Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Other 95% and the Origins of a "Conspiracy"

APOLOGIES IN ADVANCE - This one is long and rambling.  There should be a point in there somewhere:

When it comes to politics in Harris County (and perhaps any county), I've always considered the races affecting the Criminal Justice Center to be somewhat of an oddity.  Let's face it, as a wise Homicide Investigator once told me, we deal with probably less than 5% of the population (if that much).  The President, the Governor, or the Legislature can enact laws that affect us all, yet most citizens' involvement with the criminal justice system comes from jury duty.

For those of us regularly involved in the System, whether it be as a lawyer, a judge or a police officer, it can easily become 95% of our lives (if that little).  We know each other.  We work with each other.  We socialize with each other.  Sometimes, we even marry each other.  Whether we like it or not, we know the way the cogs and wheels within the Harris County Criminal Justice turn and how the System works.  Prosecutors know what defense attorneys are good and bad.  Defense attorneys know what prosecutors are reasonable and which aren't.  How a judge will react to certain sets of facts usually doesn't involve much guesswork.

And every election year, the path and direction of the Criminal Justice System can potentially get turned on its ear by the, well, the Other 95%.  Well-meaning voters who diligently flock to the polls (as they should) are deciding something that they know so very little about.  They vote for a candidate that perhaps they've met at a function or whose name sounds familiar to them, or maybe even just the person whose name comes first on the ballot.  Even very politically active voters who work hard to inform themselves, such as my friend Dave Jennings (AKA Big Jolly) can end up getting mislead on some of the real issues involving the criminal justice system.

Those of us who are within the System try to do the best we can to inform our friends, neighbors, and family members about what we know and who we think are deserving of votes.  Often, that's not enough.

I came to the Harris County District Attorney's Office in 1999 and had been there all of three months before longtime elected District Attorney Johnny Holmes announced he wasn't going to run for re-election.  On the same day of his announcement, Chuck Rosenthal announced his candidacy.  He was a controversial Division Chief from within the Office who was regarded by most of his co-workers as rather aloof and somewhat odd.  But Chuck was politically active within the Republican Party and when he made his announcement, nobody else from the D.A.'s Office was going to run against him.  Mr. Holmes wasn't particularly thrilled about Chuck's candidacy, but said he was staying out of it.

Mr. Holmes had to change his position when Judge Pat Lykos announced she too would be seeking the District Attorney's position in 2000.  Lykos had been off the bench in Harris County for quite some time, but her memory lived on -- and not in a good way.  She was known by the older lawyers as mean, crude, vindictive and dishonest.  Almost any attorney who was practicing in the 1980s to 1990s has a Lykos horror story.  Although Johnny Holmes was far from being a fan of Chuck Rosenthal's, he felt that was the better choice than Lykos.

Ironically, my group of friends at the Office at the time were all Baby Prosecutors.  We had heard a lot of bad things about Chuck and all we really knew about Lykos at the time was that she had presided over the Karla Fay Tucker trial.  We thought that was pretty cool and some of us (yes, I said "us") thought we should vote for Lykos.  I had met her before and even smoked cigarettes with her when she was a visiting judge.  I kind of thought she was cool.  (NOTE:  this is the blog equivalent of me doing a walk of shame).

But after hearing what other attorneys (both prosecutors and defense attorneys) had to say, Chuck became the choice as the Lesser of Two Evils.  He won in 2000 and again in 2004.  There wasn't much change or disruption at the Office.  Chuck was kind of like a groundhog who would appear at infrequent occasions.  He didn't get involved in how we tried out cases.  He was kind of like a weird uncle that you keep in the basement.  He would come out every once in awhile, do something dumb, and then go back to his Office.

Those of us who say we loved working for the Office loved the Elected-District Attorney's absence from our day-to-day dealings.  Those of us in the trenches were supervised by others in the trenches and decisions that were made were made by people in the trenches.  We fought hard.  We played hard.  We respected each other.  Every once in awhile, that weird uncle would escape from the basement and do something that embarrassed the rest of the family, but up until 2007, it was usually not too terribly devastating.

In 2007, obviously, that changed with the e-mail scandals.  The ADAs wanted to keep doing their jobs as best they could under the media circus that surrounded Rosenthal.  We were all worried about what would happen.  We were all grateful when our best and most famous prosecutor in the Office, Kelly Siegler, tried to salvage the ship.  Unfortunately, we lost that battle, and ultimately we got Lykos on the bench.



I digress.

Obviously, many ADAs stayed on under the Lykos Administration.  Some got promoted and have done well for themselves and for the Office.  There are plenty of outstanding prosecutors still there to this very day.  Others, however, who had gotten promoted abused that power.  Which brings us to Rachel Palmer.

I had known Rachel in passing when I was at the D.A.'s Office.  I didn't know her well enough to like her or dislike her, although I had heard about the cat fights that she was getting into with other prosecutors almost from the day she stepped in the door.  She was controversial.  She had a circle of friends that really liked her, but a larger contingency of those who didn't.  The bottom line was that, much like Pat Lykos, she was just kind of mean.  When Lykos promoted her to Deputy Division Chief, I didn't think it was a good idea, because she just doesn't get along with people.  But, given all the other massive screw ups Lykos was committing at the time, the Palmer to Deputy Dawg one seemed minor in comparison.

Soon, the inevitable happened.  Rachel took her new position of power and it went straight to her head.  Her catty comments and criticisms of the baby prosecutors that she supervised were becoming widespread knowledge.  Her troops hated her.  I know that Rachel thinks that she was my "favorite topic on the blog", but if you go back and look at the old posts, you will see the origins of Rachel-bashing occurred in the comments section.  I'm not passing the buck here, but the gripes about her came from within the D.A.'s Office.  (And by the way, Rachel, if you think the comments that end up on the blog about you are bad, you should see the ones I refuse to publish).

When Rachel announced that she was running for Judge, well, that sounded to me to be about the worst damn idea in America.  She was mean, petty, and vindictive, much like Pat Lykos.  She treated her people like crap and God only knows what she would be like if she actually were to assume the bench.  But Rachel, like Lykos, knew how to play to the Other 95%.  She was buddies with Carolyn Farb, the Houston Socialite who grew up on the mean streets of River Oaks.  Farb became one of Rachel's benefactors without knowing the first thing about criminal law.

And then came Don Hooper.  Rachel's fiancee was an absolute loose cannon at play in Houston.  His penchant for posting on blogs as other people, his rage issues at polling sites, and his liberal use of Rachel's badge were definitely not age appropriate actions for a 50-year-old.  Yet, there seemed to be no consequence for him coming from the Lykos Administration, and that is frightening.  A guy is out there doing all that Hooper was doing and yet because he was a Republican benefactor to Lykos, nothing was done to even get him to simply shut up?  I hope that Big Jolly can see that those of us who didn't want Rachel being a judge had some pretty damn good reasons for that.

Don Hooper was incensed when Rachel lost to Don Smyth.  The rest of us were just relieved.  Then came the Danny Dexter/Marc Brown race for the 180th District Court.  If Rachel Palmer and Don Hooper think that Judges Marc and Susan Brown have "bad blood" with them, I can assure you that it was not initiated (nor continued) by the Browns.   Hooper did everything he could for Danny, including harassing Marc Brown supporters at polling locations (if you don't believe me, ask Edward Porter).

Danny was a former prosecutor who I had worked with when I was there.  He was a really really nice guy.  But he was a terrible prosecutor.  I really didn't want to write anything bad against him as a person, but he had absolutely no business being on the bench.  But, like Rachel and Lykos, he also played well to the Other 95%.  He was wealthy and charming and had a lot of support.

Big Jolly mentions in his latest post that he thought it was below the belt when Danny's evaluations from his time at the D.A.'s Office hit the media.  Really?  How on Earth is that below the belt?

Unlike whether or not a Criminal Court Judge is Pro-Life or Pro-Choice, an evaluation of one's performance within the criminal arena is RELEVANT.  Very relevant, actually.  If pictures of Danny taking out the trash in his boxer shorts or rumors of a love child with Lady GaGa had been leaked to the media, that would have been below the belt.  But evaluations based on his job performance, work ethic, and knowledge of the law are probably those things that the Other 95% should be aware of.

I like Dave Jennings a lot, and I appreciate the fact that he works very hard to learn about the candidates, but he is just flat out wrong on that issue.

The whole reason I wrote this insanely lengthy post is because all of this talk of a "Conspiracy" to get the Lykos Administration and/or Rachel Palmer is something designed by Lykos supporters to play to the Other 95% -- Those who have met Pat and Rachel at a tea party and can sympathetically nod their heads with them when they speak of their persecution woes.  There are people who do not like Pat Lykos and Rachel Palmer and Don Hooper to be sure, but they are disliked with reason.  We aren't talking about Crips and Bloods and other silly partisan games here.  We are talking about real tangible reasons that people feel they are doing a terrible job and will oppose them.

The 5% of us (or less) that continue to deal with the Criminal Justice System on a daily basis do tend to know what we are talking about.  We know the good defense attorneys from the bad -- the reasonable prosecutors from the unreasonable -- the fair judges from the unfair.  We really don't care if a Republican or a Democrat holds a bench or even the D.A.'s spot, as long as they are doing a good job.

We all wish that those races were non-partisan, actually.

Then maybe the Other 95% might not fall for those conspiracy theories so much.

68 comments:

Anonymous said...

Old Dod:

Re: Previous Poster: Anon. December 21, 2011 11:58 PM

Anonymous said...

" Let's put an outsider in the DAs office. Many of us hoped for it when Rosenthal stepped down and haven't given up on the idea."

I think by now it is fair to say Mike Anderson IS an outsider. So few people work at the office now that did when he left in 1999.

Murray, spont on with this - actually well written and cohesive post that basically - to me - says: "Please votors - get out the vote based on the facts not just what somebody says".

As a young civil law intern long ago the lawyer I worked for had a favorite saying. Someone would go, on, and on, and on about this or that (another lawyer or firm staff member). He didn't interrupt to argue because it was apparent the person was very "convicted" in his views.

Afterward the Attorney would take a sip of coffee and reply: "Well, that's what you say".

If anything this Blog has done is give specifics of the true factual negatives of the current D.A.'s Office. No conclusitory statements. Other than some usual venting etc, pretty much people are telling what they know and backing these allegations up with how they know what they know to a level that surpases even Probable cause for a search warrant.

Why does the office need so many "SPIN" media types - working - "top heavy" - at the exspence of the line and grind troops in the trenches? If an organization is doing its job honestly and putting politics asside once the election is over - no "spin is needed". Just like proving intent in a criminal case: Look at how the person's ACTIONS to prove their intent and many times Motive.

Votors, please educate yourself. Seriously, for a prosecutor to take the 5th is UNPRESIDENTED. Google the topic. How many times has a prosecutor taken the 5th amendment (not as a charged defendant or target). Along with all the usual non relevant choices:
Palmer is the only name that comes up. Why is this so important even though it is her right?

Because prosecutors are NOT suppossed to "hide the ball" and play delay games with the lives of other people in their charge to seek Justice and not merely convict. As a prosecutor, you either have the evidence and confidence to seek a guilty or you don't. But if you have ANY evidence that might even remotely shed light that the person on trial might NOT be guilty you MUST turn that evidence over to the defense Attorney.

In the past 2 weeks - whose ACTIONS have clearly shown to be hiding the ball and possibly protecting others? Now THAT is a conspiricy!

Anonymous said...

At least the River Oaks crowd is getting wiser to Lykos. And it shows in how they abandoned her at her last fundraiser.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of widening the conspiracy, there is more news in Harris County Republican Party Politics. Woodfill has a real opponent for party chair. For those unenlightened Woodfill got Lykos anointed in 2008 and is openly backing her in 2012. When you go to the polls in April vote for Mike Anderson and for Paul Simpson. Talk about house cleaning. Apparently Woodfills Law Firm is on hard times. He recently moved offices and put his house on the market. He is doing ad litem work in Lombardinos court. Also numerous folks from his old law firm are looking for new jobs such as Summerlin and Talton. Word is if Talton wins County Attorney Nick Lykos will be first assistant and Jared will be on he payroll as well. Oh Joy.

Anonymous said...

I think by now it is fair to say Mike Anderson IS an outsider. So few people work at the office now that did when he left in 1999.

Are you effing serious? He w3as a freaking criminal court judge--a prosecutor with a robe.

You officially have no idea what the hell you are talking about.

Rage

Anonymous said...

Murray,
You post is eloquently written and weaves the historical to the present in a factually correct sequence. It captured the essence of Rosenthal's time in office. Although he was quirky and eccentric, he had the good sense not to tamper with the honor-based system that was the legacy of Johnny Holmes. Ken Magidson (current US Attorney for the Southern District) was appointed to replace Rosenthal as DA until the Lykos took office in Jan 2008. Magidson recognized the good qualities of the office and mostly left it in place. Once Lykos took office, she immediately began to fire quality prosecutors and reorganize the office solely for the sake of change. From day one, she ruled as a tyrant and has systematically destroyed the organization. She had not "mellowed" as she claimed she had. Her narcissistic personality and egomania drives all her decisions. This was so foreign to everyone in the office. Mr. Holmes knew what would happen, and it has, only it is worse than even he thought it would be. There is no conspiracy to bring down Lykos. There is a conspiracy by Lykos to hid her short-comings and to convince voters she is competent. Voters, please examine the record. Talk to people who know her or work for her besides a select few who she has brought in and given plum-positions to who have no more experience than she has.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:43

You are absolutely correct. Mr. Fiscally conservative had a firm that is/was DEEP in the RED! Rumor has it that 3 Million $ at 14% interest was borrowed to keep the firm afloat and the loaner is now saying: "CALL".

Anonymous said...

I hope for everyone in the greater Houston CJ community that the other 95%ers wake and realize what is happening at the DA's Office at the hands of Lykos and Bad Company.

Along these same lines I'm concerned that the other 95%ers don't fully grasp the magnitude of what is currently transpiring at the DA's Office with regards to the current grand jury investigations. With Rosenthal it was easy for the 95%ers to get. Everyone, no matter what line of work you are in, whether it be the trash collector to the President of the United States understands that it is not appropriate to send emails of a racial nature or with sexual suggestions to others, particularly your secretary. You don't have to be a lawyer to get this, everyone that sees something like this reported in the media understands it and really does not need explaining.

Fast forward to Pat Lykos, RP, Little Jimmy, and crew. The have DESTROYED the DA's Office in Lykos' time in office for all the reasons that everyone has posted about. The currently grand jury investigations have received spotty coverage at best by the media. I'm sure there are different reasons for it, including that the Chronicle and other media outlets have always been a little cozy with Patsy. Second, I believe that the current happenings with Lykos, RP, and the whole BAT Van issue is hard for people outside the CJC to grasp. It is complicated, easy for us to understand but difficult to explain to others outside of our field. If you haven't been keeping up with the BAT Van story from the beginning it is a little hard for the news to cover the story in 2-3 minutes so that the 95%ers that are watching it for the first time get it and understand the severity and magnitude of it all.

I have had a number of friends and family members ask me about what is happening "down there" and what it all really means. If my immediate family doesn't understand it and they know that it indirectly impacts me what do you think the other 95%ers understand? Probably not much other than something is going on down there.

So much of the current investigations are occurring behind the closed doors of Grand Juries and we only know bits and pieces, but being that most of us in the field are familiar with most aspects and lots of the details we are able to piece it together to come up with a pretty logical conclusion as to what happened and is continuing to happen in regards to Patsy and crew.

I have to hand it to Patsy (as much as it pains me) because from a political stand point she has done a really good job running everyone else out front. When was the last time anyone saw Patsy around the CJC let alone doing an interview on TV regarding all the happenings. Hmmm...you think maybe the out of sight, out of mind principle is at work here? Think the average citizens haven't seen Patsy to associate her with this mess. If I didn't know better I'd think Jimmy was the elected DA as much as I've seen him.

My whole point in all of this, is that as much we all post on this blog and bitch about Lykos and her inner circle we have an obligation to get out there and educate the 95%ers so that they get it and they in turn go and tell another 95%er. Everyone gets inappropriate emails, most don't get motion for this or that, or the invocation of this or that right.

Thomas Hobbes said...

Juat a couple observations from someone who is a fan of neither Lykos nor Palmer.

1. It's as intellectually dishonest to refer to Anderson now as an outsider as it was to apply that term to Lykos in 2008. They didn't leave, they just moved to different offices.

2. I care little that Palmer took the 5th. It was the smart thing to do, and she's not the first and won't be the last. However, I care very much that there are circumstances that made her choice a prudent one. The grand jury needs a bigger shovel. Is there a reason why Lykos hasn't taken her turn?

Anonymous said...

Old Dog:


To be factual: Check out this NY Times Articl where Woodfill's phot and comments are there in black and white to read how he views borrowing from this "hedge Fund" the only way he could basically stay in business. Problem is the amount was 3.5 million at 14% interest and that interest has been growing. The Chickens truly have come home to roost:

Fact: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/15/business/15lawsuit.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1323320927-2wktSu2yq+nU4MncRLGVOA

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:43 Wait a minute, are you telling me the republicans are nothing but a bunch of good old boys?

Anonymous said...

Old Dog to Rage:

Well, that's what you say.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:26 -


Yes

Anonymous said...

Is there a reason why Lykos hasn't taken her turn?

You save the best for last. If they intend to call her, it will be in order to make a big splash. Maybe right when they come back from the break so that it isn't forgotten by the holidays.

Of course, she will refuse and say that the grand jury has no authority past 12/31/11, which means there will have to be some sort of AG opinion on the matter.

And this investigation now proceeds only if permitted by one of the worst Attorneys General we have ever had. One who makes decisions based only on the political, not legal, will of his puppeteers. Y'all voted for him, so congratulations. It appears that the only judge/official in this whole mess who has no agenda at all was Democrat Al Bennett.

Rage

Anonymous said...

I'm not an attorney or in any way at all connected to any of this that is being played out in the DA office. I do consider myself an educated voter however and have enjoyed reading this blog. I realize that many of you do not like Lykos, and that regardless of what occurs your opinion will remain the same. If she survives this challenge and runs for office again, I will vote for her. The reasons I will do so are many. One, all of the judges take her position of the crack pipe issue, and two, I have to believe it is a rather good thing to have a little animosity between the district attorney and the police department. Otherwise the DA could just be an arm of HPD and the prosecute the cases themselves, which would not be a good idea in my opinion. The police in this city already believe they are above the law. We need the police and the DA to have ambivalence towards each other or we'll end up like other countries that do not have an honest justice system. I know most of you will not agree but, you all are in the system and like Murray says, you all are too friendly with one another to be objective.

Anonymous said...

Old Dog, your rants are about ten times longer than Rage's. At least he has a point to make, like it or not. Yours gets lost in referring to yourself in the third person.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the 95%, I'm the onlY person i know who hears, "bat van" and knows what is being talked about, I follow this blog because it is my "Criminal Justice in HC for Dummies" guide, I understand it and that is the problem with the news reports, its too much information thrown into a 30-second sound bite between loud commercials. I start to mention "Pat Lykos" to people, even people visiting at the jail,(and you would expect those involved in the system would know the players) and they always respond "who is that?", I'm shocked most people don't know, so I briefly explain the voting system to them, and that a DA isn't supposed to be out to win, but they are supposed to seek justice, regardless of whether it sets a person free or not (hence, the Bat Van issue). I tried to explain to one friend, and she waved me off and said she votes straight ticket because its too hard to really learn about the candidates....thats the problem here. How to fix it? I don't know, smaller government, mandatory civics classes in order to sign up to vote? My family has been effected due to accusation against and charges brought up against a family member, a sherrif who did no investigation, a DA who will not allow her troops to throw out the charges or risk being disciplined by her, so if people don't see a reason to know who they are voting for, consider this....it could happen to you and your family, you want to know what youre doing or stay out of the voting booth. I appreciate this blog, and may have to print off a few copies here to pass out so others will understand what this is, how it is important, and how it isn't a conspiracy given it all started under lykos reign, the fact that it is coming up now at voting time thats just karma.

Anonymous said...

anon 2:42
It is because you aren't an attorney that you would vote for Patsy. You don't understand all the issues, you don't understand the law that connects all the parts of the criminal justice system, and, clearly, you don't know a tyrant when you see one.
BUT
It's good to know what a non-criminal-justice-connected-person thinks of what's going on and how it's perceived so that we know what educating needs to be happening for the majority of the voters.
For that, thanks for posting

Anonymous said...

Old Dog to anon 2:53:

Go on...

Anonymous said...

Here's some holiday spirit--I agree with Rage about the attorney general. He's a 100% piece of crap. He goes and gets himself hit by a tree whilst jogging, and then sues everyone he can think of, including the lawn guy, and gets a fat settlement. And then he wants to go all republican and whine about tort reform? Go f yourself, sir. And by sir I mean dick.

Seaton

http://greg-abbott-is-a-hypocrite.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Can anyone provide a comprehensive list detailing the turnover in the office since Lykos took office? I think if the public outside of the HCCJC could see a list of actual names, along with the combined number of years of experience of those who left, it might clarify what exactly the DA's office has lost.

Anonymous said...

Anyone want to talk about the holiday email Lykos sent today?? Almost made me vomit just reading it!!!

Anonymous said...

anon @ 4:02 ... what did it say? What, no walk-around today?

Thomas Hobbes said...

Anon 3:26 - You remind me of that asshat faction of the bar that believes you have to be an attorney to understand the issues, or even to read the program and understand who the players are. Many readers of this blog are non-lawyers who are quite capable of navigating the issues without a law degree.

You might consider that most people don't understand what's going on because they aren't involved in the system and don't plan to be, and they have not been struck by why it should be important to them. All politics are local, a maxim that has both geographical and psychological implications.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know how many prosecutors and investigators that the DA's office is short?

A nice comparison when you think the office is still short, and bleeding, and Lykos hires a political hack to be a media person..... Typical. She would think that is more important.

Anonymous said...

It looks like the Chronicle is removing many posts by Hooper under the moniker "ThirdTimeCharm", hopefully with other aliases to follow such as "balduglydefenseattorney", Dinkit, grandjury-foreman, and LooneyTuney (to mention some of the more obvious). I still think at least two of them belong to Polland but this appears to be the sanctioned party line that yelling "conspiracy" enough times and in enough public forums will generate confusion amongst voters.

Calm

Anonymous said...

I thought that the holiday e-mail from Lykos was very revealing as to her psyche right now. I do not have it in front of me, but, to those of you who have not seen it, she said that "we have endured" a great deal this year. Her reference to "endurance" seems to me to reflect that all of this grand jury stuff is starting to weigh heavily on her. I also found the "we" reference to be distasteful. Yes, Pat, your office absolutely has endured a great deal this year -- because of your mismanagement. The longer that YOU allow Rachel Palmer to walk the halls without any discipline for pleading the 5th is unconscionable. Honestly, I do not know how much more your prosecutors can "endure" this mess you have created.

Signed,

A felony prosecutor.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:42
First let me say I am in no way associated with the Criminal Justice Center. I get basic facts from this blog. However I don't stop there. I check it out for myself. Anyone can say anything. I have found that the majority of posters are telling the truth about what goes on at CJC.
Since you say you are an educated voter that must mean you can do a little research. So why don't you then, I mean do a little research on your own so that you can make an informed decision about who to vote for. You can find so many references to wrong doing on this site alone. It is an excellent place to start.

To be honest with you I did not know a dang thing about Lycos until I started reading this blog. Only when I read how she treated her people did I become involved. Of course, you must realize that the very people that post here do know what is going on. Listen, research, learn, and then vote.

Please tell me why you would vote for Lycos. A list of her accomplishments would be nice. What has she done for the citizens of Harris County. Has she made my community safer ? If so, inform me how she did that. Please tell me.

Anonymous said...

This posting is for the 95% referenced in Murray's note, and "Big Jolly" and others interested in local politics who read this blog. One of Pat Lykos' recent knee jerk policy changes has real consequences for tax payers in Harris County. This is the 12.44(a) issue that has prosecutors and defense attorneys pulling their hair out. For those of you who are unaware, Section 12.44(a) of the Texas Penal Code is a section that, at the discretion of the State, allows someone to be convicted of a state jail felony but punished as a misdemeanor. The cases where it is most frequently used are instances that are only slightly (if that) better than the crack pipe cases. Typical scenario: Officer arrests a person on Class C walking on street where sidewalk provided or riding a bicycle at night without a headlight. Search incident to arrest the officer finds a crack rock .01 or .02 grams. Arrested for State Jail felony Possession of a Controlled Substance. 12.44(a) allows a prosecutor to get a felony CONVICTION but punish for something like 90 days in the county jail. Lykos has decided not to pursue crack pipe cases in the interests of justice, but felony prosecutors must (absent special circumstances) forget about the interests of justice and prosecute these for a MINIMUM of 180 days in state jail - day for day time. So taxpayers must foot the bill for 180 days of clothing, feeding and health care for something not much above the crack pipe cases that she argues clog up the system and cost too much. Perhaps some of the tea party folks out there might ask Judge Lykos how much this policy change is costing the taxpayers of the state. By the way, the group that can get 12.44(a) no questions asked on a PCS less than one gram cases are undocumented aliens - because they are likely to be deported.

Anonymous said...

This posting is for the 95% referenced in Murray's note, and "Big Jolly" and other Republican activists. One of Pat Lykos' recent knee jerk policy changes has real consequences for tax payers in Harris County. This is the 12.44(a) issue that has prosecutors and defense attorneys pulling their hair out. For those of you who are unaware, Section 12.44(a) of the Texas Penal Code is a section that, at the discretion of the State, allows someone to be convicted of a state jail felony but punished as a misdemeanor. The cases where it is most frequently used are instances that are only slightly (if that) better than the crack pipe cases. Typical scenario: Officer arrests a person on Class C walking on street where sidewalk provided or riding a bicycle at night without a headlight. Search incident to arrest the officer finds a crack rock .01 or .02 grams. Arrested for State Jail felony Possession of a Controlled Substance. 12.44(a) allows a prosecutor to get a felony CONVICTION but punish for something like 90 days in the county jail. Lykos has decided not to pursue crack pipe cases in the interests of justice, but felony prosecutors must (absent special circumstances) forget about the interests of justice and prosecute these for a MINIMUM of 180 days in state jail - day for day time. So taxpayers must foot the bill for 180 days of clothing, feeding and health care for something not much above the crack pipe cases that she argues clog up the system and cost too much. Perhaps some of the tea party folks out there might ask Judge Lykos how much this policy change is costing the taxpayers of the state. By the way, the group that can get 12.44(a) no questions asked on a PCS less than one gram cases are undocumented aliens - because they are likely to be deported.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering why the public has endured Pat Lykos for three years.

Anonymous said...

@640pm; the public doesn't care or pay attention. She can twist most issues to make her look good.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Rachel: "I would be hard pressed to punish anyone because they exercised their constitutional rights," Leitner said.

Really Jimmy? That's the sentiment you want the public to think is ok? Are you really suggesting that a prosecutors' office filled with folks who refuse to testify because their testimony might incriminate them is acceptable? Do you think that's the stance police agencies should take when dealing with officers who impede investigations?

Here's some more unsoliticed advice: STOP TALKING TO THE MEDIA. You've saddled the taxpayers with paying several media folks and everytime YOU get on camera you make it worse. Let the media folks do what you're paying them to do or quit paying them!

Thomas Hobbes said...

Actually, Anon 6:40, the public has endured her for three years because she was elected for four . . .

Anonymous said...

Queton regarding 12.44A: People used to refer to the sacrosanct 228th Judge Ted Poe's court as County Criminal Court at Law No. 16 (the are only 15) because his court - with his prodding was notorious for deoing just this: On paper it's a felony, but behind bars the person spends the time in the harris County jail NOT State Jail Felony. To non lawyers out there in County jail - practialccly speaking no matter what a misdemeanant gets, cut it in half to determine what the actually serve day for day. 1 Year = 180days; 60 days = 30 days. You get the idea.

From a Judge who cares more about the statistical numbers of pending cases this is a big deal because if the person goes to State Jail they do the minimum of 180 days - FLAT. no 2 for 1 credit like County.

Objectively, to be fair, one could argue that this new policy would save the county money by not having to house the offenders once convicted because they would be sent off to the State facility.

Obviously this begs the question when talking about the person sitting in the harris County Jail - waiting for a trial and do they get credit in State jail for time spent in County waiting for their State Jail Felony case to be tried?

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:42-
“Because the judges take her position with the crack pipe.” - Really? It’s those (gainfully employed..lol) people with crack pipes breaking into the hard working citizens of Harris County houses and vehicles so they can afford the crack to put into their crack pipe.

“I have to believe it is a rather good thing to have a little animosity between the district attorney and the police department.” - Huh? ADA’s and police officers should work together as checks and balances" over each other to make sure the truth is told, and justice is served. How would you like a member of your family to be a crime victim, and then have the DA’s office and the police fighting with each other about your family member’s case; or plead the “fifth” when they are in front of a grand jury answering questions about your case?

“The police in this city already believe they are above the law.” – Yawn……….I’m sure you would be the first person to dial 911 if your “behind” was hanging in the wind.

Anonymous said...

Jimmy spins nicely for the office on KTRK this evening. WHERE'S the ELECTED DA? It just boggles the mind that she's gone completely underground and won't defend her office in the media.

Anonymous said...

From Republican Activist:

Why does the 95% not understand about Lykos?

1) First of all, the 95% is more like 99.5%, depending on who all you include.

In 2010, (a non-presidential year), 159,821 people voted in the Republican primary out of 1,882,154 registered voters. There will be far more primary voters this time.

What that means is that very few of us Republican activists are blessed to know any of you well enough to ever discuss the district attorney problem. Only a much smaller percentage of primary voters know any of you.

Talking among yourselves on this blog is very cathartic, and a few of the 99.5% (like me) do read it.

However, if you want a new district attorney, those of you who no longer work for Pat must get out of the CJC several times a month and attend Republican and Tea Party meetings where Republican activists meet. You will meet a lot of nice people and be able to tell your story as you mix with them.

Republicans there believe Pat Lykos because she comes and talks to them and you don't. Please stop blaming Republicans for not caring, when you didn't tell them there was a problem.

There are 3 contested primary races for felony district benches in the Republican primary. Don't blame Republicans for backing the wrong candidates, if you don't come to meetings and tell people which candidates are better.

Go to harriscountygop.com, pick "Our Party" at the top right, and choose "calendar" to find Republican events. You will have to google to find Tea Party groups.

Please make a New Year's Resolution to start attending events and getting the word out in January.

You can also do block walks and work polls (early voting and primary day) for Mike Anderson or a judicial candidate.

If you still work for Pat (my sympathies), find 10 friends and family members that you can talk to confidentially and make sure they get out and vote. Nag them till they do. You probably can also pick a judicial candidate and actively campaign for them.

Calling Republicans names may be fun, but you turn off the very people you desperately need to get on your side. Please stop blaming Republicans and get involved and get the word out!

Signed,
Republican Activist

Anonymous said...

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/html5/video?id=8476899&pid=8476962&section=news/local

I would be hard pressed to punish anyone who invoked their constitutional rights.. -- Jim Leitner

What an f-Ing crock, Jim.

What about the right to free speech, Jim!?! Do you include that?

What about Donna who was punished for invoking her right to free speech when she questioned Bridgwater?

What about the felony prosecutor placed on probation for invoking his right to free speech in writing a blog?

What about the misdemeanor prosecutor who was placed on probation and demoted 6 months for invoking her right to free speech in writing a blog?

What about the current felony prosecutor who is on 6 month demotion for invoking his right to free speech in responding to a personal attack on Chronicle?

All of these folks worked harder at their job than R.A.P. and were severely punished. Where we're you then to defend their constitutional rights? Where were you!!!!!!!

Mr. Oberg: please keep up your fine work. You have become our hero. Please stay the course. We are so appreciative of all your efforts.

Anonymous said...

Leitner: regarding your interview after testifying today:

1. 98% of the DA's office and the majority of the defense bar are laughing at you. Are you that scared of humping appointments again that you will do or say anything?

2. Everyone knows Lycos has your balls in a jar on her desk. And she still can't muster the courage to face the media.

3. Do you realize that Lycos is about to drop you in the grease? You and Palmer. The irony is that you are fighting so hard to save the sinking ship. Makes you look really stupid. Maybe it's a symptom of losing your, um, man-hood.

4. Your defense of Palmer and ur defense of the madam DA's decision not to fire or discipline Palmer makes you the biggest bitch in Harris County DA history. Every time you pass an assistant DA in the hallway, they are laughing at you. And the defense lawyers you see, laughing at you as well.

It's ok Jimmy Boy. The court appointed vouchers are still the same...

Anonymous said...

Thank you Anon 9:06 for pointing out the hypocrisy of the statements make by Lietner. Lykos has punished so many ADAs for exercising their Constitutional rights yet Palmer who has brought so much disgrace to the office is allowed to keep her job and will probably get a raise out of this. Shame, shame on all of you.

Anonymous said...

Whoever made this list must not work there anymore. Most are right... But Katherine Knoor Williams and Samantha Peden Knecht are still at the office. And Marti Samuel, Erin Jackson, Robbie Robertson, and some others were "allowed" to resign.

Anonymous said...

You forgot Jeremy Maldonado.

Mark W. Stephens said...

Agreed Ted Oberg is doing a great job. But why is the station playing the stories only at 5pm and 6pm? A lot of viewers are still coming home from work. They need to move, or at least repeat, the stories at 10pm. Its such an important topic, everyone needs to be aware of what is going on...

13??? Listening??? Thank you

Anonymous said...

@ anon 8:19 PM

Do you wear a tin foil hat to your tea party meetings?

Anonymous said...

From A Business owner and supporter of Law Enforcement: Ok let's get this straight! I hear some on here talking about crack pipes, Leitner being a bitch, Lykos hiding, Palmer lying and taking the fifth, Roger sinking his head in the sand, Chow is a monster and Barnhill being a puppett. YOU PEOPLE ARE PURE AND SIMPLE HATERS! As a well educated, highly payed, self employed individual, I think that if Jesus worked at the D.A.'s office he would be as guilty as the afore mentioned. NOT A ONE OF YOU, CAN SAY OR PROVE THAT THESE PEOPLE ARE THE ANIMALS THAT YOU CALL THEM! If so, stand and deliver or shut your hateful, political motived get my candidate elected mouths. I Challenge each and every one of you haters to stand and deliver! It is very apparent, that this is a political motivated season. Judge Lykos has "STOOD AND DELIVERED" and will continue to do so. You, the ex employees, haters, and get my man elected indivivuals stand and deliver, bring it on and show how this D.A. has done wrong. If you worked there and no longer are employed, it's your fault. If you quit, it's your fault. If you are looking to get your man elected and want to spread lie's, I challenge you to prove your statements. I for one, will support this Lady whom has done our community well. I, for one, will stand for our D.A. Pat Lykos until you prove me wrong. So stand and deliver all you haters, get my man elected bunch. Our D.A. Pat Lykos will be reelected, she is what this community has needed.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:06 pm :

Well said. Talk about the definition of hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

http://www.khou.com/news/crime/Harris-County-DA-No-Refusal-program-in-effect-over-the-holidays-136110388.html


Well...hello there, Patsy. I wondered where you had been. I'm glad to know you were not stranded in your car by a snow bank.

Regards,

-Confused employee looking for leadership to stand up and lead

P.S. Thanks for the carefully worded email (first one ever, I think) and the warm holiday wishes.

Anonymous said...

12:12 a.m.-
Your mind is closed to hear or believe the facts so there is nothing anyone could do to enlighten you. There is a huge amount of information and proof of how badly Lykos has been for the DA's Office. You just don't want to believe it.

Anonymous said...

Dear 12:12 AM:
You're a business owner"? What business, a comedy club? Posting anonymously after midnight isn't exactly "standing and delivering" is it? Neither is not making a single public appearance, or even issuing a statement, while the events of this week have played out. Stand? Where, in the corner with a dunce cap on? Maybe so. Deliver? What, a heap of shame? Probably so. May you get coal dust in your stocking to match what's between your ears, clown.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:12 you obviously have not been reading this blog very carefully. I agree with you that the name calling does no good but there are many posts here that point out the complete and total failure of this administration. If you are really a business owner then you would recognize these failures. As I have said before, it is like they took a business management book and set out to violate every concept explained in the good management section.

I also note you have failed to point out any accomplishments of this administration. I would suggest that is because they are far and few between.

Anonymous said...

You know, since Anderson announced a bid for office, Black Ink has been awfully silent...

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous @ 12:12AM:

You undercut your claim of "well educated" when you cannot spell -- it is "paid" not "payed." Not sure what your claims of being self-employed (a dig at prosecutors who work for the government, I guess) and "highly payed" (note incorrect spelling - and again an apparent dig at government workers) have to do with anything. But your note is much like Lykos - lots of soundbites and no substance. You say that she has "stood and delivered." Please give me some examples. It is like the crack pipe thing. She wants to go after cartels. Three years in office - which one has she brought down or attacked. Also, like you we are all also "supporters of law enforcement" - big part of the reason we took our jobs.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:12

Would you please post all of the wonderful things that Pat Lycos has done while in office. You make so many references to how great she is that I would be negligent as a voter in Harris County if I did not know all of her "GOOD STUFF" so that I can make an informed decision.

I have asked several posters that very question and no one ever answers. WTF. So, here is your chance to tell it like it is, come on, I really want to know. No need to be ugly just post for the record all of the great things she has accomplished. I will be waiting for your reply. Perhaps I am just a misinformed 'HATER' that needs enlightened on the beautiful works of PL.

Sue

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:12 has got to be Don Hooper finally learning how to post under "Anonymous"!!!

A Harris County Lawyer said...

I'm sure it is Hooper. Just like I'm sure that he is posting under "Zach Fertitta for DA". That's him being witty.

Here are your top signs for identifying a Don Hooper identity:

1. Always goes to great effort to act like a neutral part of the voting public who doesn't know any of the people involved.

2. Professes an earnest belief that Pat Lykos is doing a good job without citing any tangible examples.

3. Excessive use of punctation, especially exclamation points.

4. Excessive use of all caps. It's like the rage within him just can't be contained in his fingers.

5. Conspicuously fails to mention Rachel in any of his posts.

6. Bad spelling.

7. Refers to opposing candidates on a first name basis, while using formal terms with Lykos and Crew.

8. Depending on the forum, will try to point out that Newman got fired and/or is an alcoholic.

Also, look at the time when a post was made. If it is coming after 11 p.m., it's Don, who may be drunk and pouting because Rachel won't let him borrow her badge to go play Cops and Robbers with the neighbors again.

Anonymous said...

To all conspiracy theorists:

Why is it that NOT ONE OF YOU have been able to work the other Grand Jury investigation into your paranoid delusions amidst your quest to be the next Dan Brown?

Let me answer that for you. Because there is NO conspiracy.

Put that in yout stocking for Xmas along with the coal and turds from Santa Lykos.

Anonymous said...

You have to love that the most ardent Lykos supports are Hooper, Woodfill and Polland.

Anonymous said...

It's like the rage within him

I did not have relations with that man, Mr. Hooper.

/Clinton voice, off

Rage

Anonymous said...

84 former prosecutors minus 4 who are now judges or candidates equals:

80 former prosecutors--and none of them will run against Roger Bridgwater?

Come on, somebody step up to the plate! Filing will reopen and you will have till Feb. 1st to get signatures.

Anonymous said...

This time around, Patty got what she wanted: a free entire campaign staff! Hundreds of raging mad former and current ADAs.

That's grassroots campaigning for you.

You really think I only told 10 people!? HA!

BLACK INK said...

"You know, since Anderson announced a bid for office, Black Ink has been awfully silent..."

The sour taste of politics has gotten the better of me lately......but you're welcome to read my blog and associated comments any time; my last post was yesterday.

I hope Christmas brings some class and integrity to an office I once admired......I'm not optimistic.

Merry Christmas

Anonymous said...

My personal experience has been that Rachel Palmer is mean-spirited and petty, and I cannot think of anything polite to say about Don Hooper. I am disappointed that Lykos has promoted Palmer and continues to support her. Nonetheless I voted for Lykos against Siegler, and still lean towards her today because I perceive her as independent of other elected officials.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:32,

Pat Lykos may be "indendent" of anyone else. That's true. If that's your sole criteria for DA, then vote for her. But understand she is independent of EVERYONE else; she cares ONLY about herself. She cares only about how good she can make herself appear; to hell with the people who work with her, the victiims of crimes, the defendants, law enforcement, or anyone else. She doesn't give a crap about anyone else. Maybe that appeals to you. But if that's what you want in a DA, beware. While she's busy trying to concoct positive news stories for herself, in reality, her heart and her soul are as nasty as her two tar-filled, smokey brown-black lungs. She is mean, vindictive, retributive, and full of self-preservation at the cost of anything and anyone else. Why? Because she's needs to boss people, demean people, and have power over people, the more people the better. Her dream job: nation dictator. That has to be what she dreams about at night!

Don't believe us who post? Then do some research and see what kind of judge she was years ago. The Chronicle wrote some pretty nasty stuff long before the advent of this blog. Why? Because, as Judge (by the way, she hasn't been a judge in a long time, but she REQUIRES Asst. DAs to address her as "Judge Lykos") she was nasty to her staff (couldn't keep them), nasty to people who worked in her court, and many others. So how does she get elected? She's good at putting on a show to voters promising everything they want to hear but delivering none of it. I don't need to go through all of the promises she made during the last campaign, but those who watched and listened know everything she said was a lie.

I think what is funny about this whole debacle is that it started with Pat's vindictiveness and need for retribution. That may be her downfall. It should be. She was mad that someone else was saying something that might negatively affect her. Instead of seeking truth, she covered things up and not so secretly tried to ruin that person's career. It wasn't enough that the person gracefully and quietly left her employer over it. No, Pat wanted to make sure that woman was out of a job for good. So she went the extra mile and tried to sabotage that woman's career. Why? Because what she said might make Pat look bad. Who cares if it was truthful? What's funny is that instead of addressing it honestly and openly, when it didn't even blight the DA's office in the first place, she covered it up and threatened this woman quite publicly. As a result of Pat's actions, she made herself look as nasty as she truly is.

Our DA should be seeking justice and truth, not shutting people up who might say something she doesn't want to hear. Not threatening the attorneys who work for her with fear and humiliation. Not growing her PR division whilst her trench DAs are overworked and understaffed, exhausted and humiliated. And she shouldn't be wasting taxpayer funds in this economic crisis on paying her buddies four times a normal salary, when they do nothing.

She is a hot mess who doesn't listen to anyone. And if that's who you want to elect, then go ahead and do it. That's your right.

Anonymous said...

Bert Graham was the former First Assistant before Jim Leitner. He was as fiscally conservative as one could be. There was always money for raises, always money for training, always money to hire people when slots were open. The office, when Lykos took it, had over 300 attorneys and almost as many support staff and investigators. Keep in mind, she'd never managed anymore than five people and had never been a prosecutor. She never asked anyone who worked there before how to run that office. She fired everyone at the top before she took office. And when Bert Graham graciously and kindly offered to volunteer just to share some advice on how to manage a 500+ office, she said she didn't need any advice. Yet another example of her "independence." Could you imagine a company with 500+ employees hiring a CEO who knows nothing about the business, has never been in that business, and doesn't want to know about that business from someone who ran it before? That would never happen!

One of the last times I saw Bert Graham was at an HBA-sponsored CLE. I asked him, "Have any of the candidates come to see you and ask how to run this office?" He said, "Not a one." Then he said something I won't ever forget: "Everyday there are decisions that need to be made that prevent everything from going wrong. If you make one wrong decision, you end up as a news headline. Not one of these candidates has even bothered to figure out how to do things here. One wrong decision and they'll be in the news and it won't be good." It looks like Bert's prophecy has come true.

Anonymous said...

By the way, it should be noted that the 80+ attorneys who left make up about 1/3 of the office. It should also be noted that in mine and Murray's first year of employment there, when Holmes was DA, NO ONE left the office. There were no promotions, no departures. Things were so stagnant, promotion and movement-wise, that we all stayed in our same position for 18 months. Shortly after I left the office in 2007, there was large turnover in the felony division. 27 prosectuors left, which was unheard of. Finally, one more thing about turnover. The people on that list, several of them, were experienced life-long DAs who have gone to work in surrounding counties. Some took paycuts. But they love what they do and were willing to take one just to keep doing what they love while they worked with someone reasonable (i.e., not Pat). They left because Pat treated them like crap and they just couldn't take it anymore. Many other DAs who left were people Pat hired. In fact, she couldn't even keep the secretary she brought in, who quit in three months' time! So don't assume they were all Rosenthal cronies she cleaned out. That is not the case. Sadly, Pat is only nice to people who tell her what she wants to hear, offer to be mean to others for her, give her lots of campaign money, and make her look awesome, despite the fact that she is an awful, awful person.

Anonymous said...

I saw several of my mom's friends over the holidays who are all big North Harris County Republicans. They are convinced that the Palmer GJ debacle was all politics, and it has given them more resolve to re-elect Lycos.

They knew enough of the recusal facts to spout them off. They said choosing St. Martin, among others, to prosecute told them Judge Brown is playing politics.

And they say that while they may not mind politics in the DA's office outside the office and job, they don't want to see it on the bench. All said they were sorely disappointed in her judgement.

Husband and wife judge tag teams give me the willies. I don't trust them and hell, who's raising the kids?

What was Brown thinking? With so many notable attorneys in Houston with impeccable reputations who have either never worked for the DA's office or who worked for that office under Vance or Briscoe, you have to wonder about her choice of prosecutors for the BAT GJ. Special Prosecutors? You bet. If it looks like a vendetta...

The Republican ladies could not be convinced otherwise as to a political witch hunt against Lycos.

There were huge turnovers under Holmes. I recall a huge slew of resignations back in the Spring/Summer of 1990 at the DA's office. I can't remember if it was more than 80 lawyers but it was a significant amount and they were in a hiring frenzy.

Bert's a great guy but he's got his own baggage and could use a bit of a personality boost.

Believe it or not, there are some hard core law enforcement types in Houston who have worked in the business for as long if not longer than many of the veteran DA posters here who don't think that Johnny Holmes was the be all, end all of district attorneys.

I don't know who Stealth is but I once saw a post by him on an unrelated forum and I have to say I admire the guy for his choice in concealed handgun carry weapons: A S&W 357 Model 340PD or 360PD, I can't recall which at the moment.

I wouldn't work for Lycos but would for Anderson, fwiw.

Anonymous said...

Anon12:35 Donnie go F yerself

Anonymous said...

As for peole who left the office due to Lykos, how can you forget Lisa Andrews? She was one of the best, stayed out of politics and was liked by all. I thought I'd NEVER see the day that she would leave the office, but even she coud't deal with the Lykos BS.