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POLS  2306    
Essay  2  
 
Answer  one  of  the  following  in  a  well-­developed  essay.  Your  essay  should  
incorporate  lecture  material,  any  assigned  reading,  and  your  own  ideas;  and  
should  demonstrate  thoughtful  analysis  and  critical  thinking.    
 
1.  Why  does  Texas  contract  with  private  prisons?  Discuss  the  dilemmas  of  private  
for  profit  prisons.  
   
2.  Compare  and  contrast  the  criminal  justice  system  used  in  Norway  with  that  of  the  
criminal  justice  system  used  in  Texas.  Which,  in  your  opinion  is  the  best  approach  
and  why?  
 
3.  Discuss  how  the  criminalization  of  immigration  policies  has  led  to  the  increases  in  
prison  population  in  Texas.    Should  undocumented  immigrants  be  incarcerated?  
 
4.  Describe  how  the  prison  like  environments  in  schools  has  led  to  the  school  to  
prison  pipeline.  What  are  the  negative  implications  of  such  policies?    
 
5.  How  does  the  lack  of  representation  of  women  in  the  Texas  State  Legislature  
impact  policy?  Give  examples  of  legislation  to  illustrate  your  views.    
 
6.  Describe  how  gerrymandering  has  manipulated  election  results  in  Texas.    
 
 
Civil Liberties
The Biggest Drug Bust: Tulia Texas

Tulia Background: The War on
Drugs
Nixon’s War on Drugs: The DEA was created in 1973
Reagan’s War on Drugs: The 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act institutionalized the
DEA’s Task Force Program with the goal of preventing drug abuse and halting
drug-related crime.
Thirteen regional task forces were established funded by the Edward Byrne
Justice Assistance Grant, hundreds of drug enforcement agents joined the FBI
In addition to the rise in Federal drug enforcement state level enforcement
efforts increased.
Millions of dollars of federal aid was provided to states with few to no
guidelines
The
Biggest
Drug
Bust: Tulia
Texas
•
On July 23, 1999, undercover narcotics agent
Thomas Coleman carried out one of the biggest
drug stings in Texas history.
•
47 people were rounded up and arrested accused
of selling drugs to Coleman. 38 of the people
accused were African American, representing 10%
of the Black population in the town.
•
Disturbing evidence about the undercover
investigation and Coleman’ began to surface.
•
From 2000 to 2003, the bogus drug sting unjustly
sent a good portion to prison.
•
More questions were raised after 13 defendants
were convicted and given unusually long prison
sentences—25, 60, one case 90 years and one
over 300 years
Evidence and Enhanced Charges
•
The arrests were based on the inconsistent testimony of a single investigator, Tom
Coleman,
•
Coleman could provide no corroborating evidence of his drug purchases — no video or
voice recordings or other officers as witnesses.
•
most of the indictments were for distributing a single thimbleful of powdered cocaine, a
drug more likely to turn up among Dallas investment bankers than in a poor, black
community
•
Most of those arrested could not afford a lawyer
•
Many of the Tulia defendants, were given enhanced charges for selling drugs near a park
or school. As a result, even first-time drug offenders faced sentences of up to 99 years.
Many were leaving small children behind them.
The Tulia
Case
Joe Moore, the drug
“kingpin” at his house in
Tulia, Tex. Moore was
wrongly convicted of selling
cocaine to Tom Coleman and
sentenced to 90 years.
The DA:
Blatant Racism
DA Terry Mc Eachern, sought and got
long sentences – 20, 45, 90 years – even
for defendants with no prior records.
In 2005 The former DA, Terry
McEachern, license was suspended for
misconduct in the Tulia case for two
years, but the suspension was
probated, allowing him to continue to
practice as long as he abided by the
agreement.
Finally
Justice?
• In 2003 Gov. Rick Perry
Friday pardoned 35 people
convicted in the Tulia drug
cases after the Texas Board
of Pardons and Paroles
unanimously
recommended the action,
ending what critics said
was four-years of injustice.
Tom Coleman: Lawman of the Year
Tom Coleman, was
awarded lawman of the
year for the arrests in Tulia
before the scandal and
injustice was exposed
Coleman faced up to 30
years in prison on state
perjury charges
The final verdict and
sentence – 10 years
probation
Race, Cocaine
and
Corruption
• http://www.cspan.org/video/?18962010/book-discussion-tuliarace-cocaine-corruptionsmall-texas-town
Thoughts
•
Tulia is a small town
where “everybody
knows everybody.”
Given this
characterization of the
town, what other
approaches could have
been used to tackle its
drug problem? What
do you think were the
town’s motives in using
a drug task force?
•
What is your
prognosis for Tulia?
Do you think it will
ever be possible for
the residents of
different races to trust
one another?
What would be
necessary for this to
happen?
•
Do you think what
happened in Tulia
could happen in your
own
town? Why or why
not?
Funding Tied to
Incarceration
A 2002 report by the ACLU of
Texas identified seventeen
scandals involving Byrnefunded anti-drug task forces
in Texas alone
Byrne funding was based on
convictions and crime
statistics. Poor black people
became targets as they are
the easiest people to get
convictions on.
The Racial
Aspect:
ACLU
Report
2003
35% of those arrested for drug possession
were African Americans
55% of those convicted were African
Americans
74% of those imprisoned for drug
possession were African Americans
1 in 3 African American men between the
ages of 20 -29 were either on parole,
probation or in prison
1 in 5 African Americans had been
convicted of a felony
Other
Cases:
The Dallas
Sheetrock
Scandal
2002
•
The Dallas Police Department arrested 39
Hispanic people for possession and
distribution of a white, chalky substance
that field-tested positive for cocaine
On the insistence of a further lab test by
the legal defense counsel the alleged
cocaine turned out to be sheetrock
(gypsum)
Discrimination in Texas
Classification
of Mexican
Americans
After Mexico’s defeat in the Mexican
American War. Under the Treaty of
Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexicans living in the
territory that was now part of the United
States were given one year to decide if
they wanted to stay and become
naturalized American citizens. By law at
this time, the only people that could be
naturalized citizens were Anglo.
Therefore, they would be classified as
Anglo if they stayed
Hernandez v. Texas (1954)
•
Pete Hernandez was convicted of murder in Texas by an all-white jury.
•
Hernandez’s attorneys decided to appeal the case to the Texas Court of
Criminal Appeals. They did not appeal the case claiming he was innocent, but
rather that he had been denied equal protection of the laws due to the
exclusion of Mexican Americans from the pool of potential jurors in his case.
•
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld Hernandez’s conviction and denied
his challenge under the equal protection of the laws clause of the 14th
Amendment. Texas claimed that Mexicans were white and thus not entitled to
special protections.
•
The case was appealed to the Supreme Court based on the fact that his rights
had been denied under the 14th Amendment.
A Jury of
your Peers
• Was Hernandez denied
equal protection under the
law because he was tried
by an all white jury despite
the fact that 14% of the
community was of
Mexican descent?
Chief
Justice
Warren
“When the existence of a distinct class is
demonstrated, and it is further shown that
the laws, as written or applied, single out
that class for different treatment not
based on some reasonable classification,
the guarantees of the Constitution have
been violated. The Fourteenth
Amendment is not directed solely against
discrimination due to a ‘two-class
theory’—that is, based upon differences
between ‘white’ and Negro.”—Chief
Justice Earl Warren
Supreme
Court
Decision
In reversing, the Court concluded that the
Fourteenth Amendment “is not directed
solely against discrimination due to a
‘two-class theory'” but in this case covers
those of Mexican ancestry. This was
established by the fact that the distinction
between whites and Mexican ancestry
individuals was made clear at the Jackson
County Courthouse itself where “there
were two men’s toilets, one unmarked,
and the other marked ‘Colored Men and
‘Hombres Aqui’ (‘Men Here’),” and by the
fact that no Mexican ancestry person had
served on a jury in 25 years. Mexican
Americans were a “special class” entitled
to equal protection under the Fourteenth
Amendment.
Summary of
the Case
• https://supre
me.justia.com
/cases/federal
/us/347/475/
#tab-opinion1940807

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