After 45 years, Texas’ longest-serving death row inmate was resentenced last week due to a long history of severe mental illness. But state lawmakers this session again declined to ban the death penalty for people like him.
This article was produced through the NPR NextGen/Texas Observer Print Scholars program, a new collaboration designed to offer mentorship and hands-on traini...Read More
Using dubious evidence, Texas condemned Clinton Young to death almost 20 years ago. I traveled 3,000 miles to Texas to help him.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in the Texas Observer’s May/June 2021 print edition. Since its publication, prosecutor Ralph Petty has su...Read More
Texas lawmakers are confronted with a bleak picture of life inside Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities every two years. Will they act this year?
Lovinah Igbani feels lucky for surviving six Texas summers confined to a prison cell without air conditioning. During a House Corrections Committee hearing in l...Read More
Bills before the state Legislature this session would subject precious metal buyers to more scrutiny and protect assisted living residents.
Shannon Gleason Dion often holds a gold necklace with a guardian angel medallion when she testifies before the Texas Legislature. Her mother, Doris Gleason, wor...Read More
According to a new study, undercounts of COVID-19 deaths appear worst in rural and suburban areas served by elected justices of the peace.
Rick Hill, a retired high school principal, plays a key role in tracing deaths linked to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As an elected justice of the peace (JP) ...Read More
The office of constable may have made sense back when Texas was a sprawling frontier. Instead, constables basically now run their own little personal fiefdoms.
From the March/April 2021 issue. Texas Republicans’ longtime demand that cities shrink their budgets ran into a thin blue line last year. Austin called thei...Read More
In Texas, justices of the peace with little training can miss important clues in death investigations, and make mistakes tracking suicides, homicides, and COVID-19 deaths.
Janice Lee Wilhelm was dead in her blue recliner–that much was clear. The 63-year-old grandmother had leaned back as if to rest her legs, tucked under the afg...Read More
After the near-total collapse of the state’s electric grid, many jails and prisons lacked heat and running water.
For more than a week, 60-year-old Willis Darby was pretty sure he had COVID-19: He was congested and suffering from headaches at the Bastrop County Jail where h...Read More
In his new book, journalist Maurice Chammah ties Texas' embrace of capital punishment to the state's frontier mythos.
From the January/February 2021 issue. Dalton Coble didn’t know his grandfather particularly well, but stories of Billie Wayne Coble have cast a shadow over h...Read More