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Mon December 14, 2009
Gov. Perry Makes Appointment To Forensic Commission & Nightly Roundup
By KERA News & Wire Services
Dallas, TX –
Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Tarrant County's medical examiner to the Texas Forensic Science Commission, a group shaken up this fall when Perry replaced several members.
Dr. Nizam Peerwani's term on the commission that oversees professional conduct in forensic labs in Texas will expire Sept. 1, 2011.
Perry replaced the head of the commission and two of its eight other board members on Sept. 30. That was just days before the panel was to consider a report critical of an arson finding leading to the execution of Cameron Todd Willingham for the deaths of his three daughters.
Perry spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger says Peerwani replaces Randall Frost, the chief medical examiner for Bexar County. Randall resigned on Oct. 30, three weeks after his appointment.
Twin brothers get prison for visa scheme
Twin brothers from Brownsville have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a fraudulent visa scheme that raked in about $1.8 million and illegally brought 88 people to the U.S. from India.
U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas in Houston sentenced Alberto Pena to nearly 3 1/2 years in prison and Bernardo Pena to 2 1/2 years in prison after they were found guilty by a jury. The 40-year-olds sold temporary H-2B visas for at least $20,000 a piece to residents of Gujarat, India, with the help of co-conspirators.
The U.S. Attorney's Office says the Indians were issued visas under the pretense that they would be providing manual labor for a Louisiana construction company, but none of them worked there.
Three co-conspirators are set to be sentenced Wednesday. A fourth remains a fugitive.
Police: Grammy winner sang at drug cartel's party
Mexican federal officials say that Latin Grammy winner Ramon Ayala was rounded up during a raid at a drug cartel's Christmas party where he was performing.
A federal Attorney General's Office spokesman says Ayala was released after being questioned. The spokesman says he is not authorized to be quoted by name.
The official says Ayala was performing Friday south of Mexico City in the town of Tepoztlan when Navy troops raided the house and a shootout ensued. Three gunmen were killed and 11 others were detained.
Ayala is an accordionist and norteno singer who lives in Hidalgo, Texas. He has won two Latin Grammys. His representatives declined to comment. The federal spokesman confirmed on Monday that Ayala sang at the party.
Shami says he'll enter Texas primary
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Farouk Shami says he's officially filing to enter the 2010 Texas primary. Although Shami's campaign staff announced Monday that he was filing the necessary paperwork to be on the Democratic ballot in March, the Texas Democratic Party said it had not received his filing papers by Monday afternoon.
Candidates have until Jan. 4 to file for the March 2 primary.
The wealthy Houston hair products executive has already begun airing campaign ads on television.
Outgoing Houston Mayor Bill White has filed for the Democratic primary for governor, along with two lesser-known candidates.
Shami says Texas needs change. He cited his experience in building a debt-free billion-dollar exporting company.