Wednesday, January 25, 2012

News Stories in my Absence

Sorry I've been quiet the past week.  I was out of town over the weekend and came back just in time to start up trial.

There have been a couple of interesting stories that are good topics for conversation, though.  I just don't have the time to write about them at length right now.

First, we have Ted Oberg's attempt to once again get Pat Lykos to answer some questions, which she avoids (again).

And this story from the Chronicle about Lykos giving nearly a half-million dollars in asset forfeiture funds to HPD for breath testing equipment.  That would be the same HPD lab that she said she had no faith in this past Fall.

Talk amongst yourselves.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Actually, it's not clear at this time if the lab is or will be involved. Remember that with Amanda's departure from the lab, there were no technical supervisors left in the lab for the BT program. On a temporary basis, DPS took charge of the program. The same DPS people that are also now running the county program formerly run through Lone Star College. The lab has indicated that as long as DPS will do this job, it is unlikely that they would be willing to deal with the personnel and training isues to get a new TS as long as they get the service at essentially no charge. This is likely to be a source of friction between the county and HPD some time soon.

My question about the grant is just why so much? Each Intox they plan on buying costs between $6k - $8k. Four Intoxes plus associated equipment is about $50k. Is the rest from the "Gotta-buy-the-HPOA-vote-fund?" Just how much modification will they be doing to the substations that will get the new testing sites? And how much of this additional equipment and testing locations was cleared for inclusion in the testing program through DPS, who is technically running almost every BT program in the county? DPS is ultimately supposed to hire and train 5 people to handle the county program, but these individuals are not likely to be on-line until after May.

The chief seemed very eager to get the check from Her Honor's hand, and the officer standing next to her had a "who farted?" look on her face. Add Ted Oberg to the equation, and it must have been an uncomfortable situation for the judge.

Anonymous said...

How much are BAT vans per? It would almost seem as if this purchase is a tacit admission that they have problems.

Anonymous said...

When all else fails, throw money at it. Excuse me while I upchuck. (no offense Intended to any prior HC ADA's"
Stop the madness.

Anonymous said...

"I will certainly acknowledge there are special interests who have demagogued this issue, who have smeared the Houston Police Department and our office -- and that these have been unfair attacks," Lykos said.
- 01/25/2012

This was just another DWI case until the defense attorney took Lykos to task. Earlier this week, the DA told Eyewitness News she didn't trust HPD to run the city's embattled mobile DWI breath testing vans.
"I want the Texas Department of Public Safety to supervise the technicians so that we can be assured that everything is done according to protocol," Lykos said.
And even though Lykos told Eyewitness News she was done trusting HPD to tell her the truth about DWI testing, the jury in this case went ahead and found the defendant guilty.
- 10/28/2011

Anonymous said...

Per the Chron, "Improvements in the video technology and breath-alcohol testing equipment should be implemented by mid-summer," McClelland said.

Intox machines in every substation mean more tech supers needed and if this plan isn't funded right then the entire clusterf#$* situtation will repeat in a few years.

Remember that there was also a DPS tech that was convicted of falsifying maintenance records.

Anonymous said...

Just watched the attempted interview. You think lycos would've had a better reply prepared. I don't see her often but does she always wear red? She may need to spend some campaign money on clothes.

Leitner continues to acknowledge BAT van problems but won't be honest about the test results. What a crock.

Anonymous said...

Objectively: Kind of like real estate: location, location, location; but here it's all about; Timing x 3 + Politics x 3 = "Don't underestimate me as a POLITITION! I pick the time, place and setting of my PUBLIC appearances. Sounds like a familiar prosecutorial final argument on another topic of sorts dealing with control.

She used the old line from Ronald Regan in one of his debates with her retort to Oberg. Bottom Line: No matter what is posted negatively here, the key is how Mike can turn the message around or leave it alone, or just get votes.

After the G.J. term I suspect we will be seeing a lot more of P.L. - but it will be on HER terms. She obviously was never that well liked as a judge, and isn't much of a manager, and as has been said ad-nausea, has never prosecuted or defended a criminal case. This kind of talk means nothing because she is already elected. What matters is the image she wants to portray to Joe Six pack the voter, and THAT is where she can be downright shrewd, and Mike can NOT take this her lightly. She is shoring up her political weaknesses image wise. Ever watch "War Games"......except in the P.L. world of political gamesmanship there is no reasoning - only votes. Have you contacted your 25 voters yet and asked them to do the same. Mike can NOT do this by himself.

Anonymous said...

Why did Susan Bishop (the only good thing the admin has done) get sent to a closet office on the 2nd floor? Did Rachel need a closet on 6?

Murray - can the 185th GJ be extended again or it is shit or get off the pot time for them to issue an indictment? Do they have to meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays or could they meet everyday until the end of the month?

What's the status of the contempt hearings?

Anonymous said...

"Remember that there was also a DPS tech that was convicted of falsifying maintenance records."

That was not a DPS TS. While all Technical Supervisors are individually certified through DPS, not all are in the employment of DPS. The person of whom you speak was Deetrice Wallace. She was an individual who contracted with several agencies to provide the services of a Technical Supervisor. Those agencies each wanted their own BT program and could not get it without going outside a DPS TS area. Since she was properly trained and certified through DPS (incidentally she also was a former employee of Lone Star College when it was still North Harris Montgomery County College), she was allowed to contract with those agencies. The dirt here was an individual's lack of integrity, not a blanket condemnation of DPS.

Anonymous said...

How about if they use that money to put video in the police cars so they will quit beating the tar out of suspects and not be able to make up reasonable suspicion for illegal stops. It is shameful that police brutality goes unchecked when requiring video when making contact with suspects would eliminate that type of activity. A city the size of Houston with such a bad civil rights record should not be allowed to continue with only about 1 in 7 cars having video. It will protect good cops and check bad ones while saving the city millions avoiding civil rights law suits. And finally why can't they put the intoxylizers from the bat vans into the substations and use the vans for other functions?

Anonymous said...

Any way to check if Lykos is monitoring traffic to the site. I tried to access the comments at the CJC and got a strange message saying I couldn't access the site. Tried again and got thru.

Anonymous said...

If anyone (judges included), actually understood the laws regarding defendants found incompetent or not guilty by reason of insanity, nobody would be complimenting Susan Bishop.

Anonymous said...

Susan Bishop is such a nice lady and such a hard worker.

It's a shame that she is the front line for implementing the hands-down worst mental health policies in the country, which (this one time) aren't Patsy's fault. Somehow it seems so reasonable coming from Susan Bishop.

I wouldn't want to be on the 6th floor, downwind from that shit show either.

Mark W. Stephens said...

Lykos was quoted in the Ted Oberg story as saying:

"I will certainly acknowledge there are special interests who have demagogued this issue, who have smeared the Houston Police Department and our office"

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong...but...wasn't it LYKOS who smeared the Houston Police Department???

Anonymous said...

If this wasn't strictly a politcal move, why didn't Lykos do this two years ago when she found out there were BAT Van problems?

Anonymous said...

Wow that clip of Leitner on ch 13 was impressive, is "ability to talk out of both sides of my mouth while being filmed" on his resume? I think I see why PL would put him as 2nd in command.

Mark W. Stephens said...

Just answered my own question.

YES, it was PAT LYKOS who "smeared" HPD.

Here's a link to another ABC story (below) wherein Lykos demands that DPS take over DWI testing from the Houston Police Department because...

"she's done trusting HPD to tell her the truth about DWI testing" and "she doesn't trust the Houston Police Department."

Yep. That would be a SMEAR.


http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/​story?section=news%2Fin_focus&i​d=8403864

Anonymous said...

Please join Mike tonight at the Raveneaux Country Club for the Greater Northwest Houston Candidate Forum. The meet and greet is from 6:30 to 7:00 and the program is from 7:00 to 9:00. This is a great opportunity to hear from all Republican candidates on the primary ballot. Please come support Mike!

Anonymous said...

LYPOCRACY:

1. Prior to HPD and other law enforcement agencies announcing their no-confidence vote and telling her that they were not going to endorse her, Liekos meets with them and pathetically pleads, "please don't ruin my day."

2. After HPD and other law enforcement agencies endorse Mike Anderson, Liekos says on "Red, White and Puppet Polland" that it would be "unethical and a conflict of interest" for her to accept such endorsements.

3. During the BAT van investigation, Liekos takes cheap shots at HPD and declares that they shouldn't be doing intox testing/analysis.

4. After BAT van investigation is completed--with cameras flashing--Liekos hands HPD almost $500K for more intox equipment for HPD to do intox testing/analysis. As an aside, the money that Liekos gave HPD during her dog and pony show press conference was not Liekos' money to give. That money was earned by the blood, sweat, tears, and lives risked of law enforcement officers all over the county who confiscated assets of crooks and felons. And NEVER--that I can recall--has an elected DA in Harris County (not the likes of Carol Vance, Johnny Holmes or even Chuck) called a press conference to give law enforcement asset forfiture funds. Honorable people like Vance and Holmes gave the money quietly because the money wasn't "thier" money and they didn't earn it to give. They simply gave it back to the law enforecment agencies who's hard work earned it in the first place. Pat Liekos ought to be ashamed of herself for taking ANY credit for the distrubution of those funds and she ought to be even more ashamed of herself for calling a press conference to do it.

Anonymous said...

Jim is apparently running around telling anybody who will listen that Lykos doesn't yell at her people and that she treats them with kindness and respect. I'm a prosecutor. Unfortunately, I've had to listen to Lykos talk to ADAs and staff. She may not yell, but she talks down to us (mainly because she has NO clue how to prosecute a case or what we do every day), belittles us in front of each other, drips with sarcasm, and shoots down ideas like fish in a barrell. Also, I have heard Jim talk about--and many others have to--the many times that after a meeting with an ADA (for whatever reason/issue) that after the ADA leaves the room, Lykos will willy-nilly (but in all seriousness) turn to Jim and instruct him to fire the ADA. Jim--according to Jim--then has to spend all sorts of time convincing Lykos not to fire the ADA and explaining to her that she just can't haul off and fire people all the time for no good reason--especially since she'd never even met them before, knew nothing about them, and knew even less about what sort of job the particular ADA did--she just didn't like what they had to say.

In the old days, the elected DA and some of their higher ups did yell from time to time, and sometimes, we yelled right back. But most times, we didn't get fired for it. Instead, justice was better served for the passionate pursuit of doing the right thing--even if we didn't always agree about how to go about it. "Damn fool results" were often avoided because of spirited conversations among prosecutors from the elected down.

One of the very few things that Jim has done well since he's joined on as Patsy's pawn, is to save the hides of some good folks in the face of a tyrant.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:22, law enforcement in this geographic area have had a better reputation than most other large departments. If you are judging by the headlines alone, and not the judicial scrutiny of the feds, you may come to a different conclusion but neither of the major departments has been run by the feds; unlike many departments under federal oversight such as NYC, LA, and others.

I support cameras in their cars too but their main limitation is that they activate after the probably cause in most instances and do not generally help prevent or prove those few cases of excessive force since the cameras do not track the officers. Then, if any technical glitches occur, the usual hater crowd yells "cover up", the belief that there is no winning when it comes to the anti-police zealots seemingly true.

Anonymous said...

What is interesting is how - like sheep - the media even showed up and gave the story the time it did. But even worse is how only ONE reporter asked a question about oh, let’s see, the unprecedented TWO G.J. investigations still pending, prosecutor took the 5th and gets "promoted to appellate" and here she is giving a half million dollars to the very agency she has repeatedly trashed leading up to this moment and now the change of heart. And the timing; Just think how many variations of questions could have been asked on this extremely weird press conference - of which - the very reason involved DWI detection equipment. DISINGENUOUS!

Anonymous said...

Money!
Why doesn't she use money to help the office replace broken down equipment. You have 15 to 20 people using 1 printer because the printers on desks don't work. The computers are so old, it takes forever to get things done.
Computers taking so long could be because she has so much spyware on them to keep an eye on us. But they are very old and need replacing.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone really know what the mental health division actually does? From what I can tell, there are only a couple of people in there and I have no idea what they are supposed to be doing. Also - there is the Elder Abuse Division (1 person).

I'm NOT blaming the people in those divisions - just asking WHAT do they do - it sounds GREAT - the DAO has a "mental health" and "elder abuse" division - but with a combined staff of THREE - for 2 HUGE issues? Is the DAO serious, or are these just for show?

Also - The $500 K is fine to help HPD - but, I wish someone would just take a walk around the office and see the old computers and printers. Wouldn't $500 K buy us some much-needed BASIC equipment too?

NOT to mention the fact that most of us have not had any type of raise in almost 4 years.

When we see money being given away like that and people hired for PR, it makes us question what the goals are - and whether we (the worker bees) or our day-to-day work is of any value.

Anonymous said...

Video can be set on a continuous loop from 30 seconds to many minutes, so probable cause for stops should almost always be captured. When glitches occur it has always been in my experience when the officers own story contains contradictions and the defendent is vehementlly contesting the officer's account. I have had to many glitches for malfunction to be believable.

Anonymous said...

I attended a Republican candidate forum last night at Raveneaux Country Club put on by 4 Republican Women's Clubs. There was a packed house there to hear dozens of candidates for all different offices speak for 2 minutes each. I thought it would be Pat Lykos territory, but I was wrong.

When Pat spoke, there was was polite applause. However, when Mike spoke, he got the loudest and longest applause and cheering of the whole night.

Anonymous said...

So who is the homicide detective being investigated for bigamy? Two spouses ?

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Good question, 12:35,
But I think an insanity defense will be forthcoming.

Anonymous said...

Two questions ---
1. Why can't HPD take the intoxilyzers out of the BAT vans and use them instead of buying new ones?
2. If Lykos is so serious about getting drunks off the street, why is she DIVERTing their prosecution? Paying $450,000 to get them arrested but then letting them go with no conviction just doesn't make sense to me.

Anonymous said...

I prosecute for a city that has video in every patrol car and on every motorcycle. It is a great tool. It's always running and records 30 second pre-event when either overheads turned on, certain speed reached, collision, or officer hits record button. My videos are accessible on a website within days. Nobody wants a trial anymore after they see their "I
stopped" defense is an obvious lie. It certainly shows probable cause in most cases. Of course there are always glitches where it
wasn't working and the wireless mics arent foolproof, but The system has saved us countless hours of court time and officer
overtime just by avoiding trials. We have a population of almost 200,000 so it's a significant sized police force.

Anonymous said...

7:54-
Lykos has reached a state of desperation. She knows she's going to lose the election and is frantically doing everything she can. Using County money for political gain is nothing new to her.
1. hiring suck-up unqualified supporters when she took office
2. hiring a whole staff of media-types to write glowing articles and get the Chronicle to handle her with kid gloves.
3. hiring unqualified Investigator to photograph her and drive her around
4. buy said photographer thousands of dollars worth of photography equipment for her primary use
5. new wood floors and expanded office so her secretary has to sit out in a hallway
6. remodel whole room to use for press releases and then hide from KTRK
7. gift HPD with $475,000 for Breath Testing Equipment after telling HPD they shouldn't be in the business.

I'm sure there's lots more...

Mark W. Stephens said...

To Anonymous January 27, 2012 7:54 PM

Excellent questions. Especially the second one. I was thinking the same thing.

In the Ted Oberg story Lykos stated, "What we're saying is don't drive drunk. No more victims."

Then she gave HPD about half a million bucks for new intoxilyzer equipment, so they can arrest more DWIs.

Yet, on the sly she's running this DIVERT progam (which may or may not be legal) that puts Drunk Drivers back out on the street with NO conviction. (Of course that's IF they have the money...and where does that money go???)

So, she gave HPD half a milion dollars to arrest more DWIs, which she will then release with NO CONVICTION. Huh???

Ted? Are you listening? Great questions here...

Anonymous said...

Prosecutor Turnover - Scratching below the Surface

http://www.patlykos.com/articles/harris-county-district-attorneys-office-prosecutor-turnover-statistics-1985-2011/

Here are some numbers from election website. This is a metaphor for this administration - Surface, no depth. Content, no context. Lovely wood veneer, sawdust underneath.

If you simply look at the numbers (and I don't know if they are correct), you might say - "Well, that looks like the normal rate of attrition."

However - WHO do these numbers represent? Donna Goode, Joe Owmby, Bert Graham, Vic Wisner, Bill Delmore ...experienced prosecutors and administrators, people who are respected all over the State.

We didn't just lose "numbers." The loss of these experienced prosecutors will have an impact on criminal justice in Harris County for years to come. Not only are these people NOT working on cases, they are NOT training new prosecutors. They are NOT working on policy issues.

You can't lose a Bill Delmore and replace him with a 25 year old baby prosecutor fresh out of law school and call that a 1 to 1 ratio.

We lost Bill Delmore (described as having almost 30 years of experience) to the Montgomery County DA's Office - from their website:

Delmore has authored more than 600 appellate briefs, and represented the State in numerous capital murder cases in which the death penalty was imposed. He has represented the State (and his fellow prosecutors) in several Texas courts of appeals, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the Texas Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.

- Quiet, but not Silenced

Anonymous said...

Excellent point: "Bodies vs. Years of Experience". Anyone got the time to do THIS breakdown? I know Bert always had ALL the management Tree sheets from the battle of San Jacinto. Under P.L. management school of statistical analysis, the Normal attrition rate for "soldiers" in WWII due to “normal rate of attrition” might read: We lost a mere 10 “employee servicemen” but took in 10. Upon further research, the names of the 10 lost due to this “normal rate of Attrition are: George Marshall, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, Omar Bradley, George S. Patton, Jr., Mark W. Clark, Chester W. Nimitz, William Halsey, Jr., Henry Arnold & Jimmy Doolittle. All Normal.

Anonymous said...

Anony 12:52

........replaced with, Beetle "Leitner" Bailey, Frank "Vollman" Burns, John "Chow" Winger, Will "Bridgewater" Stockdale, Henry "Morrison" Limpet, ........

Anonymous said...

"defendent is vehementlly contesting the officer's account."

So when the guy has dope in his pocket or the drunk is a .25 and the guy swears that it's not his pants or he only had two beers he must be telling the truth?? Just say the officer lied and it must be true??

What color is the sky in your world???

Anonymous said...

There are times when a client who is guilty as sin and even admits it has to have the case dismissed because there was no reasonable suspicion for the stop. When video's disappear or are "corrupted" on a 1:30 am arrest and the defendant is ignorant of the dismissal implication,yes I will believe my client over the officers facts for the stop. These missing videos are all too frequent to be actual malfunction. What color is that sky you referred to?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for letting me know about " Red, White and Blue" I think I'm becoming a fan.