Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Rumors in the Air

One of my commenters on my below post at 6:29 (although waaaaay off topic) brought up a list of "rumors" about the plans that Clarence Bradford had should he take over the District Attorney's Office. Normally, I wouldn't really care about what was said, but some of the rumors that he listed are ones that I've heard as well, and I write this in the hope that former-Chief Bradford will either confirm, deny, or explain them.

The anonymous poster lists the following rumors about what Bradford would change:

1. He will dismantle the Special Crimes Division (and maybe the Public Integrity Division) of the Office. Okay, first of all, I think the "maybe the Public Integrity" portion is a complete load of B.S. added by the commenter. No major law enforcement agency doesn't have a Public Integrity unit of some sort. I did hear about the possibility of dismantling Special Crimes, and I would like to hear from Bradford regarding the veracity of the statement.

The Special Crimes Division is the "crown-jewel" of the District Attorney's Office. It has the best prosecutors in the Office handling the toughest cases. Specialized lawyers who handle everything from white-collar crime, violent gang task forces, major narcotics suppliers, and Cold Cases. I would be surprised if Bradford decided to dismantle such an integral part of the Office, but I think it would be a grave mistake if he did.

2. Lloyd Kelley will be his first assistant. This concerned me early on, but I have since been informed that Bradford has told people that Lloyd Kelley will not be working within the District Attorney's Office under his administration.

3. Quannel X and his followers will have free access all over the District Attorney's Office "like they did at HPD"-Quite frankly, I think that this part is just alarmist panic-mongering. I believe that Quannel X and his followers should be able to get an audience with the elected D.A. (just like all citizens should), but being able to walk through the Office with unfettered access would be ridiculous.

In addition to those raised by the Anonymous poster, there are two additional things that I have heard, that I would like to hear Chief Bradford address:

4. His "Upper Administration" (i.e., Bureau and Division Chiefs) will be filled with people of no more than three years of legal experience, including some who never rose to the level of misdemeanor chief. Frankly, this is a concern to many people. I fully understand that a newly elected official can staff an office any way they damn well please, but one would hope that the people they bring in have the experience to do the job. These are folks that will ultimately be making major policy decisions regarding everything from the death penalty to the decision on how to handle crack pipe cases.

Please note, I'm not saying that the people in those positions need to be current prosecutors, but at least someone with experience. (As an aside, one of the more persistent rumors going around the CJC is that Jim Leitner would be Pat Lykos' 1st Assistant. Although I'm not a big fan of Jim's at the moment, I will concede that he does have the experience to know how to properly run that position).

5. Bradford will bring up for Disciplinary Rule any Prosecutor who draws a Batson challenge-first, a quick primer: a Batson challenge is if the defense attorney makes a challenge that a prosecutor struck someone based solely on their race. They are quite commonly made to protect a defense attorney's record in defending his client, but they are very rarely sustained. If every prosecutor who just gets a challenge is going to be brought before a disciplinary committee, one of two things will happen: 1) the Disciplinary Committee is going to be very busy; or 2) prosecutors will be gun-shy about exercising their judgment on making peremptory strikes. Neither is a good option.

I applaud Bradford's effort to crack down on racially motivated strikes by prosecutors, but I would suggest his standard should probably be if a Batson challenge is actually granted by a judge before bringing a prosecutor up on disciplinary violations.

And finally . . .

6. Bradford is accepting lists from Defense Attorneys regarding which current prosecutors should be fired. This is quite possibly the most ludicrous things I have heard. The idea of the defense bar dictating who should get to stay or leave is akin to Joe Gibbs calling up Tom Landry before a Cowboys/Redskins match and telling him who he should start or sit.

Again, I cannot stress enough that these phenomenally bad ideas are just rumors, but they are ones that are persistently floating around the CJC. I hope that Chief Bradford will address them in the near future.

(NOTE: Previously, I had attributed "many" of the above listed rumors to Jim Leitner as being the source. Jim contacted me and wanted to know the source who had told me that. I was unable to directly attribute it to any person who had directly heard it from Jim, so I have deleted that portion of the original post. For those of you who know how courthouse gossip works, you can probably understand how that happened. However, since I can't directly attribute it to someone, I feel that I owe Jim an apology.
I apologize for the trouble, Jim.)

41 comments:

Mark Bennett said...

All ridiculous. Except for Number 6. That one's true.

Anonymous said...

For what its worth. I didnt make anything up, as you suggest. Just passing on what I heard and what I know.

I know that you view Bradford as the lesser of two evils, but please dont make assumptions and accusations that aren't true.

I've read your blog for months now, and I agree with just about every opinion you've posted. In fact, the only thing I've disagreed with is your support of Bradford vs. Lykos. And again I'll make it clear that I'm not a Lykos fan either. For the record, I think they're both a disgrace to their profession and neither are qualified to be the DA. We just disagree on which one is the lesser of two evils.

Do I think Bradford can or will dismantle Public Integrity as rumored?

Personally, I dont see how he could fade the heat. But then again, I dont think he can fade the heat from dismantling Special Crimes either...but apparently you believe that rumor.

More likely, he will create a new division, then change the parameters of what cases Public Integrity can and can't look at.

He DOES have a history of that. At HPD, he diamantled the Public Integrity Unit, then created the Office of Inspector General. He changed the rules and investigators could only investigate the cases he allowed. Basically, he took the teeth out of the unit.

So, while I didnt "add" this information to the rumor, it does seem to be a real concern, considering his history.

With regard to the Lloyd Kelly rumor, I'm glad you have confirmed that Bradford said Kelly won't work for the DA's office. But please remember, Bradford is a known liar. There was that whole Perjury thing...

For the record, I dont think Kelly would take it. Especially with his new found fame and his cash cow being Harris County.

I've heard the same rumor about Craig Ferrell, but again its just a rumor. Either choice would be scary in my opinion.

As to the Quanell thing, you stated, "but being able to walk through the Office with unfettered access would be ridiculous."

I completely agree. I thought it was ridiculous when it happened at HPD too. But it happened.

Dont forget that when Bradford was on trial, Quanell and the New Black Panther Party were escorting him back and forth to the courtroom, like bodyguards. (As if he needed protection...from who???) There is a definite connection between the two.

As for the Upper Administration rumor...I didnt mention it, but I heard a different version than what you posted. But I wont assume that you "added" it or that its just "alarmist panic-mongering."

I'll just assume its a rumor that you heard and are passing along...just like I did... :)

I think its important for everyone to remember that these are all just rumors. And as with any rumor, they need to be confirmed or debunked. It will be interesting to see if Bradford responds, but I dont think its likely.

Even if he does respond...you'll learn that you cant really trust what he says...

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Anon,
I didn't mean to offend you. Quite frankly, I was glad you brought up the rumors. I noted that you had "added" the part about public integrity, because that was a part of the rumor I had not heard. I had heard about the abolition of the Special Crimes unit, but not the Public Integrity part.

You are clearly more familiar with Bradford's actions at HPD than I am, and I thank you for bringing them to the Blog. I would much prefer to see them brought to light in a form that can be addressed rather than being left to mere hallway discussions.

And I also agree with you that any politician's promise isn't worth a whole lot during the election season.

I, myself, am very torn. I clearly dislike Pat Lykos for the Terry Lowry mailer and other reasons, but I hope that the Office ultimately ends up in the best hands, whether that be Bradford or her.

jigmeister said...

What do you know Mark?

Anonymous said...

A lot of these things, particularly about he upper echelons and firing lists have been said about the Republican Candidate, as well.

Anonymous said...

AHCL - We have to have thick skin in this business, as you know. I'm not offended, but I did want to clear up that point.

We're on the same team. I just can't believe we're in this situation. It makes me sick everytime I think about it.

It really doesnt matter who wins the election at this point. Things will be bad either way.

I'm afraid we're going to be the next Dallas County. Just look at what that idiot DA has done and said recently. Pretty scary stuff...

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"I'm afraid we're going to be the next Dallas County. Just look at what that idiot DA has done and said recently. Pretty scary stuff..."

Pretty rich! Yes, it's scary for Craig Watkins to help innocent people overturn wrongful convictions, to mandate instead of suggest an open file system, and to propose that prosecutors who violate Brady should be subject to discipline. Run, run! The sky is falling! Geez!

AHCL - with respect, this post goes in the "why people hate blogs" category. There's no reason at all that Clarence Bradford (or FTM Pat Lykos) should be required to react to rumors just because you're spreading them! Especially when you didn't contact his campaign to ASK him to respond. That's a really silly list, and to the extent you have readers in the office IMO it contributes to needlessly souring the work environment.

Also, are you saying some of these allegations came from Jim Leitner?

I think this list says a lot more about the rumormongers than their target.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Anon 10:17,
Yes, there are plenty of people that may be fired under either candidate. My concern is who is going to be replacing them in the upper management.

We'll just have to see.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Grits,
With all due respect, I've got two issues with your comments:
#1-believe it or not, I'm not rumor-mongering. I'm actually trying to do the opposite of it. During the Republican run-off Lykos' camp liked spreading a lot of rumors (via Terry Lowry) that went unanswered. As someone who is in the CJC, these rumors are all over the place, and I'm hoping that Bradford will address them. He definitely needs to know that the rumors are out there, and that some of those ideas are really bad.

#2-in regards to Craig Watkins, I'm sure we can all applaud his efforts to make his office more transparent and be more welcoming to claims of actual innocence. But at some point, the man is going to need to take some time off from his love affair with the media and get back to his original job -- prosecuting. And yes, a prosecutor's duty is to see that justice is done. But it concerns me that I'm not hearing more stories of victim's advocacy coming out of Dallas. They have rights too.

Anonymous said...

From the "rank and file" prosecutors I have spoken to, the largest concerns revolve around the rumor that Bradford would (1) place unqualified people in policy making positions as political favors, and (2) threaten to fire anyone who has a Batson challenge posed against them.

The problems with #1 are that those without experience will be making decisions that severely affect lives.

And the problem with #2 is what you get when someone who has never tried a case in his life is making sweeping policy decisions. Defense lawyers are not doing their job if they do not make a Batson challenge. It is called preserving the record. Even if race has nothing to do with it.

There are certainly groups of defense lawyers who would threaten baseless Batson challenges in order to threaten prosecutors to not use their strikes if the juror happens to fall in a Batson category (which, technically, means all jurors b/c everyone is a member of a race and therefore a "protected class").

I REALLY hope this is just rumor. Because if it is true, it is frightening to say the least.

Muck said...

Grits-
With all due respect, I don't take this a "why people hate blogs" category. I find the rumors to be interesting, the kind of things you hear about while having a beer with someone.

As a member of the media, I use these kinds of things as a way to get issues on my radar, mentally filed away for when I'm briefing reporters or approving stories. We won't run out today and ask Bradford, but it'll be niggling away in the back of our brains when the general election starts to get closer or heats up.

And for what it's worth, I use all the issues raised in the comments section the same way. It's why I appreciate such a diverse group of posters.

Ron in Houston said...

AHCL

I don't think "rumor mongering" is really a bad thing. Sometimes a whole lot of crazy stuff floats around. It's only when it gets exposed that those rumors start to die.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

AHCL, the way you get Bradford to address them is to phone his campaign, talk to the campaign manager, then email them the questions. (This can be done pseudonymously; I'm sure they know your blog.) Just spreading the rumors defiantly then calling the candidates into question for not refuting them a) won't get you any answers, and b) will piss off your next boss, whoever it is.

Re: Watkins, you write, "it concerns me that I'm not hearing more stories of victim's advocacy coming out of Dallas"

Really? That "concerns" you? That's your big critique? What does it even mean? He doesn't control what the media covers. How do you know what his office is or isn't doing for victims, do you have any knowledge on the topic at all?

Your own office is in utter disarray, the top brass are bailing, insiders are turning on one another, this blog is spreading baseless rumors like they were bad money in a Juarez bordello, and you're "concerned" that Watkins' positive media coverage isn't on the topics you'd prefer?

I'm concerned your head is going to explode, AHCL, by the time the next DA takes office!

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Grits,
Do me a favor and shoot me an e-mail off blog if you get a second.
Thanks,
AHCL

Anonymous said...

Re: grit's opinion, please refer to the comment that Tex posted here https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7566778230970156239&postID=7850564670941454807 at 8:55 am on 5/10. 'nuff said.

Mark Bennett said...

11:46: Yeah! How dare he "public servants like Holmes, Rosenthal or Seigler" [sic]?!? The nerve of the guy! To the gulag with him!!

Jigmeister, I know nothing. Nothing. Rumor number 6 just seemed like the most preposterous of a bunch of preposterous hooey.

Bradford is a politician. He's playing his cards very close to his vest -- ask the prosecutor who attended Bradford's meeting with the HCCLA presidents.

Bradford speaks of principles, but whether he remains true to those principles remains to be seen.

Anonymous said...

Give me a break. Many of the upper echelon are the problem and need to go. I could rattle off a dozen names who, in my opinion, have become so out of touch with their ethical duties under the Texas Disciplinary Rules and other standards that very few Defense attorneys would dispute.

Kelly Siegler made the preposterous sttement that she wasn't aware of any Batson challenges that should have been or were granted. Well, she clearly didn't read the recent opinion from a Harris County case which was reversed on Batson error.

The D.A.'s, for too long, have underappreciated their duties under Brady and seen it to narrowly, either out of ignorance or willful blindness, ignoring clear SCOTUS mandates that exculpatory evidence in the possession of the police etc. is imputed to them and that they have a duty to seek it out. Nonetheless, ADA's regularly fold, staple, and label recantations by complainants as work product only revealing them to the Defendant, if at all, right at the salt lick of trial.

Also, the DA's office just doesn't teach very good trial skills. Most ADA's couldn't voir dire their way out of a paper bag, talk at the jurors, instead of talking with them, find out nothing, and use the same tired old BS they learned from a TDCAA book or some other ADA with lame trial techniques.

What made Kelly shine wasn't that she was so good, it was because the rest were so lame. And frankly, a lot of us defense attorneys are, too.

Frankly, even the upper echelon's job isn't that hard and new meat may be the order of the day.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Anon 12:25 AM,
Your comments are as ill-informed as they are amusing.

1. If you want to rattle off a "dozen or so" names that are unethical in the upper-echelons, then do it. And why don't you cite the reasons as well. Let's see what you've got.

2. Kelly said she was unaware of an attitude of racism in the Office, and she wasn't addressing Batson. The Chronicle and the Lykos campaign would have you believing prosecutors sit around the watercooler telling racist jokes all day, and that's ridiculous. But way to jump on the band wagon there, buddy.

3. There is not a recently reversed Harris County case based on Batson that I'm aware of. Perhaps you are confusing it with the Miller-El case out of DALLAS.

4. I'm still waiting to see a SCOTUS case that shows the DAs hid work product, as well.

5. And if ADAs can't try their "way out of a paperbag" as you allege, then it doesn't really stand to reason why you and other critics are bitching so much about all the "innocent" people in jail, now does it?

Seriously, you sound like an extremely disgruntled ex-employee.

jigmeister said...

Anonymous 12:25 must be Clarence Darrow reincarnate and has never lost a case. Certainly never in Harris County where all the bad trial lawyers live and only win occasionally because they hide the exculpatory evidence. No need for two appellate courts in Houston because they don't have any convictions to review.

Maybe Clarence needs to step up and volunteer to restructure all our training programs.

Qeenie said...

AHCL
If you are not aware of the recently reversed Harris County capital murder conviction based on Batson error, then you're just not paying attention.
Moore v, State, ----, 2008 WL 1904021, Tex.App.-Hous. (1 Dist.), May 01, 2008 (NO. 01-06-00656-cr).

http://www.1stcoa.courts.state.tx.us/opinions/pdfOpinion.asp?OpinionID=85406

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Queenie,
You're right. I wasn't aware of that case. I stand correct and I apologize for that erroneous portion of my response to Anon.

Mark Bennett said...

Prosecutors,

12:25 is wrong. You have got voir dire wired and you've got cross-examination nailed. You are doing everything just right, and it's working! It's just like mock trial in high school: You are God's gift to trial advocacy!

When a jury convicts, it's because you're brilliant, and when a jury acquits (is it just me, or has that been happening more and more often in recent years?), it's the jury's fault, not yours. Darn those juries.

So there's really no reason for you to work to become any better.

Don't even bother to read the law -- since you're the "home team" there's really no need for you to do so. And besides, if the court of appeals had reversed a life sentence in State v. Moore because of the Harris County prosecutor's Batson violation, that probably wouldn't interest you anyway.

jigmeister said...

That's what I like, spirited discussion. Mark, should reverse Batson be permitted??

Anonymous said...

Wow. And Mark writes that the DA's Office has a "culture of arrogance?" Those in glass houses . . .

Perhaps one day a prosecutor will be able to rise to your level of trial prowess.

Mark Bennett said...

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that 10:52 and 2:58 are the same sensitive soul. Can't you anonymous posters at least give yourselves handles?

While arrogance is an occupational hazard that I try to avoid, I am human and may sometimes succumb. It would be arrogant of me to say that I'm never arrogant . . .

But "you're not really all that" doesn't necessarily (or in this case) mean ". . . and I am." I don't have to be Clarence Darrow to know that you aren't.

My problem with prosecutorial arrogance is that, while such a powerful job demands humility, your delusions of superiority influence the decisions you make about other people's lives. Even at my most arrogant I, like the Monkees, am too busy singing to put anybody down (or in prison).

The big difference between me and a Harris County prosecutor is that [wide-eyed admiration] you guys are the awesomest trial lawyers ever, and I've got a whole lot to learn. I mean, who but a Harris County prosecutor can talk at a jury panel for 30 minutes and not get a single piece of information about any potential juror? You guys totally rock. I wish I could be as awesome as you.

Mark Bennett said...

No hablo "reverse Batson."

The Punisher said...

Has anybody read the decision on this Batson challenge case?! I like the way that everyone throws around that it was reversed because of prosecutorial misconduct, but really, take a look at the case. Out of SEVEN Batson challenges that were made, ONE was the issue that caused the case to be overturned. And was it that the prosecutor was just a racist trying to get rid of this woman? Not exactly. The woman put question marks on her jury form. And others had left parts of their forms blank. It looks like the court decided there was no distinction between someone missing an answer, and someone not sure how to answer. So, their only conclusion was that there was no non-racial reason for striking the juror. Not exactly the horrendous prosecutorial EVILNESS that some of you make it out to be. Ok, so I gave a quick cliffnotes version of the case, but, read it for yourselves. And then, really, chill out - unless of course you believe all ADAs are racist pigs anyway, and then you're going to read what you want into it anyway.

The Punisher said...

If Mark weren't just so damn lovable in court, he would be so easy to hate. Of couse, maybe thats just my wide-eyed admiration getting in the way again... Sounds like he's been hanging out with a lot of fresh new ADAs down in misdemeanor again. Not all the ADA's think they're all that, nor do they have the misconception that they're the best trial lawyers ever. Surely Mark has just clumped many of them together and has just chosen to forget about some of them who actually have life experience and are acutally decent to work with.

jigmeister said...

Simple Justice knows what I mean Mark: blog.simplejustice.us/2007/07/25/batson-backwards.aspx - 53k

Mark Bennett said...

Yeah, punisher, it's like lawyers in general -- the 95% who are bad ruin it for the rest of us.

Acutally, the (many) prosecutors who are decent to work with don't cross any different than the ones who act like the courthouse's equivalent of a criminal street gang. A prosecutor's first-degree felony voir dire isn't a whole lot different than an intern's POM voir dire. If -- purely hypothetically speaking here -- there were a better way to pick a jury or cross a witness, you wouldn't have to go very far to discover it. (Executing it would require some empathy and serious listening skills, though.)

But, really, I think you guys have found the right formula and should be perfectly content with the way you do things. They're not paying you enough to go challenging Office orthodoxy. Go forth and Make People Afraid!

(It's laughably easy, by the way, to avoid a successful Batson challenge. If you actually get tagged for a Batson violation, odds are pretty good that you've done something wrong.)

Anonymous said...

12:15 here. I have a decent idea what Kelly said about never having seen a prosecutor make peremptories subject to a legitimate Batson challenge. I was there.

I also know that her recent statement to the chronicle that she resisted advice to negative campaign wasn't entirely candid. She said, about Judge Lykos, to at least one group of defense attorneys in a group setting... the "Y'all remember what she was like...." line.

I'm not trying to bag on Ms. Siegler. I respect her and wish her the best and don't knock her for doing what she has to do in a campaign. It's just I suspect your wholehearted support of her is seen through rose tinted glasses. Nonetheless, I respect your loyalty and admiration for her.

So now the SCOTUS has to rule in a given case to find a Brady violation? If what I described wasn't a problem, why did the office recently do a thursday training for misdemeanor ADA's teaching them not to fold and staple as "work product" complainant recantations in family violence cases? Don't tell those of us in the system that there are no Brady violations. Sitting on something till trial doesn't count as good faith. Maybe you don't, but others have and do. As I said, its probably due to underappreciation of their duties under Brady and seen it to narrowly, either out of ignorance or willful blindness,

The paper bag was particularly with respect to Voir Dire. There is a lot of lame lawyering all around in trial on both sides. I know, I've done it and seen it done. Thankfully, not all the time, at least on my part.

Part of the problem in my opinion is you guys having too few prosecutors for too many cases in many courts - though this is looking up, Laziness by both sides, and poor training, again on both sides. Workshops rather than real cases are a better way to train young lawyers.

Moreover, someone who can try a test case DWI well can probably handle just about any other type of case out there on either side. Someone who has managed a docket as a felony court chief for a few years is probably qualified to handle a division, etc. Having people promoted in the spots of people who have been around a long time may be a good thing. Putting more prosecutors in each felony court and doing away with special crimes so the felony chiefs can try the big cases in their court may be a good thing.

There's way too many chicken littles running around screaming the sky is falling because of the potential change in leadership. People should look at this as a set of opportunities to improve the office and look at the glass half full. There is too much doom and gloom out there. Give these candidates a chance.

Unfortunately, good solid lawyers like Paul Doyle are leaving the office, perhaps out of fear.

As for the racism. I believe that his been way way overblown. For example, I know Rob F., like Rob F., and would support him in any endeavour he chooses to undertake. He's human, but I think at the core a good man and a good lawyer. I've seen him do the right thing on tough cases that involved people of color and dismiss them when they deserved it and let a jury decide when need be. To say he, or anyone else, makes prosecution decisions based on race is absurd.

That said, everyone makes spot decisions in voir dire for peremptories based upon imperfect information in limited time we are given by the court. Stereotypes factor in, by both sides. The funniest thing is, they're often just plain wrong and if we all did a better job of asking questions and listening during voir dire and from the juries after the verdict, we'd all see that.

Anonymous said...

This is 2:58 (not patient enough to create a handle - sorry, Mark).

Mark, to read your comments, one would get the impression that you believe there are no good or even decent trial lawyers in the DA's office. I believe that you are focusing too much on some of the misdemeanor "street gang." Are you seriously trying to say that the prosecutors who consistently beat the recs when they go to a jury are just lucky?

Does the same hold true for your defense brethren who consistently win? Is ol' Dicky just really lucky? Does Dan Cogdell have a four leaf clover in his back pocket at all times? I am sensing that you have a bit of a "goose and gander" distinction in your mind.

The fact is that both sides of the bar in our county have some of the best trial lawyers around. The flip side of that coin, is that both the DA's office and the defense bar have drooling idiots working for them as well.

And a arrogant and idiotic defense lawyer is more dangerous to his or her client than an arrogant prosecutor. Chances are the arrogant prosecutor will get beat. But a defense lawyer who neglects to inform his/her client of a "great deal" and gets pummeled at trial does a horrible injustice.

Mark Bennett said...

2:58, I could give you a handle if you want. Superhero names seem popular here; how does "Arthur" suit you?

One of the things that put us human beings at the top of the food chain is the ability to consciously generalize even abstract ideas. Fire is hot; trying to hunt the wooly mammoth alone is a bad idea; animals with sharp teeth think we are tasty.

I haven't seen a prosecutor's voir dire that was worth writing home about. Give me a heads up when someone whom you think does it well will be doing it, and I'll watch (if I can).

I wasn't aware that there are prosecutors who consistently beat (their own) recs, but if there are, color me unimpressed. Because the prosecutor is in control of the rec, the rec is a better metric of the defense lawyer's success than of the prosecutor's. In fact, all prosecutors should, when they secure convictions, consistently beat their own recs -- pleading guilty should always be a better deal for the accused than going to trial and losing. Defense lawyers not only have no control over the rec, but also have no control over whether the accused accepts the rec. Bottom line: we don't pick the cases we try. When we beat the rec, your rec was too high. Goose and gander? You bet.

I agree that there are drooling idiots on both sides of the bar, and agree wholeheartedly with your last paragraph. How often do you think that defense lawyers don't convey offers to their clients out of arrogance? I have a lot of people complain to me about their lawyers, and this isn't a complaint I hear about.

The Punisher said...

Alright, lay off the superhero names! First you want handles, and then you mock them.. And Arthur is merely a sidekick, not a superhero... of course, he is the brains, but who notices that?! And damn, I hope we are talking about the same Arthur, or I have just professed my ubergeekness!
I hate to have to agree with Mark:
Yes, There are some crappy ADA's who have been fed the silver spoon all their lives, and now they have education, power and mommy and daddy! Are they tolerable? not really - some are almost unbearable to work with.. many of them are currently in misdemeanor training others to become just like them! are they super star lawyers? well, they sure think they are!
But yes, there are also some ADA's who have life experience and "get it". Are they all super star lawyers? maybe not. Which in the office is not necessarily good. The office likes the idea of having hard asses who really don't have a clue about the real world. There are several ADA's who have the life experience and are decent, and well, they won't be going far in the office as it stands now.
While I don't love either candidate, Mark has a point about lack of ability, but over arrogance existing. The office needs to train better and get rid of some of the attitudes, or at least give the arrogant snots something to back up their attitide with. And maybe with some extra training, some of those decent ADA's could actually turn out to be good people and good ADAs.

Mark Bennett said...

I categorically deny that I am The Punisher.

Anonymous said...

Enlighten us, Mark. Who does a good voir dire in your opinion?

Mark Bennett said...

Hmm. I'm afraid I'm unable to enlighten you, but I'm happy to name a few lawyers whom I have seen do excellent voir dires. Tyrone M. Stan S. Tom Radosevich. Rosa Eliades.

Here's one way to tell a good voir dire from a bad one: in the bad voir dire, the lawyer is doing 90% of the talking; in the good voir dire she's doing 10%.

The Punisher said...

And I categorically deny that I am Mark Bennett! But, unfortunately, I do agree with him on some of the ADA issues he raises. Other than that, my scruples remain intact! :)

Anonymous said...

Wow Mark, those are really your voir dires to watch? No wonder those young arrogant ADAs win their cases. I would suggest Leitner (no really, he is good), Scardino (jurors really do like her) and Justin (witty).

I agree with AHCL about his past comments about Special Crimes. Their cases really aren't that great, they just make them that way. I didn't see a line of trial bureau prosecutors waiting to take over the Temple case.

As far as all chiefs being able to be a division chief then I nominate Mike Trent for division chief. Remember that vetting is generally a good thing.

Mark Bennett said...

1059, I suspect that you and I look for different things in jury selection. I've never watched someone else's voir dire without learning something; I'll look for an opportunity to see those guys in trial. It should be easy -- Jim seems to spend a lot of time in trial, and I think Pete does too.

Mark Bennett said...

On a side note, it sure is easy to snipe at fine lawyers like Tyrone Moncriffe from behind the cover of anonymity, isn't it? Your mother must be so proud of you right now!