Ted Oberg at Channel 13 did a report tonight on County Court at Law # 1 Judge Paula Goodhart granting a Writ filed Defense Attorney Brent Mayr in a B.A.T. Van case.
The long story short is that Brent took a case to trial earlier this year where his client was charged with D.W.I. and the results of an intoxilyzer from a B.A.T. Van were used in the trial. The client was convicted and Brent filed this Writ on the grounds that the Harris County District Attorney's Office failed to turn over exculpatory evidence to him regarding the reliability of the vans. In essence, the allegations of the Writ were Prosecutorial Misconduct that resulted in his client not receiving a fair trial.
Judge Goodhart granting the Writ is tremendously significant, because that means that she felt the facts of the case supported what Brent said in his Writ -- the Harris County District Attorney's Office withheld exculpatory evidence. Regardless of what happens with the 185th Grand Jury, we now have an official ruling from a court that Pat Lykos' gang is definitely not shooting straight when it comes to the Rules of Evidence.
As I was thinking about the significance of this Writ being granted, it jogged my memory to an incident that had occurred earlier on in the Lykos Administration. Apparently, allegations of withholding evidence favorable to a client isn't something exclusive to B.A.T. vans.
If you will recall, back in October of 2009, a hearing was conducted in a Child Abuse case where a Judge found that the District Attorney's Office had withheld Brady (exculpatory) material in trial. At that point, although the Judge made the ruling, it was found to be "harmless" error because the trial was still proceeding. Little ever became of the issue after the trial.
But another one of the similarities that I recalled from the 2009 trial was the role of a Whistleblower.
In the Child Abuse case, a Harris County D.A. paralegal named Kim Flores confirmed that exculpatory evidence had been withheld. Ms. Flores suffered the same fate that Amanda Culbertson is currently going through.
Rather than be rewarded for bringing to light the D.A.'s Office's errors, she got fired (after she had turned in her resignation letter).
She wrote about it on the blog back in 2009.
At some point, I'm hoping that the folks around this county are going to take notice of the Lykosian method of dealing with Brady violations. It is worth noting that thus far, there has been no statement from Lykos or her Council of Geniuses that condemn the hiding of exculpatory evidence.
At a minimum, I suppose that Kim Flores and Amanda Culbertson can at least start a support group for each other.