posted on May, 11 2008 @ 11:35 PM
Texas law is quite possibly one of biggest complaints I have as an American.
I live in Texas. We're not far from Dallas County, proud home of the most verified wrongful convictions in the entire nation. (Google the Innocence
Project of Texas to see how bad it gets)
When I read an article such as this, several things come to mind.
First, Texas has the largest prison system in the US. Each year it puts more Americans to death than any other state. And more people than the entire
European Union combined. Imagine that.
Do you know why Texas has such a large prison population? Until 2001 Texas had no indigent defense or what most states call public defenders. jmagine
Let me go further here....you see Texas is one of only four states that still adhere to UPL (Unlicensed Practice of Law), which leaves the courts as
the domain of the lawyers excluding the citizen's right to speak in a courtroom (without having purchased the services of a lawyer to speak for
Texas sued Nolo Press for violating UPL. Nolo Press, those good folks who provide the do-it-yourself divorce kits, counter sued. Eventually there
was a deal struck or Texas would have lost. Although Texas did not give in on the point of citizens having access to the courts, they did allow the
judge to determine if he/she would hear the citizen.
This is a key point one must understand clearly to see how bad UPL can be. The judge may hear you. You may have every point of law in your favor. Yet
if that judge choses, he/she can decide everything you said was moot because you aren't a lawyer. And you lose.
In 1968 the state of New York struck down UPL ruling that it closed and barred the doors of the courts to the average citizen. 45 other states agreed
justice could not be done if the courts omitted the citizen from the process.
Of the remaining four states, Texas was the only state that required a person to purchase the services of a lawyer, and had no public defender or
indigent defense program. Imagine that. You're charged with a crime, taken into a courtroom, and if you can't afford an attorney, well, we don't
have to give you one. (Out of the goodness of our heart, we might, but hehe....you get what you pay for.)
And it was that way until 2001 when Rodney Ellis, in a late night session with the state senate, pushed through a bill for a $20 million dollar
indigent defense program.
Like most of you I believed in the system until I spent 171 days behind bars in a small county federally funded jail at which point a federal court in
Lufkin, Texas signed a Writ of Habeaus Corpus to release me.
Unless you are willing to hear a truth you aren't prepared to accept, don't ask, don't investigate, and don't question. Just realize there are
many cases dealing with injustices that will never be heard in a courtroom in Texas because lawyers (and judges) do not want to deal with the truth.
The truth is worth less when you can pays better to lie.