Saturday, October 20, 2012

Jim Leitner

I'm sure that some of you noticed that I posted a lengthy diatribe yesterday about the departure of Jim Leitner that I have now deleted off the blog.

I wrote it yesterday afternoon and published it last night.

After sleeping on it, I realized that even for my typical rants, it was too personal for me, so I deleted it.  It bothered me how worked up I was getting about Leitner.

So, I'll leave it at this -- his departure is a major step towards making that Office a better place.

The End.


Anonymous said...

You're being too hard on yourself Murray. Most of us are posting on here because we're expressing our feelings about things that are very personal to us.

In the beginning, many of us rightfully feared what Pat Lykos would do to HCDAO. Our one hope was that Jim Leitner would be the buffer that could bring reason into the equation. Jim was thought of as a nice guy and a decent lawyer with a good reputation.

Instead, Leitner was petrified of Lykos and jumped at her slightest whim. He allowed himself to be her hatchet man firing people right and left for little or no good reason. Jim also was unable to shed the mantle of Defense lawyer and be a real Prosecutor. He was more liberal than any of us thought; he had no backbone with Lykos and either wouldn't or couldn't take up for his people when he should have. Like Lykos, he craved respect but never understood that respect is earned by being a leader and making the right decisions for the right reasons.

As he departed, he issued an email to All DA Employees saying how proud he was to be First Assistant to Lykos and proud of the many accomplishments they had made. Really Jim? You're leaving an office decimated by the loss of over 100 lawyers and investigators who were either fired or refused to work for Lykos. You watched as she has gone through hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund organizations, unneeded office changes, pseudo-training, and pet projects that Lykos hoped would help her secure a second term in office.

You've supported her as she has hired unqualified, TOTALLY unqualified lawyers and investigators that have only brought the office to new lows and dumped the real work on those employees who have had to take up the slack. Under Lykos and your guidance, the office has continually foundered in disorganization to the extent that even getting out a move memo was nearly impossible. And when it did come out, it was almost always full of errors and ill-thought out because you and Lykos never listened to your staff. Decisions were always made on whims of the moment with no thought of collateral effects. All of the above is why you and Lykos never received the respect you wanted. In the case of Lykos she wanted respect borne of blind, unquestioning obedience bowing to her throne. I think you were more genuine in your quest for respect but sacrificed who you were in exchange for pleasing Lykos so you could wear the gold badge and delude yourself about those "accomplishments".

A Harris County Lawyer said...

I agree with everything you said, Anon 6:26.

I took it down, because quite frankly, I'm just glad Leitner is gone. There wasn't any need for me to explain my personal issues with him.

He was a petty henchman for a terrible administration who sold his reputation for a seat at the table.

I doubt that he nor Lykos nor Rachel Palmer will ever look back and feel remorse for what they did to the reputation of the District Attorney's Office. Leitner, however, may feel remorse for what he did to his own reputation.

Anonymous said...

He knows what he did to the Baby Prosecutors unfortunate enough to get summoned. That was all Leitner, not Lykos, and he sure looked like he enjoyed it at the time. Perhaps he regrets it now.

The thing about babies is they don't stay babies forever.

Jigmeister said...

I have to agree. I tried several cases against Jim over the years and found him to be genuinely concerned for his clients welfare and fighting hard for the best results for them. At the same time, he did that with class and respect for his opponent.

It doesn't seem that he was able to do that in his new role as first assistant. When his job was to supervise, facilitate the training of young prosecutors, and generally do the right thing; he sacrificed his integrity by becoming a yes man to the totally political Lykos. His decisions never reflected the best interests of the office or his personnel. Advice from people who tried to do the right thing were ignored and indeed criticized causing the loss of the wealth of talent he inherited and confusion and fear on the part of the majority of the staff.

I guess he saw that path as a way to survive and or to advance his own ambitions. That never works for long. Good supervisors lead by example and let the boss know when they are wrong, putting self interests aside. If that doesn't work, then find another job.

In his defense, I can't imagine it would be easy to be first assistant under Lykos and I'm sure he was constantly frustrated. I doubt most of us would have lasted a week. That he lasted this long, caused him to lose the respect of those of us who considered him a friend and worthy advocate.

Anonymous said...

Sociopaths feel no guilt, conscience or remorse for how their actions affect others.

Now it is time for Harris County to move on. Imagine what it will be like to inhale fresh, sober and sane air after Jan 1st when walking around CJC.

Finally, quoting the character Howard Johnson in one of the best movies ever, Blazing Saddles:

Nietzsche says 'Out of chaos comes order'

Daily trivia - whose uncle played Howard Johnson?

Anonymous said...


The same thing could be said about Chief Don McWilliams. He came into this office believing he and Assistant Chief Dennis Field would have autonomy over the investigators. That didn't happen. Initially I didn't blame them, but the more I looked at it, the more pissed I got. Dennis has worked his butt off for the greater good of the investigators and the office. Meanwhile, McWilliams thought it would be funny to put the name tag "Office Bitch" outside his door of his office. Deciding it would be funnier to make fun of how he was being treated than to actually stand up to Lykos.

McWilliams has personally brought on at least 2 VERY inexperienced and non-qualified investigators in Trina Craddock and Robert Pelton. Both are nice but neither should have been hired. Trina obviously has absolutely NO WORK to do because she has received about 500-600 hours of training in the 9 1/2 months. She doesn't know the first thing about being an investigator despite all the training. Pelton is the son of defense attorney Robert Pelton was hired personally by McWilliams, in spite of Captain Gary Johnson's background investigation revealing we should NEVER hire him. Dennis also told McWilliams not to hire him. However, Dennis went on vacation and came back and found McWilliams had hired Pelton. As it turns out, Pelton still has the immature rookie cop mentalitly and asked his investigator supervisor for a ticket book so he could write tickets!!! What the hell is wrong with these people?!

I hope that after Anderson gets in he'll get rid of these two investigators but keep Dennis on in some capacity. I believe Dennis has the backing of just about every investigator at the office.

Just my two cents

Anonymous said...

One of the worse things that Jim Leitner did was to buffer down the Pat Lykos platform. A massive house cleaning need to be performed and Pat Lykos could have done it without Pat Lykos. Jim has always been a nice guy to anyone other than his court appointed defense clients or those who tried to help his clients in any way. If you had an unworthy child who you needed to get into the Coast Guard, he would recommend them. If you were a prominent attorney whose incompetant son needed an investigator job, Jim could handle it. So what. HCDA investigators are made up of cronie fixtures anyway. I tried to help a couple of the court appointed clients that he dropped in the grease, so he and I had a conflict. I think he is one of the nicest guys Lykos could of hired and the old regime is fortunate that she did not hire a first assistant that would effectively pursue her real priorities. I kind of expect him to resurface in a cushy capacity, if Anderson gets elected. It might be just the most lucrative indigent defense appointments or a cushy job working in the PD office. He will get something though and it will not require much effort for the compensation.

Anonymous said...

We may talk about Jim as a POS, let us not forget to remember he was an outsider with no real understanding how to manage anything except his intakes.

The one person we should all turn our backs on is our one and only Joni Vollman. She, alone should disgust everyone for her role in the office demise. She claimed to ..just wanting to protect her people yet stabbed us in the back at every turn.

As she vacates the Bureau Chief office (yeah right), let us turn our backs and drop our eyes. Show her the same respect she showed the office with her treachery, bordorline unethical actions.

Anonymous said...

Poor old Joni drank the KoolAid and loved it! Who would have ever thought she would become so mesmerized by Lykos. Joni actually believes that Lykos is the most wonderful thing that ever came to the HCDAO.

Makes you really question Joni's judgement. She definitely needed to move on.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't piss on Joni Vollman or Hanna Chow if either were on fire. Joni, for the reasons stated above. Hanna, well just because she is Hanna Chow.
Shirley Cornelius

Anonymous said...

what is the background of Fields to make him so important.We would like to know about some of these people who are considered top dogs. Chuck had a bunch of good men with him.Chuck got by with a lot of things at the office .Did his buddies cover up for him? Why is confidential information being put on a blog?Murray,we are dealing with real people in the real world.Who is going to be the subject of the next witch hunt? Why pick on a woman?

Anonymous said...

Jim is a good person,a good attorney and a good leader. Hate to see him go.

P.S. Do you think you would say those things to his face Murray?

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Anon 6:02 (who seems to be writing from Hooper's IP address),
Jim may have been a good attorney and a good person once. He was a pathetic leader except for those with their nose stuck up his butt. The rest were all collateral damage.

And, yeah, I'd tell him that to his face. Do you think I'm being secretive by posting it here?

Anon 5:20 p.m.,
What makes you think this information is confidential? Because the Lykos Administration doesn't want it to get out?

Anonymous said...

Dennis Field and Clint Greenwood are two stand up guys that should be kept by the next admin. I wonder after Anderson wins will Lykos extend the courtesy for a transition team. I bet she will give Mike a closet in the basement, you know she will be breathing fire. Jan cannot get here quick enough, next out is JV and then Chow....

Anonymous said...

I know that "confidential" personnel files can be released under open records request. However, I question how legal it is for a current manager in a position of authority (Rachel Palmer / dba Life at the Harris County...) to access personnel information and publish it on her personal blog while she is STILL in a position of authority AND should be guarding personnel information? In any other business it presents liabilities for an employee/manager to say anything about a current or past employee other than acknowledging their employment and providing dates of employment.

Anonymous said...

those two men may be upstanding citizens but it doesn't mean they need to be retained. The way I see it their involvement in the Lykos admin is no less than the others.

MA will not want to look over his shoulder everytime those two individuals are in the room. Clean house of all those who were hired by this admin. Either immediately, attorneys and investigators, or in six months after evaluations for the support staff.

If either of these men are kept on, they shouldn't be in a position of management. If either is about the office, each will take pay cuts and be demoted.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Anon 10:36,

I don't really know Dennis Field, so I can't speak to that issue, but I disagree about Greenwood. He may be a swell guy, but he's one of Leitner's best friends. Hell, he even appeared in Leitner's inspirational farewell weightlifting video. Clint was also involved in that Motion to Recuse hearing where he became the "mystery witness" that would require ten days to travel in from Montgomery County.

Even before he came to the Office, he was involved in that who BubbaJoe6Pack thing on the blog, and I have serious reservations about his reputation for honesty.

Either way, it won't be our decision.

Regarding what information is or is not confidential, it is true that any public servant is open to the a Public Information request. That's just part of the job. However, there have definitely been many indications that Don Hooper was magically getting information that the general public wasn't entitled to -- up to and including things on my old hard drive from my office computer.

Sadly, at this point, the idea of the Lykos Administration playing dirty and giving information to Hooper should come as no surprise. Hooper has abandoned his arch-conservative persona to suddenly campaign for a Democrat that even Democrats won't vote for and he has no limits in exhibiting his lack of intelligence nor integrity.

Expect more to come from him and his bride. He'll be rattling on long after this election is over. I promise.

Anonymous said...

I am a 20 year employee and I too have been stressed and disheartened by the current administration.

However, I'm also embarrassed by the cruel and vulgar comments made by people AGAINST this administration.

There is PLENTY to discuss while sticking to the facts - no need to take the low road.

To the outsider, it just looks like a race to the bottom.

Anonymous said...

If you came in with her then you need to leave the same way. Why would you keep part of the problem. One left a private practice and the other was a Lt. At the Sheriff's office
The only reason they would come to the office is EGO

Anonymous said...


I worked for Joni for two years, and I can't say anything bad about her, in fact, she was a great supervisor and let me run my office as I saw fit. She was always available for consultation and went to bat for me multiple times against the 6th floor's agenda. While others say she "drank the koolaid," I think they automatically associate her with Pat and Jim since she is a bureau chief. Let's not forget she's also a terrific white collar trial lawyer. I also know Joni personally went to bat for some of the other staff in the special crimes bureau but things like that never get reported.

Not sure why Shirley hates her so much, did Shirley ever served directly under Joni?

Joni will resign in the next few weeks and will work with the AGs office. She is very forthcoming in the fact that Mike would fire her in a heartbeat, and you can see the sadness in her eyes as having to leave the office.

Just my $0.02.

Anonymous said...

Hooper only remains relevant if you acknowledge that he still exists.

Anonymous said...

Just my .02,

Let me give you the other .98 so you have a dollar's worth of knowledge. Joni is a wolf in sheep's clothing. You are either a junior prosecutor or support staff with no real standing in the office.

I have had the pleasure and now distaste of knowing Joni for over 16 years now. Have worked along side her and under her as a supervisor. She tries overtime making up for her lack of self. She is a competent attorney. Not even in the stadium of Rachel Palmer (joke y'all), Ted Wlson, Siegler, Wisner, Baldassano, Goode, etc. For you to say she is a terrific WC prosecutor is borderline laughable. Competent or above average at best.

What you don't know 2 cents is she has and will cut your throat if you get in her promotion ladder way or cross her now as a manager. She will look you in the eye and lie, cheat or stab you. She is just like her mother, Patsy.

Wait till she is gone 2 cents. I want you to go ask those who know her, work along side her and were supervised by her. You will get the other .98. She has earned a turkey walk out the door so she needs to accept it and look to the AG as another place for her to poison.

Anonymous said...

So who is gonna do an Open Records Request to find out who has submitted Open Records Requests?

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Anon 11:25 a.m.,

I know I shouldn't keep jacking with Hooper, but his reactions just crack me up. It is a true guilty pleasure manipulating the mind of someone that dull-witted.

I'll try to do better.

Anonymous said...

Friday, Jim Lietner flexing his muscles, announced “Mission Accomplished”. He came to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and exercised those management skills honed as a Coastie and proceeded to eviscerate the office. Proudly flexing his muscles with the help of his wing man, Clint “I’m Mikes’s hunting b**** so I am safe” Greenwood, Lietner made his announcement. The only surprise to me was that Bily was not standing there with Greenwood helping Lietner flex those muscles.

Not a Robot said...

The answer to anon 8:31's daily trivia is Chris Tritico. His uncle John Hillerman was in Blazing Saddles as well as having a regular role on Magnum PI.

Anonymous said...

Is it true that Leitner and Greenwood are going to the Halloween party as Ace and Gary?

Anonymous said...

First of all Baldassano is a fricking JOKE. He shouldn't even be allowed in the building.
Now as far as Joni goes she drank the koolaid and was not a good leader. She is a great WC prosecutor. Just got promoted beyond her ability.
McWilliams was just collecting a chech a big one at that. He never did anything for the investigators. They haven't had a raise or new vehicles in 4 years. Investigators are driving vehicles with over 125,000 miles on them
And yes he brought Trina with him. What a JOKE
Field is all about his Ego. He is also a Denhome boy. And not I understand he is going around and kissing anyone's --- that he thinks will be able to keep him a job
He didn't do anything for the investigators or office either
Greenwood came thinking he would be in a safe place at what ever cost for the rest of his career. WRONG
I believe if you came with the witch you should leave with the witch

Anonymous said...

Far beit for me to keep you from your guilty pleasures. Jack away with Hooper.

Anonymous said...

I would like to reiterate how nice it will be when that bitch and her back-stabbing henchmen will no longer be welcome in the CJC.

Hard to tell what more damage she will do there before 12/31/12.

Anonymous said...

What is he doing now?