Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Flow Chart Cometh

At long last the Leitner Administration took time out of their busy schedule of planning the Coronation of Queen Lykos and finally published the new Flow Chart for the Office that will take effect January 1.

I will be quite candid in saying that the choices they made ranged from Excellent to Good to Iffy to WTF?!?!.

First off, I actually applaud them for all of their Chief promotions today. These were good people that got promoted to positions that they are very qualified to hold. Congratulations to Eileen Bogar, Craig Still, Denise Nichols, Anna Emmons, Darin Darby, and Joe Vinas on their promotions to chief. I'm probably forgetting one or two. I don't mean to, but congratulations to anyone I forgot.

There were some interesting calls on the Office structure as well. I'm not really sure about the reasoning behind the "Cold Case" division being blended into "Animal Cruelty", but maybe I'm just missing something.

Outstanding call on putting Kevin Keating in charge of the Mental Health docket. Kevin is a class act who has a tremendous amount of understanding and compassion (not to mention brilliance), and I fully expect to see him making the Office a leader in the State when it comes to effectively dealing with Defendants suffering from mental health issues.

On the questionable side, Lykos retaliated against several folks who dared to support Kelly Siegler. Moving them to less than desirable positions throughout the Office. I won't name anybody specific, but she really is wasting some MAJOR talent by putting them in spots where they will get nowhere near performing at their full potential. That's a shame.

As to be expected, she moved a lot of her supporters into top positions although they had not previously been with the Office. Honestly, I don't know many of the names that now occupy the top spots, so I'm not going to comment on them. Maybe they will be great. For the sake of Harris County, I certainly hope so.

My replacement in my court will be Lance Long. I had the opportunity to sit second-chair with Lance on a death penalty capital murder last Fall, and the things I learned from him could fill volumes. I didn't really know him all that well before the trial, but spending two months on a case with him led me to realize 1) he's one of the best trial lawyers I've ever seen; and 2) he's probably the smartest guy I know.

On a personal note, I'm very glad to know that the 339th District Court will be in excellent (and truth-be-told, much more capable) hands once I'm gone.

That's pretty much all I have to say about the new Flow Chart, although I'm sure some of you will be posting your own opinions. All-in-all, I think that the D.A.'s Office will be set up to make a pretty smooth transition come January 1st, and that's in everybody's best interest.

Although I do have to mention that I found it rather amusing that suddenly we have a new "Protection of the Elderly" Division in the Office under the Lykos Administration. That's okay, if I'm ever elected District Attorney, I plan on establishing a "Crimes Against the Bald" Divison, myself.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have to agree... the Cold Case/Animal cruelty division???? And for all that is included in "Special Prosecutiions Bureau", that's quite a stretch from check fraud to major offenders? Animal cruelty to vehicular crimes?

But what bothered me more than that is to see some of the "supporters" that were moved out of divisions into court positions. What saddens me the most is that those people work such tragic cases from the beginning and they are already so vested in their work in certain cases and to think that someone could just pick it up and run with it is not the case. As you said, so much talent to go to waste.

Overall, I guess it could be worse but I am still shocked at some of the decisions.

Anonymous said...

you forgot Devlin and his pervert patrol

A Harris County Lawyer said...

To clarify on Eric Devlin's behalf, he is in charge of running the prosecution of on-line pedophiles and works with the FBI on a daily basis in helping catch would-be child abusers.

Thus the "pervert patrol" reference from ANON 10:31.

Anonymous said...

And where does one get a copy of the Flow Chart? (So we can all figure out who got zapped without waiting until January).

A Harris County Lawyer said...

My copy of the flow chart is a hard copy. I don't know if it is available on-line.

Anonymous said...

Please scan the flow chart and post the PDF!!

Mark Bennett said...

If you fax it to me I'll email you the PDF.

Tenderfoot said...

Were any of those experienced ADAs sent to the JP courts?

Mark Bennett said...

Murray,

Something that I haven't seen discussed is that the lawyers who were demoted were actually demoted, that is (or as you guys might write, "to wit"), with a decrease in salary.

Care to discuss?

Mark.

anonymous c said...

Nice head shot, but isn't it unwise, at this juncture, to advertise your baldness? You never know if an angry and disenfranchised baldist might run across it and target you, thereby prematurely creating the need for that Crimes Against the Bald division. Just tryin' to look out for ya, Cue Ball.

Anonymous said...

Probably the most egregious call was putting Clint Greenwood in charge of the Police Integrity Division. Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse! Clint was the HPD Union lawyer for years. Even if you think he's honest enough for the job (dubious at best) there is an obvious conflict of interest when he could potentially be making a charging decision on a former client. Great move, Patty!

jigmeister said...

Sounds like a little over specializing to me. Are we investigating cold animal homicides?

I know I have been gone too long when I don't recognize any of the new chief names. Congrats anyway.

In answer to Marks question. My quess is that Patty and Jim will be playing with the pay slots and people won't know until after the new year what their salaries will be. There is some overlap between chiefs, division chiefs, and bureau chiefs built into the slot system. Better let Burt fill them in before he goes though, because no one ever understood it but him.

Ron in Houston said...

Murray

Do be careful. I've heard some reports of bald jihadists in town.

Mark Bennett said...

Here is the flowchart, suitable for framing or wrapping fish.

Every criminal defense lawyer should have a nickname. Anon C has just given you yours. Henceforth you will be Murray "Cue Ball" Newman. I'm glad you've inhabited that sobriquet, since I am on the way there myself.

OUTRAGED said...

AHCL,
Don't you think that the primary basis of demotions and terminations at the prosecutor level had to do more with who Leitner felt would be competition in 4 years and/or who had close affiliations with the Chuckster then on who supported Kelly Siegler? If he and "Liekos" based those decisions purely on who supported Kelly it would be hard to explain some of the promotions. I would agree, however, that your blog strongly supporting Kelly put you in a unique position and that had you remained anonymous, you would not have been let go.
Now before you say the butchering isn't over yet I agree; the troll and her gang need some of the "competition prosecutors" for the short term to handle a few high profile cases. In spite of any under the table deals brokered by the "transparent" Lykos/Leitner cartel, as soon as the acute need has been met any high profile quality prosecutor residing in Harris County will be toast.

OUTRAGED said...

AHCL,
Don't you think that the primary basis of demotions and terminations at the prosecutor level had to do more with who Leitner felt would be competition in 4 years and/or who had close affiliations with the Chuckster then on who supported Kelly Siegler? If he and "Liekos" based those decisions purely on who supported Kelly it would be hard to explain some of the promotions. I would agree, however, that your blog strongly supporting Kelly put you in a unique position and that had you remained anonymous, you would not have been let go.
Now before you say the butchering isn't over yet I agree; the troll and her gang need some of the "competition prosecutors" for the short term to handle a few high profile cases. In spite of any under the table deals brokered by the "transparent" Lykos/Leitner cartel, as soon as the acute need has been met any high profile quality prosecutor residing in Harris County will be toast.

jigmeister said...

Thanks for the flow chart Mark. Facinating reading.

Anonymous said...

I've always thought the DA's office looked like too many chiefs and not enough indians. This kind of confirms it.

Anonymous said...

ANON 251,
Great....now I'll not only have to come to work on New Year's Day in my penguin attire, I'll have to sell my crib on the north side and establish primary residency in Fort Bend County if I plan on being a gunner ADA at HCDA.

Anonymous said...

I find it funny that they can't even get the boxes and the lines on the flow chart right. This gang really can't shoot straight. That work product is pretty sloppy.

Anonymous said...

Murray. I am sincerely sorry to hear about your forced departure. It is truly a loss for Harris County. Can you post a list of those Prosecutors and Investigators that have been dismissed?

Anonymous said...

Murray,

While we can be thankful for prosecutors that know how to do their job right, what should a person think of those prosecutors that drag cases for years by passing on the file to the next prosecutor and on to the next without trying the case?

Since am fascinated about your blog, i thought i should ask you this question.

By the way, am sorry about your job loss but remember this..."when one door closes, another one opens"...keep up the good work!

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Anon 1:28,
The terminated prosecutors were me, Craig Goodhart, Luci Davidson, Joe Owmby, and Mike Trent. Bert Graham also retired.
The investigators were John Ray Harrison, Joe Vara, Pat Smith, Patrick Smith, Bobby Dennard, and Marcus McCarrol.

Anon 6:40,
Thank you for the kind words. In the past there have been problems with prosecutors that continuously reset cases to avoid going to trial. Within the Office, they are given the label of "Trial Dodger", which is not a title one wants to have. Although this problem occurs every once in awhile, I don't know of anybody right now that is still with the Office that would qualify as one.
Unfortunately, the backlog of cases is often due to just the sheer amount of crime and the fact that there are only 22 District Courts and 15 County Courts.
Sometimes cases just have to be reset for circumstances beyond our control -- missing or unavailable witnesses being the most prominent of them.
You do bring up an interesting topic, though. I'll try to do a post on this in the near future.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

I forgot to add Vic Wisner to the list of attorneys fired.

I'm pretty sure that Vic was fired over the Justice Medina and the Runaway Grand Jury flap. Lykos probably wanted to make sure she stayed in the good graces of her hardcore Republican base.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that Vic was fired over the Justice Medina and the Runaway Grand Jury flap. Lykos probably wanted to make sure she stayed in the good graces of her hardcore Republican base.

While I'm sure that's true, it should also be noted that the grand jury was indicting people beyond their term and Vic hadn't properly filed the extension paperwork. So had that grand jury indicted several people, like they always do, every indictment may have been void.

Ignoring the political funny business, that's a pretty big damn mistake.

HOGTIED said...

ANON 1238,
And Vic was punished "in a pretty big damn way" Bubba, dontcha think?
Moral: Don't fuck with the Troll or her Blue Hairs!

Anonymous said...

Hogtied: I would question Rosenthal for keeping someone on staff that would make such a mistake far more than I would Lykos for letting them go.

Just sayin.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't Vic Wisner who failed to file the proper paperwork for the hold over Grand Jury. It was Kate Dolan, and funny, she not only gets to stay, but gets to take over Misdemeanor. Geez!! Vic is just another political firing by the dear ol' troll. Just the facts, Jack!!

Anonymous said...

I stand corrected. I have no problem admitting when I'm wrong--had to be a first time, after all.