Michael May

Michael May
Michael May is a former Observer managing editor. He’s now a freelance journalist based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Freedom Files

by | Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 2:42 pm CST
Criminal Justice

Freedom Fighters

Dallas has freed more innocent men from prison than any other county in the country. Now they’re working together to change the system.

On May 12, Johnnie Pinchback became the 28th Dallas man to be freed from prison after evidence proved police got the wrong guy. I spoke to him the day after he got out. He was so happy to be free … Read More

Criminal Justice

Freedom’s Just a Word

Texas is finally helping former prisoners. But can the smart-on-crime revolution survive budget cuts and a suspicious public?

Photos by Lance Rosenfield/Prime Former inmates board buses to Dallas and Houston after being released from the Walls Unit in Huntsville. Every morning at around 10 a.m., dozens of prisoners are released from the Walls Unit in Huntsville. Family members … Read More

Texas Politics

Cutting Red Meat

How about some progressive budget cuts for a change?

As Rahm Emanuel said, you don’t let a serious crisis go to waste. Republican state lawmakers will be taking that lesson to heart this session. They’re already sharpening their knives, ready to solve the budget crisis by carving deep into … Read More

Criminal Justice

Gone Rogue

Police admired Barry Cooper when he lied to put drug dealers in prison. Then he flipped the game on them.

Barry Cooper should know better than anyone that you don’t mess with the police. He was once a cop, and a dirty one at that. But for the past three years, this former narcotics officer has been irritating the hell … Read More


In Praise of Humble Gifts


Christmas will be forever preserved in my memory as a pure celebration of consumerism—an unadulterated binge of gifts, gifts and stockings full of even more gifts. Until it was taken away, Christmas was probably my favorite day of the year. … Read More


The Skins They Carried

Military tattoos in the age of Iraq

The American Illustrators tattoo shop in Killeen is one of more than a dozen parlors that line the streets of this flat, sprawling town. Inside, a techno beat thunders through the wall from the club next door as artist Toby … Read More