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Grand Jury System and Pet Care: Monday’s show (February 23, 2015)

Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson wants to see a change in how grand juries are selected. Grand juries of 12 people determine whether enough evidence exists to formally charge a suspect with a crime. Currently in Texas, judges are tasked with impaneling them, but it’s a time-consuming process. So, some name friends as “grand […]


Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson wants to see a change in how grand juries are selected. Grand juries of 12 people determine whether enough evidence exists to formally charge a suspect with a crime. Currently in Texas, judges are tasked with impaneling them, but it’s a time-consuming process. So, some name friends as “grand jury commissioners” who, in turn, pick friends to fill the other spots. The end result: panels with similar demographic and income backgrounds who may not reflect the population from which the suspect hails.

DA Anderson says “the public is losing confidence in the grand jury system.” But if what is derisively characterized as the “pick a pal” approach doesn’t work, what would? Judges says they already have a hard time impaneling grand juries to address the 40,000 felony charges filed in Houston each year.

On this edition of Houston Matters, we welcome your thoughts about grand juries in Texas.Â

We talk with Harris County DA Devon Anderson. We also hear from State Sen. John Whitmire, who favors selecting grand juries from a randomized pool of citizens and has proposed a bill this legislative session to make the change. And we talk with Dr. Larry Karson, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at University of Houston Downtown, who studied the “key man” process more than a decade ago.

Also this hour:

  • Houston Public Media education reporter Laura Isensee presents her latest installment of “Inside the Classroom” — a series of conversations between educators, administrators, and students.
  • Veterinarian Dr. Lori Teller from the Meyerland Animal Clinic joins us for our monthly discussion about the dogs and cats in your life. Anything you’d like to know about the care and feeding of your beloved canine or feline friend is welcome.
  • And CultureMap Houston’s MK Bower joins us to discuss the latest developments in Houston sports.

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Craig Cohen

Craig Cohen

Executive Producer/Host, Houston Matters

Craig Cohen is the executive producer and host of Houston Matters, which airs weekdays at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Houston Public Media, News 88.7 FM. Craig is a 20+ year veteran of broadcast journalism. He's spent the bulk of his career in public media, in roles ranging from programmer...

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