Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Unholy Alliance

One of the questions that I get quite frequently from people who read this blog is "why doesn't the media ever report the bad stuff about Pat Lykos?"

During her five and a half months in power, Lykos has had the luxury of being treated like someone who can do "no wrong" by the Houston media, most specifically the Houston Chronicle. It would be extremely difficult for anyone to argue that Patsy is anything other than our local paper's, um, Golden Girl.

The Chronicle has continued in the tradition that Alan Bernstein started during the campaign of either ignoring, or giving exceptionally light treatment to Lykos screw ups. Ask yourself how you think Jeff Cohen's paper would have reacted if Chuck Rosenthal, or even Johnny Holmes had done the following:

-announced a policy of keeping "whale cases" and forcing them to go to trial;

-announced that no probation would be given to non-citizens of the United States;

-has a beyond shameful record of Adminstrative Racism;

-publicly humiliated two excellent prosecutors without checking her facts;

-snubbed two of her other outstanding prosecutors when they were presented with a National Award;

-paid money out of the budget for a motivational speaker to come tell the ADAs that their job was to make their boss "look good" (during the middle of docket hours, no less); OR

-singles out an African-American prosecutor with a sterling reputation and punishes her for supporting a political opponent;

Is there any one of you who can honestly say with a straight face that the Chronicle writers wouldn't be screaming at the top of their lungs?

So, what's the deal here?

Some folks have suggested that since the Chron endorsed Patsy that they have to stand by her now to save face. Maybe, but I don't really think that's it. That would tend to imply that they had some sort of institutional integrity.

My personal belief is that Lykos created an unholy alliance with them awhile back. She backs their agenda and she comes out smelling like a rose with them.

No matter what.

Before you start calling me Oliver Stone, consider this: I have it on very good authority that Lykos sent representatives from the D.A.'s Office to the Chronicle prior to this past legislative session. Their job was to see what Jeff Cohen's crew wanted the Office to back in the way of legislative bills. So, rather than basing her opinions on what was best for the community she was elected to represent, she's going to see what the media thought would be best.

The clearest example of this? The Free Flow of Information Act (AKA the Press Shield Law) This has been a bill that has been uniformly opposed by District Attorneys across the State for years now for reasons that should be apparent. It protects a journalist from having to reveal their sources if they are called upon to do so by the Court. Two exceptions to that protection are if the reporter actually witnesses a crime, or if a source admits to committing a felony to the reporter.

Those are two fantastic exceptions. But let me give you two hypothetical situations that aren't exceptions, and exemplify things that a reporter could keep hidden from law enforcement if they decided to:

Scenario # 1 - let's say there are a series of unsolved crimes in a location like, say, Acres Homes, that lead HPD to believe there may be a serial killer in the community. A witness is scared to come to the police but does agree to talk to a Chronicle reporter on the condition of anonimity. They tell the reporter that they have good information on who the killer may be. Chronicle runs the story, and the cops want to know who can help them solve the case. Under the Shield Law, the reporter doesn't have to give up the info.

I'm sure the idea of this would give many Civil Libertarians a good laugh. Let's see if the next scenario makes them laugh too:

Scenario # 2 - HPD arrests a suspect in the killings and charge him with Capital Murder. A Glory Hound Elected D.A. announces she will be seeking the death penalty. The same witness from Scenario # 1 calls up the same reporter and says that the police have got the wrong person and they know who the real killer is. Guess what? Under the Shield Law, the reporter doesn't have to give up the info.

I absolutely believe in the 1st Amendment and the Freedom of the Press. But in matters of life and death, it needs to take a back seat sometimes. That's why prosecutors have uniformly opposed the Shield Law for years.

But guess who decided to break with tradition and actually support the Shield Law this year?

Yep. That would be our gal, Patsy Lykos.

In doing so, she became Jeff Cohen and the Staff of the Chronicle's Dream Girl. And in exchange for selling her soul to the Chronicle, she gets nothing but rave reviews from them. She crafted an unholy alliance that undercuts the interests of victims of crime and (potentially) all other members of the community she is sworn to represent. In exchange, she gets the media's (bought and paid for) love.

That's why I was absolutely stunned to read Falkenburg's article last week which belittled Lykos' lack of planning on the DWI Diversion program. Of course, the Chronicle had to make up for Lisa's error. They ran a cute little article about Lykos' love of baseball, to show her sweet, human side.

Never saw anything run about Holmes or Rosenthal like that, did you?

And they made sure to also run an editorial about how right she was to be instituting pre-trial diversions on first time DWI cases in the same Sunday edition. They have yet to even air what MADD's response might be to Lykos' new scheme, or dare to write an opposing view.

No, the love affair that the Chronicle is showing towards Pat Lykos has many of us wanting to yell out "get a room!". But, when it comes to the Chronicle, why wouldn't they love Pat Lykos? They have always been more interested in an agenda that puts the interests of criminals way ahead of the interests of crime victims. The sympathy of the Chronicle has always been for those who violate the law rather than those who uphold it.

The interest of the Chronicle has always been very much the opposite of the community which they write for, in my opinion.

And when you make the realization that the Chronicle and Pat Lykos are of the same mind when it comes to our community's interest . . .

Folks, that's just damn scary.



42 comments:

Anonymous said...

I absolutely believe in the 1st Amendment and the Freedom of the Press. But in matters of life and death, it needs to take a back seat sometimes.

Fail.

The Constitution is the hardest to uphold at times when we need to keep it the strongest. The weak minded and scared will gladly sacrifice liberty for security, and when they do, it is anything but an "absolute" belief in the Constitution.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Well, Anon 4:12,
I don't think the stuff covered under the Shield Law actually falls under the 1st Amendment, or there wouldn't be a need for the Shield Law in the first place, now would there? tt would have just been covered under the 1st Amendment.

Anonymous said...

I just read the Chronicle's editorial you referenced and wondered how Lykos's plan works if the person arrested for DWI is a first-time offender and is here illegally? That seems to go in contradiction to the things she's said about illegal aliens in the past. Just a thought.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Anon 4:44 p.m.,
I wondered that myself. It's a good question. I doubt Lykos has thought that far ahead, though.

Anonymous said...

Unfuckingbelievable when you look at the totality of collusion in such a short time frame.
This is Pulitzer material for another paper to document. Now wouldn't it be ironic if the only Pulitzer the Houston Chronicle was ever associated with turns out to be an expose on their insidious corrupt relationship with the local District attorney's office.

jigmeister said...

Come on Alan. Refute this, but supply some evidence please.

Anonymous said...

Blanche, Sophia, Dorothy and Rose would be insulted!!!

Anonymous said...

The Shield law addresses something far more important than one or two killings. It addresses keeping the government honest. If people know they will not be revealed, all sorts of political corruption will be exposed.

Governments can kill far more than anyone in Acres Homes.

Anonymous said...

The Chronicle is wrong, Lykos is wrong, Leitner is wrong, Bridgewater is wrong, blah blah blah. Everyone is wrong except you and your buds in the DA's office. Why don't you run for office and make everything right? Or is it just easier to sit in front of a computer screen and criticize people who are actually trying to do something?

Anonymous said...

AHCL:

So if it's not specifically stated in the constitution, then it doesn't exist? Many of the founding fathers wrote papers criticizing the government at the time. You think they didn't have the same problems then that we do now?

The framers built in protections against the sort of literal interpretation you propose. Just because a right is not specifically listed in the constitution doesn't mean that the right doesn't exist.

Anonymous said...

The first ammendment by my reading gives you the right to use your press/computer to say whatever the hell you want to say. It does not shield you from the consequences, ie libel suits, having to tell the cops where you got the info. The press shield law is stupid. SAH

Anonymous said...

And yet again the Chron headline reads Patsy and the Pandemic.

I wonder of the pendemic includes her silver-haired garden club lady republican friends who drink in their kitchens and homes and not in the insidious bars of Houston.

Anonymous said...

June 10, 2009: Another above the fold front pager for Lykos/Cohen Inc.
Too bad coerced rehab historically has such incredibly poor outcome studies.
Statistics are a funny thing. In a year the Chronicle will report that DWI arrests are way down and will credit the troll's insane plan. However, since "1st timers" won't be counted that will be vintage Lykos data...skewed, screwed and tatted.

Anonymous said...

It does not shield you from the consequences, ie libel suits

It doesn't say "separate but equal" either, but I bet you wish we were back to those days.

For you folks out there, like the poster I quoted, who don't understand how our courts work, the courts interpret the law, and it is up to executive agencies to develop policies that reach the result demanded by the courts.
It has been determined that the best way to guarantee a free press, which is specifically listed in the constitution, is to shield journalists from prosecution in some instances where they keep their sources confidential.

It has some notable exceptions that you sniveling constitution hating ADAs should take note of.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

"Sniveling constitution hating DAs"?

Hysterical.

Anonymous said...

It is inconceivable to me that Harris County could be leading the nation in DWI related fatalities and the District Attorney could even begin to remotely contemplate any new policy that would be more lenient on DWI offenders. What is the message Lykos is sending? That's it's okay to go out and get drunk in a bar and drive on the public roadways as long as you've never been caught before? That you can skate by without a conviction on your record so long as you go to a few AA classes and promise to never do it again? Some justice this will be to those who have been killed lately by drunk drivers and their survivors! But then again if you believe The Chronicle those people are merely "collateral damage" in their ongoing effort to create a "more compassionate" criminal justice system where the solution to every criminal act is love, forgiveness and a "better understanding" of why the poor, misguided offender made poor choices.

Anonymous said...

If the Constitutional protection of the press gives the press the right to refuse to give sources in a criminal investigation, why is it that the courts (pre-shield law) have consistently ruled the press has to honor the subpoenas of the District Attorneys. It took a law, not the Constitution, to give the press the ability to refuse to honor a subpoena. You should also note, the District Attorney can not and I hope is not issuing subpoenas for information except when it is a criminal investigation. The District Attorney can not issue a subpoena just because they would like to know who has said something or criticized some one.

As to comment from Anon 10:40 PM, I would point out there is no upcoming election available for someone to run against Lykos. If there were, I am sure many, and I hope qualified, persons would be running. You may be surprised to learn there are a number of persons who are not only writing on this blog but also speaking to people involved in the political process about the future of the District Attorney's Office. I myself has urged friends who know nothing about the District Attorney's Office to become involved and learn what is happening to their District Attorney's Office. They have been shocked by what they have found out.

Anonymous said...

Wow! So everyone opposed to the shield law longs for the days of segregation? Thanks for that pearl of wisdom you dimwit

Anonymous said...

8:38,
Your true colors are a bit murky, my sister.
The separate but equal card is telling, but that dog won't hunt anymore.
Freedom of the press is not the same as protected libel and unsubstantiated inflammatory innuendo printed as fact.
A constitutional scholar you are not...a race baiting chip on the shoulder angry 1/2 assed defense attorney----now that's another story.

Ron in Houston said...

I don't know guys. Sounds way too conspiracy theory to me.

Unholy alliances don't sell papers.

If I had to throw out a theory it would be the "rats off the sinking ship" theory. Maybe the city/state reporters are not trashing her in case they need employment if the SS Chronicle goes down.

I also like to believe that journalists have integrity. Naive maybe, but I still think there have to be some folks with integrity in this world.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:40,
It sounds like you supported Richard Nixon up until his last day in office.
Your Pied Piper mentality is amazing.
Have another Jack and Coke and go get your hair blued.

Anonymous said...

Freedom of the press is not the same as protected libel and unsubstantiated inflammatory innuendo printed as fact.

You think that has anything to do with the shield law? Do you think a journalist can refuse to disclose information if their source committed a felony?

You have no idea what you're talking about. Learn to read.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks the Constitution protects a journalists from revealing their sources during a criminal investigation has never heard of Judith Miller. I would suggest you read up on her.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:58 wrote: It is inconceivable to me that Harris County could be leading the nation in DWI related fatalities and the District Attorney could even begin to remotely contemplate any new policy that would be more lenient on DWI offenders.

Harris County has taken a very punitive approach to the DWI issue and yet the harsh laws have not been successful except for to give some satisfaction after the fact to the victims' poor family members.

Taking a new approach to an old problem is definitely in order here. Will it be successful? There is no way of predicting. What is clear is what we have been doing will not be. Pretty brave move on Patsy's part especially for a politician.

Anonymous said...

DWI prosecution has been unsuccessful up to this point because we have allowed the defendant to control the collection of evidence of intoxication. SB 328 will expand the availability of mandatory blood/breath samples without a warrant. For the rest of the cases (first and second offenders), law enforcement should get search warrants any time a defendant refuses to blow. Give that two years, and I guarantee you will see a change in drunk driving behavior. Guaranteed.

Pretrial diversion is a move in the other direction. Delays use of a prior to enhance. Teaches drunk drivers that the system is weak. Bad idea.

Jim Phillips said...

Murray dont be a hater and move on with your life. Shall I repeat myself this department is moving forward and you need to get a life.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Jim,
You are up at 7:42 on a Saturday morning looking for something to bitch about, and I'm the one who needs to get a life?

Anonymous said...

Jim it appears that Murray has a life. It just so happens that he has the balls to report on issues surrounding the troll.

You state the department is moving forward, but, it seems to be moving in the wrong direction.

Ms. Troll is a racist bitch and only cares about herself. That is evident in the many things she has done since arriving on her throne.

Anonymous said...

Who is Jim Phillips?

A Harris County Lawyer said...

There is an investigator at the D.A.'s Office named Jim Phillips. However, after doing a little bit of research, it is my understanding that the person posting under the name of "Jim Phillips" and implying that he works for the Office is not the the investigator who works for the Office.

I don't know why somebody would want to do that to Investigator Jim Phillips, but it seems like a pretty low rent thing to do in my opinion. Any more postings from that person are not going to be published here, and I'm sorry for any inconvenience to the real Jim Phillips.

Anonymous said...

Could it be Pat's brother? Wouldn't surprise me.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:27,
See spot run must be your benchmark; as attention to detail clearly is not.
The death of common sense and responsibility in America are no doubt more celebrated by you and your circle of victims than Christmas.
Anon 10:59

Anonymous said...

Murray is right (for once!), you wouldn't need to legislate a shield law if keeping sources was clearly protected under either the state or fed constitution.

As somebody noted already, Judith Miller tested this theory out for a few months and then decided she didn't like the food at the jail. It is sort of surprising to me, given the state of things in Texas government, that protecting the identity of the Chon's sources who spill the beans on such earth-shattering scandals as "DA sends naughty e-mails" should be as important as the integrity of the grand jury system and the ability to investigate crime.

Even more hilarious is the fact that - despite what those mouth breathers at the capitol in Austin might think is consti-wing-ding-dang-too-shonal - such a law is going to cost the Texas taxpayer a pretty penny to defend the first time a "reporter" fails to testify in front of a federal grand jury. And the state'll lose.

-Eric M.-

Anonymous said...

Whats a blog?

-Dupont

Anonymous said...

Gee, Murray. I cannot believe that you have run out things to talk about.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Haven't run out of things to talk about. Just haven't had much time. I've had my three year old son with me all week, and I'm babysitting a 4-pound puppy.

Taking care of my kid is easy, but that damn dog is kicking my butt!

I'll try to get some new topic up soon.

Anonymous said...

I really like this quote from the Chron's fluff story about Lykos and baseball:

"I’d like to see any players who have broken the rules face up to it publicly and do everything within their powers of persuasion to dissuade young people from using these drugs as opposed to sending them to prison. I think the truth has great powers for them. It’s got to be awful for them to know that they cheated and then perhaps committed perjury."

Hey Pat, do you think they thought it was cheating when they took the roids? Don't you mean that you know they feel awful that they got caught?

I dont live in Houston area anymore but it is good to see that the elected DA thinks that the IV drug users and perjurers in MLB need a break!

Thanks for the great blog Murray and keep it up! I would probably move back to Houston just to vote for you for DA!

Anonymous said...

Sounds..like..a..umm....certain... err...President of the US?

Anonymous said...

Murray,

As a former ADA with 11 years of service in the Holmes era, I agree with everything you've written about Lykos. But please stop goofin' so much on Pat and her toadies and give us more on the rest of the HCCJC. Bennett did a blog on the announced judicial candidates a few weeks back. I'd love to see you weigh in on that. There's more to what's going on down at the courthouse than the temporary reign of Patsy the Pretender.

JB

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:20,
The "Tricky Troll" will make 'Tricky Dick" look like an amateur by the time her reign of corruption ends in 2012.

Anonymous said...

Murray, maybe the media needs to ask why Woody Densen's case was not filed the way it would have been for any regular citizen. Was it because he's a former Judge like Lykos? Is it because Densen's lawyer is a huge Lykos supporter who we have all heard has gotten special treatment before? The Chron will never look into it

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:19,
Maybe if Brian Rogers could get laid without directly paying for it he could report truthfully on the shenanigans of Lykos and Leitner.
However,whore mongers are what they are so don't count on Rogers having an ethical epiphany any time soon.
I will bet all takers that when Lykos is on the board of some alcohol/drug rehab center as a quid pro quo for all her county directed referrals that will be hush hush as well.