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Series explores Texas criminal justice issues

The Texas Center for Community Journalism at Texas Christian University is embarking on a statewide initiative to investigate the fairness of in the Texas criminal justice system, especially in cases that deal with indigent defense. The project is being underwritten by the Hood County News.

Kathy Cruz, staff writer for the News and a consultant in investigative reporter for the Center, is writing the series about the quality of legal services in Texas and the impact of the justice system on those who are accused of crimes, as well as the impact on their families.

The stories are being provided to community newspapers throughout the state free of charge, and papers will be encouraged to investigate the quality of legal services within their own counties.

“I cannot think of a more important project,” said Jerry Tidwell, publisher of the News. “Community newspapers typically do not have the staff and the resources to take in-depth looks at statewide issues. This is a way to help them and, in the process, provide a service to the people of Texas.”

Tommy Thomason, director of the Center, said he hopes that Texas community newspapers will use the series as a starting point to look at issues relating to the court system in their city and county.

“We see this series as a starting place for many other investigations around Texas,” Thomason said. “We all have a tremendous stake in the fairness of the criminal justice system, and newspapers have a responsibility to the public to be watchdogs on that system. If newspapers don’t do it, who will?”

To download one of the files below, just click on the file name. The images will open in your Web browser and you can use File > Save to save the image to your computer. The text files will open in your computer's default text-editing program. For a description of the various images that are part of the project, see the file "justice for all photos.docx". For the series logo you see on the right, see the file JusticeTCCJSeriesLogo.pdf.

Eyewitness_ID_Policies.rtf43.68 KB
The Price of Proving Innocence-Funding the Innocence Project of Texas.doc30.5 KB
When Justice Sleeps.rtf49.49 KB
Queer Justice.rtf49.21 KB
Innocence.rtf5.72 KB
Texas House passes innocence commission bill5.76 KB
Attorney Richard Burr.JPG34.24 KB
Brian Stull-ACLU.jpg6.92 KB
Grading eyewitness ID policies N0. 1.jpg690.32 KB
Grading Eyewitness ID Policies #2.jpg539.98 KB
IPOT office.jpeg1.63 MB
IPOT Wall Hanging.jpeg1.18 MB
Jeff Blackburn - IPOT - NO 1.jpg539.31 KB
Jeff Blackburn-IPOT - No 2.jpg702.46 KB
Jim Bethke-TIDC.JPG1.39 MB
Johnny Pinchback-DNA exoneree.jpg499.64 KB
Kathryn M Kase.JPG33.45 KB
Nick Vilbas-IPOT.jpeg1.59 MB
JusticeTCCJSeriesLogo.pdf71.15 KB
justiceforallphotos.doc27.5 KB