Tulia, Texas
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81 US TX: LTE: Tulia Blackmail Sets Bad PrecedentFri, 21 May 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Author:Maas, David Area:Texas Lines:39 Added:05/22/2004

The residents of the Texas Panhandle counties having to pay people in Tulia for the botched drug bust is nothing more than blackmail.

The hardest part is that some of those arrested in Tulia probably were guilty of drug charges. Now towns that had nothing to do with this except having their names on the task force are shelling out thousands, even millions, of dollars to these people.

I agree that the bust was wrongly executed, but did any of the suspects have a history of drug use and or selling? Now, thanks to the efforts of attorney Jeff Blackburn, even the ones who were guilty are being rewarded for it.

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82 US TX: Federal Civil Rights Suit In Tulia Case DismissedWed, 19 May 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Author:Cunningham, Greg Area:Texas Lines:65 Added:05/19/2004

The 46 people arrested in a 1999 drug bust officially ended their parts in the ongoing Tulia saga with the dismissal of a federal civil rights lawsuit. Following the negotiation of a $6 million settlement by all parties involved in the suit, U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson signed an order dated April 30 dismissing the action, which was filed by two of the Tulia defendants.

The one-page order dismisses the lawsuit and assigns all legal costs to the parties that accrued the costs.

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83 US TX: Panhandle Counties Reorganize Their War on DrugsTue, 27 Apr 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Author:Cunningham, Greg Area:Texas Lines:75 Added:04/30/2004

'It's Going to Be an Evolving Type of Deal'

Hutchinson County Officials Working on Agency to Take Over Drug Task Force

STINNETT - The demise of the Panhandle Regional Narcotics Trafficking Task Force has left a lot of counties and cities scrambling to fill a gap in drug enforcement. Hutchinson County appears to be getting a jump on the problem, with plans to create a countywide cooperative group that would take over for the task force, which is being disbanded in the wake of the controversial 1999 Tulia drug bust.

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84 US TX: Innocent After Proven GuiltyFri, 30 Apr 2004
Source:Austin Chronicle (TX) Author:Radostitz, Rita Area:Texas Lines:56 Added:04/29/2004

More than 150 people attended the National Innocence Conference at the Austin Hilton Convention Center Hotel last weekend. Attendees from more than 25 states, Australia, and Canada included attorneys, journalists, students, professors, and people who were incarcerated for crimes they did not commit. Despite the diversity of geography and profession, they shared a common passion: Innocent people should not be incarcerated, and the criminal justice system must be challenged both to prevent and rectify the problem.

The conference opened on Friday night with a panel of people involved in the Tulia drug sting fiasco. Tonya White described how she was indicted for selling narcotics to an undercover police officer, though she had incontrovertible proof that she could not have done so - she was cashing a check at a bank in Oklahoma City at the exact time that she was supposedly selling drugs in Texas. White was one of the lucky ones - she never spent a day in jail. But, as Vanita Gupta, the attorney from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund who represented the Tulia defendants, explained, more than 10% of the African-American population of Tulia did spend time in jail for crimes they did not commit.

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85 US TX: Editorial: Long Arm Of Law Gets Short-ArmedSat, 24 Apr 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:49 Added:04/24/2004

PRNTTF Painted With Broad Brush

What was described by law enforcement as "one of the largest meth labs found to date" was shut down Tuesday in Amarillo. According to the Amarillo Police Department, equipment used to create methamphetamine was found in two places in a northwest Amarillo mobile home and in a nearby vehicle. "Large amounts" of drug equipment and related items were confiscated. It is worth noting one of the law enforcement entities that participated in the bust - the Panhandle Regional Narcotics Trafficking Task Force. Yes, the same task force that received a black eye for the infamous 1999 Tulia drug sting. The well-publicized Tulia fiasco created a national controversy regarding the integrity and competency of certain law enforcement agencies, primarily the PRNTTF.

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86 US TX: Column: Justice Denied: Houston Crime Lab Not CredibleFri, 16 Apr 2004
Source:Free Press, The (Houston, TX) Author:Becker, Dean Area:Texas Lines:123 Added:04/18/2004

1. Our drug laws have in place mechanisms designed (supposedly,) to ensure proper procedures, exact gathering of evidence, proper analysis of that evidence and truthful presentation of facts gathered to a court of law. In Tulia Texas, a lone undercover narcotics agent named Tom Coleman stood alone, providing the only evidence presented to the courts, that indicted 39 black residents of the town, sending some of them to prison for terms of 60 years or more for sales of minor amounts of powder cocaine.

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87 US TX: Final Details Of Settlement Fall TogetherSat, 17 Apr 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Author:Cunningham, Greg Area:Texas Lines:83 Added:04/17/2004

18 More Counties Announce Agreements In Tulia Lawsuit

The final pieces of the $6 million Tulia settlement puzzle fell into place friday.

Representatives for Texas Association of Counties announced the details of their 17-county, $560,000 settlement, while an attorney for Childress County revealed his client would pay $50,000 to settle the suit.

The settlement negotiations have been ongoing for a month as 30 municipalities and counties named in the federal lawsuit worked out terms that would allow them to avoid a potentially long, costly trial.

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88US AL: Freed Texas Prisoner Speaks About Racially Charged CaseSat, 17 Apr 2004
Source:Birmingham News, The (AL) Author:Crowder, Carla Area:Alabama Lines:Excerpt Added:04/17/2004

MONTGOMERY - With his pressed khakis, golf shirt and wire-rimmed glasses, Freddie Brookins hardly looked like an ex-con fresh from the penitentiary as he told his story Friday at a Montgomery hotel.

And he's not a criminal. But that didn't matter in Tulia, Texas. Brookins went to prison anyway.

His small west Texas farmtown has become notorious for a rogue cop's 1999 drug sweep. Thirty-five people arrested and convicted on the undercover agent's testimony were freed and pardoned last year, and they recently won a $6 million civil settlement. Most of them, including Brookins, are black.

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89 US TX: Hatch Wins 64th DA RunoffWed, 14 Apr 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Author:Cunningham, Greg Area:Texas Lines:55 Added:04/17/2004

Voters in Hale and Swisher counties indicated in March that they were ready for a change in the 64th district attorney's office when they voted out incumbent Terry McEachern, but the unanswered question was: Who would lead the change?

In Tuesday night's Republican primary runoff, the overwhelming response to that question was Plainview City Attorney Wally Hatch, who campaigned on a restrained, common-sense prosecutorial approach and was rewarded with a landslide victory over opponent Hollis Browning.

"I really think that was a key," Hatch, 44, said of his approach to prosecution. "People said they wanted a change, and I think Hollis and I both started out talking about changing things. But as the campaign went on, I think he slipped back into the old, hard prosecution approach, which isn't always the answer."

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90 US TX: Counties Group to Pay $560,000 in Tulia LawsuitWed, 14 Apr 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Author:Cunningham, Greg Area:Texas Lines:85 Added:04/17/2004

Details about the preliminary settlement of the Tulia lawsuit continued to leak out this week, including the confirmation Tuesday that the Texas Association of Counties will pick up more than half of the remaining $1 million payment on behalf of 17 member counties.

Officials from Collingsworth and Ochiltree Counties also announced Tuesday that their insurers will be paying $50,000 apiece to settle their portion of the federal suit rising out of the controversial 1999 Tulia drug sting.

Several county judges said authorizing the insurance payments was distasteful, but necessary, given the prospect of fighting a lengthy court battle.

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91 US TX: Edu: Unlawfully Jailed Black Texans Discuss Injustice With StudentsFri, 16 Apr 2004
Source:North Texas Daily (TX Edu) Author:Goodman, Jason Area:Texas Lines:76 Added:04/16/2004

'Tulia 46' Tell Social-Work Class About Their False Cocaine Charges

The man sitting in the front row of Syl Flores's diversity in the human services class Thursday afternoon was supposed to be serving out a 90-year prison term.

Joe Moore is one of the "Tulia 46," a group of people, 43 of whom are black, arrested in the small Texas town of Tulia for dealing cocaine. After serving four years of his sentence, Moore and 35 others were released from prison after receiving a pardon from Gov. Rick Perry.

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92 Web: DrugSense Weekly and Hot Off The 'NetFri, 16 Apr 2004
Source:DrugSense Weekly                 Lines:141 Added:04/16/2004

Read This Publication On-line at: http://www.drugsense.org/dsw/2004/ds04.n346.html

NOTE TO READERS: Some DrugSense Weekly staff will be attending the NORML conference in Washington, D.C. next week, so the DrugSense Weekly will not be distributed on April 23. We will resume our regular publication schedule April 30.



* This Just In

(1) State Would Keep List Of Controlled Substance Users Under Bill (2) Insomnia In Kids Linked To Later Drug Use (3) 11 Kalispell Teens Charged In Marijuana Sting (4) Group Fights To Eliminate Drug Provision

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93US TX: Editorial: Cleaning Up Tulia - Prosecutor Should BeWed, 14 Apr 2004
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:04/15/2004

If you were accused of a crime in Texas, you'd certainly want to know that the person prosecuting you values the truth more than a conviction record.

That's the importance of the State Bar of Texas' pursuit of a disciplinary action against the prosecutor in the infamous Tulia drug busts. Forty-six people, 39 of them African-American, wrongly spent time in jail, in part because prosecutor Terry McEachern withheld from defense attorneys the criminal history of Tom Coleman, the former undercover agent whose since-discredited testimony led to the convictions in the 1999 drug busts.

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94 US TX: PUB LTE: Every Drug Dealer Arrested Is ReplacedWed, 14 Apr 2004
Source:Wilson County News (TX) Author:Wooldridge, Howard J. Area:Texas Lines:32 Added:04/15/2004

Editor:

Corruption of police officers and drug task forces seem to go hand in hand in Texas these days (24th and 25th task forces, Tulia, Dallas Sheetrock scandal, etc.). How sad for my profession.

Lt. Stan Bonewitz (March 31 Wilson County News) of the Department of Public Safety might have added that it really does not matter if drug dealers are arrested or not. All cops know, but few will admit to the public, that every drug dealer ever arrested has been replaced quickly. Thus, arresting or even killing them does not put a dent in the supply of drugs or drug dealers.

Prohibition, you gotta love it.

Retired officer and Media director, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Dallas

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95 US: Web: Drug War Briefs: Drug Sniffing Dogs And The ConstitutionTue, 13 Apr 2004
Source:AlterNet (US Web) Author:Nelson, Kevin Area:United States Lines:103 Added:04/14/2004

This week, the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of allowing drug sniffing dogs during routine traffic stops; Holland's right-leaning government considers reclassifying potent marijuana as a hard drug; two top Mexican police officials are arrested for protecting drug traffickers; a Texas District Attorney will face legal action for his role in the Tulia drug sting; and the White House drug "czar's" office begins a nationwide tour promoting random drug testing in schools.

APRIL 6- The Boston Globe reports: The Supreme Court agreed yesterday to rule on the constitutionality of police using dogs to sniff for illegal drugs in vehicles stopped for routine traffic violations.

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96 US TX: Editorial: State Bar Findings Should Warrant Prosecutor's DisbarmentMon, 12 Apr 2004
Source:Austin American-Statesman (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:75 Added:04/13/2004

Justice arrived slowly for the 38 Tulia residents wrongly convicted of drug felonies on the now discredited testimony of a rogue undercover law enforcement officer. Last week, the State Bar of Texas took steps to restore integrity to a system that broke down on several levels.

The multimillion-dollar financial settlements by several cities and counties, including Amarillo, certainly will help the Tulia residents rebuild their lives and families shattered by the bogus drug stings.

But we can expect more people to be wrongly convicted and imprisoned in Texas jails as long as cheating prosecutors are allowed to bend or break the rules with impunity. That's why the state bar's actions are welcome. The officer, Tom Coleman, faces felony perjury charges for his role in the convictions that thrust Tulia and Texas justice into a national spotlight.

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97 US TX: Narcotics Task Force Reluctant To MergeMon, 12 Apr 2004
Source:Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX) Author:Schrock, Susan Area:Texas Lines:120 Added:04/13/2004

Tarrant County's narcotics task force could lose millions in grant money and be forced to disband because its board unanimously rejected a state recommendation to merge with two task forces serving six nearby counties.

The proposed combined task force, which would stretch from Mansfield to the Red River, would pose too much of a liability risk for Tarrant County and could divert drug enforcement personnel from the metropolitan areas to rural communities, Metro Narcotics Intelligence and Coordination Unit officials said.

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98 US TX: Bar Seeks Sanctions in Tainted Drug StingSat, 10 Apr 2004
Source:New York Times (NY)          Area:Texas Lines:36 Added:04/10/2004

The Texas state bar has brought a petition for disciplinary action, which could include disbarment, against a district attorney who prosecuted the drug cases in 1999 in Tulia, Tex., that have since been discredited.

The bar's filing, on Thursday, contended that the district attorney, Terry D. McEachern, had failed to inform defense lawyers that the undercover officer who developed the cases had an arrest record. The bar also said that during the trial, Mr. McEachern had failed to correct testimony by the officer that Mr. McEachern knew to be false. He has 60 days to respond to the petition, which will be subject to a court trial.

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99US TX: D.A. Could Be Disbarred Over Drug ProsecutionsSat, 10 Apr 2004
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Hart, Lianne Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:04/10/2004

The Texas state bar files a petition accusing him of misconduct in 35 wrongful convictions.

HOUSTON - The district attorney who prosecuted a succession of defendants arrested in a since-discredited drug bust in the west Texas town of Tulia now faces possible disbarment for his conduct during the trials.

In a disciplinary petition filed by the State Bar of Texas on Wednesday, Swisher County Dist. Atty. Terry D. McEachern is accused of failing to tell defense lawyers about the criminal history of his star witness, undercover agent Tom Coleman. The sole, uncorroborated testimony of Coleman - who is white - led to the wrongful convictions of 35 Tulia residents, most of them black.

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100 US TX: State Board Moves To Disbar Prosecutor In Tulia DrugFri, 09 Apr 2004
Source:Associated Press (Wire) Author:Blaney, Betsy Area:Texas Lines:43 Added:04/10/2004

Petition Alleges He Failed To Disclose Undercover Agent's Criminal Past

(AP) - The State Bar of Texas has filed a disciplinary petition against the district attorney who prosecuted cases in the since-discredited Tulia drug busts, seeking sanctions that could include disbarment.

The petition filed Wednesday in the Texas Supreme Court accuses Terry McEachern of not conveying information to defense attorneys about his knowledge of the criminal history of Tom Coleman, the lone undercover agent in the stings.

Mr. McEachern is also accused of failing to correct testimony by Mr. Coleman that he knew was false. In five defendants' trials, Mr. Coleman said he had no criminal history and had never been arrested.

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