Mother Nature Plans to Take a Giant Dump on Your Weekend, Dallas

Categories: Crime, Weather

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Ivor Grlas on Flickr
Get the doggy Celexa ready.
What a beautiful week we had. Temps in the high 70s, sunny skies, patio lunches -- it was damn pretty. You got your bike tuned up, your picnic basket packed up, and you're geared up for a kickass outdoor weekend.

I am now here to crush your outdoor weekend dreams, with the help of many local actual weather forecasters. So, look out your window now and enjoy the sunshine-ing puppies-and-rainbows prettiness of this day that will begin to turn to shit as soon as you are allowed to leave work. Because Mother Nature is gearing up to dump on your weekend.

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Arlington Swingers Club Shut Down by City Has Excellent Reviews

Categories: Crime

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Stephan Brenninkmeijer
Eutopia -- which Unfair Park can't help but pronounce as Eww-topia -- is, or was, a swingers club located in a half-million dollar home near AT&T Stadium. The city of Arlington didn't have a problem with that in and of itself, but has now sent James and Mary Self, who own the home, a letter demanding that they shut down. Home businesses are fine, the city told The Dallas Morning News, but they can't take up more than 25 percent of one's residence. The Selfs had paved their front yard and had parking for more than 70 cars onsite in addition to something one reviewer on Swingers Date Club referred to as a "kitchen pool."

We feel bad that Eutopia is having to shut down just before its planned "Jersey Night" Super Bowl Pre-Party, so we thought we'd highlight some of the laudatory reviews the establishment has received in hope Arlington will reconsider.

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Texas Siezed a Man's Truck Because He Stole Two Cases of Bud Light

Categories: Crime

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Lauren Paulsen via Flickr

The two cases of Bud Light in the bed of John Werthing Jr.'s, pickup were still cold when Hutchins police pulled him over around 8 a.m. on September 30, 2013. A clerk at a Shell gas station had called in a shoplifting complaint a few moments before; a man matching Worthing's description and driving a white, 2001 Ford F150, had grabbed three 18-packs of Bud Light from the cooler and walked out of the store without paying. She'd only been able to retrieve one of the 18-packs before the thief drove off, but the other two were still in the bed of the pickup.

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Veteran Dallas Cop Arrested For DWI Is Surprisingly Bad At Taking Sobriety Tests

Categories: Crime

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Screen grab/Cedar Hill PD
In a region with poor public transit but plenty of available parking at the bar, it's no longer surprising to learn that someone in law enforcement was arrested for driving drunk. That doesn't make it OK that a longtime Dallas Police Department officer allegedly drove while under the influence in Cedar Hill last Saturday. But it is hard to muster outrage at Senior Corporal Doreen Sotelo-Celedon for an offense that so many people here commit without consequence. What is inexcusable, however, is her remarkably poor performance on her sobriety tests. Don't cops get extra practice at those things?

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Texas Set to Kill Intellectually Disabled Man on Thursday

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Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Texas' lethal injection gurney.
Barring any last minute action by the United States Supreme Court, Robert Ladd will be executed Thursday night by the state of Texas. Ladd, convicted for the 1996 murder of Vicki Ann Garner, will be the second inmate on Texas' death row killed in 2015.

Texas' highest criminal court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, denied Ladd's final request for a stay of execution Tuesday, despite his long-documented history of intellectual disability. In a 2005 U.S. District Court hearing held to determine whether Ladd met Texas' statutory definition of "mentally retarded," a defense expert testified that Ladd's IQ was 67 and that Ladd had significant functional deficits in areas like work, money, social and communication skills. The state's expert at the hearing agreed with the defense about Ladd's functional problems, but blamed them on an anti-social personality disorder rather than an intellectual disability.

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Rogue Fort Worth Funeral Home Owner Committed Food Stamp Fraud, Paid Cash for Luxury Cars

Categories: Crime

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Tarrant County
Rachel Hardy Johnson
Rachel Hardy Johnson is nothing if not audacious. The 35-year-old Mansfield woman currently facing corpse abuse and theft charges in Tarrant County, stemming from decomposed and desiccated bodies found in her funeral home, has now pleaded guilty to stealing food stamps.

See also: Multiple Bodies Found Inside Abandoned Funeral Home

Johnson married her husband, Dondre Johnson, in Las Vegas in February 2010. In April 2010, saying she was an unemployed single mother, Johnson applied for Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. She was approved and began receiving the assistance money. In December 2010, she registered her first business with Tarrant County, "Mighty Dollar Tax" in Arlington.

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Texas Cops Seized $486 Million Through Civil Forfeiture Last Decade

Categories: Crime

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Texas DPS
Just a tiny fraction of the cash Texas cops have seized over the past decade.
Two years ago the Texas Legislature slipped into the state budget an item mandating a thorough review of certain civil forfeiture proceedings. Civil forfeiture -- the process state and federal prosecutors use to seize property from suspected criminals, whether they've been convicted or not -- is a source of perpetual controversy. Partly, this is because the practice sidesteps defendants' constitutional due process rights (e.g. the right to an attorney, the presumption of innocence, etc.) by filing suit against the property itself, which explains the existence of cases such as United State of America vs. One Tyrannosaurus Bataar Skeleton and State of Texas vs. Twelve Gold Coins. Partly, it's because the resulting stash of forfeited cars and cash often prove irresistible to certain prosecutors who may, for example, need to buy the silence of the driver he or she crashed into or a margarita machine.

The legislative mandate, however, said nothing about examining the philosophical underpinnings of civil forfeiture or the potential for abuse. As a result, neither did the final report, quietly released last month by the state's Office of Court Administration, beyond a brief acknowledgement that because of lax reporting requirements, "There remains considerable potential for abuse." Instead, researchers spend much of the study examining a more pragmatic question: Whether civil-asset forfeiture, specifically when it's initiated by the Texas Department of Public Safety, is worth it for local district attorneys.

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Teenage Relative Drowned Infant at Southern Dallas Apartment Complex, Dallas Cops Say

Categories: Crime

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Google Maps
The Rosemont at Hickory Terrace apartment complex.
A 3-month-old is dead and a teenage relative is in jail after a Monday morning drowning at an apartment complex near Charlton Methodist Hospital.

Dallas police say they received a "person in danger" 911 call just after 6 a.m. When they arrived, they were told by members of Dallas Fire and Rescue that the 3-month-old was dead inside an apartment.

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Edgar Diaz Built His Dreams on Organic Yogurt, Then He Burned Them Down

Categories: Crime

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Artizone via Flickr
Edgar Diaz's life had all the trappings of the quintessential American success story. After fleeing his native Colombia in a harrowing escape from leftist guerillas in 2001, he and his wife settled in Dallas with little money and less English. With a diligence and entrepreneurial spirit that would do Horatio Alger proud, he began working toward his goal of owning a dairy business like the one he'd operated outside Medillin, all the while working menial jobs to make ends meet.

In 2004, they teamed up with a Plano dairy farmer and established Lucky Layla Farms, whose artisanal yogurts and cheeses became a favorite of Dallas' growing foodie scene. He left after five years to launch Three Happy Cows, a purveyor of organic Greek yogurt that enjoyed similar success. The business quickly made the leap from the farmers market circuit to local outposts of Natural Grocers and Market Street. As demand grew, Diaz opened a factory in an unsightly business park on Northaven Road in Northwest Dallas. The products remained delicious.

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Barrett Brown Gets 63 Months in Federal Prison

Categories: Crime

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Barrett Brown via YouTube
Anonymous associate and freelance investigative journalist Barrett Brown, who's already spent more than two years behind bars, learned today that he will be locked up for three more.

Brown, who admitted to being an accessory after the fact to accessing a protected computer -- he linked to data obtained from a hack of private intelligence contractor Stratfor -- as well as interfering with the serving of a search warrant and threatening FBI officers, offered a lengthy allocution during which he admitted his crimes but tried to justify what he did.

"When we start fighting crime by any means necessary we become guilty of the same hypocrisy as law enforcement agencies throughout history that break the rules to get the villains, and so become villains themselves," he said.

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