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Redefining Mental Disability in Death Penalty Cases: Friday’s Show (April 7, 2017)

We’ll kick off today’s Houston Matters  by discussing the potential impact of the U.S. air strike on Syria on oil prices, and oil and gas companies in Greater Houston, with News 88.7 energy and environment reporter Travis Bubenik. Then… The U.S. Supreme Court this week (April 3, 2017) agreed to hear yet another Texas death penalty […]

The US Supreme Court building in Washington, DC. Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Public Domain

We’ll kick off today’s Houston Matters  by discussing the potential impact of the U.S. air strike on Syria on oil prices, and oil and gas companies in Greater Houston, with News 88.7 energy and environment reporter Travis Bubenik. Then… The U.S. Supreme Court this week (April 3, 2017) agreed to hear yet another Texas death penalty case. This one involves a Honduran national convicted of murder during a home invasion here in Houston.

That announcement comes just a week (March 28, 2017) after the High Court rejected the state’s standard for mental disability in capital cases, in a decision stemming from a man’s conviction for killing a Houston store clerk in 1980 during a botched robbery. In that 5-3 decision, the High Court ruled Texas could not use an outdated standard of intellectual disability to determine if Bobby Moore could be executed. In the case the Justices have now agreed to hear, attorneys for Carlos Ayestas say he had a history of mental illness that a jury never heard.

On this edition of Houston Matters, we discuss what’s behind the High Court’s recent interest in death penalty cases from Texas involving mental health, with constitutional law professor Kenneth Williams from South Texas College of Law Houston. He’s author of a book about the death penalty called Most Deserving of Death?: An Analysis of the Supreme Court’s Death Penalty Jurisprudence.

Also this hour…

Rise of Concierge Medicine

In Houston, across Texas, and nationwide, more and more primary care physicians are trying different models to address rising costs, limited time with patients, and too much paperwork. Among the concepts growing in popularity: concierge medicine. It comes in different forms: the most traditional model is that the doctor only sees a limited number of patients who pay a fixed rate directly to their doctor, on top of whatever health insurance they may have.

There’s hybrid concierge, in which doctors still offer their patients the option to remain with them, but offer more personalized service to those who pay a premium, and set limits on their interaction with patients who don’t. And there’s direct primary care, which bypasses health insurance entirely – doctors don’t accept any insurance, and charge patients directly for whatever care they need. We talk with area physician Dr. John Eichelberger about what led him to establish a concierge practice.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the News

A lot can happen in a week. Some of it good. Some of it bad. Some of it downright ugly. When faced with intriguing developments in the week’s news, we turn to our rotating panel of “non-experts” to parse The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of it all.

This week, our panel weighs in on Rick Perry taking Steve Bannon’s place on the National Security Council, a possible end to UT’s automatic admission rule, and Tony Romo retiring rather than playing for the Texans.

On this week’s panel:  free-lance writer Kyrie O’ Connor; Amber Ambrose, a content strategist, co-founder of ILoveHou and contributor to HighDrive.TV; and Wayne Ashley, an academic adviser, digital media strategist and editor of TexasLeftist.com.

Farm to Fork Dinner

A couple times a year, Rice University hosts Farm-to-Fork, a dinner that highlights food from local farmers. The meal is prepared by a chef at the university who only uses food from the Rice Farmers Market. Houston Matters producer Maggie Martin recently attended a Farm-to-Fork and spoke with the organizers and growers to learn more.

Houston Matters offers a free daily, downloadable podcast here, on iTunes, Stitcher and various other podcasting apps.

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