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Police would have new authority to take firearms away from Texans who are in a mental crisis under a bill the House approved last Tuesday that is now headed to Gov. Rick Perry's desk. Read more»

Thomas Steinbeck said his father John Steinbeck would be "deeply angry and ashamed" to know that Texas used the fictional character Lennie Small from his famous book Of Mice and Men to help set the standard to judge whether a man is eligible for execution. Read more»

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this week ruled in a Texas case that extreme heat can violate prisoners' rights. Read more» 1

Michael Morton stands in a Williamson County, Texas, courtroom with his attorneys, John Raley of the Houston law firm Raley & Bowick, and Nina Morrison of the New York-based Innocence Project. Morton was officially exonerated Dec. 19, after spending nearly 25 years in prison for his wife's murder.

The University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law on Monday released the first national registry of exoneration cases with data on more than 2,000 cases from the last 23 years. Read more»

Jesse Joe Hernandez and Rob Will are hoping that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling Tuesday could help them with appeals.

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling Tuesday on an Arizona case could give two Texas death row inmates another chance at appeals. Read more»

A Texas death row inmate's best shot at a new trial may hinge on a U.S. Supreme Court case from Arizona. Read more»

Thirty-five years ago today, the state of Utah executed Gary Gilmore by firing squad and restarted the death penalty in the United States. Texas followed suit, reinstating capital punishment in 1982 and quickly becoming home to the nation's busiest execution chamber. Read more» 1

Hank Skinner

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a stay of execution for Hank Skinner. He was set to be executed on Wednesday for the 1993 New Year's Eve murders of his live-in girlfriend and her two sons in Pampa. For more than a decade, Skinner has been seeking DNA testing in an effort to prove that he is innocent. Read more»

Hank Skinner hopes a court rules to allow post-conviction DNA testing in his case. He is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday.

Hank Skinner has been pleading with the state of Texas since 2001 — to no avail — to test DNA evidence he believes will prove his innocence. On Wednesday, he is set to walk into the execution chamber in Huntsville to face the ultimate punishment for three murders that he maintains he did not commit. Read more»

Michael Morton sits beside his mother, Patricia Morton, during an emotional press conference after a judge agreed to release him on personal bond after he spent nearly 25 years in prison for the murder of his wife.

Since 1994, DNA tests have exonerated 44 Texas inmates. In the wake of those cases, Texas lawmakers have made significant reforms to criminal justice procedures to help prevent wrongful convictions. But defense lawyers and advocates argue that under antiquated Texas discovery laws, the alleged injustices that robbed those who may be innocent could still happen. Read more»

Debra Jan Baker, Michael Morton (center), and Williamson County (Texas) District Attorney John Bradley.

Michael Morton, who served 25 years in a Texas prison for the murder of his wife Christine, will be released after his attorneys reached an agreement with prosecutors, who said Monday in a legal filing that Morton was not his wife's killer. Read more»

Lawrence Brewer, who was executed Wednesday in Texas, requested chicken-fried steak for his last meal.

The long-standing tradition of allowing death row inmates one last special meal of their choosing before they enter the execution chamber ends immediately, said Brad Livingston, executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Read more»

Border Patrol officers outside a bus in Presidio, Tex.

Border Patrol buses loaded with undocumented immigrants are set to begin rolling into Texas from Arizona again this week. Under the Alien Transfer and Exit Program, the agency transports illegal border crossers caught in Arizona to the Texas border and deports them back to Mexico. Read more»

Hudspeth County Sheriff Arvin West

When Willie Nelson got arrested for marijuana possession last week, he wasn't the only legend who figured in the story. Paunchy, Stetson-wearing Sheriff Arvin West, who put Willie in the local pokey, is a reigning symbol of the years-long fight over border security and immigration in Texas. Read more»

El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles.

El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles is the top law enforcement official in one of America's safest big cities: El Paso has seen just one murder this year. Yet just across the city's and the nation's border, in Juárez, more than 6,000 people have been murdered since 2008. Read more»

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