Friday, August 28, 2009

Tyler Flood's Experience with the DIVERT Program

My friend and Officemate, Tyler Flood, was kind enough to share his recent experience with Pat Lykos' new, controversial DIVERT program. Tyler, who's criminal law specialty is DWI and other related intoxication offenses details how Bridgwater's "rehabilitation program" really is just a great opportunity for a DWI Defendant to risk getting betrayed and screwed over by the Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight.

Tyler describes his experience as follows:

I accompanied a client to a DIVERT interview a week and half ago and met Raymie Hairell-Sweat, the person in charge of this program at 49 San Jacinto. She was very professional and did an excellent job at calming my concerns about what questions would be asked of my client about the actual incident. I was concerned with my client making any admission that could later be used against him. I expressed my concern to Raymie that I didn’t want my client to have to go into details about the incident and she ASSURED me that the interview wouldn’t be that intrusive and that a brief statement of what happened would suffice, such as “I was arrested for DWI.” I was more impressed upon our exit that Raymie actually went to the interviewer and told her to be cautious about asking too many questions about the incident that the attorneys were there and are very concerned.

WELL…on another client, we just received an email from ADA Roger Bridgwater, stating, “It appears his needs exceed the ability of DIVERT.” A Rejection from the program! His SALCE scores weren’t even at the highest 5 mark. They were in the middle and they still rejected him. Mr. Bridgwater attached the interview and it is a complete de-briefing on the incident covering EVERYTHING about what happened, including how much the client drank, admissions of operating, basically everything they need to have a solid case at trial now. They first promised they wouldn’t ask intrusive questions and were not seeking admissions and now not only do they send me a rejection letter into the program but through the interview process they have just prepared themselves for trial at our $202 expense!

After calming down and reflecting, it all makes perfect sense…They claim DIVERT is about rehabilitation and treatment for those that struggle with substance abuse. They also say that they are going to have a ZERO TOLERANCE policy meaning one screw up, one reading of alcohol in the ignition interlock, one relapse, whatever you call it, that person is out of the program and on their way to jail.

The problem is that treatment and zero tolerance are contradicting strategies. Treatment is not about "no mistakes". Treatment commonly involves relapse. This presents a problem to the DIVERT program. It sets it up to have very low success rates. The DA’s office needs for it to appear successful. So how do we fix the problem? By now deciding to reject anybody who they think won’t make a zero tolerance policy. Rejecting everyone who truly needs and could benefit from REAL treatment. Reject anybody who may have a problem and then you’ll have higher success rates. From what I heard yesterday, there was a meeting and it was stated that half of all applicants are in fact being rejected. So much for across the board acceptance for first time offenders.

I was suspicious of this program before, and now I am just angry. I would caution every attorney and client considering taking it and I would urge the attorney’s presence at the interview when possible.


Anonymous said...

Is it not possible to somehow claim these were statements made for the purpose of settlement discussions, which are exempt from use at trial?

Anonymous said...

Here here. The hope of the defendant in making these statements is clearly to obtain the opportunity for a particular plea agreement, not -- as in most plea agreements where the defendant provides statements -- PURSUANT to a plea agreement. Unless the DA's have agreed to the pretrial diversion no matter what, these are settlement negotiations.

Anonymous said...

If Brian Rogers won't step up Lisa Faulkenberg might be offended enough to put it out there.

Anonymous said...

What a surprise. Lykos administration not being forthright.

Anonymous said...

rage now has written documentation to support his claim that legal ethics is officially moot at the cjc?
appellate will soon be our largest division.
there's gotta be some civil recourse lurking.
due process is dead.
no doubt that harris county "justice" is rich amusement fodder for the rest of texas.

Anonymous said...

The Hon. Roger Brigewater is a very ethical man who serves as the moral compass for Pat. You are obviously taking this all out of context in your misguided mission to discredit a great man and powerful litigator. Maybe your friend is not properly trained in the legal profession or has not been able to adequately grasp the concept of Mr. Bridgewater's plan. Nevertheless, I am sure that Mr. Bridgewater has done nothing wrong and you're only upset that your friend was outlawyered.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Hmm, pretty sure that's not it, Anon 5:35.

Bridgwater lost the title of "ethical" and "moral compass" by his own actions as the Chaplain of the Davidians some time ago. Perhaps you are the one who ought to re-evaluate your friend.

Tyler Flood said...

I knew Roger Bridgewater when he was a criminal defense lawyer, one who enjoyed an excellent reputation. I knew him to be an honorable man and ethical defense lawyer. I am sure that he also has his concerns with DIVERT. How can you not?

Anonymous said...

The last time Bridgewater was in trial he was a defense attorney in the 185th. He acted like a child and had a panic attack in the middle of trial.

Roger the "Trial Dodger". He has that nickname for a reason!

Anonymous said...

Keep working for your client with that email! How can you not? Is that a rhetorical question?

Roger has demonstrated an ability to detach himself from reality on numerous occasions since he became the preacher for Koresh.

Rage Judicata said...

rage now has written documentation to support his claim that legal ethics is officially moot at the cjc?

had that for years. You only agree when it's about someone you despise, but were happy to look the other way under Rosenthal and Holmes.

your friend was outlawyered.

So, DIVERT is now a litigation tactic?

I've seen lots of unethical actions by lots of unethical lawyers. But none are more despicable than when people are put in jail after a prosecutor does something like this. It's too bad that it takes a Lykos policy decision for you people to wake up and see that this kind of thing is wrong. This has gone on for years under different guises.

Anonymous said...

"This has gone on for years under different guises."

Blah blah blah blah blah broken record with no idea wtf you are talking about blah blah blah

OUTRAGED said...

Rage is the quintessential example of how a little knowledge and/or misinformation more often than not leads to gross misrepresentation.
In all prior HCDA administrations there have been some bad outcomes. These unfortunate events have generally been highly publicized and usually in a biased light to serve the media's and/or defense bar's agenda. In reality, most of the "bad" outcomes were either grossly misrepresented (eg. DNA exonerating "evidence") to the public or resulted from honest mistakes or seemingly perfect storms. Rarely have prosecutorial negligence or intentional malicious acts been an issue at HCDA. Prior to the Lykos regime, other than the infamous Chuck Rosenthal's personal professional transgressions, I am unaware of any intentional misconduct condoned by Harris County prosecutors. Brady violations and Batson issues notwithstanding; as these allegations are grossly exaggerated by those advocating ADAs be less aggressive (effective) so as to further ill deserved gains by wrongdoers.
Therefore, it is my opinion that Rage comparing DIVERT to business as usual at 1201 Franklin is as nonsensical as he is.

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, what are you trial dogs charging to babysit clients through this gauntlet of woe? Putting them on the hourly meter? This program sounds like a huge timesuck. I'm trying to imagine Mike Hinton sitting through more than 10 minutes of one of these meetings without spontaneously combusting.

-Eric M-

Anonymous said...

The Divert Program is a SCAM by the Criminal Justice System! I went 10 out of 12 months through the program then blew a .03 in my interlock system & they put me out of the program. All the fees and money I spent in those 10 months down the drain. I had to start my classes all over & pay fees all over, get another lawyer, a new probation officer...everything! I end up paying over $13,000 for a 1st offense DWI! But i tell you what....i will not get another DWI because I will never give them people another dime of my money!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon DIVERT is a SCAM. I'd like to see Judges and prosecutors wear SCRAM bracelets, install breathalyzer devices on the vehicles of all immediate family members including themselves, and go through DIVERT for a mere minimum of six months...Bridgewater is Pat's moral compass? It's interesting how what is in my opinion a Bible thumping hypocrite orchestrates this kind of SCAM, and I wouldn't be surprised if kickbacks for some of these "failproof" devices weren't in place for some of these folks...they jump from one device to another with all the added on "fees" to prove their punishments to first and non-violent offenders and DWI cases...trying to be the watchdogs of society and control what you even do in your own home. As someone posted earlier, DIVERT is a mockery of real treatment and therapy. Frankly, on any given day at Vic & Anthony's and other establishments in the neighborhood, you'd catch most of the players in the Harris County Criminal Justice System getting their BAC out of whack. They ruin more lives of first offenders than lives ever saved, and they pat themselves on the back for an injustice served by their ego and abuse of authority! Police Officers cover up for one of their own who gets drunk wearing the badge and rams a bus and get a mere reprimand when in these courts people with half the same level are all but hung? I'm with you Anon who refuses to give another dime...some of these should lose their privileges to rule in order they learn the value of a dime and the mechanics how real lives work. I get gratification they will all one day meet divine justice!

Anonymous said...

DIVERT Program is just a money maker. The let you get sooo far take your mone for DIVERT Class, SALCE test, DIVERT evaluation, and not to mention SOP or IOP just to audit you at zero tolerance as mentioned before and dismiss the person from the program. Then that person gets to pay DWI fees w/ DWI class etc. Through personal experience DIVERT is not there to help its there to hurt!!!