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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Does Kerr County Really Need to Spend $8MM for Jail Expansion? Rejected by KPD Citizens Police Academy; AUSA Takes Fifth in Fast and Furious Scandal

Kerr County Sheriff Wants $8MM for Jail Expansion
Kerrville Daily Times reported in its weekend edition that "Kerr County Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer told commissioners Tuesday that the jail needs an additional 96 maximum security beds to reduce overcrowding and "puts some teeth" in probation sentences.
The problem is the $8 million price tag that comes with such a construction project and the potential tax increase that would be needed to fund it."

KDT's editorial board supports the proposal, in an editorial that makes it sound like the lack of beds at the jail is letting hardened criminals run the streets of Kerrville, talking about the back log of cases in the two district courts. The truth is that convicted felons don't serve their sentences in the jail - they go to one of the Texas Dept.of Corrections state jails or institutional division prisons (a/k/a the "Big House).

The county jail houses inmates convicted of misdemeanors (maximum sentence 1 year), and inmates awaiting trial or revocation of probation before going away.I believe a significant factor in the overcrowding is the ridiculously high bails that some of the JP's set. That, and the sheriff and police departments doing what they call "direct files," where they file a case in the district courts without the DA vetting

Federal prosecutor cites Fifth in ‘Fast and Furious’ probe
The chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona has cited his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in refusing on Friday to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in its ongoing investigation into the failed “Fast and Furious” gunrunning operation.

Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican and committee chairman, said the prosecutor, Patrick J. Cunningham, had been subpoenaed by the committee to testify on Tuesday but his attorney notified the panel that Mr. Cunningham intended to exercise his right not to incriminate himself at his scheduled deposition.
Mr. Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, have been investigating the Fast and Furious operation for several months. They discovered that more than 2,000 weapons illegally purchased by “straw buyers” at Arizona gun shops, including hundreds of AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifles, were allowed by the ATF to be “walked” to drug smugglers in Mexico.

More than 1,400 of the weapons are still unaccounted for.

Two AK-47s purchased at a gun shop in Glendale, Ariz., were discovered at the site of the shooting death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry, who was killed during a Dec. 14, 2010, gunfight with Mexican bandits just north of the border near Nogales, Ariz.

Arizona's state legislature will open its own investigation into the Obama administration's disgraced gun-running program, known as "Fast and Furious," the speaker of the state House said Friday.

Speaker Andy Tobin created the committee, and charged it with looking at whether the program broke any state laws — raising the possibility of state penalties against those responsible for the operation.

Fast and Furious was a straw-purchase program run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The goal was to try to trace guns sold in Arizona shops and then trafficked across the Mexican border, where they landed in the hands of drug cartels.

As part of the operation, however, agents let the guns "walk" — meaning they lost track of them. At least two of the guns ended up at the scene where Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in a shootout with Mexican bandits along a smuggling corridor in Arizona.

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