Tulia, Texas
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141 US TX: PUB LTE: Reader Takes Terry Mceachern to Task for Actions in TuliaThu, 04 Mar 2004
Source:Plainview Daily Herald (TX) Author:Bean, Alan Area:Texas Lines:72 Added:03/05/2004

Terry McEachern's opponents aren't talking about Ruidoso and that's to their credit. But they have also shied away from Tulia with the result that most voters still don't understand Mr. McEachern's role in the Tom Coleman fiasco. Permit me to set the record straight.

Mr. McEachern spent the better part of three years claiming that he didn't know the truth about Coleman's woes in Cochran County until most of the trials were history. He said it to reporters, he said it in open court, and he said it to me. He lied.

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142US TX: Perjury Trial Date Set For Tulia Case Drug AgentMon, 09 Feb 2004
Source:Houston Chronicle (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:02/10/2004

TULIA -- Tom Coleman, the former cop discredited in the fallout from drug arrests he made in Tulia five years, will go on trial for aggravated perjury May 24 in the same courtroom where many in the racially charged busts were prosecuted.

Swisher County officials will send out 350 summonses -- twice the usual number -- to select a jury, said Brenda Hudson, the county clerk. If convicted, Coleman faces two to 10 years in prison.

A call to Coleman's attorney, John H. Read II, was not immediately returned Monday.

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143US TX: Texas Re-Examines Its Throw-Away-The-Key ApproachSat, 07 Feb 2004
Source:Star-Ledger (NJ) Author:Coscarelli, Kate Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:02/07/2004

Bar Association Meeting Looks At State Of Nation's Criminal Justice System

SAN ANTONIO -- For decades, Texas has been nearly single-minded in its efforts to put criminals behind bars for as long as possible.

But now, with its prisons bulging with more than 150,000 inmates and after putting more than 300 people to death, the state with the largest criminal justice system in the country is examining the policies and practices that got it to this point.

Efforts are under way to reduce the prison population by sending people to community-based mental health and substance abuse treatment programs and putting them on parole instead of in state prison.

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144US CA: OPED: Drugs And ChildrenFri, 06 Feb 2004
Source:San Francisco Chronicle (CA)          Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:02/06/2004

Student Drug Testing No Silver Bullet

President Bush's State of the Union message last month had little to say about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Not that his speech didn't include unsubstantiated claims and wrongheaded policy; it's just that this year, some of them were aimed at schoolchildren in the latest effort to get them to "just say no" to illegal drugs.

Citing recent declines in illegal drug use among teenagers, Bush credited random drug testing. He then proposed $23 million for schools opting to use what federal drug czar John Walters touts as a "silver bullet." Following the president's address, Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa., introduced a bill that would provide grants, under the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, to schools that randomly test students for drugs.

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145US TX: Study Says Police More Likely To Stop MinoritiesWed, 04 Feb 2004
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Gold, Scott Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:02/04/2004

Black And Latino Drivers In Texas Are Pulled Over And Searched At Higher Rates Than Whites, The Survey Reports.

HOUSTON - African American and Latino drivers throughout Texas are more likely than whites to be pulled over and searched by police, according to a study released Tuesday. Commissioned by four minority advocacy groups, the study used data provided by 413 Texas law-enforcement agencies and examined millions of "encounters" between police officers and drivers in 2002.

The study found that three out of every four law enforcement agencies pulled over blacks and Latinos at higher rates than whites. Once the cars were pulled over, six in seven agencies reported searching African Americans and Latinos at a higher rate. Statewide, African Americans were about 60% more likely to be searched than whites, and Latinos were 40% more likely to be searched.

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146 US: Web: No 'Silver Bullet'Wed, 28 Jan 2004
Source:AlterNet (US Web) Author:Rosenbaum, Marsha Area:United States Lines:107 Added:01/28/2004

Last week it was "WMD" all over again in the President's State of the Union message. This time the unsubstantiated claims and wrongheaded policy were aimed at America's schoolchildren in this latest effort to get them to "just say no" to illegal drugs.

Citing recent declines in illegal drug use among teenagers, and couched in loving and caring rhetoric, Bush credited random drug testing with the reduction. He then proposed an additional $23 million for schools opting to use, as Drug Czar John Walters touts, this "silver bullet."

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147US TX: Column: Staggering Parents' Jail Terms Is Good for PoorSun, 18 Jan 2004
Source:San Antonio Express-News (TX) Author:Russell, Jan Jarboe Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:01/20/2004

The Texas town of Tulia has been synonymous with injustice since 1999, when 16 percent of the small town's black population was railroaded on phony drug charges. At the opposite end of the injustice scale lies Enron, the white-collar crime of the decade.

Nonetheless, 26-year-old Kizzie White of Tulia, who spent four years in prison for a crime she did not commit, has some practical advice for 42-year-old Lea Fastow of Houston, who will go to jail for her part in the fabled Enron shenanigans.

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148 US FL: Column: Continue Dr. King's Legacy by Turning BlacksFri, 16 Jan 2004
Source:Gainesville Sun, The (FL) Author:Tucker, Cynthia Area:Florida Lines:91 Added:01/19/2004

Martin Luther King Jr. might be pleasantly surprised by many of the changes in the nation's social fabric since his death. The civil rights movement accomplished an astonishing transformation.

But King would no doubt be quite disappointed in one area of black life that has only deteriorated since his assassination: the percentage of black men in prison.

In 1954, black inmates accounted for 30 percent of the nation's prison population, according to The Sentencing Project, a Washington-based group that advocates alternative sentencing. By the time King died, in 1968, the figure had edged up to between 35 percent and 40 percent.

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149 US MN: Wheeler DealerWed, 07 Jan 2004
Source:City Pages (MN) Author:Hawkins, Beth Area:Minnesota Lines:527 Added:01/07/2004

How Minnesota Cops And The War On Drugs Made A Successful Entrepreneur Out Of A Small-Time Hustler And Snitch Named Michael Felix

Danny Johnson's neighborhood used to be quiet. Made up of modest working-class houses and mature trees, it was located right in the heart of Detroit Lakes, about 45 miles east of Fargo. Johnson, a janitor at the county courthouse three blocks away, and his wife Patty, who also worked for Becker County, could run home for lunch. The house was kitty-corner from an elementary school.

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150 US TX: Blackburn Honored Yet AgainTue, 06 Jan 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Author:Cunningham, Greg Area:Texas Lines:55 Added:01/06/2004

Blackburn in Texans of Note

He may not be as Bootylicious as Beyonce or as hard as The Hammer, but Amarillo attorney Jeff Blackburn has made the list of Texans of Note. Blackburn said Monday that he is honored to be on The Dallas Morning News list, although he's a bit puzzled to be joined with such Texas dignitaries as Beyonce Knowles and Tom "The Hammer" DeLay.

"I guess they're not giving recognition based on political fidelity or good looks," said the bespectacled, proudly liberal attorney. "Maybe they gave it to me because they needed someone who didn't look like Beyonce, and didn't hew to the current trend in Texas politics."

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151 US TX: District Attorney Seeks Fifth TermTue, 06 Jan 2004
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Author:Schwarz, George Area:Texas Lines:71 Added:01/06/2004

PLAINVIEW - In nearly 20 years as district attorney, Terry McEachern has never faced an opponent come election time. But after several years of controversy, the embattled prosecutor will be facing three different challengers looking to unseat him.

McEachern, who prosecuted nearly all the cases in the controversial 1999 Tulia drug bust, announced Sunday that he will be seeking his fifth term as district attorney.

"I think if the voters look at the actual facts, and not what a select few have decided the facts are, about what happened (in the drug bust), I'll be fine," McEachern said.

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152 US TX: Top 10 Drug War MomentsFri, 02 Jan 2004
Source:Austin Chronicle (TX)          Area:Texas Lines:73 Added:01/03/2004

1) Ashcroft Busts Chong: In February, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft gleefully announced that his drug warriors busted 50 individuals, including pot-comedy icon Tommy Chong, as part of a Justice Department-led undercover drug paraphernalia trafficking operation code-named Operation Pipe Dreams. It seems that although Chong's Internet-based hand-blown-glass bong company had refused several previous attempts by Ashcroft's crusaders to have a bong shipped to paraphernalia-intolerant Pennsylvania, someone at company HQ inadvertently shipped an autographed bong to an assistant U.S. attorney. Chong was sentenced to nine months in federal prison.

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153US TX: McEachern Appears Before State Grievance CommitteeTue, 30 Dec 2003
Source:Plainview Daily Herald (TX) Author:Orr, Richard Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:12/31/2003

District Attorney Terry McEachern declined comment Monday on his appearance before a State Bar Association committee last week over a grievance filed against him in connection with the 4-year-old Tulia drug cases.

McEachern, 54, acknowledged appearing before a 3-member grievance committee in Amarillo on Dec. 19 but is precluded by law from commenting on the proceedings.

The grievance was filed by an unidentified party in July over the 1999 Swisher County undercover drug operation by discredited freelance officer Tom Coleman that ultimately led to 35 defendants being pardoned by Gov. Rick Perry.

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154US TX: Tulia Drug Case Prosecutor Faces State Bar Panel TodayFri, 19 Dec 2003
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Sedeno, David Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:12/19/2003

The prosecutor involved in the infamous Tulia drug cases that resulted in full pardons for 35 people will appear on Friday before a State Bar of Texas grievance committee looking into possible misconduct.

Terry McEachern, the district attorney for Swisher and Hale counties, will appear before a three-member panel in Amarillo on Friday. Lubbock attorney Richard L. Wardroup, who himself has been twice briefly suspended from practicing law by the state bar for various infractions, will represent Mr. McEachern.

Mr. Wardroup did not return telephone calls seeking comment, and State Bar of Texas officials declined to comment on the hearing.

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155 US DC: A Lasting StingFri, 05 Dec 2003
Source:Sojourners Magazine (US DC) Author:Bean, Alan Area:District of Columbia Lines:85 Added:12/06/2003

Is justice delayed better than none at all?

On a July morning in 1999, 46 people-including more than 10 percent of the black population and a handful of whites in our tiny town of Tulia, Texas-were locked up for alleged drug offenses on the uncorroborated word of undercover agent Tom Coleman. Two weeks after the sting, a local editorial denounced the defendants as "scumbags." Offended by this rush to judgment, I shared my concerns with a Sunday school class. "They are scumbags," I was informed, "and they're all going to prison." When I learned that Coleman had been arrested on theft charges in the middle of his 18-month operation, my concern deepened.

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156 US TX: Tulia Raises $25,000 For Halfway HouseSat, 06 Dec 2003
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Author:Cunningham, Greg Area:Texas Lines:72 Added:12/06/2003

TULIA - For years, folks from Tulia have been saying to anyone who would listen that their town takes care of its own and is not the brutal, repressive place that has been portrayed in the media. They said the people in Tulia believe in second chances and treating people like friends, but the message could never compete with the image portrayed by the national media.

Thursday night, Tulians had a chance to put their money where their mouths were, and they showed up by the hundreds for a silent auction to help keep open the city's halfway house, a place that is all about second chances.

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157US TX: Column: Tulia Picking Up The Pieces Of Shattered JusticeSun, 16 Nov 2003
Source:San Antonio Express-News (TX) Author:clack, Cary Area:Texas Lines:Excerpt Added:11/17/2003

TULIA - The Statue of Liberty greets me as I drive into Tulia on U.S. 87. She doesn't know that Tulia scares me more than Jasper. Say the name Jasper, and the image of a screaming man being dragged to his death on a dark East Texas road is pulled across people's minds.

Mention Tulia and it's likely to invoke little more than a furrowed brow and vacant gaze. If its significance is known, it's doubtful that anyone will associate it with the Statue of Liberty. Yet she salutes me with her torch.

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158 US: Web: Column: The Truth About Tulia Mon, 10 Nov 2003
Source:AlterNet (US Web) Author:Kimberly, Margaret Area:United States Lines:125 Added:11/14/2003

Tonya White is a very lucky woman. Ms. White lives in Tulia, Texas but she was in a bank in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma at the same time she was accused of dealing drugs in Tulia.

The terrible injustice perpetrated on residents of Tulia, Texas is not a new story. Forty-six innocent individuals, 39 of them black, were arrested, tried and convicted for drug dealing, solely on the word of former police officer Tom Coleman. Coleman is now under indictment for perjury.

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159 US TX: PUB LTE: Convoluted Drug LawsSat, 01 Nov 2003
Source:Dallas Morning News (TX) Author:Wills, Suzanne Area:Texas Lines:31 Added:11/03/2003

Re: "DWI appeal is rejected for Tulia prosecutor," Oct. 23 news story.

The case of Swisher County District Attorney Terry McEachern illustrates how convoluted and counterproductive our drug laws have become. Mr. McEachern participated in the infamous Tulia drug sting. Thirty-eight people were falsely accused of selling small amounts of an illegal drug to an adult. No danger to anyone was even alleged. The accused were sentenced to long prison terms.

Last spring Mr. McEachern drove to Ruidoso, N.M., had three drinks with his dinner, took two Valiums, got in his Jeep and headed for Texas. A frightened family in another car called 911 on their cellphone. For using legal drugs and endangering everyone else on the road, Mr. McEachern was fined $300 and sentenced to two days in jail.

Where is the sanity in these sentences?

Suzanne Wills, Drug Policy Forum of Texas, Dallas


160 US TX: PUB LTE: Uncle Sam Should Foot Bill for Tulia DebacleSun, 02 Nov 2003
Source:Amarillo Globe-News (TX) Author:Chase, John Area:Texas Lines:33 Added:11/03/2003

In answer to the Oct. 26 op-ed question, "Who should pay for injustice in Tulia?": The federal government.

The feds sprinkle money throughout the land for high-intensity drug task forces in localities whose politicians do the best job convincing Washington that their region has a "drug problem." If Tulia hadn't backfired, it would be justification for even more funds.

You can bet that a significant percentage of funding for the Panhandle Regional Narcotics Task Force came from the feds.

The feds fund the busts, so they should pay for the ones that backfire. Besides, they started us down this useless road, and they have lots of money. How else could they be building so many new prisons?

John Chase

Palm Harbor, Fla.


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