Crime & Justice

Courts, trials and crime coverage for Austin and the Central Texas region.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. /KUT

A Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit is suing the Texas Department of Public Safety over its automatic driver license-suspension program. The suit alleges the state's Driver Responsibility Program has unconstitutionally suspended 1.4 million Texans' licenses for failure to pay fines.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A national investigation into how police departments solve rape cases discovered that some departments consider a case cleared even when there is no arrest and the suspect is still on the streets. The number of these "exceptionally cleared" cases in Austin, in particular, has raised concerns.  

File photo / Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Residents can expect to see new branding of Austin Police Department facilities and vehicles in what Police Chief Brian Manley calls an effort to make Austin the “country’s safest city.”

During a news conference Thursday, Manley released an updated report outlining the department’s goals to improve community policing. He said the police department's new tagline “One Austin. Safer Together” will help reflect the values of the police force and residents.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The founder of an Austin-based company that makes 3D-printed guns has resigned following his arrest on charges of sexually assaulting a minor.

Mike Blake/Reuters

The immigration detention center at Tornillo used to hold undocumented immigrant minors will remain open through the end of the year, a government spokesperson said Tuesday.

Julia Reihs / KUT

No officer will be indicted for the officer-involved shooting of a serial bomber in March, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said Thursday.

ICE Arrests More Than 100 Workers At North Texas Plant

Aug 29, 2018
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested over 100 workers at a trailer manufacturing plant in the north Texas town of Sumner on Tuesday. ICE expects it to be one of its largest workplace raids in a decade, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin-based company at the center of a lawsuit over 3D-printable guns will send plans directly to customers, its founder said Tuesday, a day after a federal judge blocked the State Department from letting the company publish the files online for free.

Rose Baca / The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool

The trial of former Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver continues this week in Dallas.

Oliver is facing murder charges for shooting into a car full of teenagers leaving a party in April 2017 and killing 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. The shooting is one of several controversial police shootings of black men, teenagers and boys that have grabbed national headlines.

But it’s rare that a case like this makes it to court.

Two people familiar with the financial fraud investigation of Donald Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, say he has reached a plea agreement.

Cohen is due to appear in federal court in New York at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday. He was earlier seen going into a building where the FBI has its New York offices.

Ilana Panich-Linsman for KUT

A court battle over an Austin-based company’s plans to post 3D-printable gun designs online continues Tuesday. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia are asking a judge in Seattle to block the U.S. State Department from allowing the files to be posted until the case can be argued in court.

The judge temporarily halted the posting on July 31.

Facebook Screenshot

The Department of Justice gave a San Antonio housing group legal ammunition Friday afternoon in their discrimination lawsuit against Facebook.

Laura Skelding for The Texas Tribune

A federal judge says the government can now leave it up to immigrant parents: Keep your children locked up with you in an immigration detention center, or send them miles or states away to be cared for in a government-contracted shelter.

Julian Aguilar / The Texas Tribune

The state of Texas will continue to incur irreparable financial harm if an Obama-era immigration program isn't halted immediately, attorneys for the state argued in Houston on Wednesday.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Update: A federal judge in Austin has denied a request by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and other gun control groups to block Defense Distributed from posting plans for making 3D-printable guns online. 

The Brady Campaign called the ruling disappointing, but said the fight wasn't over and urged the State Department to act.

The U.S. government is racing to meet Thursday's court-ordered deadline to reunite migrant families who were separated at the border to discourage other illegal crossings. But the government has acknowledged many parents won't be able to rejoin their children. And for those parents who do get to be with their children again, the future is uncertain.

Reynaldo Leal for The Texas Tribune

More than 450 migrant parents who were separated from their children at the border are no longer in the United States — but the government can’t be sure how many of them were deported and how many may have “voluntarily” left because of confusion over how those individuals were “coded,” Sarah Fabian, a lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice, said Tuesday at a court conference in San Diego.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Residents of the Stony Point neighborhood are still reeling after the Bastrop County Sheriff’s Department turned roughly a dozen members of the community over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) late last month.

DaLyah Jones / KUT

Family and friends say they want people to remember 19-year-old Devonte "Bubba" Ortiz for who he really was.

“He was so smart and brave and outgoing,” Kniyah Pollard, one of his best friends, said Friday outside the Pleasant Hill Apartments in Southeast Austin. Ortiz was shot and killed in the parking lot of the complex early on the Fourth of July during an argument over fireworks.

DaLyah Jones / KUT

A 41-year-old Austin man has been charged with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of a black teenager. Jason Roche allegedly shot Devonte Ortiz, 19, after an argument over fireworks in the early morning of July 4. According to an affidavit, Roche claimed the shooting was in self-defense, but witness testimony and cellphone video conflict with that account.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

The number of people who were apprehended or turned themselves in to Border Patrol agents near the U.S.-Mexico border last month dipped nearly 20 percent when compared to May, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

This post has been updated.

Religious leaders say residents of a Del Valle neighborhood are feeling targeted after more than a dozen people were turned over to immigration officials during a Bastrop County traffic sting last month.

Updated at 10:50 a.m. ET

In a blow to organized labor, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that government workers who choose not to join a union cannot be charged for the cost of collective bargaining.

The vote was a predictable 5-4. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion with the court's conservatives joining him.

Lynda Gonzalez for KUT

State representatives on Monday will begin discussing whether a "red flag" law giving courts the ability to remove guns from a person considered dangerous would work in Texas.

Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

Texas stands to gain hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue after the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that states may force online retailers to collect sales tax even when they have no physical presence in the state.

John Jordan / The Texas Tribune

A new mobile app launched after a southeast Texas high school shooting last month will allow Texans to report on suspicious activity happening in their own communities and schools. 

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott started a series of roundtable discussions today, aimed at coming up with ways to address school shootings.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin is one step closer to getting a new police chief.

City Manager Spencer Cronk says Brian Manley is the sole candidate to take over the reins at the Austin Police Department. Manley served as the longtime second-in-command to his predecessor, Art Acevedo, and was tapped to serve as interim chief after Acevedo’s departure in November 2016. 

Austin Price for KUT

Incarcerated women in Texas have access to fewer educational and vocational programs compared to incarcerated men, a new study finds.

The study, released Tuesday by the local nonprofit Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, is the second of a two-part study that looks into the increasing numbers of incarcerated women.

https://flic.kr/p/9o9F2o

People caught with less than 2 ounces of marijuana in Travis County may qualify to take a $45 four-hour class and avoid all charges under a proposal unanimously adopted by the Travis County Commissioners Court. The class would be available only to people who are "cited and released" by law enforcement, not to those arrested and booked into jail. 

"We had a practice that was marking people for life,” Commissioner Brigid Shea said before voting for the program Tuesday. She said it was particularly hard for people who couldn't afford to have their records expunged and were labeled criminals.

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