Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Carol Vance's Boomtown D.A.

I normally don't do much advertising on this blog for a variety of reasons, but I thought some of my readers who were interested in the historical aspects of the Harris County District Attorney's Office, as well as the Harris County Criminal Justice System in general might be interested in reading former District Attorney Carol Vance's book, Boomtown D.A.

I was recently provided a copy by the kind folks over at Whitecaps Media, and I've started reading it. Unfortunately, given my schedule these days, I'm a little behind in my book lists.

I have read the first couple of chapters, and it is a very interesting book, especially to me as a former-prosecutor. The salaries and the (lack of) manpower that the office had back in the late 1950s is a stark contrast to what there is today, and it is hard to imagine Harris County ever being so small that that would be manageable. It is kind of like if they were doing a Mad Men version of the D.A.'s Office.

Back when I was a brand new felony Two in Judge Ted Poe's court and Caroline Dozier was my chief, Judge Poe got frustrated with the prosecutors and barked out: "Ms. Dozier, I want you, Newman, and the Mullet in my chambers right now."

At the time, I thought that Poe had come up with a wildly hysterical and original insult for our then-Number Three (which, I would have completely agreed with the Judge at that point on his description). I laughed about that moment for years.

But after reading a bit of Boomtown D.A., I learned that the "Mullet" was what the Three in a court used to be regularly referred to.

In the first couple of chapters, that is what makes for such enjoyable reading in the book. I look forward to reading the rest of it as Mr. Vance covers a very transitional time in Harris County. His tenure as a prosecutor would span through the 1960s and 1970s and encompass the period of time of some of Houston's most notorious crimes -- from the Joan Robinson Hill case to Dean Corll & Elmer Wayne Henley & David Brooks.

I look forward to finishing reading the book, and if you want to get a copy of it yourself, you can get it from the link to Whitecaps Media (above), or through Amazon.com. (NOTE: The link to Amazon.com also references a book called The Man with the Candy by Jack Olsen, which is also an outstanding book about the Corll/Henley murders. I read it a long time ago, and I highly highly recommend it.

Let me know what y'all think.


Just Sayin' said...

It follows that:
Carol Vance evolved to JBH.
Chuck Rosenthal evolved to Pat Lykos.
But WTF happened in between?

Just Sayin'

Anonymous said...

Great book and a fun read. I see where Carol got an award for outstanding DA in the US. So is there an award for the poorest DA in the US because I have a nominee.

Thanks to Carol Vance for writing the book. Really, if you want to know what a good DA is like, buy and read the book.

Anonymous said...

Can we expect a book from Holmes? Could give us a look at our next great era.

Anonymous said...

I'm dying to know who "the mullet" number three in your court was! I started with you and have been racking my brain trying to think who had a mullet do'!

A Harris County Lawyer said...

E-mail me or call me and I'll tell you, Anon 3:26.