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Jun 10, 2015

Texas officer in video let ‘emotions get the better of him’: lawyer

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – The Dallas-area policeman seen in a viral video throwing a bikini-clad black teenager to the ground was emotionally fraught at the time after responding to two suicide calls, and was not targeting minorities, his attorney said on Wednesday.

McKinney Police Corporal Eric Casebolt, who is white, resigned on Tuesday after being seen in a video responding to a disturbance at a pool party on Friday where he appeared to target black youths, an incident that has added to concerns about racial bias in U.S. policing.

Jun 10, 2015

Abortion rights groups file motion to halt key provisions in Texas law

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Several women’s health providers filed a motion on Wednesday seeking to halt a U.S. appeals court decision a day earlier allowing Texas to impose restrictions on abortions, and said they plan to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld the main provisions of the 2013 Texas abortion law including one called an “ambulatory surgical center” requirement that mandates clinics have certain hospital-grade facilities, a regulatory hurdle critics said was designed to shut down abortion providers.

Jun 9, 2015

Texas policeman resigns after video shows him toppling teen

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A Dallas-area policeman seen in a viral video tossing a bathing suit-clad teenage girl to the ground has resigned from the McKinney Police force, the city’s police chief said on Tuesday, calling the officer’s actions indefensible

McKinney Police Corporal Eric Casebolt, who is white, had been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation of how he appeared to target black youths at the disturbance on Friday in the city about 30 miles (50 km) north of Dallas, an incident that has raised fresh questions about racial bias in U.S. policing.

Jun 9, 2015

U.S. appeals court upholds restrictive Texas abortion law

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday upheld the main provisions of a restrictive Texas abortion law including one that requires clinics to have certain hospital-grade facilities, a regulatory hurdle critics said was designed to shutter abortion providers.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit allowed for the 2013 law to be applied across the state, although it exempted a clinic in the southern city of McAllen, saying its distance from other clinics would cause an undue burden on women in that area.

Jun 8, 2015

Texas prosecutor drops charges for man once sentenced to death

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Houston-area prosecutors on Monday dropped charges against Alfred Brown, a man whose murder conviction and death sentence were overturned last year after a court determined evidence that was beneficial to his case has been wrongfully withheld.

Brown, 33, has been behind bars for 10 years after being convicted with two co-defendants of killing Houston police officer Charles Clark and store clerk Alfredia Jones in a 2003 robbery at a check cashing business.

Jun 8, 2015

Calls mount to fire Texas officer who threw youth to ground

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A rally is planned for Monday in the Dallas-area city of McKinney calling for the firing of the police officer seen in a viral video throwing a bathing suit-clad teenage girl to the ground and pointing his pistol at other youths at a pool party.

The officer, McKinney Police Corporal Eric Casebolt, has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation of how he responded to a disturbance at a pool party on Friday in the city about 30 miles north of Dallas, an incident that has raised fresh questions about racial bias in U.S. policing.

Jun 5, 2015

Bikers jailed for deadly Texas fight seek faster bail hearings

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Lawyers for 144 people jailed after a deadly fight between motorcycle gangs last month in Waco, Texas, have filed a petition seeking prompt bail hearings, saying state authorities are unlawfully dragging their heels in processing the group.

The petition filed on Thursday in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals also seeks more judges to help speed up hearings set to start on June 16 for the group that has been jailed since May 17 on initial bond of $1 million each, a sum too high for most to pay.

Jun 4, 2015

Doctors in Texas perform historic skull and scalp transplant surgery

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A man whose cancer left him with severe damage to the top of the head has received what his doctors in Houston describe as the first skull and scalp transplant, the MD Anderson Cancer Center said on Thursday.

James Boysen, a 55-year-old software developer from Austin, received the craniofacial tissue transplant at the same time as a kidney and pancreas transplant at Houston Methodist Hospital on May 22 in surgeries that lasted nearly a day, it said.

Jun 4, 2015

After three decades on death row, Texas inmate Bower executed

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Texas on Wednesday executed Lester Bower, one of the longest-serving inmates on the state’s death row who had said he was wrongly convicted of killing four men in 1983 and had spent three decades trying to halt his capital punishment.

Bower was pronounced dead at 6:36 p.m. CDT after being given a lethal injection at the state’s death chamber in Huntsville, a prisons official said.

Jun 3, 2015

Texas set to execute man who has spent three decades on death row

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – One of the longest-serving inmates on Texas’ busy death row was set to be executed on Wednesday, more than three decades after being convicted of fatally shooting four people in 1983.

Lawyers for Lester Bower filed a last-minute appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court last week that faults the sentencing, seeking to prevent the execution by lethal injection scheduled for 6 p.m. at the state’s death chamber in Huntsville.