Thursday, January 1, 2009

Inauguration Day

Now that I've started the New Year off on the right foot, I can get back to being me again.

At this writing, there is about one hour left until the Mandatory Lykos Inauguration, and for some reason, I can't shake the feeling of being a little bit sad about that.

It absolutely sickens me that my former-colleagues at the District Attorney's Office are going through what they are going through. These are people who were (and still are, in many ways) my mentors. They are friends. They are family.

But more importantly, they are professionals who have earned the right to be treated with the respect that they've earned during their service to the District Attorney's Office. Each and every one of them has more trial experience than Pat Lykos, and they have more heart than Lykos and Leitner could ever come up with on their own.

And yet, they are now forced to cut their vacations short and show up for a mandatory swearing in ceremony. I'm willing to bet that well over half of them wish there was somebody else being sworn in this morning.

They don't deserve that treatment.

And I'm already cringing at what I can only guess Lykos will say to them during her Coronation Address.

-will she begin it with her patented opening word of "Friends"?
-how many times will she cite the "Rule of Law"? (NOTE: If the Coronation was being covered in Florida, I would so be starting a drinking game with that one.)
-will she preach optimism and professionalism, or will she blast them for the sins of the Rosenthal Administration?
-will she seek to frighten them with an iron hand or will she emphasize the team work required to make any Office a good one?
-will Leitner be standing over her shoulder pointing out which ADAs are "enemies" to her Administration?

I'm not optimistic about how she will handle it, seeing as how she and Jim have pretty much screwed the pooch on every other aspect involving morale at the Office.

But, like I said, I won't be in attendance. If any of you ADAs who show up are so inclined, please feel free to post it in the comments.

Today is a Dark Day for the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just be glad you didn't have to be there and move on. It was an utterly ridiculous, nausea-inducing circle jerk.

Anonymous said...

Patently, however, it does not take a rocket scientist to determine who the jerks were in the middle of that circle,

Anonymous said...

Look, it was kind of self-congratulatory, but that's what these things are. And really, the people doing the introductions were worse than she was about that. It's a political office and this was a political event. And she won. She has a right to celebrate her accomplishment(s), and I can't begrudge her that. Sure, I'd have liked to have slept in some more, but as I was leaving I was happy that it wasn't later in the day. I might've felt differently if I'd had to cut a vacation short, of course, but that's not the position I'm coming from.

And she did praise professionalism and integrity. She didn't berate us like the judge did at Magidson's (sp?) swearing in did. I cringed at the thought that she'd take the attitude like we were all bunch of misbehaving kids that she was going to have to reprimand, but she didn't display anything like that. She rehashed a lot of stump speech stuff, some of it seemed a little fake, and her political connections were on display to be sure. But she also wasn't as uptight as I'd feared. She didn't mention the Rule of Law once, and she ended with the mantra "Do the right thing, the right way." In the spirit of the New Year, I'm going to take her at her word.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Anon 1:21 p.m.,
Thank you for your report. I am actually very glad to hear that it was an okay event. As much as I am not a fan of hers or Jim's, it is a good sign that she is finally taking a step in the right direction.
I hope that continues after the cameras aren't on.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Lykos' "reporter" has a lot to learn - prosecution is not, and was not a political activity in Harris County, until very, very recently -ask former county officials, particularly those on the Commissioner's Court. It appears that this "cornornation", as chronicled, thus is a harbinger of an ever expanding encroachment into the political arena.

Anonymous said...

Whatever. I agree with you that prosecutorial decisions should not be made with politics in mind. But if you think getting elected DA and choosing the people who serve under you isn't political, it seems that you are the one who has a lot to learn.

Anonymous said...

I found Eckels comment to be a bit interesting.

Anonymous said...

It was a gathering of blue hairs, sycophantic hangers on, up and coming brown nosers and those whose attendance was mandated. It is amazing how many people have already consumed mass quantities of the kool-aid. All of the new inner circle were directed to sit front and center. And they did with bright and shiny faces. The whole thing had the low budget feel of something right out of Branson or Dollywood. All that was missing were the spotlights and the smoke machines. I suppose Camels would have sufficed.

As for the office, more changes will be coming. Remember, the organizational chart is a work in progress. There will be more blood.

Anonymous said...

Obviously the "reporter" did not know the "pilot." If it had, it would know how blatantly erroneous were its assertions

Anonymous said...

It was pretty sad. The kool aid drinkers stood up and gave a couple of ovations and the rest of the us slowly and begrudgingly followed along. Her speech was weak. Instead of taking the opportunity to boost the morale and calm the fears of the troops, she spent her time talking about creating divisions that already exist and our coming attacks on the international gangs of human traffickers. She also showed the Lykos I have heard about when she called out her own priest for mispronouncing her name. It didn't inspire much confidence.

Anonymous said...

circle jerk --- i am glad i have a job so i did not mind showing up to be sworn in. maybe its time for you to move on. your attitude is bad.no wonder the office has a bad reputation.

Anonymous said...

ANON 4:46:
It takes more than just being glad you have a job to work at the DA's office. Seeking justice requires more than just punching a time card. If that's your angle, that explains why you are not disappointed about this ordeal. Her behavior is insulting. The ceremony began with a statement about how she didn't like the attacks being made on the DA"s office during the election. Seriously? Does she think we weren't listening to her attacks? Ha! Just watching the news, and part of her interview included a promise to change the office's policy to "open file." Wow!!!! It's a circus folks, and I'm starting to feel like her sideshow.

Rage Judicata said...

prosecution is not, and was not a political activity in Harris County

You sound like Dick Cheney, claiming he has no idea why he's unpopular. He knows why, just like you know that your above statement is a load of crap. Not two weeks ago the comments in this thread were full of "liberal this" and "conservative that" made by folks like you bemoaning the fact that Murray is now going over to the dark side, and that maybe he won't turn out to be a liberal like the rest of them. People like you actively dodged my questions asking why justice was considered a political issue. It's precisely the people whose defeat in the elections you bemoan that made it political, you just didn't cry about it until your side lost.

Wow!!!! It's a circus folks, and I'm starting to feel like her sideshow.

You have two options. Stay and do your job the best you can no matter what happens, or leave. Either way, your pissing and moaning is getting old.

Try talking about specifics of what you don't like. I bet it includes being demoted or passed over for promotion. Maybe you're one of the folks being investigated?

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Rage,
Prosecutors, by nature of their job, are going to be unpopular with people that they prosecute, but I feel that you are painting with broad strokes that unfairly label a lot of people. It is easy to make the accusation that Harris County prosecutors hide exculpatory evidence, but where are the instances that you are talking about?
Yes, there have been some reversals based on faulty DNA evidence, but can you read a DNA report? Do you have the qualifications to look at it and automatically disagree with the findings based on something other than a client saying he didn't do it?
In one of your earlier comments you mentioned that Harris County has a closed file policy, but that was never the policy that I knew during my time there. I can count on one hand the times I closed a file to a defense attorney, and that was through thousands and thousands of cases. My reasoning for closing those files was based on a distrust of who I was dealing with. A closed file policy was never the norm as I knew it.
I understand that you are "Rage", but seriously, your accusations are way overbroad and unfair to the Harris County prosecutors.
As far as prosecutions being political, I can see a handful of cases where you might argue that, but on the whole, the State just follows the penal code.

Anonymous said...

TO AHCL

Just because you "distrust" the opposing attorney, why would you close a file? Isn't the purpose of the "open" file to achieve a just resolution of the case?

And as for exculpatory evidence, look at the recent release of the sexual assault suspect. "Rape kits" have been around since the early 80's and NO ONE at the D.A.'s office thought to check? (And that speaks volumes about Ron Hayes' competency, no matter what Mark Bennett says)

Anonymous said...

anon 516---you sound like you have sideshow experience.what part did you play in chucks circus?you are not making it any easier for us newbies. like rage said maybe you are afraid of what is or will turn up in the continuing investigations.if you think you can pass the screening process maybe you can apply to work at another circus.

Anonymous said...

Rage:

That was the first time I've ever posted a comment on this blog. You tire quickly. Read into that whatever you wish.

I know what my options are. Thank you for stating the obvious. I have not been demoted or passed up for promotion. I am not under investigation. I do my job the best way I know how: I evaluate each case on its own merits, and I seek the most appropriate outcome under the law. I have yet to meet a prosecutor who does their own job any other way. I am honored to do what I do, and I am honored to work with the people with whom I work. I LOVE my job and this office- that is why I chose to work here. My problem lies with the effectiveness of our new "leader."

During her campaign, the DA said some pretty horrible things about the people at this office. They were inappropriate and inaccurate. (If you did not follow her campaign, you should research it to know what I'm talking about.) I took it personally because it was personal. It was about "us," which includes me. I don't fit any of the characteristics she used to describe the ADA's at our office. My coworkers don't fit into her description either- that includes those who have been terminated. We are a team, and we have a strong bond as prosecutors. When someone attacks our team, it stings.

I arrived today, hoping for words from a leader. Someone who would take this opportunity to gather her troops and inspire them to move forward as a team under a new leader. I hoped for something that would allow us to put it all behind us and feel like a united front again.

See, we should be a united front. We all work for the same thing- the same cause. We WANT to respect our leader, to believe in her. It is necessary for our jobs to know that we are all on the same team. When our leader has treated us poorly, directly or indirectly, when she does not support her troops, there is no unity. That is subject of my "pissing and moaning."

I want to believe in my leader. She has not given me a reason to do that.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:37:

I too am a relatively new newbie. I don't know how on earth my insignificance could be making anything harder for you. I apologize if it has. You probably wouldn't even know me if you saw me.

Anonymous said...

I am a member of the defense bar who attended today. Why? I guess I am a sucker for drama. My favorite part of the whole event was immediately after the ceremony when Lycos wandered outside and asked to bum a cigarette off of anyone who would listen. Someone handed her a Marlboro Red 100 and she puffed on the street while everyone was in the jury sorting room at her reception.

I swear it actually happened.

The Punisher said...

Anon 8:44 couldn't have said it better. I am prepared to continue to do my job, because I love it, no matter who my boss is. But I want to know that I can use my good work ethic and have it backed up by the people above me. I want my boss to have a least enough respect for me as a loyal employee to treat me with even a shred of decency. The new administration has not done that. The things that people are pissing and moaning about could have easily been handled differently so as not to continue to demolish morale at the office. We all knew that some people were going to go. But why in God's name didn't they all go at the same time? Why were they handed a crappy form letter releasing them from years of service? Why were we told the swearing in was mandatory with absolutely no indication that if you had other plans something could be worked out, as it had in the past? Why did an org chart come out with some people missing and even worse, some peoples names on it who were fired days later. Why weren't those people fired with the earlier group and not 3 days before Christmas? And then knowing morale sucks and people are nervous and unsure because of the secrecy of the new admin, Why is an email sent out about a new org chart with changes and then doesn't happen when its supposed to? And then the salt on the wound... why in the hell does Eckels joke about how "bad" the new boss is at the swearing in knowing she has spent the last couple of weeks cutting heads...
I will continue doing my job and doing it to the best of my ability. I don't want to dislike the new administration. But they're making it really easy.

Mark Bennett said...

In Stalin's day, the applause went on and on because nobody wanted to be the first to stop clapping.

Anonymous said...

Listen, the troll will have her day in court as a defendant with the NEW county attorney's office defending her. Just get ready. Eckels is a washed out piece of shit no better than bettancourt. Repubs did the same thing burning their people and using their people's hard earned money. Lykos won because of money donated to Eckels. Bettancourt is no different. Wait til we continue to make a joke out of these stupid inbred republican tit suckers. Brutal but true.

Rage Judicata said...

Prosecutors, by nature of their job, are going to be unpopular with people that they prosecute,

I've never been prosecuted for anything, just for the record.

but I feel that you are painting with broad strokes that unfairly label a lot of people.

I'm speaking in broad terms. When the head honcho has a certain policy, it affects the whole office. When they do the things that cause the wrong person to be convicted, they should be painted with the same brush.

It is easy to make the accusation that Harris County prosecutors hide exculpatory evidence, but where are the instances that you are talking about?

1. Gary Scales
2. Ricardo Rachell
3. The systematic destruction of DNA evidence (under the guise of "not enough storage space" after the exoneration of Kevin Byrd, showing a malicious attempt to destroy evidence that may have been exculpatory in other cases.
4. HPD crime lab. The state knew long before anyone else about the shenanigans in the crime lab, but kept using that evidence anyway. And, Rosenthal resisted any attempt to review suspicious cases, basically wanting to maintain the convictions using crime lab evidence that was known to be suspect.
5. Randall Garcia--DNA evidence was withheld from trial (all three of them, actually) because it wasn't the defendant's and therefore not considered exculpatory. Basically, arguing that the very thing that made it exculpatory (that it wasn't the defendant's) is why it shouldn't have been produced in the first place.
6. I'll even throw in Andrea Yates, just for good measure, where a state's witness manufactured a Law & Order episode on the stand, saying that's where she got the idea, planned the drowning, and planned to claim to be insane. Only when they got caught with their hand in the cookie jar did they go after the witness, but that could have been avoided had the expert's opinion been fully known ahead of time.

This quote by Lykos is probably what most ADA's are fearing more than anything else, and I hope she sticks by her word:

"The intentional concealment of exculpatory evidence is a very serious matter," she said. "It is a clear breach of ethics. Under certain circumstances it should be criminal."

Yes, there have been some reversals based on faulty DNA evidence, but can you read a DNA report? Do you have the qualifications to look at it and automatically disagree with the findings based on something other than a client saying he didn't do it?

That's an expert issue, and you know it. Not to mention the fact that a defendant will almost never get the chance to cross examine the technician who drew up the report because "forensics aren't testimonial." Or that appointed counsel will almost never be approved to undergo the expense of an expert of their own at county expense.

But to answer your question, I could get up to speed on the science. I've done it for several medical areas and could do it for others. The problem is that no matter how much I know, if I can't cross examine the technician or get my own expert, what I know isn't evidence and would, in fact, be excluded from argument because my knowledge wouldn't be admissible.

And of course, your underlying premise of "faulty DNA evidence" is flawed if that DNA evidence is never tested or made known to the Defendant.

In one of your earlier comments you mentioned that Harris County has a closed file policy, but that was never the policy that I knew during my time there. I can count on one hand the times I closed a file to a defense attorney, and that was through thousands and thousands of cases. My reasoning for closing those files was based on a distrust of who I was dealing with. A closed file policy was never the norm as I knew it.

Is that the "loss of prosecutorial discretion" you've been so worried about? Losing the ability to close a file on a whim? I know Rosenthal would have agreed with you, as he did the same thing against Joe Durett. In fact, when he was asked specifically why he wouldn't allow copies to be made of files, reports and other evidence, he stated--and I quote--"Because they're not entitled to it." That's some "open file" policy you have there.

I understand that you are "Rage", but seriously, your accusations are way overbroad and unfair to the Harris County prosecutors.

Except for the fact that they're completely justified, based on the examples above. How many times should it happen before we realize there's a problem? Once? Ten? How many times is it acceptable for a prosecutor to do these things?

As far as prosecutions being political, I can see a handful of cases where you might argue that, but on the whole, the State just follows the penal code.

Prosecutors often follow an ideology and feel that basically if you're in front of them you must be guilty. That's not too broad a brush. They have a tendency to want to win and often at all costs. They re-present evidence to grand juries if they have to (David Harris case), hide exculpatory evidence (cases cited above, and others if I really tried to look), and keep things out of the file to keep them from being viewed by the defendant at all, even if they are granted access to the file.

The above examples--very specific ones in response to your request for specifics--are but a few. If we do anything close to what Dallas is doing, we'll see dozens more just based on the statistics. But the biggest problem with that is that Harris County ordered the destruction of evidence to prevent exactly that. And yes, they followed the code when destroying it. But to do that just because you can is cowardice when you know for a fact that it could not only help you exonerate people, but catch the real bad guys in the process. Because what many prosecutors overlook is that when you convict the wrong guy you may close the file but you let the bad guy keep raping or killing all because you hid something.

Rage Judicata said...

Re: Political Prosecutors--please see this link where the CCA finding in favor of defendants is questioned as a "liberal shift." (!)

That's not political?

http://tdcaa.infopop.net/2/OpenTopic?a=tpc&s=347098965&f=157098965&m=6671076151

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:44,

I suspect the response to her attacks on the office will be, "oh, that's just politics" and she will have gimpy Mrs. Leitner, her wife, tell you that-- or her newest witch of the west (and she truely doesn't have to get made up for this part) Donna "the witch" Goode.

My point is, if it were "just politics" then why fire Murray. She said all of those horrible things, as did Mrs. Leitner, and it is expected that we just accept it as politics. I find that hypocritical.

I say this because this is what Jim told me.

I think most of can agree that the main problems at the office were, Chuck, Kerry Stevens, and John Ray Harrison.

Rage Judicata said...

In Stalin's day, the applause went on and on because nobody wanted to be the first to stop clapping.

First they came for my corrupt District Attorney, and I said nothing...

I think most of can agree that the main problems at the office were, Chuck, Kerry Stevens, and John Ray Harrison.

Of course you circle-jerk ADA's would all agree, mostly because they're gone. You see no fault with your own actions, like I listed in my earlier post. ADA's are complicit in the corruption, but the policies came from the top.

Anonymous said...

Rage Judicata said, "Prosecutors often follow an ideology and feel that basically if you're in front of them you must be guilty. That's not too broad a brush. They have a tendency to want to win and often at all costs. They re-present evidence to grand juries if they have to (David Harris case), hide exculpatory evidence (cases cited above, and others if I really tried to look), and keep things out of the file to keep them from being viewed by the defendant at all, even if they are granted access to the file."

Maybe Rage needs to get himself/herself some meds to stabilize the conspiracy theories. Can and has the above happened at one time or another in a prosecution office anywhere in the country - yes, I'm afraid so. But fairs, fair. If you're going to label ALL prosecutors unfairly with the above brush let's just take a gander at what ALL defense attys could be accused of doing.
1. Not following the rules of evidence or criminal procedure ON PURPOSE because, gee, they KNOW the Judge can't penalize the defendant for their slimy moronic defense counsel's behavior.
2. Hiding witnesses.
3. Telling witnesses to "take a last minute vacation".
4. Telling witnesses to leave the courthouse when defense counsel has just heard the state wants the witness sworn in.
5. Soliciting affidavits of non-pros from victims.
6. Claiming they never received discovery that was turned over to them AGES ago- that's what bate stamping and the clerk's file are so good to protect against.
7. Claiming nonsensical charges against the prosecutor in court on the record and then telling the prosecutor after court that "it had to be done to impress the client" but hey, no hard feelings, we're still friends, right? So I unjustly impugned your integrity, it made my client happy.
8. Filing untimely motions, which again, gee whiz, the judge will hear anyway and rule on because, oh yes, can't penalize the defendant for his lazy counsel.
9. Arguing to the jury the "sanctioned lie". Even though the atty KNOWS that's not what happened they are given free reign to contort and misrepresent all in the name of a vigorous defense sot that there is no justice only a perverted attempt to free their client at all costs.
10. Defense attys who will try to plead their client without having read the offense report.
I could go on and on about the malfeasance of defense attorneys but I don't label THEM ALL that way as a group responsible for bad behavior because of a few. Get a grip-your antipathy to the State as a whole distorts your ability to see the big picture. Get some meds.

Rage Judicata said...

Anon 9:17:

I never said all DA's do it, just that it is done on a regular basis. The ones who do not do it are good prosecutors in my book, the ones who do it are not. I have never said anything different. So I'll get some meds, if you learn to read.

Also keep in mind that the things you list off are done by attorneys in all practices. Not just criminal, and not just defendants (except where you mentioned a defense-specific issue). There are a ton of bad lawyers out there. But there are plenty of good ones, even in criminal law, and on both sides. But what you forget to mention, or what you probably don't understand, is that when a prosecutor acts dishonestly, he is putting someone's life and/or liberty in his dishonest hands. There is no abuse of the rules worse that the state's because the state has the power to take away everything. And it has happened many times.

I believe all attorneys should be held to high standards. I have yet to hear of a prosecutor being sanctioned or disciplined for a Brady or similar violation resulting in a wrongful conviction, so you're crying about defense attorneys really makes little sense to me. To use an analogy I hope you can follow: you're basically using the "but Clinton" ("but defense attorney...") argument when someone criticizes Bush (the prosecutor), without addressing what Bush (the prosecutor) has done wrong.

Also, as a note to all, all of the "get some meds" comments are getting old. I responded in kind this time, but won't ever again. If you don't like what I say, rebut it. Don't take a childish swipe, and don't blame Clinton where the issue lies with Bush...

Anonymous said...

Little is to be gainsaid by those continuing to dispute whether the newly seated district attorney is, or will be rude, inconsiderate, impolite, egocentric, vindictive, or disingenuous in that office. Her legacy as a district judge, and during the recent election cycle and her brief "constructive" time in office, instantly provides the calculus to settle such disputes. Possessing the constitutional requisites for the office, but nary little more, she is the product of an anachronistic and egocentric system, embraced by both parties, which is concerned remarkably little with the qualifications of their ballot candidates other than whether they are card carrying party members, Alas, therefore, we can accord appropriate credit to that system and the Republican hierarchy, but most particularly to the "blue hairs" of the Republican women clubs for either this snafu or blessing. A New Year's prediction is appropriate, however - the interplay bewteen the new officeholder and the criminal district court judges should provide an ample and continuing source of entertainment.

Anonymous said...

You missed the point, Rage Judicata, but then why am I not surprised. The only one "crying" is you. Therapy is good too for people like you. Try it if the meds don't appeal to you.

Mark Bennett said...

1005, it'll be like Christmas in the blogosphere.

1054, I don't know many lawyers who wouldn't benefit from a bit of therapy. You should try it -- it's as anonymous as commenting here, but much more constructive. Maybe you'll find some inner peace that eludes you.

Anonymous said...

Finally, Rage Judicata has brought a counter balance to all this wailing and moaning and gnashing of teeth. Let's start with the obvious.

Lykos was democratically elected as Harris County District Attorney. The process was open and above board and there was no allegation of fraud. If you can not bear to work under her, then resign. That is the honorable thing to do.

When you were hired as an ADA you knew that your boss was elected. At some time you knew the so called ignorant and uneducated voters of Harris County would have a say in who your next boss would be. (It's funny how the same voters are not so uneducated when they serve on juries and come back with guilty verdicts) Consequently, it should have been obvious to you that most voters--who are not prosecutors by the way--would not use the same criteria as ADAs in deciding who is the best (which is wholly subjective) person to be the HCDA.

In the real world, plenty of people work for superiors who are in some ways less qualified than they are. If the legislature felt a certain amount of prosecutorial experience was needed it would be required by statute. It is not; so that criticism is a canard. Would it be preferable that the HCDA have prosecutorial experience? For the sake of efficiency, of course. But does that automatically make for an exemplary HCDA? Witness Chuck Rosenthal.

Have I heard that one would not want to work directly for her? Of course, and that is from someone who likes her. But ADAs don't know what it will be like to work for her. The legitimate criticism/questioning is one thing. But making her out to the be the devil incarnate is puerile.

Anonymous said...

Dude,
Get over it. You're beating a dead horse. You've made the same point ad nauseum--supported by sufficient evidence, I must say. Let's wait and see what happens next.

Rage Judicata said...

supported by sufficient evidence, I must say.

You heard it here first, folks.

Damn, now I'm going to be insufferable.

Anonymous said...

Rage Judicata,

I enjoy Murray's rants. Anything that annoyed me about him during his campaigning efforts for Kelly Siegler - he has paid for and then some. And his name is Murray - how great is that?

Sooo...

You're an attorney. You're a liberal. You're articulate. You're kind of an asshole. You have Walter Sobchak as your avatar. I only have one question...

Are you single?

Rage Judicata said...

You're an attorney.

Yep.

You're a liberal.

Hell no I'm not.

You're articulate.

Well, thanks.

You're kind of an asshole.

Well I am toning it down for the holidays.

You have Walter Sobchak as your avatar.

Yep.

I only have one question...

Are you single?


I'll give you the answer to that question, Mr. Bender, next Saturday.

Ron in Houston said...

Oh damn....

I have to give Mark credit - he's good.

You, my friend, despite having to "eat what you can kill" can do so with your honor and integrity intact.

Whether people agree with you or not, no one can disparage your integrity.

You and I come from different points of view, but you have earned my utmost respect.

Rock on Murray!

Anonymous said...

Here we go:

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/6192030.html

How does Adrian get ink and not the Troll. This is going to be an interesting four years. And Adrian saying he didn't know about it.... Like troll saying it wasn't political. Disgusting... Holmes, we need you back.

Anonymous said...

Hey Murray,

Let's move beyond this stuff. It is now ancient history.

You will do well in private practice, making more money than you would as a prosecutor. You are well respected by your former colleagues at the DA's office and by your former opponents who are now in the same situation as you are.

Because of your integrity, you stand out and you'll get referrals you never thought you would get.

Now that you're website is published, others can find you, so you are good to go.

Don't sweat the small stuff. The finances work themselves out over a period of six to twelve months. Be sure to charge the clients what you think you are worth. Do not undercharge. They will come up with the money if they want your services.

I learned some years ago that I was "undercharging" when the clients would have gladly paid twice a much for my time.

You'll be fine.

Give the Lykos stuff a rest. This has been a nasty year in Harris County with both Rosenthal and Siegler going into the crash and burn mode.

Either Lykos will succeed or drown after one term.

If a viable contender comes up in the next election, you may be back.

Lots of lawyers reading this blog, so I hope the majority of you (prosecution and defense) agree.

Mr. Newman is a man of integrity and we wish him well.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Anon 5:25 p.m.,
Thank you for the kind words. Figuring out the pricing of cases has been one of the more trickier aspects of private practice, as I've already learned to some degree.
Regarding my battle with Lykos, I will make you a deal. I will lay off of her for everything she's done up to this point. If she wants to start treating my colleagues and friends that stayed at the Office with the dignity and respect that they have EARNED over the years and stop punishing them for who they supported, I will be the first person to applaud her and Jim.
But, if she continues to make a once great place to work into a place where all my old friends are miserable, you can bet that I'm going to say something about it.
So, the bottom line is that I will tone it down on my end, if she wants to tone it down on hers.
Fair enough?

Anonymous said...

Anon and Murray:

If she makes good choices, then fine. If she makes selfish political choices that aren't in the best interest of the taxpayers she will pay. That pandering post misses the fact that she lied about her decisions and lied about why she has promoted who she has promoted and demoted. So as we stand, she hasn't done ONE thing in the best interest of the county tax payers other putting her washed up government leaches into office. So, Murray, pointing out her obvious bad choices isn't (which are daily much less ancient Anon 5:25) something that should stop. She and all her inept pandering whores read this blog, you should feel obligated to the prosecutors to point out her bad choices BECAUSE they can't. Seriously, she is more worried about her public perception than anything else. Why else would she be upset about Ken honoring those she fired to put her whores in place. You owe it to the prosecutors to continue to publish the bad choices she makes. Who else will? Donna- no, Maria- no, Don Smyth... Julian- I choke on my keyboard...... Take care of us Murray.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Anon 11:28 p.m.,
Please know that I will ALWAYS have your back. My understanding is that this blog bugs the hell out of Lykos. Just as Mr. Magidson's honoring of my fellow firees bugged the hell out of her.
As long as I've got breath in my body, I will defend you all until the day I die.
My hope, however, is that she wakes up and realizes that she just took over the best damn District Attorney's Office in the Nation and will treat you all as the people who make her look good.
If she chooses not to, then she can always count on a certain bald headed ex-prosecutor to call her out on her screw ups.
Hopefully, she well let you all do what you were born to do, and that is prosecute.
The reason that we have the best defense attorneys in the the Nation is because we have the best DA's Office in the Nation. We all make each other better. No matter what side of the Bar you are on, you should have a healthy respect for the skill of your opponent. No blow hard politician can take that away.
I'm just agreeing that I've run her past sins into the ground at this point. However, if she wants to commit some new ones, trust me, I will call her out on it.
The ideal situation is that Jim regains his self-respect and starts running some interference for the people that used to hold him in such high esteem.
You guys just keep the faith and keep doing the fantastic job that you've been doing.

Rage Judicata said...

Careful, or you're going to foster the snitch/spy situation you're posting about. If you get too specific, they're going to know who's feeding you the details and/or people are going to talk when they see you talking about the office with anyone who is still there. You'll make targets out of them even more than they may already be.

Mark Bennett said...

It seems like politicians are always angling for the next gig (see, e.g. Carole Keeton Mustafa Gomez Jones Strayhorn Smith Chen Rylander).

A politician running in the primary for District Attorney might refrain from filing the lawsuit that will eliminate the other primary candidates from his party on the promise that he will get to be First Assistant, and then will be the party's pick for DA.

The question for all of you students of Pat Lykos is this: what's next for her? What's the prize that she has her eyes on?

And if The Office is the prize, her last big gig, then what remains to motivate her to do anything other than what is best for the voters of Harris County?

A Harris County Lawyer said...

That's a good question, Mark. My gut tells me that Lykos has reached her zenith on the political ladder, but back in the day, she certainly had her political ambition. She abandoned her bench to run for Attorney General in 1994, where she went after her Republican opponent in the primary with a barrage of negative campaigning (sound familiar?).
I'm sure she does think she is there to serve the county, but I think her track record has also shown that she just likes power in general. Not that this is unusual for a career politician, I know.

Rage Judicata said...

(see, e.g. Carole Keeton Mustafa Gomez Jones Strayhorn Smith Chen Rylander).

If you think she's bad, just wait until her little weasel of a son makes an entrance into Texas politics...

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/politics/6193291.html


And if The Office is the prize, her last big gig, then what remains to motivate her to do anything other than what is best for the voters of Harris County?

But then again, if she has no further ambitions, what's to keep her from doing what needs to be done even if it's politically unpopular? A person with higher ambitions might tread softly on reform, because reform is unpopular in Texas and reformers generally don't get too far. So that argument cuts both ways.

She's promised to implement programs that her predecessors resisted for years, and she's drawing fire for it. By the looks of it she has the ADAs on edge, and from my standpoint that's a Good Thing.*

*Nothing in this post is to be construed as an endorsement of Pat Lykos or an implication that I believe she will follow through with her promises...

Anonymous said...

The 21st century Jacobians have arrived in the Harris County District Attorney's Office. Citizen beware.

Anonymous said...

Mark, for being as thorough as you are on the law, I am so surprised that you, Troy McKinney, etc., have said/keep saying that Lietner could have filed suit to keep the other candidates out of the primary.

The portions that McKinney kept speaking about and that I assume you are supporting, were the wrong section of the election code. Believe me, this issue was researched thoroughly by someone who can both read and write, and the correct portion of the statute made it clear that both Kelly and Lykos were properly on the ballot.

This is just a long winded way to say that you are very wrong. And re-read the election code if you wish. This isn't an interpretation type thing. You are just wrong.

Mark Bennett said...

2020, um, ye. . . no. Anonymous legal opinion not worth the paper it's written on.

And wrong to boot. If someone did the legal research and got that result, it was only because that was the result he wanted to get.

I'm no election law expert, but I read the law and the one arguable case (very different facts, as I recall, from a different jurisdiction), and I agree with Troy, who is an election law expert.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

I remember the debate over whether or not Jim could have filed a lawsuit being kicked around back when the primary was going on, and it was interesting to me to see how it unfolded.
I heard both sides of the argument from very smart lawyers, and both were 100% certain that they were correct in their opinions, with no ambiguity.
Assuming for the sake of the argument that Mark is correct, I still doubt that Jim would have filed the lawsuit, because he didn't have the name recognition that Siegler and Lykos had. The powers that be over the Harris County Republicans probably did some gentle encouragement that he not do so.

Anonymous said...

One thing for certain is that he lied about his motivations for doing so. I also believe one can look at the context and timing of events and feel comfortable some sort of deal was made with Troll.

HPD 101 said...

AHCL,
If Leitner thought he really could have prevailed he no doubt would have filed suit to remove Kelly and Lykos. But Leitner was and always will be a pussy. There was enough reasonable doubt that he would not be successful and he is not a cutting edge attorney by any means. The bottom line being that a botched attempt by Leitner would have precluded him from using the troll as a stepping stone to his ultimate unearned goal. Ironic that the troll thinks Leitner has her back.....in reality he's salivating in anticipation of her last Marlboro.

Mark Bennett said...

I heard both sides of the argument from very smart lawyers, and both were 100% certain that they were correct in their opinions, with no ambiguity.

Isn't that why God invented litigation?

Anonymous said...

HPD 101,

I am surprised Bennett did not respond to you. It appears you and he are growing closer and closer together. As for Marlboros, she bummed a cig off of me at the mass she had for herself on the first. I admit it, I am loser but had to see this self-aggrandizement. She doesn't care what kind burning pole it is as long as she can smoke it. HPD, put tobacco in yours and she may smoke it. What do you think?

HPD 101 said...

ANON 900,
Thanks to your vile image projectile vomit now covers an entire wall in my office.
As for your reference to Bennett and me becoming closer...the only common bond we have is our total disdain for the troll and her punks. So, when Brutus stabs Caesar and the "Brown Shirts" revert to panic mode we'll high five....until then.
BTW, Mark needs to hone his civil skills if he is going to profess any knowledge outside the basic criminal law arena.

Twilight Zoned said...

AHCL,

Mark Bennett said..."Isn't that why God invented litigation?"

I stand corrected--all this time I thought Bennett was an atheist. Rice University's theology department must be nothing short of miraculous!
Too bad Rice doesn't have a law school....they might have been able to teach young Bennett how to comprehend a basic election code manual. But then again, drug peddlers need love too.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bennett,
There's one (1) thing "certain" about one (1) of your two (2)lawyer buddies....he/she's simply dim.
Since you're so very smart and heard both sides, what sayeth you?
Don't give us a chickenshit Leitneresque version.....man up.

Mark Bennett said...

1416, I'm not following you. I've got more than two lawyer buddies, more than one of whom are a little bit dim. Could you be more specific, please?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Bennett, Sir:
The question is whether or not, in your expert opinion, had Leitner opted, would he have been successful in removing the other candidates from the Republican primary ballot? It seems obvious to most that Rosenthal's last minute nomination withdrawal tolled the filing deadline for 48 hours.
There is no doubt that Leitner would rather be "the man" than sit 2nd chair to crazy Pat. After all, Leitner told so many of us that the only reason he was running in the 1st place was to protect us from the troll. Now I know Jimmy is a pathological liar, but it seems obvious that he wants to be THE DA AT ALL COSTS....I mean geeze, look how he is selling out already!

Mark Bennett said...

0802,

My post from the time. Someone told me about the counterargument, and I researched it enough to satisfy myself that it was probably wrong, but I can't for the life of me remember now what it was. Someone here (I welcome input from anyone who has successfully tried more civil jury trials than me; those who learned their law from Dick Wolf, not so much) will remind us, and I'll dredge up from my memory why I thought it was wrong.

I think Jim would have won the challenge, leaving him and Chuck on the Republican primary ballot. After dispatching Chuck in the primary, though, I think Jim would likely have lost to Bradford.

OUTRAGED said...

Mark Bennett,
I respectfully disagree with you on both points.
First, the law was written to protect the citizens from nepotism and inside dealing. For example, an incumbent who wanted to pass his reign over to his son or political buddy could thwart opponents from filing by remaining on the ticket until the last possible moment and then resign only giving his self appointed replacement the opportunity to timely file. This maneuver was deemed to be against public policy and the rules were set in place to prevent a scenario such as that.
Second, if Bradford couldn't beat Lykos under the most favorable of circumstances he could not have beaten any other Republican; even the likes of Leitner. Lykos won, not on her merits, but rather on how very unpopular Bradford was.

dark knight said...

Outraged,
Touche my brother from another mother. You shut the pretend homeboy down.

Mark Bennett said...

"Pretend homeboy"???

Nobody shut anyone down. All the public policy arguments in the world avail nothing in the face of an unambiguous statute.

I'm still looking for someone to remind me of the actual law allegedly supporting the position that Chuck's withdrawal would have been effective in the face of a challenge by another candidate, so I can recall what I thought the response to it was.

Until then, I don't think I have anything more to say about the election, except maybe that Pat Lykos is a consummate politician who did better against Bradford than Leitner would have, though I'll admit that that's speculatory.