Friday, April 17, 2009

More Experience Leaves the Building

Yet another Senior Prosecutor turned in their two weeks notice to Lykos and the Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight today.

Veteran Chief Prosecutor Stephen St. Martin will be leaving the District Attorney's Office and joining the Defense Bar, effective at the end of business on May 1st.

If you will recall, Stephen, along with fellow Chief Prosecutor Lance Long was recently honored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Director's Award on April 1st for his role in working with the FBI on the Randy Sylvester case. His dedication to the Office for well over a decade has been a tremendous asset to the law enforcement community. His award was the one where Lykos snubbed both of her prosecutors at the ceremony.

Stephen also has a reputation as a no-nonsense and fair-minded prosecutor that Defense Attorneys find to be reasonable and attentive to their arguments.

Harris County's loss will definitely be the Defense Bar's gain.

I have a feeling that the above phrase will be said many many more times this year as more experienced prosecutors continue to file out of the D.A.'s Office.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am a member of the Defense Bar (never was a prosecutor). I have found Mr. St. Martin to be fair and reasonable. Sometimes that is difficult to find at the office. Though I will welcome him to the Defense side, I will miss working with him on the opposite side.

Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS to Steven. He is a class act and will do great in private practice.
Imagine if all the recent exodus of talent from the DA's office created their own firm. WOW!!! Law students from all over the country would pay to clerk there.

Anonymous said...

How long before this loss of veteran prosecutorial "talent" is reflected in unwarranted "not guilty" verdicts. For those who feel that such a circumstance is simply a long overdue "leveling of the playing field" I pose this question to you: How will you feel if you are the victim and the person who wronged you goes free?

Anonymous said...

Welcome aboard. From one who has come over to the other side as well.

Anonymous said...

Good luck Stephen. Others will be escaping soon and joining you.

Anonymous said...

We were told by our chief that Steve was leaving to work for the F B I in some special assignment.Whats up?

Anonymous said...

This is becoming a one-note blog.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Anon 7:34 a.m.,
Rather than this being a "one note blog", I think you should look at it more a symphony of Lykos' bad acts and decisions. From bringing in all of her Caucasian cronies at suped up salaries, to running her budget into the ground, to running off experienced prosecutors, to getting into a deal with the devil with the Houston Chronicle, to smearing her people in the press, and to turning her back on the victims of crime.

But even if it is "one note", it certainly appears to be one that you got up at 7:34 on a Saturday morning to hear.

Anonymous said...

AHCL 8:49,
Shitstorm's succint saliant summation.
Salut!

Anonymous said...

"But even if it is "one note", it certainly appears to be one that you got up at 7:34 on a Saturday morning to hear."

Kinda like those who whine about the Chron but continue to read it.

But I do enjoy the music!

Anonymous said...

All those like anon 7:34 who ride the lykos train will be in for a rude awakening. The way they are treating people and not doing the right the will come to haunt them.

Anonymous said...

I meant the "one-note" comment as constructive criticism. Fine to keep railing against Lykos, but your blog used to be about other things as well. More happens in the Harris County Courthouse than you now blog. Get back to your original broader topics.

Anonymous said...

First, Stephen St. Martin is truly a good guy. One of the very few in the CJC-State or Defense. It is hard to find a person who has worked with so many different personalities and who is liked by them all. My God, who would want to deal with his current judge on a daily basis? The snubbing by Lykos was probably the last straw.

Second, I thought Anon 7:34 am's comment was tacky until I read the followup 5:31 pm comment. Anon is right. There is a lot more happening in the CJC. Maybe it is a function of you no longer being an ADA but by now I expected some commentary on how some of the new judges don't have a clue and don't deserve to be on the bench.

Anonymous said...

First, Stephen St. Martin is truly a good guy. One of the very few in the CJC-State or Defense. It is hard to find a person who has worked with so many different personalities and who is liked by them all. My God, who would want to deal with his current judge on a daily basis? The snubbing by Lykos was probably the last straw.

Second, I thought Anon 7:34 am's comment was tacky until I read the followup 5:31 pm comment. Anon is right. There is a lot more happening in the CJC. Maybe it is a function of you no longer being an ADA but by now I expected some commentary on how some of the new judges don't have a clue and don't deserve to be on the bench.

Anonymous said...

When one depends on appointments, there is little chance you will see commentary on judges

jigmeister said...

Stephen was one of my favorite "deputy dawgs". I wish you much well deserved success in private practice.

I think a post on the new judges might prove illuminating, but since Murray has to practice in front of them, an open forum might be wise.

Anonymous said...

There was some coffee shop talk about Steven and another old-timer leaving to do Special-Ops work for the government in Iraq.Was Steve a former cop? Who will he be working for?

Anonymous said...

It goes without saying that I will miss having Stephen around the office.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Murray, since he is no longer anonymous, cannot blog about the judges he practices in front of. He does have bills to pay.

Catalina Booth said...

Sad to see Steven leaving. He was the "deputy dog" when I was hired. I still remember my law school rommates asking who the guy on the phone with the deep southern drawl was....

Best of luck to you!

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:45,
Little Jimmy "Former King of Appointments" Leitner would be the expert on that--the professional career appointment whore himself! Not to worry, I trust Michelle Leitner is picking up the appointment docket slack Jimbo relegated to her.

Murray was very recently fired for his honesty not once but twice and court appointments were his short term fall back for this political retribution. To jeopardize, at this juncture, the well being of himself and those he is responsible for would be Leitner-like.....Murray is too much of a man for that. Rest assured, however, that once Murray's practice is established and diversified it will negate the temporary necessity of court appointments.

As for other CJC news: Although there are now a number of incompetent District Court Judges; if taken collectively, their respective failings pale in comparison to the plethora of abuses by Lykos and Leitner, Inc. This administration's wholesale decimation of the Harris County District Attorney's Office will be even more notoriously sensational than the disgraceful behavior of Chuck Rosenthal.....

By the fall of '09 there will be few prosecutors of good character and ability still employed at the HCDOA.....and those remaining will either be enduring a short time frame to vest or still following up on alternate employment options.

Anonymous said...

How many prosecutors left in the first months of the Rosenthal admin?

I remember hearing the sky was falling back then too...

A Harris County Lawyer said...

I don't recall ANYONE leaving in the first months of the Rosenthal Administration (other than the two or three prosecutors whose contracts he did not renew).

If you recall differently, what were the names of the people that left rather than work for Chuck?

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Oh, and by the way, Stephen is not going to go work in Special Ops in Iraq.

Although I'm sure he would love for you to think he is.

Just kidding, Stephen.

jigmeister said...

Bill Taylor and George Lambright left within 60 days of Chuck taking over. Bill had been Chuck's boss in Special Crimes when Chuck and Terry got into trouble. Taylor urged Johnny to fire him. George and Chuck had been trial bureau division chiefs together and disliked each other. I don't remember why. As I remember many of us checked our retirement status, not knowing whether Chuck would go on a firing spree, but he didn't. You just never knew what Chuck was thinking.
No others left that I recall.

Anonymous said...

Jigmeister,
Chuckie doesn't even know what Chuckie is thinking. His crazyness is what allowed L&L to wreck havoc on our beloved office. He and Lykos are both a disgrace.

Anonymous said...

Hey 12:06,
If the sky was falling under Crackhead Chuck, then it is now near obliteration under the nefarious troll. Although many people inherently fear change, almost all (Jim Leitner being the exception) strongly resent arbitrary dictatorial meanness.
Chuck, in spite of his pickled stupor and self destructive arrogance, at least recognized that JBH left him essentially a great crew that could effectively be delegated to. Lykos not only can't appreciate the talent that once was HCDA, she can't recognize it to replace it. But for Chuck's poor personal judgment and aloofness, HCDA would not be in self-destruct mode under the likes of Lykos and Leitner.

The Phantom Bureaucrat said...

As long as Lykos keeps screwing up in such a monumental manner, I think it is important to have someone willing to point out what is going on. The Chronicle endorsed her and their reporters have largely treated her with kid gloves, most of the reporters assigned to that area more willing to slightly rewrite press releases than to investigate on their own.

Anonymous said...

Hey Phantom,
There is a reason that the Houston Chronicle has never one a Pulitzer in its entire 107 year history.
The Chronicle's agenda to dismantle the HCDAO through its agent, Pat "the troll" Lykos, trumps journalistic integrity.
Brian Rogers is afraid to report the truth and disrupt the cart.
And that's the rest of the story....

Anonymous said...

BLOG AUTHOR PLEASE USE THIS LATEST VERSION AND DELETE THE EARLIER ONE - THANK YOU.

Mr. HECK TATE here:

A little history is in order for many out there to put this whole "kvetch-Fest" in perspective.

Unlike most Jurisdictions around the Nation, or even State, for the past 40 years or so the Harris County District Attorney's Office (Houston) has had the closest thing to a Defacto Civil Service System as one could get without actually having one. First there was Carol Vance, then Mr. Holmes.

(Mr. Rosenthal will be spoken of in another paragraph as I do not wish to use his name (AS DISTRICT ATTORNEY) next to these previously mentioned honorable fine gentlemen).

I worked for Mr. Holmes for nearly twenty years. It was an honor and he was respected by most everyone who truly knew him. Mr. Vance I did not know. Both men came from different political parties, but back then Democratic Party was actually more akin to the present day Republican Party - but I digress. You see, neither man gave a hoot for politics. Neither man "needed" the job or the paltry salary it paid. Both however had integrity and as long as you did your best and saw that Justice was done you were left alone. Years came and people retired and some people you wished would retire or otherwise "leave" were left to stay like (in some cases drift wood) Others, if they chose, jumped head long into the fast moving stream of serious, emotional, and stressful Barrister duties that caused their hair to turn grey at an early age.

The whole "three year minimum" clause one agreed to stay on with the office for when being hired was rarely if ever broken and most of the time surpassed threefold!

As the years passed and Don Stricklin became the First Assistant certain measures were put into place that some did not like. Some of the "rules" were somewhat myopic to say the least. Time sheets and counting pennies, etc. It was during this time that people discovered they were actually hired under a Contract at Will and every 4 years the office began not to "renew" contracts.

I didn’t agree with how Rusty Hardin was treated and if there were computers back then I have no doubt Don would have gotten an ear full. For all you “young” Chief’s thinking about quitting NOW who are scratching your heads wondering what I’m talking about just talk to someone who’s was with the office in the late 80”s. There was also too much bean counting. Overall however, there was more accountability and things got a little tighter with different evaluation forms and more scrutiny regarding evaluation of work performance.

Many of the same anxious feelings being expressed in this particular string of comments about the current administration still occurred on a much, much smaller scale during these earlier times. But none the less they did occur but usually after a four years cycle when one's contract was not renewed.

Mr. Holmes did not have a "group of favorites". He pretty much kept to himself and trusted you to do your job. He was fair. He left Chuck Rosenthal a wonderful, competent, old Oak Tree that had hundreds of years in combined service. Why this immature person thought he could even stand in Mr. Holmes' shadow is a mystery to me - and I'm sure many others.

Under Chuck's régime the Office seemed to take on more of a "closed shop cop atmosphere" At times it almost seemed to want to be called the District Investigator's Office, NOT the District ATTORNEY'S Office. Certain individuals who were not even lawyers had way too much power.

Yes, the people who have CHOSEN to leave the Office certainly are extremely talented lawyers and their absence is a loss to all the citizens of Harris County. But it’s a loss they chose to give. We’re all adults here.

If a prosecutor is man/woman enough to ask a jury to send a person to death row, then why get your feelings hurt just because your boss isn't Chuck Rosenthal?
Might you have left anyway? A prosecutor for life doesn't leave even under these circumstances. Look at the top of the office management. They are still staffed by more than 95% Good hard working prosecutors who worked their way up through the ranks of the office under Mr. Holmes.

As for Judge Lykos and the people she brought on board - for peat’s sake - quit the sob feast and get on with the fact that the reason Judge Lykos is D.A. is because she was elected - just like Vance, Holmes and Rosenthal. But Rosenthal - is the one who dismantled the office with his childish ways. You want to vent anger - vent it his way because HE is the one who thought he was BIGGER than Holmes or Vance. "Hey Chuck how's it going?" CHUCK: “I’m blessed". B.S.! If you are blessed then the rest of the Office got cursed!

The attacks on Jim Leitner and Roger Bridgewater are just as childish as Chuck's behavior that led to this new administration in the first place. To be fair, give this Administration a CHANCE.

Absolutely Judge Lykos shot from the hip and burned the two prosecutors in the press without getting all the facts. She did admit this "management error" at least. She's got four years...just four years to get it right or not. But pining away on these Blogs crying on your keyboard is just not cutting it.

None of these comments is meant to be in defense of the current administration or minimize frustrations expressed by the many who have posted. These words are merely meant to put a historical perspective on the big picture.

People inherently do not like change and "The Office" is no different; it just wants the old Civil Service System back - but it's dead. GET OVER IT! The fairytale ended with Rosenthal.

BTW: No I am no longer a prosecutor. I retired several years ago. Chuck you were a tenacious hard working prosecutor. You should not however have been the D.A......

Heck Tate over and out and you all keep up the good fight. Remember what Holmes said: “I have policies but none of them should cause a damn fool result to occur".

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:08,
Chuck was an unconscious incompetent while Lykos is a conscious incompetent.
Both put politics above integrity and that, aside from lack of ability, is what separated them from JBH and Carol Vance.
I agree John Ray's role was insanely inappropriate.
I agree people generally fear change and that mature individuals adapt. It is also true that most new administrations have some degree of upheaval. However, notwithstanding your past stint at the office, you have zero insight as to what is taking place as I type. So to advocate we all be "Pied Piper" minions and accept corruption for the sake of unity is nuts..... lest the office become "a damn fool result".

Anonymous said...

Clearly he is worried about getting appointments. Courage is a fleeting trait indeed.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Anon 2:09 p.m.,
I find it amusing that you would post Anonymously and then call me out on my courage level.

You want my assessment on the new judges? I've appeared before three of them: Judge Kevin Fine, Judge Shawna Reagin, and Judge David Mendoza.

My experience with all three has been extremely positive. The judges have been attentive, smart, and extremely fair. Not to mention the fact that they have been extremely kind. I believe that all three of them are tackling their jobs with enthusiasm and fair-mindedness, and I have no complaints.

Of course, by writing that, I'm sure your response will be "of course he would say that. They give him appointments." Please know in advance that I could care less about that response. I enjoy working in all three of those courts, thanks to the judges, their staff, and the prosecutors there. I'm not going to invent some sort of grumblings just to appease you.

I'd gladly work in any of those courts any day of the week.

And as for you somehow insinuating that taking appointments is somehow "low rent", I can speak from my experience as a prosecutor that the best attorneys I ever faced in trial were court appointed. If you think I'm going to somehow be apologetic because I'm taking court appointments, guess again.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:08, SAID TO "Heck Nate:

However, notwithstanding your past stint at the office, you have zero insight as to what is taking place as I type. So to advocate we all be "Pied Piper" minions and accept corruption for the sake of unity is nuts..... lest the office become "a damn fool result".

Heck Nate's response:

1)
CORRUPTION? CORRUPTION? I suggest if you truly have knowledge of CORRUPTION in the D.A.'s Office you report it right away to the F.B.I. and not flippantly throw "George Kastanza exit lines" around before thinking about their true meaning. Also, No, No, No, NEVER be a Pied Piper to any crime like CORRUPTION. Why that would make you a PARTY TO THE CRIME. Domm, Domm, Dommmm, Daaaa!!!!

2) Too many "drive bys in these strings".

3) On the coward blogger attacking the Blog Host for taking court appointments - my Gawd. I respect Murray and no one does any service getting personal and unprofessional.

4) You got a complaint on a Judge then don't wait on Murray to write about it. Get specific. As the following Blogger wrote in Mark Bennett's Blog on the topic:

Iola T. Nikitschenko says:
14 April 2009 at 8:17 pm
My comments here are meant to be in the spirit of truth, exposure and Justice. Allegations of indigent defense injustices and overbearing judges are not new to Harris County (Houston). The rules that govern Judicial Conduct certainly prohibit all the actions mentioned herein. They also provide a venue to file a grievance and keep filing grievances “until the cows come home”. These rules also provide that a judge may NEVER comment in any way regarding any possible pending complaint that has or may be filed - if known. On the flip side there are about 40 criminal judges in Houston and it certainly isn’t fair to them all for a few to continue (whomever they may be) conduct court indigent business in the manner stated. Bottom Line: Let the sun shine in and start naming names! No good judge worth his or her salt would ever OBJECT to this crap being exposed. Frankly, until someone (even cryptically) starts getting specific with the offenders, it borders on wining - no disrespect to anyone here. I’m just tired of hearing GENERAL JUDICIAL INDICTMENTS. Instead, how about getting specific and going after the SPECIFIC onerous ones who are oppressive in SPECIFIC terms without lumping all together. Then, follow them all the way to the grave. Never give up, never give up, never give up, because, lawyers, judges, defendants and the victims who enter the CJC will be better off with these specific offenders exposed!

Anonymous said...

Dear Heck Nate,
All corrupt acts are not Federal offenses.
Merriam-Webster defines corruption as follows:
1. impairment of integrity, virtue or moral principle;
2. decay, decomposition;
3. inducement to wrong by improper OR unlawful means
4. a departure from the original or from what is pure or correct.

So, if you are suggesting we acquiesce to Judge Lykos' corrupt agenda then I respectfully suggest you get back to your Seinfeld re-runs.
Johnny Holmes would never have tolerated Lykos & Co.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:26,
It looks like there will be a HUGE exodus of integrity this summer....JBH would be proud of those who follow his mantra of standing strong to do the right thing regardless of the consequences.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5:26 P.M. Wrote:

Dear Heck Nate,
All corrupt acts are not Federal offenses.
Merriam-Webster defines corruption as follows:
1. impairment of integrity, virtue or moral principle;
2. decay, decomposition;
3. inducement to wrong by improper OR unlawful means
4. a departure from the original or from what is pure or correct.
So, if you are suggesting we acquiesce to Judge Lykos' corrupt agenda then I respectfully suggest you get back to your Seinfeld re-runs. Johnny Holmes would never have tolerated Lykos & Co.

April 22, 2009 5:26 PM


Nate Hack Response:

Even with the dictionary, get specific and say what you mean. As usual your gripe is still general and conclusatory. Pretend you are writing a Search Warrant. I know general anonymous drive by Bloggers hat to be specific but use this tool; “What specifically do you know and how do you know what you know? No one wants to get specific. Move to quash. What specific acts of THE DICTIONARY'S definition of CORRUPTION (WHICH YOU KNOW IS NOT WHAT YOU MEANT WHEN YOU WROTE THE WORD YESTERDAY) a DICTIONARY? Wow! Ok let’s talk even English semantic specifics. Draft a specific pleading using specific example of as we say manner and means, time, situation, persons involved that exemplifies a violation of even your WEST ANNOTATED WEBSTER'S DICTIONARY'S Corruptions elements of:

A) Impairment of:

1. Integrity;
2) Virtue;
3) Moral principle;
4) Decay,
5) Decomposition;

B) Inducement to wrong by:

1) Improper; OR
2) Unlawful means

C) A departure from the original or from what is pure or correct.

Now all I ask is that you be brave and specific enough to not use general bellyaching language and specifically describe HOW the current D.A.'s Office Management or supervisors has caused YOU or others to engage in the above DICTIONARY PENAL CODE violations?


What specifics of Judge Lykos's Agenda is Corrupt as previously defined?

If you can't, then keep quiet. If you can then say so or better yet: “nut it up” and file a formal complaint to the Proper Agency that would deal with such distasteful conduct!

As for wanting Mr. Holmes back. I agree that would be great. However the man deserves a retirement and he left the office to someone he trusted. What about all those police officers, prosecutors, and pro-Seigler supporters that didn't even take the time to vote in the run off? If Holmes had been on the docket under a different name even he wouldn't have gotten elected.

Anonymous said...

Heck Nate or Nate Hack or whatever other odd name you choose next in a pretense of not being anonymous:

Until I resign this summer, my identity will remain as anonymous as yours; lest my job security succumbs to the same fate as Murray's.
As for shirking my responsibility in not "reporting" the troll's corruption--I am just as guilty as we BOTH were under Rosenthal.
Life is difficult enough at the HCDOA without placing a target on my back...chickenshit as that might be. Notwithstanding my passive aggressive cowardliness in this regard, the troll and her inner circle of corruption will self implode on their own in due course...so don't sweat it.
You're in for a real shocker.

BTW, I agree with your frustration regarding the rampant voter apathy in the runoff and JBH's misplacement of trust....now the chickens have come home to roost.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous April 23, 2009 4:18 PM
Responded to Heck Nate:

Heck Nate or Nate Hack or whatever other odd name you choose next in a pretense of not being anonymous:

Until I resign this summer, my identity will remain as anonymous as yours; lest my job security succumbs to the same fate as Murray's.

As for shirking my responsibility in not "reporting" the troll's corruption--I am just as guilty as we BOTH were under Rosenthal.
Life is difficult enough at the HCDOA without placing a target on my back...chickenshit as that might be. Notwithstanding my passive aggressive cowardliness in this regard, the troll and her inner circle of corruption will self implode on their own in due course...so don't sweat it.
You're in for a real shocker.

BTW, I agree with your frustration regarding the rampant voter apathy in the runoff and JBH's misplacement of trust....now the chickens have come home to roost.

Heck Nate's response:

I understand your position. At least you give a reason.

One thing I want to make sure there is no misunderstanding on: When you said "we", you WERE talking about Murray and YOU, not you and ME right? I NEVER worked for Rosenthal. Good luck - seriously.

Heck Nate out.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:18,
Touchee

Anonymous said...

Heck Nate,
"We" was meant for you and me. Murray was never a coward.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: 4:18 to Heck Tate in part:

"Until I resign this summer, my identity will remain as anonymous as yours; lest my job security succumbs to the same fate as Murray's. As for shirking my responsibility in not "reporting" the troll's corruption--I am just as guilty as we BOTH were under Rosenthal. Life is difficult enough at the HCDOA without placing a target on my back...chickenshit as that might be. Notwithstanding my passive aggressive cowardliness in this regard, the troll and her inner circle of corruption will self implode on their own in due course...so don't sweat it.
You're in for a real shocker."

Heck Tate Response
My apologies for misreading your post regarding "coward". Meant nothing personal. The part I was actually referring to the following portion of your post"

"As for shirking my responsibility in not reporting the troll's corruption--I am just as guilty as we BOTH were under Rosenthal."

Again, I NEVER WORKED FOR ROSENTHAL, so how could I (as you state) have shirked my responsibilities and be just a guilty (you say)as you and some other person under the Rosenthal?

I think YOU are being a little harsh on yourself on the whole passive aggressive coward comment. What is it that you, (and I use to) tell juries during punishment: “He is responsible for HIS actions - no one else".

Heck Tate out.