Thursday, October 29, 2009

Adios, Amigo

Tomorrow (Friday, October 30th) will be my friend, Mark Donnelly's last day at the Harris County District Attorney's Office before he heads off to work at the U.S. Attorney's Office.

To say his departure is a loss for the D.A.'s Office is a tremendous understatement, but given the way he was treated by Pat Lykos, the move comes as no surprise.

I first met Mark when I was a Misdemeanor Chief during the Summer of 2001. The offices at 1201 Franklin had been abandoned in the wake of Tropical Storm Allison and we were operating under Flood Conditions out of the old Early Voting location on Texas. He was a rookie prosecutor who had the audacity to wear some sort of prissy little bow tie to work.

It was a pretty bold move for a rookie, and I decided to harass him about it. If I recall correctly, he had no hesitation about hurling back a barrage of bald jokes in response. Even though it was totally at my expense, it was hysterical. Mark pretty much fit right in from the second he set foot in the door at the D.A.'s Office.

Mark was immensely popular at the Office, and he was one hell of a good prosecutor too. He was smart, talented in trial, and bilingual. He was fair and even-handed with the Defense Bar. He was helpful to his co-workers. He was respected by the judges. I don't think he had an enemy within the Office, and we all knew he was going to end up in politics some day.

Everybody freaking loved Mark.

I can remember one time having to call Judge Susan Brown about getting a search warrant signed in the middle of the night. I was assigned to her court, so when she answered the phone, I joked: "Hey Judge, it's your favorite prosecutor."

Her response: "Donnelly?"

The point I'm trying to make (without letting this post sound too much like a eulogy) is that Mark was literally a Golden Child at the Office and few prosecutors who have ever worked there could make the claim that they represented the Office as well as he did. He was born to be a leader in that Office, and I have no doubt he will be a leader with the Feds.

His career was immaculate and unblemished until Pat Lykos decided to jump the gun and call him "negligent and incompetent" on the front page of the newspaper. Of all the colossal f*ck ups that Lykos and crew have committed in their 10 months in power, nothing has gotten anywhere near what she did to Mark and Rifi.

And she never even bothered to offer those guys an apology.

I find it tremendously interesting when you compare Lykos' reaction to the Batson situation with her complete and total lack of reaction to last week's Brady situation. Apparently Lykos and the Gang don't consider the hiding of exculpatory evidence to be quite as serious of an ethical violation as a Batson challenge.

My hope is that HCCLA will ultimately beg to differ on that particular issue.

So Mark, I (and everybody else who worked with you) wish you the best of luck over on the National Level. I assume we'll see the bow-tie trend taking over the Federal Courthouse in no time. Even if your fashion sense was a little off, you are a great prosecutor and you'll continue to be one no matter where you are.

And to Patsy and the rest of the Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight, I hope at some point you all will sit down and realize what a tremendous screw up you have made in running off a dedicated public servant like Mark Donnelly. You showed your asses on that move back in March and now you're paying for it.

The citizens of Harris County were lucky that he stuck around as long as he did.


Anonymous said...

Life on the other side is better than you can imagine.
Integrity counts and you, unlike some other folks, will always have that. Keep your head high, kick ass and never look back.
You did good brother.

Anonymous said...

If you want good fashion sense or want to know when is the best time of year to wear a particular fabric (such as linen or seer sucker) then go to Donnelly. He may be a bow-tie lover but the man knows his fashion rules. Also, Mark, you will love the feds. Welcome to the world of professionalism and accountability (you'll become familiar with the Office of Professional Responsibility). Good luck.

Anonymous said...

God I will miss that guy! He really had no concept of how well liked and respected he was and is. I wish him nothing but the best.

As far as HCCLA following up on the Brady violation: Does anyone have standing to make a complaint to the bar or must it be the offended party? I have heard the Crimes Against Children division has been renamed Crimes Against Brady Division. Seems appropriate.

Luci Davidson said...

Mark, you know how I feel about you. I enjoyed supervising you and watching you turn into one of the most talented trial lawyers the HCDA office has ever seen. I admired you for following "you know who" into 2 different assignments without one single complaint. You are a very honorable man and the Feds are very lucky to have you. You will be greatly missed at the CJC. PS, see if you can keep Mark White in line. He needs it!

Anonymous said...

Outstanding addition to the US Attorney's Office and a great loss for the citizens of Harris County. (Tempted to make a comment about how the current HCDA office administration would not recognize talent if it bit them on the ***) Congratulations Mark on an outstanding career as an ADA and I hope you remember the good years and the good people. I am lucky to have worked with you.

Anonymous said...

Good move Mark and congratulations. You're a great prosecutor and a class act.

Pat Lykos you can go f*ck yourself you classless whore.

Anonymous said...

What a bitch slap at Lykos that the United States Justice Department would hire someone that the Harris County District Attorney had declared publicly to be "incompetent". The FBI does a thorough background on all Justice Department applicants before they're hired. Harris County Asst. DAs just need to pass the Hannah Chow litmus test. Lykos/Leitner/Chow/Bridgewater are an embarrassment to Harris County and should resign for the good of the office

Anonymous said...

Mark, your awesomeness will be sorely missed at the office. This assclown in particular is full of sadness at you leaving, but happy as can be that you'll still be prosecuting. Godspeed, and good luck my friend.

Anonymous said...

Way to go Lykos! You have run off one of the most respected, talented and ethical ADAs you had.

Mark, best of luck to you! You will be greatly missed and the Feds are lucky to have you.

David said...

A lot of people don't know, but Mark is also one HELL of a kickball player/manager. The World Adult Kickball Association (WAKA) will hopefully either allow him to create a new team and/or "federal" division, or will admit him into the Hall of Fame, waiving the standard five year waiting period.

Sure, to most, it's just a game. But we haven't seen anyone with the skills Mark has since fourth, fifth, dare I say sixth grade.

Keep kicking Mark!

basement breakfeast club said...

Murray, we can all agree Mark was a fine lawyer but here you go asking in more than one way to see if Pat will bring you back. You have to move on Murray its almost a year now. All you have to do is get rid of this useless blog and talk to Roger about coming on board. We at the basement breakfeast club have vouch for you to come back.

Anonymous said...

I started at the office with Mark Donnelly and am honored to have worked with him. I agree with Murray in that you would be hard pressed to find someone that didn't like him and respect him. His quick wit, smarts, and fashion critiques will be sorely missed. Good luck to you Mark. Everyone at the CJC will miss you tremendously.

Anonymous said...

Donnelly- you will be a tremendous asset wherever you go. This is their loss. Its obvious here that there are and have been a lot of people behind you after what happened, which was utterly ridiculous. Glad to see you will be continuing your career as a prosecutor. Rob

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Basement Breakfeast (sic) Club:
Based on the usual hour of your regular posts and their content, I can't decide if you write them when you are just sleep-deprived or drunk. Or perhaps you are just profoundly stupid.
Oh well. Some mysteries just never get solved.

Anonymous said...

The Breakfast of Champions' Club has been replaced with the Basement Breakfeast Club. So consider the source and don't sweat it, my good friend.

The office you were once so proud to be a part of no longer exists. They are self destructing faster than anyone could have imagined.
I wouldn't be surprised if the State intervenes before 2012 out of public necessity.....

Anonymous said...

Mark, you will be really missed at the CJC! You are a class act and Pat and company are too stupid to see that. The Feds are going to love you!!

Murray, do you think they are going to do anything about Denise Oncken's total disregard for Brady or does it not matter if you are a Lykos supporter?

Also, do you think they will do anything about Rachel Palmer campaigning on county time for CCL#13 bench? The Misdemeanor ADAs are really feeling a lot of pressure from her to contribute and campaign for her. They don't like it and shouldn't have to put up with that. Last time I looked, that was and is a crime. Whatever happened to "The Rule of Law" in this administration? I guess it doesn't matter if you are a Patsy supporter. What a two-faced b*tch!!!!

Anonymous said...

I know I will miss having Mark around. There isn't an ADA who is smarter or more likeable than him.

Anonymous said...

I was glad I was able to see Mark tonight and to wish him well. A great gentleman and attorney. Congratulations on your move.

Edward D. Porter

Anonymous said...

On a completely unrelated note. I've finally decided on my Halloween costume. I'm going as Lykos. Be afraid. Be VERY afraid!!

Anonymous said...

Mark never let any of his co-workers self esteem get over their knee caps. Damn he was fun to work with.

Anonymous said...

Rachel Palmer works harder than anyone in the office. She also stayed positive throughout this year when negativity has been the trend. She deserves to be Judge of CCCL# 13. Be careful with what you post, slander is taken seriously.

Anonymous said...

Mark, you will be missed at the Courthouse. Mark was in my pre-commit class at the DA's Office and the night we got our Bar test results, I was in trial in Michael Peter's Court. By the time the jury came back with a verdict and we did punishment, Mark was the only one left at the Dancin' Marlin to have a celebratory drink with me for passing the Bar.

To a talented, well-liked, smart and all-around-good guy; the Best of Luck at DOJ.


A Harris County Lawyer said...


Okay, kids. This post was about saying goodbye to Donnelly -- not about Rachel Palmer's decision to run for Judge against Denise Bradley.

Here's a tip, though, Anon 8:23 that I've learned in my 1.5 years of blogging: If you want people to come screaming out everything negative they can about a person, just label that person as being better than everyone else. Then follow it up with a threat of slander.

Folks are entitled to their opinions and they can state them freely.

But not on this post.

We'll talk about Rachel Palmer on another day.

Anonymous said...

I was an intern for Mark Donnelly...He was one of the best chief's to work for...Sad he is leaving the office but happy he is moving on to bigger and better things. It won't be the same without him or his bow ties. Thanks for everything Mark.

Blackburn said...

Congrats on finally getting out Mark. Depsite what that office has become, you will still miss it, but you are really going to enjoy your new job. Welcome to the Feds.

Sorry you had to follow me into two different courts. Although he didnt complain to you Luci, he certainly complained to me.

Xi said...

anon 8:23,
I think you meant libel, honey. Your legal prowess is on par with the Lykos drone you support.
Truth is an absolute defense so it may might be time to "prepare" for an open records request if you all plan on hiding it once again.

If Lykos can trick the Republican base and electorate with the likes of Rachael Palmer over the highly qualified Denise Bradley then political corruptness will once again prevail.

My fellow and former ADAs:
May I suggest, as a practice run for the ousting of Lykos and her band of Gangsters in 2012, that we all join together in support of Denise Bradley. Denise is by far the more qualified candidate. Sound familiar?

For a change, let's stand up for someone we believe to be the right person for the elected position regardless of the personal consequences; lest we be reduced to the timid souls who stand for nothing and are nothing.

Katie said...

I wish the best of luck to Mark in his new career. When I first started at the office as a baby prosecutor, he was always so considerate and took the time to say, “Hello, Katie,” and ask me how my day was going as I rushed into the elevator. As a newbie whose job was to push the bucket to court and make RIP calls, it gave me a sense of importance to know that someone actually knew my name and cared if I was hanging in there. Each time he saw me, “Hello, Katie,” and how are you doing. Best of luck to you and your bowtie. A real class act.

Katie Sweeten

Anonymous said...

Here here! I had the joy of supervising Mark early in his career. He was a fine prosecutor when he first started and a joy to work with. I recently met a grand juror who remembered you and your bow ties -- he spoke very highly of you. I haven't met a single person -- except Lycos -- who has felt otherwise. She may be the biggest loser ever, but you Mark, are awesome! Happy trails! I wish you the best, man!