Texas Sheriffs Today
Apr. 19, 2013

Ban on texting, driving easily passes Texas House vote
Abilene Reporter-News
The House approved, 98-47, the criminalization of texting while driving, despite opposition from Gov. Rick Perry, who has vetoed a texting-while-driving bill before. The bill still requires a perfunctory third reading in the House and then Senate approval before heading to the governor. Police could have a tough time with the texting-while-driving ban, should it become state law, San Angelo Police Department Chief Tim Vasquez said. "It's a very difficult law to enforce," Vasquez said. Someone could say they were looking up a number or looking at a map, he said, both exceptions in the bill.More

High court weighs in on DWI blood tests without a warrant
Austin American-Statesman
With a U.S. Supreme Court decision placing new restrictions on police taking involuntary blood samples from suspected drunken drivers, Texas officials said that current exceptions in state law could be erased. As officials and prosecutors began legal research on the effects of the high court's decision, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo was among law enforcement leaders who said they will begin requiring warrants anytime a blood sample is drawn from a suspected drunken driver.More

Bill would allow driver's permits for undocumented immigrants
The Texas Tribune
A Texas House committee heard testimony on a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s permits after submitting to background checks, fingerprints and paying about $150 in fees. House Bill 3206, by state Rep. Roberto Alonzo, D-Dallas, would also mandate that applicants pass a driving test to get the document, which would allow holders to legally register their vehicles and obtain auto insurance. The measure has the support of state Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, the chairman of the powerful State Affairs Committee, who presided over contentious immigration proposals before the Legislature two years ago. There are about 1.6 million undocumented immigrants in Texas.More

Nueces County, Texas, Sheriff's Office unveils mobile command unit
Corpus Christ Caller-Times
The Nueces County Sheriff's Office officially rolled out its new mobile command center Wednesday, a state-of-the-art vehicle officers hope they will never have to use but one that can be called on in a variety of situations. Officers said the unit can be used after natural disasters, during hostage situations or in the case of other emergencies where multiple agencies need to coordinate their efforts.More

Wife of former Texas justice of the peace confesses to involvement in killing prosecutors
Reuters via Chicago Tribune
The wife of a former Texas justice of the peace confessed to her involvement with the fatal shootings of the Kaufman County district attorney, his wife and another prosecutor and fingered her husband as the triggerman, an arrest warrant released April 17 showed. The two slain prosecutors helped convict her husband of stealing computer monitors from public buildings, which cost him his job, records show.More

State law challenged in sexual assault case
The Texas Tribune
Mark Fleming was 24 years old when he started dating a young woman in 2007. Her Facebook page said she was a college student, and a mutual friend told him she was 22 years old. Several months later, Denton police arrested Fleming, accusing him of sexually assaulting a minor. The young woman was actually 14. Fleming was convicted in 2007 and sentenced to 10 years’ probation. His lawyer, Richard Gladden, has appealed his case to the state’s highest criminal court, saying a state law that does not require prosecutors to show a defendant intended to have sex with a minor is unconstitutional.More

Editorial: Protecting privacy in the digital age
Tampa Bay Times
Privacy rights are not keeping up with technology. Old rules that allow police to riffle through a suspect's wallet or briefcase after being arrested are being applied to cellphones and iPads despite their vast capacity to store sensitive personal information.More

Bills would add gays to Texas' 'Romeo and Juliet' law
The Associated Press via Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Sexual contact with minors under the age of 17 is a crime of indecency under Texas law. But a so-called "Romeo and Juliet" defense protects teenage couples from prosecution as long as they are in a consensual relationship, both over 14 and within three years of age of each other.More

Texas prison inmate charged with threatening law enforcement
The Dallas Morning News
A man serving time in an eastern Texas prison was charged with mailing threatening letters to the U.S. attorney's office in Dallas, making him the third such person to disrupt major homicide investigations that are ongoing in Kaufman County, authorities say.More

How to turn your phone into a biometric scanning machine
Mashable via CNN
Smartphones are powerful tools, and with the right apps and accessories, they can become even more so. A California-based tech company has launched a tool that turns a regular iPhone 4 or 4S into a powerful biometrics scanning tool. AOptix has unveiled its app and a wrap-around device for turning the smartphone into a portable iris, face, fingerprint and voice scanner.More