The Killing of These Texas Children Was National News. But We Didn’t Know the Half of It.
It was commonly known by the 1980s, if not long before, that the Harris County juvenile courts were a bastion of good ol’ boy corruption. The system was dominated by middle-aged, prosperous white male judges whose familiarity with the poor, especially poor people of color, was, to say the least, limited. Countless cases were tragedies in miniature, underscored, in one courtroom I visited in the 2000s, by the crush of grinning stuffed animals parked behind the judge’s bench—decor that was supposed to cheer but stood in marked contrast to the collapsing families and foster-care nightmares before him. Court appointments often went to lawyers who were a judge’s poker buddies and political donors (often the same people), and helpless children tossed and tumbled through the system…
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