Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep

The blog Grits For Breakfast has an interesting post of a bill in the Texas legislature to make the stealing of one goat, sheep or other livestock animal a felony offense.
Beyond the policy madness of a felony rap for stealing a $35 goat, this bill raises a more general complaint I have about such legislation: The political process is not honest about what it would cost. As with all bills expanding incarceration at the Texas Legislature, the official "fiscal note" for SB 1163 claims the legislation is a freebie to taxpayers, but obviously that is false. Source: Grits For Breakfast
Even is this law passes, it's not likely to have an increased deterrent effect. Most felonies around here aren't prosecuted as such since most people get "deferred adjudication". Deferred adjudication means if they complete probation the conviction won't go on their record.


  1. "Deferred adjudication means if they complete probation the conviction won't go on their record."

    Unfortunately, that's not accurate. There's no final conviction when you successfully complete deferred adjudication, but the records are not expunged and it stays in all the state and private databases that that was your sentence. In fact that's been a subject of lot of discussion and several bills at the Lege this session - there's a movement afoot (that's probably not quite ripe) to push for expunction at some point after completing deferred.

    Good to run across your blog - I think this is the first time I've seen it. And thanks for commenting over at Grits. :)

  2. You are right about deferred adjudication in one way. While databases do show that as an arrest and that would obviously affect the person that tried to get a job that required a background check, law enforcement can't always use that as a conviction for other enhancements of offenses if the defendant had a prior conviction. I do think that deferred adjudication could be done better. Maybe they'll fix that.


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