Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bernstein's Article on Clarence Bradford

My buddy Alan Bernstein was back writing on the District Attorney's race this morning with a less-than-complimentary article on former HPD Police Chief Clarence "C.O." Bradford. Now, I personally found the timing of the article a bit odd, since the election is a little less than four months away, but who really knows what goes on in the minds of Chronicle personnel?

The article is certainly not kind to Bradford:

"Bradford is void of experience in criminal court, other than as a crime investigation witness or humiliated defendant."

The article also goes on to say: "The county never has elected an African-American to a law enforcement job." Um, I think Harris County Constable for Precinct Seven May Walker may disagree with him on that point.

But anyway, the article goes on to list his problems with the crime lab and the K-Mart raid and seems pretty much like a slam piece to me.

It does list him as a good administrator, with former Houston Police Officers Union president Hans Marticiuc grading him out as an "A minus/B plus" administrator who did well with managing people.

So the question I guess that I have is what really matters in evaluating Bradford as a potential candidate? With the upcoming Presidential election, most people that I have spoken to seem to think that so many people are going to vote straight-ticket that there isn't even a requirement that a candidate have a pulse.

I've met with Chief Bradford, and personally, I like him.

I think he has some good overall "ideals" about what to do with the Office, but I think he also needs to get some trial experience to know what the people under him will be doing on a day-to-day basis. Having that kind of understanding will help turn his ideals into ideas that may ultimately work out.

One of his most compelling ideals, in my opinion, is the visibility in the community of the elected District Attorney. His ideal is that more trust will be fostered between the community and the Office, which will ultimately lead to more cooperation from witnesses, and more trust from jurors.

It would certainly be nice for the D.A.'s Office to be considered the "good guys" in the eyes of the community.

But the flip side of that is that being the District Attorney isn't always going to be making popular decisions. His idea about explaining himself to the community is a good contrast to the prior arrogance of Chuck Rosenthal, who felt he didn't need to explain himself to anybody.

But he's also got to have the strength to prosecute unpopular causes, if it is the right thing to do. He can still explain it to the community, but he's going to need the knowledge to know how to do so.

What do y'all think?

20 comments:

Alan said...

This blog, March 25:

"The Chronicle is already starting to turn its back on its endorsee Pat Lykos in favor of the, uh, wisdom of Clarence Bradford.

This blog, today:

"The article goes on to list his problems with the crime lab and the K-Mart raid and seems pretty much like a slam piece to me."

This blog, Feb. 14:

"Bradford is unqualified and utterly incompetent for the position."

This blog, today:

"I've met with Chief Bradford, and personally, I like him. I think he has some good overall "ideals" about what to do with the Office, but I think he also needs to get some trial experience to know what the people under him will be doing on a day-to-day basis. Having that kind of understanding will help turn his ideals into ideas that may ultimately work out. One of his most compelling ideals, in my opinion, is the visibility in the community of the elected District Attorney."

Alan Bernstein

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Good Lord, Alan,
I just posted this three seconds ago and you are all over it.

I'm impressed.

Now, in my defense, when I wrote on February 14th, I hadn't met with Bradford. I'm still not certain he's qualified for the job, but in my opinion, the only real qualified candidates (Leitner and Siegler) were out of the race after the primary run-off.

Now we are faced with deciding between two candidates who have never tried cases as lawyers. I'm still on the fence on how I feel who would be best. I think Lykos is more qualified, frankly. But, at this point, I'm just playing Devil's Advocate on everything.

Isn't that kind of what you do?

By the way, I've never had anybody be able to quote me so fast. That was awesome.

Anonymous said...

Bradford is a joke.

jigmeister said...

My big problem with Bradford is the crime lab. He threw some very dedicated people under the bus for command failures and argued that he had no blame because he didn't
know. I personally know that he was informed many times that the lab had insufficient personnel and equipment to do the job. I recall talking to Jim Bolding about a DNA request in 2001 and being told that vital equipment wasn't working and that he had insufficient personnel. He told me that he had been trying to get help for several years and had been told to do without by the command staff. If you recall, the office bailed them out once with the purchase of vital equipment from the hot check fund, not because Bradford or the command staff asked, but because Bolding asked after being turned down at home. And how can the command staff not know that the lab was housed in a shoebox that was kept together with rubberbands.

His problem is that he is a politician and I don't think he will support his staff when things get hot. His track record is pretty weak, but then so is Pats.

Ron in Houston said...

I'm either going to have to vote for Bradford or not vote in that race at all.

The thought of Lykos just makes me shiver all over in disgust.

Ron in Houston said...

AHCL

Whether you agree with what he writes or not, you have to give Alan credit. He obviously keeps up with what's going on in Houston, Harris County, Texas.

Now, I'll admit I'm biased. Over the past year, I've become a fan of Alan's journalism skills.

Anonymous said...

I find it very entertaining that a columnist chimes in on this site. It shows who he really is and what a hypocrite he is. Alan is a spineless columnist.

pro.victims said...

The difference between journalists and historians: Chronology is irrelevant when you're a journalist.

Context is everything, Alan. I bet, if you showed the right snapshot, you could make Mother Teresa look selfish. Probably would, too, if she was local and it'd sell papers.

You leave out the context, and quote people out of order to manipulate what they said, when they said it (because they were inconsistent, I'm sure). That makes you petty. Not real, and certainly not relevant.

The fact that you're watching this blog for it's response - that is telling, dude. Telling.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

I think that Alan illustrates an interesting phenomenon. The media is the 4th Estate. The first through third estates can be roundly criticized by the 4th Estate, but if some lowly blogger criticizes the 4th Estate, all hell breaks loose.

Alan fancies himself as a neutral, hard-boiled reporter, but he's proven himself time and time again to be more of a vain pawn to Jeff Cohen's agenda. Yes, Ron, it is true that Alan covers stories of Harris County, but so do I.

I guess that explains why neither one of us will ever get a Pulitzer.

By the way, Ron, when are you going to start writing on your blog again? I miss it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ron. Those of us who work in the family law center have had enough crazy (& not in a good way!) experiences with Lykos when she was a visiting judge there that I don't think any of us could vote for her.

Anonymous said...

As an anthropologist, I've found this protracted courting ritual between AHCL and Bernstein to be quite fascinating. Please, pretend the cameras and I aren't here and go about your normal behavior.

R.J. MacReady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pat Lykos Campaign said...

a harris county lawyer said...
"Now we are faced with deciding between two candidates who have never tried cases as lawyers."

In fact, Pat Lykos has tried cases in federal, state and county courts handling civil, criminal, family, and juvenile matters and performed some appellate work.

Pat Lykos Campaign

Anonymous said...

As I've said numerous times before on this blog, Pat Lycos is not the devil incarnate. Alan have every right to write what he did, given prior posts on this blog.

I think he just told you so.

I personally like Lycos, and know many lawyers who do as well. I have practiced before her and did not have any issues with her.

Is it possible that that lawyers that appear before her perhaps have their own issues they are working through and via reaction formation, cause a personality clash based upon their predisposed attitude about how a lawyer of "their stature" should be treated and cow-towed to?

I don't speak for Lycos or her campaign but once again, this blog is becoming the "reasons we hate Pat" blog. And that is a shame, because once the Seigler deal was over, this blog moved into some interesting territory.

Tex

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Alright Everybody,
Let me clarify something real quick here.

This post was not designed to pick on Pat Lykos nor herald Clarence Bradford as an obvious choice for D.A. Actually, it was written kind of just to jack with Bernstein a little bit. (As an aside, I don't know that my personal opinion has ever bugged anyone more than it bugs Alan. I find great morbid fascination with this.)

To the Pat Lykos Campaign, I meant to say prosecutor. I apologize for the misstatement, and I will now change it in the body of the article.

To Tex, I agree that the tone of the blog changed dramatically after the runoff and the political nature of it shifted more into neutral. That being said, I'm trying to write about things that effect those of us in the CJC and obviously the election in November is HUGE. Now that the candidate that I supported whole-heartedly is no longer in the race, I'm hoping to be focused on the candidates in a more issue-oriented way. If I think one of the ideas that a candidate comes up with is good, I'm going to say so. If I think it's terrible, I'm going to say so. And if I think something is just public grandstanding, I'm going to say so. But I don't have an agenda at all on how this election turns out. Don' get mad at me, Tex. You and I have been having some great conversations.

Anonymous said...

I'm certainly not mad at you, AHCL, as we have had some great conversations, and we have much more in common than say, me and Grits or me and Bennett.

I do like Pat, and have liked Pat for many years. I voted for her over Chuck years ago. Take some time and get to know her.

Tex

A Harris County Lawyer said...

I would seriously doubt that Pat Lykos would really want to meet with me, Tex. I don't blame her for that, because that's a risk I chose to take in supporting Kelly. I'm just saying that I will evaluate both candidates based on the ideas that they are coming up with now, and let the commenters do the hard-core politicking.

Anonymous said...

Ummm, did Bradford really say that his time spent as a CRIMINAL DEFENDANT made him a better candidate for District Attorney?

I kind of think that says it all, doesn't it?

Jason said...

He responded to my article also fairly quickly. Although I read it slightly different than you did I got a prompt response. I think he referred to me as an "anonymous wall tagger." Or maybe he was being general. I was laughing too hard while reading his response.

Anonymous said...

I love the irony of an anonymous blogger (7/14/08 at 5:03 p.m.) calling Bernstein spineless. Bernstein signed his name. The one who called him "spineless" did not.