Monday, June 27, 2011

Ken Magidson

At 8:30 a.m. on Christmas Eve of the worst year of my life, Ken Magidson fired me from a job that I had held and deeply loved for a little over nine years.

Today, I learned that President Obama has nominated him to be the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas.

My thoughts?

President Obama could not have made a better selection.

Ken Magidson came to the Harris County District Attorney's Office in a time when the Office was experiencing discord and turmoil unequalled in its history.  Hell, it was probably experiencing more discord and turmoil than any District Attorney's Office had ever experienced in its history.

And like the Captain of a ship at sea in the middle of a hurricane, Ken Magidson calmed the passengers and rode out the storm with a leadership that was desperately needed at the time.  He told us to all sit down, shut up, do the right thing, and this too would pass.

And he was right.

As the scandal of Chuck Rosenthal was impugned upon every last Assistant District Attorney's integrity, he was the calm in the Storm.  He assumed the leadership of an Office in crisis and led it back to stability.  He was a stranger and an outsider to those of us who were too young to have known him when he had worked at the Office, but his leadership skills calmed and reassured us all.  He made us all stop focusing on the scandal that didn't affect our day-to-day job and go back to doing what we had sworn an oath to do.

Seek Justice.

With his offbeat manner and strange habit of snapping two fingers and then clapping his hands as he spoke, he got all of us re-focused in a time that was very difficult to focus.  He became a leader of people that did not know him, and he did it seamlessly.

He was a prosecutor's prosecutor that had us all refocused on doing the task at hand.  Despite our personal differences (and argument over the definition of the First Amendment), I loved the guy.  The Harris County District Attorney's Office would be in a much better place than it is now if only Magidson had remained in charge of it.

On a personal level, the way I feel about Ken Magidson will always trouble me.  I liked him.  I respected him.  I was sad that my relationship with him ended on a bad note.

On a professional level, he is a leader that I would follow into battle at a moment's notice.

I wish him the best in his new position, and think that any politician who would question his ability to do his job is a fool.

He is a good man who will make any institution he leads better through his leadership.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm sure his firing you was part of that transition. He needed everyone to be on board, at least publicly, and you were vocal in your opposition to the incoming DA.

That, or Lykos/Commissioners/Republican Party had him do her dirty work for you.

The former would be as admirable as anything else you mentioned. The latter would make him little more than an errand boy.

If he continues the Bush/Obama invasion of our liberties, then we'll know which he is.

Rage

Anonymous said...

Rage, do you ever shut the fuck up?

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that D Goode was the one that insisted Magidson fire you before your two week notice was up.

If that's true isn't Karma a big ole B.

Anonymous said...

No.

Rage

Anonymous said...

I liked Ken Magidson and hoped that he would have stayed on as D.A. instead of Lykos. I guess that was just wishful thinking.

I liked how in one ethics training, Marc Brown was going on about how "if your sole witness dies the weekend before the trial was to begin, it was NOT unethical not to tell the Defense attorney before he pled guilty." Magidson jumped up, said, "No, you're not going to do that. You're going to tell the defense attorney the truth." And then he just got up and left. It was his call, as acting D.A., and it is the right call.

I wish him all the luck.

Charlene said...

I must say your kind words about the man speaks more for your character than gossips. SMILE

Anonymous said...

Magison is a leader with character and integtrity. While Lykos has meetings with the rank and file in where she insists on hearing praise, Magidson would actually seek out people who tried a hard case or worked hard to help others, and would thank them personally.
Since he was a prosecutor, and not a politician, he knew what it took to prosecute cases. Something about which Lykos has no clue. She has never and will never try a criminal case. So how is she qualified to lead an office of prosecutors?

Magidson, we respect you, and we wish you were still the captain of our ship. Congrats to you, and to all my friends at the Feds.

Anonymous said...

"I liked how in one ethics training, Marc Brown was going on about how "if your sole witness dies the weekend before the trial was to begin, it was NOT unethical not to tell the Defense attorney before he pled guilty." Magidson jumped up, said, "No, you're not going to do that. You're going to tell the defense attorney the truth."

That never, ever, ever happened.

Anonymous said...

The Sixth Floor has breathed a huge sigh of relief. Magidson will certainly not run for D.A. now. He would have to resign to run because of the "Hatch" act. He could have retired to run if just an AUSA, but as the USA, he would not keep the post for six months then resign.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

I was not at the referenced meeting, but my sources state that the statement was made, but not by Marc Brown. I doubt the ADA who did make the statement will acknowledge it.

Those prosecutors who ascribe to the view that a dead witness doesn't have to be revealed to defense counsel are adhering to the strict definition of what is exculpatory evidence. Just because a witness died doesn't mean that it negates factual guilt, in other words.

Most prosecutors that I know would never hide that ball.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:01,

It absolutely DID happen, though Murray is correct - the statement wasn't made by Marc Brown. It was made by Bill Exley.

KMag not only shut it down ("it" being the notion that just because something isn't technically Brady we as prosecutors don't have an ethical duty to disclose), but he promptly ended the training session, which had gone over on time as I recall.

Needless to say, it made quite an impression.

Anonymous said...

My mistake. Marc Brown, Bill Exley, all you white prosecutors look the same to me.

Anonymous said...

My mistake. Marc Brown, Bill Exley, all you white prosecutors look the same to me.

Me too!

Rage