Saturday, December 8, 2012

Conflicted?

As I posted in November, the Harris County Sheriff's Office had an item on the Commissioners' Court Agenda last month asking for $138,000 to pay for consulting services from Jim Leitner.  Setting aside the argument for the moment about whether or not Jim's legal consultation is worth that relatively large amount of money, it does bring up an interesting question about him continuing to do any other kind of criminal cases (appointed or retained).

If Leitner is going to be representing the Harris County Sheriff's Office in a legal capacity wouldn't that tend to conflict him out of doing criminal defense representation in all cases that involve the Sheriff's Office?

My understanding is that Leitner has explained that he would not be taking on cases where HCSO was the investigating agency, which should be obvious.  How can one defend an accused client when the accuser is also a client?  By turning down those Sheriff's Office cases, Jim will be foregoing a large percentage of criminal cases in Harris County.

However, in my opinion, the conflict of interest that Leitner potentially faces is much more significant than just those cases where HCSO investigated the case-in-chief.   Some conflicts of interest are more subtle.

Keep in mind that the Harris County Sheriff's Office is also in charge of the Harris County Jail.  All defendants who are charged by any police agency in Harris County will ultimately reside in the jail, provided that they don't make bond.  They will be booked in by Jim's clients.  They will be housed by Jim's clients.  If they commit any infractions in the jail, they will be testified against by Jim's clients.

Furthermore, if a defendant has a prior criminal history and a prosecutor has to prove up those prior records with fingerprint evidence, the fingerprint expert is always a Harris County Sheriff's deputy -- one of Jim's clients.

If you think about it, what criminal cases in Harris County don't  utilize a representative of the Harris County Sheriff's Office at some point?

Based on all of these scenarios, it would seem that Leitner would be potentially conflicted out any criminal case in Harris County unless they 1) never get booked into the Harris County jail and 2) have no criminal history that would require a Sheriff's Deputy to testify.   If you couple that with the fact that Leitner is not exactly fondly remembered by many of his former co-workers at the District Attorney's Office, one must wonder who thought this consulting gig was a good idea for him.

I'm not sure who was more short-sighted:  Leitner or Sheriff Adrian Garcia.

Of course, making short-sighted decisions without thinking out the implications of them is something we've gotten accustomed to the past four years.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

When Jim aligned himself with Lykos he compromised his integrity. Four years later, it's even easier to get past any twinges of concern about that. Plus, he's desperate for money and maybe an "Honorary Deputy" badge!

What's really disgusting is Lykos trying to get herself appointed to TAG. Those poor folks can't imagine what they're in for if she gets that. Talk about micro-managing, ordering people around like she's the General and demanding to be called Judge. EVERY decision she would make would depend on whether it makes her look good and feed her narcissism.

She is desperate to be relevant. Surely there is some way to stop this travesty!

Anonymous said...

What is a "TAG?"

Anonymous said...

TAG Article in Chronicle:
Agencies joining forces to take down gangs

| Updated: May 16, 2012 10:39pm

Developing the profile of a gang member for a criminal investigator can be a long and tedious endeavour. It involves calling several other law enforcement agencies to collect and assess information about the criminal's background. The process can take months.

But soon, that may no longer be the case. Authorities on Thursday are expected to announce that federal, state and local agencies will team up in a state-of-the-art facility to thwart crime from local street gangs and transnational criminal organizations based in the region.

Dubbed the Texas Anti-Gang Tactical Operations Center, or TAG, the facility will provide law agencies with a one-stop shop for gathering information about gangs.

Slashing probe times

"What used to take an investigator two months to do, we'll be able to do in 30 minutes," said Michael McDaniel, director of Houston's High-Intensity Drug-Trafficking Area taskforce, a federally funded coalition of law enforcement agencies from 17 counties across Texas' coastal region.

Slated for completion by Jan. 1, TAG is a partnership between HIDTA and Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos, who helped secure a $1.7 million state grant to fund the project. The center will not only be used to gather intelligence, but will serve as a central location where law enforcement agencies can work together to develop strategies to fight gang activity, Lykos said.

Anonymous said...

TAG ! You're it ! Patsy and her idiotship Team are more than welcome at TAG. Please have at it. Screw the agency up as well.

What a Merry Christmas we have already. Its wonderful walking the halls seeing the empty, or soon to be, offices of the Idiotship. Its great to see Santa Bert walking the halls.

Happy Holidays DAO. We are almost awake from this nightmare.

Anonymous said...

Who brings over the prisoners from the jail? Who issues and serves subpoenas? On every case in the CJC!

Anonymous said...

So if I am filing a complaint to internal affairs at the sheriff office about a deputy who lied on the stand for the DA's office while Leitner was second in charge in the office, how will that play out now?

Anonymous said...

Prosecutors routinely bring potential conflicts to a judge's attention when they arise (eg, one lawyer representing co-defendants charged with the same dope). Prosecutors should do this on every case where Leitner makes an appearance.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine a group of Federal, State, and local Police officers having to dance to Lykos' tune of " make look good, boys" while trying to do their jobs?

Besides them having to put up with her nasty personality...

Anonymous said...

Will you all stop trying to use logic and reason!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The HCSO could better put to use the 138k slated for Leitner by hiring more help for the Sheriff's civilian legal staff responsible for processing subpoenas and open records requests. they are way overworked and understaffed. All two of them!