Tulia, Texas
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101 US TX: State Bar Files Against McEachernFri, 09 Apr 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Author:Cunningham, Greg Area:Texas Lines:101 Added:04/10/2004

The State Bar of Texas filed a petition this week accusing the district attorney who prosecuted the Tulia drug sting cases of "serious" misconduct, including withholding evidence and making false statements in court to prop up the reputation of an undercover agent who has since been indicted for perjury. District Attorney Terry McEachern faces discipline ranging from a public reprimand to disbarment if the allegations against him are held up at trial, which should happen this year, said Dawn Miller, chief disciplinary counsel for the bar.

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102 US TX: Tulia Trials Prosecutor Could Be DisbarredFri, 09 Apr 2004
Source:Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX) Author:Blaney, Betsy Area:Texas Lines:68 Added:04/09/2004

The Associated Press

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.

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

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

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103 US TX: Twin Tragedy In TuliaFri, 09 Apr 2004
Source:Texas Observer (TX) Author:Bean, Alan Area:Texas Lines:164 Added:04/09/2004

A modicum of justice has alighted upon the Panhandle town of Tulia. Tom Coleman, the itinerant lawman who made narcotics cases on 15 percent of the town's black population in 1999 as part of a regional narcotics task force sting, is facing three counts of aggravated perjury. He is scheduled to go on trial on May 24. The district attorney who prosecuted the cases, Terry McEachern, has been voted out of office and sanctioned by the Texas Bar Association. The City of Amarillo has agreed to pay a $5 million settlement to the Tulia victims. The task force will be disbanded at the end of May. And the case, which garnered worldwide attention, has inspired plans for a made-for-television movie and a Hollywood film starring Halle Berry.

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104 US: Transcript: Was Convicted Drug Dealer Victim of the System?Tue, 06 Apr 2004
Source:Fox News Network (US)          Area:United States Lines:266 Added:04/08/2004

O'REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly. In the second "Personal Story" segment tonight, doing the time.

In 1983, Elaine Bartlett and her boyfriend, Nathan Brooks, delivered four ounces of cocaine to undercover cops in Albany, New York. Brooks was a convicted dope dealer, so he received a mandatory 25-year sentence, which he is still serving.

New York authorities offered Bartlett a deal: become an informant and be reduced to five years, serving less, or take the 20-year maximum. She chose the max.

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105 US TX: Castro Settles Tulia Suit - For $0Thu, 08 Apr 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Author:Cunningham, Greg Area:Texas Lines:69 Added:04/08/2004

Three other counties to pay $15,000 total in sting lawsuit

The cost of settling the Tulia lawsuit seems to be dropping, at least based on new terms announced Wednesday by four more counties.

For a total of $15,000, four counties have settled their part of the federal lawsuit stemming from the controversial 1999 Tulia drug sting, but attorneys for those counties say the remaining defendants shouldn't get their hopes up about getting off so cheap.

"Armstrong, Gray and Hemphill Counties are actually paying the least amount of any the counties," said Charles S. Frigerio, a San Antonio lawyer representing the three counties on behalf of Trident Insurance. "They will only be paying $5,000 each."

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106 US TX: Canyon, Potter Ok Tulia DealTue, 06 Apr 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Author:Chapman, Joe Area:Texas Lines:84 Added:04/06/2004

Two more pieces of the Tulia lawsuit settlement fit into place Monday as Potter County and Canyon approved the deal during commission meetings.

After receiving an update from Assistant County Attorney Scott Brumley, Potter County commissioners approved the settlement 4-0. Commissioner Manny Perez was absent.

The county will pay $50,000 to settle, without acknowledging any liability in the case.

"Most people have this underlying feeling that, if you're not guilty, why pay anything?" Commissioner Joe Kirkwood said. If the county went to litigate, court costs would exceed $90,000 just to get started, he said. "When it's personal, private money, you might look at it from a different route. Given all the facts that we have, we're saving the taxpayers money in this situation," Kirkwood said.

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107 US TX: Editorial: Congressional Hearings Not In Focus On TuliaMon, 05 Apr 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:46 Added:04/06/2004

It isn't exactly a surprise that Congress is looking into the controversial 1999 Tulia drug sting. When the details of the botched sting and the illegitimacy of discredited undercover officer Tom Coleman came to light, it was only a matter of time before the federal government got involved.

U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., announced last week his support for hearings in the House Judiciary Committee.

Considering the scope and impact of what happened in Tulia, the federal government should get involved.

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108 US TX: Trouble in Tulia Still ResoundsMon, 05 Apr 2004
Source:National Law Journal (US) Author:Post, Leonard Area:Texas Lines:208 Added:04/05/2004

As trial looms, role of solos emerges.

Just about everyone in Tulia, Texas, knows who Tom Coleman is.

The former deputy sheriff's 18-month undercover operation was the impetus for the July 1999 arrests of 46 people on drug charges. Of those arrested, 39 were African-American, more than 10% of the black residents of Tulia, a panhandle town of about 5,000 people.

But Coleman's sting operation was a sham, and the trials, convictions and prison sentences were a systematic miscarriage of justice that eventually grabbed national headlines.

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109 US TX: Column: Prohibition of Drugs Is the Greatest Evil inThu, 01 Apr 2004
Source:Free Press, The (Houston, TX) Author:Becker, Dean Area:Texas Lines:90 Added:04/01/2004

Be it understood that those who postulate bad science or otherwise fight for the continuation of prohibition are veritable minions of Satan. Those benefiting from drug prohibition include most of the worst of the criminals in our midst. Growers reap small recompense, smugglers a hundred times more and distributors a thousand. At the top of the pyramid of crime that is prohibition, are the bankers that launder the money, the corporations that ship goods in lieu of cash transfer and the corrupt politicians, law enforcement officials and media that continuously feast on the contributions of these money launderers.

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110US: Allegations of MisconductWed, 31 Mar 2004
Source:USA Today (US) Author:Gelles, Karl Area:United States Lines:Excerpt Added:04/01/2004

Several federally funded anti-drug task forces have been under investigation across the nation Among them:

1. Iron County, Utah

Sheriff Dave "Duke" Benson, a member of the Iron/Garfield Counties Narcotics Task Force, faces trial in July on eight charges. They include obstruction of justice, witness tampering, misuse of public funds and theft of a drug that was supposed o be used in a sting operation.

2. Swisher County, Texas

Tom Coleman, an undercover agent with the Texas Panhandle Regional Narcotics Trafficking Task Force, faces trial in May on perjury charges stemming from the Tulia sting operation in 1999. Thirty-eight people, nearly all black, were convicted on Coleman's testimony even though no drugs or significant amounts of money where found in 46 arrests in Tulia, Texas. Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, has pardoned 35 of those convicted.

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111US: Texas Scandal Throws Doubt on Anti-Drug Task ForcesWed, 31 Mar 2004
Source:USA Today (US) Author:Parker, Laura Area:United States Lines:Excerpt Added:03/31/2004

A 16-year-old federal program that has poured about $500 million a year into more than 750 regional anti-drug task forces is under fire from critics who say that a lack of oversight has led to wrongful convictions of citizens and theft, perjury and misuse of public funds by law enforcement officers.

The focus of many of the complaints from groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union has been the scandal in Tulia, Texas, where more than 40 residents -- most of them black -- were sent to jail after an officer allegedly lied in court about selling them drugs during a sting operation in 1999.

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112 US TX: City to Find Out Drug-Battle CostsThu, 25 Mar 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Author:Chapman, Joe Area:Texas Lines:89 Added:03/30/2004

Narcotics Unit May Face Need for More Funds, Supervisor Says

When Amarillo starts its narcotics unit in June, it will do so without access to grant funds and perhaps seized drug money that came along with participation in a regional task force. Although the city will run the new unit with matching funds that it otherwise would have contributed to the task force, staying atop the city's drug problem could prove costlier than that, the task force's supervisor said.

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113 US TX: Amarillo Settles - Civil Rights Tap DanceSun, 28 Mar 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Author:Chapman, Joe Area:Texas Lines:122 Added:03/28/2004

To the tune of a $5 million payment and the disbandment of a regional narcotics task force, Amarillo's settlement in the Tulia lawsuit was a tap dance of legal liability.

The city settled with 45 Tulia residents who had sued members of the Panhandle Regional Narcotics Trafficking Task Force for civil rights violations. The suit related to the residents' arrests in the 1999 drug sting conducted by Tom Coleman, a Swisher County cop and task force agent.

A judge later found Coleman's investigation to be flawed, the charges were dropped against some of residents and the governor pardoned the others.

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114 US TX: PUB LTE: Tulia Sting In A NutshellThu, 25 Mar 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Author:DuBois, Dennis Area:Texas Lines:31 Added:03/27/2004

Let me see if I have this right. The Tulia drug defendants (and their lawyers) claim that Tom Coleman came to the town, opened the phone book and began randomly selecting names.

After lengthy and exhaustive investigation (to determine that most of them were black, not that they were selling drugs), he finally settled on an end number of 46. Of this number (through racial profiling) he ensured that the large majority (39 of the 46) were black.

Then, without any other evidence or corroboration, he announced that they had sold drugs.

End of case.

Dennis DuBois



115US GA: OPED: Should Students Be Randomly Tested for Drugs?Thu, 25 Mar 2004
Source:Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) Author:Rosenbaum, Marsha Area:Georgia Lines:Excerpt Added:03/27/2004

NO: It's Costly, Humiliating and Not a Deterrent

Today, Atlanta will host the Office of National Drug Control Policy student drug testing tour. Atlanta is the site of the third of four summits at which the White House will peddle its nationwide student drug testing agenda. But although they will be getting the hard sell complete with offers of federal funding, I urge Atlanta educators and parents to consider the very real dangers of student drug testing:

Random drug testing does not deter drug use. The same large survey President Bush cited (www.monitoringthefuture.org) that showed declines in illegal drug use this year also compared 76,000 students in schools with and without drug testing. It turned out there was no difference in illegal drug use among students from both sets of schools. Because at this point only 5 percent of American schools use drug testing, Bush's crediting these programs for reductions is a big leap of faith.

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116 US TX: Sting Prosecutor Faces Lawsuit From State BarWed, 24 Mar 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Author:Cunningham, Greg Area:Texas Lines:108 Added:03/25/2004

State Bar of Texas officials announced Tuesday they will file a lawsuit seeking sanctions against the prosecutor from the controversial 1999 Tulia drug bust. The case against 64th District Attorney Terry McEachern will be heard in a Panhandle district court and could result in anything from a public reprimand to McEachern losing his law license if convicted, according to Dawn Miller, chief disciplinary counsel with the State Bar of Texas.

The case is in a sort of legal limbo between the previously secret State Bar investigation and the upcoming public trial, so Miller was limited in the amount of information she could provide about the matter.

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117US TX: State Bar Goes After Prosecutor in Tulia Drug BustWed, 24 Mar 2004
Source:Houston Chronicle (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:03/25/2004

TULIA (AP) -- State Bar of Texas officials intend to file a lawsuit seeking sanctions against the prosecutor in the controversial 1999 Tulia drug bust.

The case against Terry McEachern will be heard in a Panhandle district court and could range in punishment from a public reprimand to loss of his law license, if the finding goes against him, said Dawn Miller, chief disciplinary counsel with the State Bar of Texas.

"Without going into any details, you can assume that if a case has gotten to a point where a lawyer has elected to have the case heard in district court, that means an investigative panel of a grievance committee found just cause to believe a lawyer had committed misconduct," Miller said.

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118US TX: OPED: Texas Needs a New Approach to Fighting the Drug ProblemMon, 22 Mar 2004
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Harrell, Will Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:03/22/2004

As Halle Berry reportedly prepares for her role as a lawyer in an upcoming movie about the infamous Tulia drug sting case and as dozens of wrongfully convicted Tulians, now pardoned by the governor, plan how to spend their winnings from a legal settlement, the Panhandle Regional Narcotics Task Force appears to be reaching the end of its era.

As part of a $5 million settlement, the city of Amarillo pulled out as the sponsoring agency of the task force, which perpetrated the 1999 Tulia drug sting, where 39 people were falsely convicted on the word of a lying undercover cop. Gov. Rick Perry pardoned the defendants last year.

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119 US TX: Talks ongoing in Tulia StingThu, 18 Mar 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Author:Cunningham, Greg Area:Texas Lines:87 Added:03/20/2004

Rest Of Settlement May Be In $1 Million Range

Cities and counties in the rest of the Texas Panhandle won't have to pick up an Amarillo-size bill to settle the Tulia drug sting suit under terms of an agreement that is being hashed out by attorneys.

Sources near the negotiations have indicated the remaining 30 counties and cities named in the federal lawsuit likely will settle for substantially less than the $5 million Amarillo paid last week for its part in the suit.

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120 US TX: Column: Henry - Cost Of Tulia Justice Doesn't Add UpThu, 18 Mar 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Author:Henry, Dave Area:Texas Lines:123 Added:03/19/2004

It cost Amarillo $5 million to keep the Johnnie Cochran and Alan Dershowitz types at bay.

And strangely enough, that was a bargain.

It boggles the mind, if not the pocketbook, to fathom what it could have cost to fight the 40 or so victims of the infamous 1999 Tulia drug sting in a court of law.

For starters, the city of Amarillo had a degree of culpability, at least from the legal perspective, for what transpired in Tulia since it was the lead agency in the now doomed Panhandle Regional Narcotics Trafficking Task Force.

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