Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lykos on Diversity (Revisited)

You know, as I prepared to write this post, it occurred to me that I'm starting to run out of title captions that will accurately convey that the article is about yet another Lykos Administration screw up. I mean, she and the Gang just keep throwing me softballs here.

During her four and a half months in office, Lykos has, in fact, made some good decisions. She's made some iffy decisions. She's made some bad decisions.

And then, on days like yesterday, she makes decisions that honestly leave me wondering whether or not Lykos could beat a cantaloupe in an intelligence test.

Now, as I've pointed out here before, Lykos has never been particularly good at promoting diversity within her Office. With the exception of Hannah Chow, she formed the Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight out of 100% white folks. In addition, she brought over Frances Madden, a Caucasian friend and former Montgomery County prosecutor, who is now progressing up through the ranks of the Office like a Rocket Sled on Rails.

I suppose that's fine if you really could give a flying flip less about whether or not your Office appears to have any interest in diversity.

But yesterday, Lykos made a move that highlighted that sometimes her promotions are not just non-diverse, but are actually rather discriminatory.

In the earlier article I wrote about Lykos on Diversity, I made mention of the fact that of two of the African-American Felony Twos in the Office, the Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight had shipped one of them out of the Trial Bureau entirely. Well, there's a little bit more to that story, and it needs to be told.

The name of that prosecutor is Carvana Cloud. Carvana is an outstanding prosecutor who grew up in Houston and devoted her career to public service. Prior to Lykos taking over the helm of the Office, Carvana was very much on the fast track of promotions. She was liked and respected by her peers and highly praised by her supervisors.

Carvana, much to Lykos' apparent dismay, is also a Democrat. She supported Clarence Bradford in the District Attorney's race. Nothing over the top (like running a blog or something), but she did exercise her Constitutional right to support the candidate of her choice.

And when Lykos took over, she punished Carvana for it.

First, a little background.

Prior to Lykos taking over, the way the Office hierarchy worked was that when a prosecutor was first promoted to the coveted level of Felony Chief, they went to one of three places as their first assignment as Chief. They either a) went to a year long rotation in the Writs Division; b) served as the Intake Chief; or c) served as the Probable Cause Chief. (NOTE: For a general description of the difference between Intake Chief and Probable Cause Chief, see here and here.)

The Writs gig was actually pretty good if a new chief could get it, but I always referred to P.C. Chief and Intake Chief as the "sh*t spots". The job description is not much fun (especially if you have to do it for 9 months, like I did!).

However, if you are a new chief, you don't really mind going to one of those two spots, because by making Chief, you get a significant raise, your parking paid for, and you are eligible to make the big bucks at intake as Chief.

When Lykos took over, she kept both the Writs spot and the Intake spot as Chief Positions (with all the perks). However, the day she set foot in the Office, she decided to downgrade the Probable Cause spot so that it was no longer a Chief slot. The position got a demotion.

And guess who Lykos decided to send there. You guessed it - Carvana.

So basically, Carvana got moved out of the Trial Bureau (where she was thriving) and put in the aforemention "sh*t spot", but to add insult to injury, Lykos took away all the perks. No raise. No free parking. No intake eligibility. And she certainly didn't promote Carvana. It was a blatant and retaliatory move.

Fast forward to yesterday. Carvana is having a baby soon, and is out of the Office for that. So, the Administration decided they needed to get a full time replacement for the P.C. court. If Lykos was going to keep up consistency with her ideas about a Felony Two serving in P.C. Court, it would stand to reason that the Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight would just laterally move a Felony Two into Carvana's position, right?

Wrong.

Lykos made a Chief promotion for the spot.

Yesterday, Craig Feazel was promoted to District Court Chief and was assigned to Probable Cause court to replace Carvana. Don't get me wrong, Craig is an extremely talented prosecutor and will make a great chief. I've got no arguments with his promotion at all. But it is relevant that he is also Caucasian.

If this all sounds a bit convoluted, here's the bottom line:

The position of Probable Cause Chief has historically ALWAYS been a Chief position with all the benefits that go with being a Chief. Under the Lykos Administration, for four and a half months, that position was downgraded to a Felony Two position solely for the purpose of placing Carvana Cloud there (with no perks). The second that Carvana left the position, Lykos changed it right back to a Chief Position with all the perks.

So the question I have for Lykos and the Gang is simple:

Are you retaliating for political reasons (as you've sworn before you don't do), or are you racist, or just both?

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great post.

Anonymous said...

She’s not a racist, she’s just negligent and incompetent.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Anon 12:03 p.m.,
Good one. Wish I'd thought of that.

sheenatabraham said...

Based on your post, Lykos appears to have acted based on Carvana's party affiliation, not her race.

Anonymous said...

Seems to be spin here. Lykos wanted someone with experience to handle PC court and was short on cheifs, so she promoted a reliable two to PC in order temporarily support that position with the mass exodus that occurred. Now that numbers are coming back, she can fill that as a chief spot. Carvana was assigned that spot because she was highly thought of.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Anon 2:46 p.m.,
Thank you so much for enlightening us that Lykos was actually REWARDING Carvana by putting her in a crappy job with no raise. Clearly the EIGHT CHIEFS THAT SHE PROMOTED EN MASSE couldn't have filled the job. And these promotions were all done before she and the Gang had even had a chance to completely screw up the budget.

Wow.

Boy, do I feel silly for making such a stupid post . . .

Give me a break.

Anonymous said...

I worked PC Court. Short of not being able to read, anyone, I mean anyone, including the newest hires in Misdemeanor, can perform the duties at PC Court. Some Reward!! She was in Public Integrity for Pete's Sake. That is a reward! So, why move her at all? Everyone knows why and Patsy and the Gang just need to own up to it. But, that would require some transparency and integrity which you are never going to see by those losers! Who else will she throw under the bus?

Anonymous said...

Great post, sorry for the young lady, but she'll soon have a bundle of joy that will make her forget how much life sucks at the HCDA's office.

By the way, I heard a great guy that was a prosecutor in the office in the 80's and then left to become a defense attorney and then took a sabbatical of a year is now back and working at the DA's office.

He's a great guy and was a great prosecutor, but the GTCSS keeps telling people that there is a hiring freeze. I don't wanna slag his name around because he is a good guy, but I know he worked in Chow's court years ago.

I keep having people tell me, good experienced prosecutors and young lawyers who wanna be career prosecutors, that there is a hiring freeze and they can't get hired. SO what gives?

And Francis Madden? Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

She continues to show her spots. We all knew what she was like on the bench and should never have expected anything else when she was elected DA. I have yet to figure out why anyone who could retire is still there and why ex-prosecutors would return (F.M. exception).

Anonymous said...

But didnt she also move that position over to another white guy, Devlin, in creating his porn team. Taking it from a black female and moving it to a white guy...smells like a lawsuit

Anonymous said...

May I ask a stupid question (for those of us outside TX and unfamiliar with its laws)? What does the writs division do?

jigmeister said...

In Houston, the appellate division has historically been divided into direct appeals and writs. Writs are collateral attacks on convictions and different filing and substance rules govern direct appeals and writs. Also in Houston, as a result of the numerous capital convictions, there is a lengthly capital writ process involving both state and federal courts. It's a great place to learn appellate law, including writing and oral argument for young prosecutors under the supervision of some great appellate pros. More detail would be confusing and beyond my kin.

Anonymous said...

I am a recent law school graduate who interned at the office and passed the bar. I felt I was highly recommended. I was told they weren't hiring and found there wasn't a formal hiring process. I learned from my defense attorney friends that Alex Azzos? was hired. If he worked for Chow than that seems to be a bit unfair. For a governmental organization, shouldn't there be set hiring guidelines? Some former prosecutors told me that Azzo was and is a nice guy but was known for being lazy and unreliable. It seems that the Judge's patronage doesn't stop and isn't fair. All these new hires are basically getting free retirements. Am I wrong and should I do something about this- if so- what?

Anonymous said...

Well, assuming that there isn't some alternative explanation (i.e., assuming 2:46 isn't telling a little bit of truth), I'd like to give my business card to Carvana. I do employment discrimination work and you rarely see this pattern.

Demote the position, and move a black person into it. Remove the black person, and promote the position back to where it was.

And no, I'm not serious about giving her a card, but I've made good money on cases that didn't smell near this bad.

Anonymous said...

Look, I am no fan of the Gang but it is hard to back up Carvana on this one. The D.A.'s race was a hotly contested and media blitzed one. And once it was between Bradford and Lykos anyone who chose either side knew there would be consequences if their candidate lost. Carvana made it clear who she was supporting, sometimes loudly. Had Bradford won she undoubtedly would have been a favorite. But when you play in politics you sometimes get burned, I was surprised she kept her job.

Anonymous said...

It's not just TGTCSS who has taken good prosecutors and sent them to the shit spots or driven them off to the less desirable places. I know most want this to just be about TGTCSS but there are more than just Carvana that have been punished for various reasons, some/most undeserved.
Names of course.
Mark Donnelly, Rifi Newez and Carvana Cloud. Those are the recent obvious ones.
How about others for various reasons: Shanon Davis, Alexis Gilbert, Phillip Perez, Josh Hill, Bernadett Haby, Tonya Rolland, Katherine Knorr, Kelly Selenidis, Stacy Sederis and the numerous people who have not been driven to other divisions, but to actually leave the office. I'm not trying to take away anything from Carvana, but realize that she's not the first, and she won't be the last person at this office to get screwed. At this place, the nice guy really does finish last. Usually. I do know that there are exceptions to that rule.

Anonymous said...

Are you retaliating for political reasons (as you've sworn before you don't do), or are you racist, or just both?

If Patsy determines that she is a racist, does that mean she is going to fire herself?

Anonymous said...

Where is Brian Rogers and the Houston Chronicle on this? Why is the media so quick to label other prosecutors as racists based on innuendo and afraid to call Patsy out on blatant racism and political retaliation?
The answer is obvious.....Brian Rogers is a political whore and chickenshit.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Brian can only write what his the Chronicle Editors will let him print. Given that Jeff Cohen is the husband of Katherine Kase, a zealous anti-death penalty opponent and defense attorney, the Chronicle is very content not to criticize the Lykos Administration. Especially after Lykos gave her backing to the Witness Shield Law (becoming the only prosecutor's office to do so).
She bought the Chronicle's loyalty.
I will be writing more about that soon.

Anonymous said...

All you Lykos haters need to lighten up. You have NO idea how blessed we are to have her experience and wisdom. She has NEVER lost a case as a prosecutor. How many of us can say that? She's not afraid to force out the most experienced prosecutors in the office. She will gladly meet the press and will honor and exhort the members of her staff. She uses powerful words like "negligent" and "incompetent" to describe them. She is not afraid to use "rule of law" in social settings. She is not afraid to turn common sense on it's head. We are SO lucky to be blessed with her presence.

Anonymous said...

AHCL,
When a journalist is a coward and can't man up to the truth he loses all credibility. Brian Rogers is a pussy any way you cut it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:51,
Patsy will now have to re-assign herself to an intake stint after being put in time-out without pay for 3 days.
Who can visualize the nefarious troll at intake and littleman Jimmy as interim DA? I just vomited all over myself.

Anonymous said...

AHCL,
Why the focus on Carvana? It is a good story (retaliation for backing Bradford) and all, but you are forgetting about another Black female prosecutor with far more experience and time in the office than Carvana. And this prosecutor was also skipped by Feazel.
AFHCP

Anonymous said...

I am pleased to see the number of positive responses regarding tis post. However, I do have a comment specifically directed to the Anonymous poster who on 5-14-09@ 11:20PM, posted the following, in part, "...Once it was between Bradford and Lykos anyone who chose either side knew there would be consequences if their candidate lost. Carvana made it clear who she was supporting, sometimes loudly. I was surprised she kept her job."

I know Carvana very well and you should know that she is a very intelligent woman who is keenly aware of the consequences of getting involved in a political campaign. She would agree with you on one thing, she too was surprised she didn't get fired right away, but she didn't, arguably something you are not pleased about. I mean, don't you think she thought about ALL of the consequences before exercising her constitutional right to support a candidate? If you think she didn't you clearly don't know her at all. Your post is insulting and makes you seem like a bonafide C.O. Bradford and/or Carvana hater. And please know that while you find it "hard to back up Carvana on this one," the support or backing from anyone, especially a person with your opinion, is never anything Mrs. Cloud has ever or ever will expect or require.
She is certainly one of the good guys who might have finished last, but she can always hold her head high knowing that she went to work everyday and did what a prosecutor was supposed to do, "the right thing." And that is more than can be said for some folks at that office.

Anonymous said...

"Some former prosecutors told me that Azzo was and is a nice guy but was known for being lazy and unreliable."

Unless this guy is one of the upper echelon brought in (I have no idea who he is), I don't see why potshots like these are permitted here, particularly when it isn't a firsthand opinion. The guy takes a job hasn't done anything of note (for better or worse) that I am aware of, now this post will come up when his name is googled? Awesome.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:39,
Are you joking?! Pat has NEVER tried a case as a prosecutor. She brings no wisdom and no experience to her position. Seriously, are you joking????

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Anon 7:45,
Read his post again. It is written from the sarcastic perspective. It's quite brilliant, actually.

Anonymous said...

This is old. Moving on, what is going on with the admininistration taking away intakes?

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:49,

Azzo's chose to work for this administration. There are alot of people with bad google hits because of that bitch who gave him a job. Cry me a river, he gets to cash in on a great retirement late in his career. No sympathy here. Most of the people she brought in have truely proven to be less than hard workers and may just be lazy= he just may fit the mold.

That said, he can cash his gov't check and deal with the barbs that come with it.

Boo Hoo.

Anonymous said...

I get the feeling none of this is going to matter in the next few weeks. Probably anyone within striking distance is going to get promoted to chief at the rate you are losing people. Side note - why dont they make everyone go to writs who makes cheif? Sounds like a good idea to me.

Anonymous said...

Back in the day, I worked with Carvana.

If she's anything like she was a few years ago, I certainly hope she doesn't take this without a fight.

Anonymous said...

There have been postings about the Chronicle and Brian Rogers and the fear of publishing a negative story against Lykos. Those suspicions were confirmed with the story on Mike Elliot done by the chronicle. How is that news? Elliot was a terrible prosecutor. Furthermore, it was written in such a fashion that could lead someone to believe that wasn't in law enforcement that Elliot was actually good at what he did. Maybe Cindy George has bigger balls than Bernstein and Rogers.....

Anonymous said...

ANON 9:08,
The testicular short comings (pun intended)of Alan Bernstein and Brian Rogers are self evident.
Brian Rogers would copulate with a snake if he could get low enough on the ground.
I understand Alan Bernstein has a troll fetish.
The pair are a journalistic embarrassment for Houston.

Anonymous said...

Hey 7:56,
Who has more diminutive balls: Little Jimmy "I Used to Fool 'Em" Leitner or Brian "I'm the Only Pussy I Get" Rogers?

Anonymous said...

ANON 1:36,
That's a tough one. However, since Little Jimmy has been neutered Brian Rogers wins by default.
Sincerly,
ANON 7:56

Joel Rosenberg said...

Are you retaliating for political reasons (as you've sworn before you don't do), or are you racist, or just both?Nice, prosecutor-guy-style question. You know your (now-former) trade.

I know mine*, too, so I'll give you the answer.

It's really simple. When she got the gig, DA Lykos took a long, hard look at the TO&E, and decided to see where she could make some cost savings. One of the places she spotted was the Probable Cause gig -- she decided that she could save some bucks by making it a spot for a Felony Two, and deftly moved a very competent Felony Two, Ms. Cloud, into that spot, which she held down, with professional competence, until her, err, delicate condition moved her out.

Lykos spent some time with her staff working out who would be the best candidate to be moved into that spot, at least until Ms. Cloud returns from maternity leave, but what came back distressed her: every single Felony Two candidate who she thought might do made it clear that they would take the spot only as a Felony Chief, with all the perks.

Lykos quietly cooperated with the inevitable, and named the much-admired Mr. Feazel to that position -- and gave him the promotion that she deserved.

She leaned back against the rough-hewn wall in the garage and fired up a Virginia Slim with the battered Ronson that Betty had given her -- no, that's a story for another day -- and took a long drag.

"Well," she said to herself, quietly, "at least I saved the taxpayers some money for those months. I know Murray won't understand, but, hey, he wasn't going to anyway."

Jim sighed, then nodded. "Gimme one. I guess I picked the wrong week to quit cigarettes."

"Nah. Have some glue instead."
___________________
*I'm a fantasy writer, by trade.

Anonymous said...

Why did Alan Bernstein act as such a whore? Is Alan Bernstein a complete and total spineless agenda based political reporter? Is Alan Bernstein a man that has had the independence of a blind child?

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2009/05/chronicles_political_writer_ta.php

Murray, Can you please elaborate on this and let us know if this is true. Please note that this came from the whore Falkenwhore's blog.