Friday, December 12, 2008



I've been in trial all week so I've kind of been half-assing it when it comes to blogging. It's almost as if I have a "real job", no matter how temporarily.

The blog here has been lighting up with comments and attacks on one another like there is no tomorrow.

In the Spirit of the Holidays, I'd like to make a request:

Stop it.

And for my part, I'm going to try to stop writing anything that would inspire you to light up things against each other. Maybe in January, I will feel more ornery.

Life is changing around the CJC, folks. Maybe for the better. Maybe for the worse. Either way, things are going to be different.

But one of the things that I have always tried to emphasize on this blog is that those of us who come in and out of the CJC are all part of a family.

On a daily basis, we deal with subject matter that would absolutely send the rest of the Harris County population into a thumb-sucking catatonic trance sitting in the fetal position in the corner.

And we handle that with dignity and class. On both sides of counsel table.

Like it or not, both prosecutors and defense attorneys share a common trait: we take on emotionally gruelling cases for amounts of money that in no way compensate for the toll it takes on us.

Each and every one of us is jaded in ways that no human being should have to be, but we take on the job gladly because we know that we are tackling a task that we believe makes the world we live in a better place. We have mutual respect for each other, as well we should. And odds are that the counsel you are opposing in a trial case could very easily be your biggest defender should your back ever become placed against the proverbial wall.

I suppose it would be easy to tell me, at this point, "Well, yeah, you are about to become a defense attorney, so it's no wonder you are writing such conciliatory stuff now."

I hope that those of you who know me realize that my position on the issue of us all being a "Family" is nothing new.

I know that my last couple of posts definitely contained the aura of bitterness, and it was probably more present than I would like to admit.

But I will say this: When I was told that my contract would not be renewed under the Lykos Administration, I was supported with words of encouragement from prosecutors, Judges, and defense attorneys. I am grateful for that in ways that words can never express, and I have never been more assured that if I got nothing else correct on this blog, I definitely was right in saying we are a Family.

So, as we rapidly approach the Holiday Season, I would say let's all take it a bit easier on one another and be grateful for the things we do have in life.

Hopefully, we have our Health.

God willing, we have our families.

But if all else fails, we have each other.

And regardless of what else may occur this year, I will always be thankful for that.


jigmeister said...

Did you win?

Anonymous said...

JAGJO writes:

You're a good man, Charlie Brown"!


Ron in Houston said...

Yeah, life is much too short.

I know this adjustment will be difficult for you especially given the time of year.

Have a happy holiday Murray.

Windypundit said...

Gee, here I thought your blog was just getting exciting, and now you're putting on the brakes?

You're all welcome to come fight it out on my blog. I could use the traffic.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Trial is still going on. State has rested and the defense is putting on a case.

Thank you, Jagjo!

Thank you, Ron. I don't think the adjustment is going to be all that difficult. I've known the change was coming pretty much since April, so I've had time to prepare.

Really? You thought the comment section was exciting? The last time I looked Mark was arguing over the proper use of the words "affect" versus "effect". It was a real barn burner.

Anonymous said...

You are wrong if you think this is one big family. If it were my family, I would start disowning people as fast as I could.

Anonymous said...

Family? I don't even think we're a social group. As a criminal defense lawyer, I rarely socialize with other criminal defense lawyers. I had one over for dinner -- once. He was a bore.

And as for prosecutors... fahgedaboudit. Don't be projecting your warm and fuzzy onto others.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Anon 10:47 AND 11:07,
I'm not real sure what to say in response to your messages of letting us know what a couple of cool and independent loners you are.
Good for you both.
In the meantime, I will continue to maintain that there are a large amount of prosecutors and defense attorneys that I consider to be part of my Family.
Maybe you two guys are just like the wierd uncles that everybody else really doesn't like to be around.
Food for thought.

Mark Bennett said...

Some families are more dysfunctional than others.

Ron in Houston said...


Well if nothing else you can put the fun in dysFUNction.

Thomas Hobbes said...

Just a couple of thoughts over the last few posts . . .

I'll confess that I sometimes have difficulty seeing the CJC inhabitants as family. Maybe a community. There's a rumor we're here for a common, shared purpose. Our feelings for others run the full gamut from love to hatred with a midpoint stop at indifference (though I think indifference lies beyond hatred and perhaps is the greatest insult we can deliver to the CJC community and the public). I'll go with the community thing.

Regarding loyalty, a friend and mentor (the former being more important) once suggested to me that loyalty to one's supervisor is of little true value. If the supervisor experiences an ethical, moral, or legal lapse (I make the distinction, since what is moral may not be legal, and vice versa), should one stand on principle or follow the supervisor into the abyss? If the supervisor leaves and is replaced by another, does one simply transfer the loyalty to the new supervisor as if changing a fuse? Unplug the old and plug in the new? In fact, if supervisors and their subordinates are loyal to the organizational mission, which we hope is directed to the greatest good, individual loyalty quickly becomes irrelevant and all are encouraged to perform to the best of their individual abilities.

Sorry if this rambling bores anyone (probably I should sleep more and/or drink less), but I think it's worthwhile for each of us to occasionally take a moment to ask ourselves whether we're the person we want to be.

But since my glass is empty and I'm already rambling . . .

AHCL - I'm not known for my religiousity or my belief in a supreme being. I do believe that what we perceive as chaotic often simply has an order with which we are unfamiliar and cannot recognize. I'm sure you understand, now as well as anyone, that things happen for a reason, regardless of whether the reason is immediately evident. However, at any given moment, the sum of your life experience is preparation for the opportunities to come. It's worth considering whether Lykos really had the power to determine your fate or whether she was nothing more than the mechanism chosen to move you to your next opportunity. (Unfortunately, the best analogy I could come up with a pinball machine flipper, but you get the idea. You're thrown back into play in a new direction. And I referred to Lykos as a "mechanism" because I felt certain that referring to her as a "tool" would have led to obscene laughter from some of the sick bastards who read your blog. You know, people like me.)

While it may seem that you're leaving your life's calling, it may be that your calling awaits and you're now free to pursue it.

Always the best.


jeremy said...

...And odds are that the counsel you are opposing in a trial case could very easily be your biggest defender should your back ever become placed against the proverbial wall.

couldn't be more true. when hurricane ike tore up my apartment, it was the harris county criminal law community that came up to bat for me. people who i've crossed swords with in the past were opening up their homes and checking on me regularly. One mystery person even donated a suit because all of mine suffered water damage.

when i spent the end of june in the hospital, it was the harris county criminal law community that came to see me, slipped me cheeseburgers and brought me things to read.

i consider myself lucky to be part of such a caring family.

Anonymous said...

You have the "win at all cost" DA and the "free everyone" defense attorney who can never sit at the same table as family members. The rest of us really want the same thing in the end. We want a safe community but not at the cost of our civil liberties. You have half of the family looking out for the safety part of our wishes and the other half of of the family looking out for our rights. In the end, hopefully we strike some kind of balance. DA's were taught under the old regime that they had the moral high ground and the defense was the enemy. The shake up at the CJC has taught us that which team we play on can change in a second but that most of us would rather stay in the arena. I think we have all gottnen closer over the last year. I guess we can thank Chuck for something.

Anonymous said...

It's odd that there is so much animosity. An ADA cannot do his job -- he cannot even begin to seek justice -- unless there is a smart and capable defense attorney ensuring that the State proves its case and does not violate the defendant's rights. And the defense attorney would be a two-bit player in a moot contest if the ADA did not zealously try to prosecute those that appear to be guilty. ADAs need defense attorneys, and vice versa.

And many prosecutors and many defense attorneys get this. They respect each other and they appreciate the Family. I may not always agree with my brother, but I respect him and value him. Many prosecutors and defense attorneys get this, and I salute you all.

But there are some who seem completely inane in their never-ending complaints and constantly deriding attacks. You know who I mean.

I really am trying to understand why this occurs.

I'm sure I sound naive, but can someone please explain to me why there is so much blind hostility amongst attorneys who both are fighting for Justice -- i.e., Justice with a capital "J"? I get it that maybe some defense attorneys cross the line, and I get it that maybe some prosecutors cross the line (and I DO NOT mean to imply that Harris County has ADAs or defense attorneys that cross the line, but just that in some cities, at some time, some have crossed the line).

But the blanket hostility seems to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. So really, what is going on? Can someone please explain?

AHCL's "weird uncle" analogy is appropriate, and Anon 10:45's "win at all cost" ADA and "free everyone" defense attorney distinctions are surely descriptive, and we can all retell great stories of describing the behavior, but I want to know: WHY? Why does it happen? At the root of the root, WHAT is the CAUSE of the weird uncle and the tunnel-vision? On their way to class in law school, where did they take the wrong turn and end up in the dungeon of delusion?


Anonymous said...

Why would you think someone is a loner just because they don't want you in their "family," or even social group? Or because they choose their social group by different criteria than they choose their profession?

Let's be honest: lawyers as a group have a reputation as being assholes. Most have earned it. Some lawyers (the smart ones) want a breath of fresh air when they aren't at work.

Anonymous said...

Question for you DA's--what do you think of the new lead investigator?

Anonymous said...

anon 8:47

It may be time for you to find a new profession. It sounds like you have little respect for yourself or your collegues. You must be miserable.

Anonymous said...

Fighting, cussing, swearing, telling everyone that the hate one actually seems a lot like my extended family functions.... and to those that have worked intake around the holidays, or seen the results in their clients...fighting and cussing seems the norm for many families. We may not sing kumbya to everyone, but hell, I spend more time with yall than I do my own family.

I like my job as a prosecutor, but at the same time I have always been willing to listen, Im not always right, but if I listen, I can usually fix the issue.

Anonymous said...

I will say that with everything I have gone through this year I honestly would not be as strong and okay dealing with it all if it were not for this family...I have often said I thank God for all of the people I have the honor to work with and that they are truly an extended family to me.

James Dixon said...

And Murray gets 30 years as his last conviction! Congrats!

Anonymous said...

And who is the new lead investigator?

Anonymous said...

But why does Pat Lykos have to be sworn in on a holiday, mandatory attendance for all? Just because she doesn't have a family doesn't mean the rest of us should suffer. Okay, perhaps that's not fair. She is married after all. But no children and no real bio or family history to speak of? I can't find any independent info on this "woman" and have no idea where she really comes from. Perhaps someone here knows something of her early life? As far as the interwebs go, it's as if her life started when she became a police officer.

I personally think she would have made a better girl's gym coach. She's got the look and attitude.

Twilight Zoned said...

ANON 122,
Pat Lykos was born in 1832. Her maternal unit was a full blooded troll. The identity of her sperm donor remains a mystery but he is believed to have been part Romanian gypsy and part feral hog. Hence her troll like appearance, opportunistic gluttony and deceitful demeanor.
Lykos was born in a vacant lot on the Island of Crete. Thus her inherent lack of substance notwithstanding, her Greek heritage by mere happenstance.
Lykos was unable to successfully breed secondary to the "mule phenomenon". Traditional holidays have therefore not been significant events for her.
So let's cut the troll a little slack!

Anonymous said...

Dear Lord, that bio was the funniest thing since I caught a glimpse in the mirror this morning.

Anonymous said...

Hey 4:23,
What is the "Mule Phenomena"?

Twilight Zoned said...

Anon 213,
It's the sterile by-product of a jack ass and a horse.....they're always sterile males, however.