, he's president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. The LDF was founded in 1940 under Thurgood Marshall's leadership to provide legal assistance to poor blacks. Originally part of the NAACP, it has been independent since 1957.

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59US TX: Column: Don't Forget Victims Of False ProsecutionsFri, 23 Jul 2004
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Navarrette, Ruben Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:07/24/2004

When something goes wrong in the criminal justice system, it's never too late to try to make it right.

Exhibit A: 45 people in the Texas Panhandle town of Tulia who now have their hands on some rather sizable settlement checks.

The story dates back to a 1999 drug sting, in which, originally, 46 people were charged with dealing drugs. They were pardoned and released from jail after serious questions were raised about the conduct of police and prosecutors. One of the defendants has since died. The other 45 sued, claiming the arrests were racially motivated.

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60 US TX: 'I'am Trying To Take Care Of Myself'Wed, 21 Jul 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Author:Yates, Phillip Area:Texas Lines:80 Added:07/21/2004

Defendants Make Plans To Use Settlement Money

TULIA - When his Tulia settlement check came, Joe Moore could take stock and invest in his future. The money was going to be invested in certificates of deposits and in his savings account, he said.

"I am trying to take care of myself for the rest of my life," said Moore, 61, who spent four years in prison as a result of the drug sting. "It is time to go on with the rest of my life. It is all I want to do."

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