Back-Door Justice

I’m just a plainspoken Coiorado criminal defense lawyer, but the way I see it…

I always hate it when I hear about someone in Texas almost impossibly stupid. My mother and her parents were Texans. I think that makes me half-Texan, but there’s no math requirement to get into law school.

The current governor of all the Texans says he knows teenagers are getting raped in Texas prisons, and he’s real sorry about it, but he just can’t agree to an 11-year-old federal law that’s finally making its way to the states, something about eliminating those rapes. Texas rules, and all.

The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, embarrassingly signed into law by an actual former Texas governor, the well-known liberal George W. Bush, says state governors ought to certify they are implementing, or trying to implement, new measures intended to cut down, just a little bit, the sexual violence being done its young offenders by older people who look a lot like Danny Trejo.

Unaccountably, the law was supported by every single United States Congressman and Senator — Democrat, Republican, Tea Party, maybe even a Neo-Nazi or two.

None of your business, says Gov. Rick Perry. We got our own ways in Texas. For one thing, you can’t be serious that we shouldn’t be putting seventeen-year-old men (they are men in Texas, and oughta take it like a man) in with our adult prisoners. Teenage years end at sixteen here; them other age words ending in “teen” are just that: words, and we are people of few words.

He won’t certify Texas prisons, he says, because there are too many to check on all at once. Never mind that the federal law says you only have to check on a third of them each year.

And Mr. Perry says Texas has already got its own programs to eliminate prison rape. Never mind, too, that Texas has the highest rate of prison rape of all of our United States.

I don’t think Mr. Perry’s a lawyer, but he does math like one.

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