Artificial intelligence is becoming more and more important as automation takes over many tasks and algorithms make trillions of decisions every day. Even the criminal justice system is impacted by the use of AI, as algorithms are often used to make assessments of defendants. People in Texas who are charged with a crime are innocent until proven guilty, but AI technology like risk-assessment tools can make determinations that are disadvantageous to defendants.
Texas State Representative Joe Moody has introduced a bill to decriminalize marijuana. The bill's proposal is that people who have under an ounce of marijuana would face civil instead of criminal penalties.
About 2,600 federal inmates in Texas and around the country who are serving long custodial sentences for crimes involving crack cocaine could be released if the First Step Act reaches President Trump's desk. Trump has vowed to sign the criminal justice reform bill, but political analysts expect bipartisan opposition in Congress to be fierce. Some Republicans say that the bill goes too far and jeopardizes public safety while many Democrats say that it does not go far enough.
The question of what happens to people caught with marijuana has become a tricky subject in recent years. While it is legal to have a small amount of the substance on your person in Washington, Colorado and a few other states, marijuana is still illegal in Texas. In general, most states have begun to treat marijuana like alcohol when you drive, so you should always avoid driving while high.
Nonwhites in Texas who are offered plea deals in criminal cases may not be getting the same bargains as their white counterparts. According to a study of Wisconsin misdemeanor cases by a Loyola University professor, white defendants are more likely to get charges reduced, dismissed or dropped. If black people had no criminal history, they were still less likely to get their charges reduced than white people with no criminal history.
Marijuana laws are steadily evolving across the country. However, possessing any amount of marijuana is still a crime in Texas.
Many advocates of marijuana have scoffed at the notion that it is a so-called gateway drug which will inevitably lead to the use and abuse of harder drugs. While its legalization for medical purposes has proven beneficial in some states, the evidence remains that it is linked to increased likelihood of heroin and cocaine use.
When an individual is taken into custody, that person may be given a citation and a promise to appear in court. However, a Texas resident may also be taken to jail after being taken into custody, and at that point, it may be necessary to bail out. A judge will determine if a person is eligible for bail and how much a person needs to pay to buy his or her freedom.
When an individual is charged with a crime in Texas, the prosecutor is obligated to share any exculpatory evidence uncovered during their investigation of the defense. Unfortunately, some prosecutors skirt this responsibility, which could lead to the conviction of an innocent person.
In September, a man in Texas pleaded guilty to two counts of theft over $200,000. The 69-year-old Killeen man was accused of embezzling over $2 million from the 195 Lumber Co. while he was employed as the company's chief financial officer. A sentencing hearing for the man's case has been scheduled to take place on Nov. 4.