Sunday, April 29, 2012

The District Attorney Debate this Thursday

It seems that whenever I am completely swamped in my actual (as opposed to blogging) life that it suddenly begins raining topics that I want to blog about.

As most of you know, my favorite New York Editor got promoted to Wife over the weekend and I'll be away from the CJC this week.  There are several interesting things going on around the CJC and in the political world (with early voting a mere two weeks away).  I may or may not have time to write about those stories, but I do want to make sure that I bring one to your attention before I go off honeymoonin'.

On Thursday, May 3rd from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., there will be a District Attorney Candidates Forum between Pat Lykos and Mike Anderson, sponsored by my on-again-off-again friend Big Jolly (NOTE:  I'm just kidding.  Although he frustrates me to the point that I want to beat my head into the wall, I like Dave.) and the King Street Patriots.  The event is being held at 7232 Wynnwood Lane, Houston, TX 77008.

The moderators are Paul Bettencourt and Scott Braddock, who Big Jolly swears will "reign these two candidates in and not let them get away with obfuscating and dodging tough questions."  If that is truly the case, Lykos may be in for the longest hour of her life.  Since neither Bettencourt nor Braddock practice criminal law (to my knowledge), I hope there will be a good turnout of prosecutors and defense attorneys who will know the truth from the sound bytes.

Dave has billed it as "60 minutes of Straight Talk" and I hope he is correct about that.

My understanding is that those who arrive before 6:45 are allowed to submit questions for the candidates which makes your turnout very important.  It looks like an outstanding venue to let substance shine over style.

I'm sorry that I won't be able to make it, but I hope you will.  Like I said earlier, Early Voting starts in two weeks.

It is time to go into overdrive on making a difference.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fundraiser for Mike Anderson on Saturday

Please join the LC/LF MC (SE Houston Chapter) on Saturday, April 28, 2012 from (Noon - 4:00 p.m.) for a campaign rally for Republican Candidate for District Attorney Mike Anderson.  The event will be held at Bubba's on Washington (6225 Washington Avenue, Houston, Texas 77007).

There will be live music by The Honky Tonk Heroes and everyone is welcome!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thursday Fundraiser for Joe Vinas

This Thursday, April 26th at 5:00 p.m., Todd Dupont is hosting a fundraiser for 174th District Court Candidate Joe Vinas at the Char Bar, located at 305 Travis, Houston, Texas 77002.

Everyone is welcome and we hope to have a good turnout for a great candidate.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Me and Marley

I apologize in advance.  This is one of those posts that I write every once in awhile because I need to clear my head, and not because it has anything to do with the CJC.



Long before the book Marley and Me came out (but, to be fair, after the author of that book had named his dog), I bought a Sheltie puppy at a half-priced discount.  She was half-priced because the white collar that goes around most Shelties' necks was just a small tuft of white on hers.  It was the end of my first year of law school and I was only 24 years old.  To put it in terms more applicable to the reader, I still had most of my hair back then.

I had just started dating the person who would ultimately become my first wife and we were both cigarette smokers.  We named our discount dog "Marley," saying it was short for Marlboro.  Somewhere along the way, she picked up the middle name of Jane, but I'm not entirely sure how that happened.

She was a very affectionate and very bright puppy.  She learned the common tricks of sit, stay, roll over, and play dead, but there was something so keenly intelligent about the dog that I often claimed if I had commanded Do my taxes, she would have gotten out a calculator.  By the time she was two years old, she would reluctantly do the tricks commanded of her, only after casting a glance at me, letting me know that she thought silly pet tricks were beneath her.

There was something about her charisma, though, that seemed to shine beyond just my affection for her.  For the last two years of law school, it was almost as if she were an honorary mascot.  My friends that came to the apartment all knew and loved Marley, and she seemed to enjoy nothing more than interacting with new people.  She didn't fetch or do anything that was all that wildly entertaining to watch, but she had some sort of magnetism so that everyone who met her, loved her.

Even my dad, who at the time was not the biggest fan of the multitude of dogs my mom had taken in over my years growing up, adored Marley.  Marley's favorite treat in the world when she was younger was ice, and she would sit at Dad's feet whenever he headed to the ice machine.  He never let her down in handing her a few pieces when he fixed his drink.  She seemed to like the ice even better when it was a cube or two he had pulled from a Scotch.

She was always present, yet seldom underfoot.  Over the next fifteen years, she would see me through the end of law school, the entirety of my career at the D.A.'s Office, six different apartments, four different houses, two marriages and the birth of my son.  When my boy was born, I wondered if he and Marley would have a bonding moment or if she would exhibit jealousy towards him.  In typical Marley fashion, she politely acknowledged his arrival in the house and went on about her business.  She gracefully accepted a new center-of-attention and tolerated the years of tail and hair pulling and fingers in the face that toddlers do around dogs.



My friends at the D.A.'s Office all knew Marley as a personality whenever they came over to my house or apartment.  Any girl that I ever introduced her to quickly abandoned any interest in talking to me when Marley wanted attention.  Can't say that I blamed them; she had more hair and was much more charming.

She weathered many storms with me, including that Christmas Eve in 2008 when I lost my job and had no immediate family to spend the holiday with.  Sometimes it seemed like Marley was the most stable relationship I had ever had.

Earlier this year, a routine check-up at the vet's office revealed that she had cancer.  She was far too old to attempt any type of surgery or treatment.  The extremely kind veterinarian and I agreed that the best course of action was to bring her home with me and treat her like a queen until it became apparent that it was time to let her go.

Not that Marley had ever failed to be treated like a queen in the first place, but she did get an extra serving of dog treats and dog food over the past few months.  When I had to go out of town, she would stay with Luci and Charley Davidson, which was like a full-service spa for dogs.  Over the past few months, they were both as actively involved in taking care of Marley and helping make decisions about her as I was.

My fiancee (and soon-to-be bride) also was a Godsend in taking care of Marley over the past few months.  Without her presence, love, and kindness, I would probably not be able to write this post at the moment.

This morning, unfortunately, it became clear that it was time to let Marley go.

I'm really not trying to turn this post into something overly emotional, but sometimes that's a little hard to avoid.  I will just say that between my fiancee and the wonderful veterinarians at Westbury Animal Clinic, I couldn't have been more at peace in saying goodbye.

It is amazing to think back and realize how owning a dog is often a measure of a span of time.  I owned her for well over a third of my life.  She was always there with a wag of the tail whenever I made eye contact with her.  In the wonderful times to the not-so-wonderful times, she was always there.  With as much that has changed over the past fifteen years, she remained the one true constant.

I wanted to write this to say thank you to everyone who ever took care of Marley, petted her, babysat her, gave her ice, or called her their own.  She loved everybody.

But most of all, I wanted to thank Marley for being the best dog I ever had.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Your Friday Dose of Irony [UPDATED]

We've all had a good laugh at Gary Polland's hypocrisy in criticizing Republican candidates who take court appointments to do criminal defense when he brought in over $400,000 in appointments last year.  Now, we can also have a laugh at Jared Woodfill who has joined the Juvenile or Family Court appointments list, as well.


Both Woodfill and Polland have violently opposed the creation and continued existence of the Public Defenders' Office, and now you know why.

They seem to be a little worried that the more cases the PD's Office gets, the less money there will be to go around for them.  If the PD's Office continues to thrive, Woodfill might even be forced to sell his house in River Oaks.

[UPDATE:  Several people (who are apparently in the know) have pointed out that Woodfill is not doing appointments through the juvenile courts, but as ad litem through the Family Courts.  If the distinction of what type of appointments Mr. Woodfill is taking matters to you, this is my notice of that distinction.  Either way, he's still taking appointments.]

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tonight's Reasonable Doubt (4/19/12)

Sorry for the late notice on this.

Please join us for tonight's Reasonable Doubt, where our guest will be Robb Fickman, the Czar of Provocation.  Robb has had a lot on his mind lately, including some issues with the TSA and their affiliation with Houston METRO.  It is going to be a great show covering a lot of issues dealing with your right to be free of unreasonable searches.


The show airs live at 8:00 p.m. and will be carried live streaming on the internet.  If you want to watch on-line, you can do so by clicking here.

The channels that carry the show are also as follows:
Comcast-Channel 17
Sudden Link-Channel 99
AT&T U-Verse - Channel 99
Phonoscope - Channel 75
TV Max - Channel 95

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Gary Polland's Struggle for Relevancy

Ah, Gary Polland.

He so desperately still wants to be considered a player in the Republican Party.  Ever since being replaced as the head of the Republican Party for Harris County by Jared Woodfill, he's been trying to peddle his influence inside the Harris County Criminal Justice Center.  He touts his influence with certain judges shamelessly.  He mumbles threats that he can have prosecutors fired based on his close relationship with Pat Lykos.  It must be working well for him.  He apparently made around $400,000 last year in appointments.

I've known him since 1999 and I haven't seen him try a jury trial yet.

He claims to be the Republican "spokesman."


Gary has been backsliding with the Republican Party lately, however.  He lost credibility with his conservative constituency as their "spokesman" when he endorsed Annise Parker for Mayor of Houston (lamely explaining that he did so because it was a non-partisan election).  He lost credibility with anyone who had half a brain by endorsing Janice Law in 2010 over Judge John Clinton.

Yet, he still attempts to peddle his influence -- selling ads to folks for his "endorsement," which is the proverbial example of not being worth the paper it is printed on.

We had all been waiting with bated breath for Gary's big endorsements which finally came out today.  Thankfully, the uninformed Republican masses would be told who to vote for by a guy who redefines taking government subsidies.

And, now, without further ado, here we go . . .


Yeah, that's all he put (at least in regards to elections pertaining to the Harris County Criminal Justice Center.) 

He managed to leave a couple of races out.  Like the 176th (which is uncontested), the 337th, the 338th (which is uncontested), the 339th (which is uncontested) and the 351st (which is also uncontested).  Now, before you go saying "Well, he probably didn't feel a need to make a recommendation in an uncontested race," you'd be wrong.  Roger Bridgwater is uncontested in his race, as well.  He just felt like doing a little kissing up to Bridgwater (a Lykos crony).

Extremely informative there, G-Man.

Stacey Bond, former Judge Brock Thomas, Brad Hart, and Judge Mark Ellis are all running uncontested in their primaries bravely, without Gary's blessing, apparently.

But here is the funny part.

Polland didn't feel strongly enough about either candidate to make a judgment call on the 337th race.

Really.

Renee Magee, a senior Special Crimes prosecutor is running against former Judge Jim Barr, who was literally removed as judge by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct for making sexually inappropriate comment from the bench.  

And Gary just can't make the tough call on who to endorse.  Yeah, that one is tricky.

I feel sorry for you, Gary.  I'm sure you wanted to endorse Jim Barr so very very badly, but you just couldn't do it, could you?  I guess you thought you would lose credibility like you did with the Parker endorsement.

Newsflash, Gary.  You don't have any credibility.  

Nor integrity, for that matter.

As a side note, if you are looking for endorsements in the contested races (where nobody paid a single dime for an advertisement and the reasoning for said endorsements are explained), just click here.

Election Code Violation Contest

How many Election Code Violations can you find in the below invitation?


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

HBA Bar Poll Ballots Due Friday

Just a friendly reminder to those of you who are members of the HBA.  Don't forget that your ballots are due to the HBA no later than Friday.

Your votes matter and those of you who read this blog know who is qualified better than anyone else when it comes to the Criminal Court Benches and the candidates for District Attorney.  Make your voices heard and get your ballots in.

Rachel Palmer's Life at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center

For those of you who keep up with the comments section of my posts, you may have noticed yesterday that someone brought up the fact that Assistant District Attorney Rachel Palmer had filed a DBA (Doing Business As) notice with the Harris County Clerk's Office sometime in January.  Now, keeping in mind that Rachel has a full-time job, it seems a little bit strange that she would be starting up her own business.

What is even more bizarre is the title of the business.

She apparently filed as "Life at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center."

Um, okay.

Most of you know that Rachel's beloved husband, Don Hooper, started a knock-off version of my blog a few months ago.  I'm not going to link to it, because it is grossly inaccurate to the point of being libelous and the spelling and grammar is mind-numbingly bad.  Seriously, I was going to sign him up for a Hooked on Phonics class as a peace offering.  That being said,  I have found that the best way to deal with an idiot is to ignore him.

Hooper had been making noises about "taking Murray's blog" for awhile.  I guess that he and Rachel decided to make it all official by getting the DBA.  I don't know what exactly their goal was.  Maybe Rachel just wanted to see if exercising her 1st Amendment Right felt as good as exercising her 5th?

Mark Bennett did a post this morning with his thoughts on Rachel's entrepreneurship.  Who knows what Rachel and Don are up to?

I sincerely doubt that Rachel is attempting to take credit for my blog.  We aren't exactly best friends, in case you haven't noticed.  She probably wouldn't want to explain to Pat Lykos why she would be so desperately trying to affiliate herself with a blog that is so critical of the Lykos' Administration.

More likely, she was just trying to pave the way for Don to create his knock-off blog.

What is interesting, however, is that Don's blog bashes not only me, but Rachel's fellow prosecutors and several sitting judges, as well.  It bashes them harshly.  It is my understanding that some of the half-assed attempts by the Upper-Administration of the D.A.'s Office to get Don to tone it down have been rebuffed by him.  He doesn't work for Pat Lykos, after all.

But the new business entity of "Life at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center" doesn't have Don Hooper's name on it.

It has the name of Harris County Assistant District Attorney Rachel Ann Palmer.

The Lykos Administration has been very clear that they don't like it when their prosecutors talk on blogs.  When Scott Pope was a prosecutor, he left a relatively innocent comment on Mark Bennett's blog that said nothing bad about the Administration.  He was called to the 6th Floor and admonished for daring to sign his name.  A few months ago, a prosecutor was disciplined for defending himself against a defense attorney's public criticisms on the Chronicle.  Even David Benzion was apparently told to stifle his comments on my blog after he posted something here a while back.

Yet here we have prosecutor Rachel Palmer affiliating herself with Life at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center in writing -- bashing judges and prosecutors with impunity.

Doesn't it seem like there is something wrong with this picture?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Renee Magee on Reasonable Doubt

Republican candidate for the 337th District Court Renee Magee was on Reasonable Doubt last Thursday.  You can catch her interview below.


Reasonable Doubt, April 12, 2012, Renee Magee from HCCLA on Vimeo.

New Blog Post on Chronicle Website

I just published my recommendations for the races affecting the Harris County Criminal Justice System on my Chronicle blog.  You can get there by clicking here.

I encourage you to comment with your insights into the candidates, but please try to keep the comments a little tamer over there.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tonight's Reasonable Doubt (4/12/12)

Please join us on tonight's Reasonable Doubt with me and Todd Dupont, where our guest will be Republican candidate for the 337th District Court, Renee Magee.

The show airs live at 8:00 p.m. and will be carried live streaming on the internet.  If you want to watch on-line, you can do so by clicking here.

The channels that carry the show are also as follows:
Comcast-Channel 17
Sudden Link-Channel 99
AT&T U-Verse - Channel 99
Phonoscope - Channel 75
TV Max - Channel 95

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Robert Eckels' Everlasting Love/Everlasting Hate

I had an e-mail forwarded to me today by several readers expressing shock and concern (and in some cases, outrage) over the endorsement of Pat Lykos by former County Judge Robert Eckels.

I appreciate the notice of Eckels' endorsement e-mail, but I was kind of surprised that my readers are surprised at his endorsement.

Eckels, after all, is the same guy who kept Lykos employed after her failed bid for Attorney General in 1994.  Nobody to this day is sure exactly what Lykos was doing for Eckels, other than drawing a steady paycheck.

He also bankrolled her campaign in 2008, as I pointed out in this blog post way back when.  The article that I linked to back then was one by then-Houston Chronicle columnist Alan Bernstein.  He reported that  Eckels had handed Lykos a very large chunk of change so that she could publish some very misleading campaign literature that created the impression that she had the official endorsement of the Harris County Republican Party.

Eckels has proven that his affection for Lykos runs deep.

What also runs deep, apparently, is his hatred.

Students of Harris County Courthouse History may remember that back in the Johnny Holmes era, Mr. Eckels' father was prosecuted by Mr. Holmes.  Those of us who have ever prosecuted a case will be the first to tell you that we don't really earn a big fan following from a Defendant's family.  Eckels' disdain for the Holmes Administration (and anyone he seems to consider to be formerly tied to the Holmes Administration) is par for the course in the Criminal Justice Business.

It is understandable that he would sympathize with Pat Lykos for being investigated by two Grand Juries and now the Texas Rangers.

But as Lykos takes his endorsement (and doubtlessly, his campaign donations), you should take what he has to say with a shaker grain of salt.  It has as many lies and misrepresentations in it as the mailer he financed (and denied) back in 2008.

Robert Eckels' endorsement pretty much exemplifies the origins of the phrase "consider the source."

Guest Post: Speaking Up for the "Average Voter"


From Our Friend, Spunk:

Apparently Brian Rogers and certain bloggers would like everyone to believe that the DA's race is really only about issues of concern to a small group of courthouse detractors which only courthouse insiders would understand. That message is insulting to the "average voter" because the "average voters" are not receiving full and accurate coverage in the main stream media as to what is really going on at the criminal justice center and in the DA's Office under Lykos, and also because the point Brian Rogers on behalf of the Houston Chronicle is seeking to make is predicated on selective, incomplete and downright false information, which is exactly the way one would behave who doesn't care at all what else Lykos does, as long as she maintains her light handed policies on the death penalty.
Wasn't one of the first of Lykos' "accomplishments" in the last 3 + years as DA to join forces with the Chronicle to basically lobby the Texas Legislature to help successfully pass some sort of "Journalist -Shield" law?  Where is the story on this? Not one other DA in Texas joined Lykos in this unprecedented endeavor. I believe I also heard that she hired someone from outside the DA's office to accompany and assist  Asst. DA Kevin Petroff in Austin during that legislative session.  No one reading this should assume she went to this kind of effort and publicly exposure on this on this issue without first getting something big in return.  This is just an early example of one of many instances of "the appearance of impropriety" to which she has either been a party directly or which she has indirectly approved.  The Chronicle now owes her every benefit of the doubt, and therefore will always work toward covering DA news in a light most favorable to her.  Add to this the simple but not widely known fact that although DA Pat Lykos calls herself a conservative Republican, she is, in practice, the most lenient DA in Harris County history on seeking the death penalty on defendants who are eligible for it, deserving of it and where evidence supports it.  Priorities being what they are, no wonder the liberal-leaning media such as the Chronicle is willing to forgive just about anything else she does or allows to be done in her name. No wonder Brian Rogers was so careful in his article on Easter Sunday to frame the issues involved in the DA race such that the "average voter" might not follow the real Lykos story, you know, to "[k]eep the interest low."               
So it was, in this light most favorable to Pat Lykos that only she was depicted in that article by way of a large color photograph of her at one of her many photo-ops.  Brian Rogers wrote about "2 grand juries at issue?" as if there is not yet a third formal criminal investigation which is still pending and for which yet a third special prosecutor has been appointed.  Instead the article reads as if the two grand jury terms, both of which have concluded, is the end of it, except for some insignificant report some of the grand jurors released, castigating the DA's Office and accusing "it" of investigating them. There is but a single comment comment, one line in length, about the on-going investigation by the Texas Rangers looking at whether Lykos' investigator used county resources "for a serious probe," leaving out that these county resources were being used in a retaliatory fashion against GRAND JURORS for having the audacity to investigate her operation in the first place.  Brian Rogers, don't you consider ANY type of investigation, ANY use of taxpayer resources, by a DA into the private lives of individual grand jurors who are at the time, investigating the DA's Office, SERIOUS? Can you at least agree with me that this scenario on its face reeks of an appearance of impropriety, worthy of public discussion?   So where is that in your article?
What Rogers did NOT say is that Pat Lykos caused this 3rd pending criminal investigation herself.  He did NOT write that she initially lied to the public in a press conference she called herself about whether she was aware that her own investigator was investigating grand jurors who were at the time, investigating her.  Rogers did NOT say that on the very next day she released a statement admitting, in so many words, that yes, she did initiate the investigation into the personal lives of grand jurors and others surrounding the issue. Rogers did NOT explain why is this so egregious. He could have explained that  Grand juries are independent fact finding bodies.  That grand juries are not beholden to anyone, and that includes the District Attorney.  That they are composed of citizens in the community, some just like the "average voter."  That they should never be made to feel threatened, intimidated, watched, followed or photographed for doing what they are sworn by oath to do and they deserve to be protected from those who seek to retaliate against them for their service to the public.  That this kind of behavior undermines the objectivity of the grand jury process as a whole and has a chilling effect on the willingness of citizens to serve on grand juries.  And that above all, the very worst part of this particular situation is that Brian Rogers failed to say that the DA herself, Patricia Ann Lykos, approved, condoned and by her own admission even directed that this intimidation be carried out on members of a grand jury. What about this would the "average voter" not understand?  Society as a whole is and has been for decades, familiar with what a "mobster's mentality" is. The "average voter" gets it. 
With no figures published yet, how is it that Rogers seems to know that Lykos is "raising more" and "spending more" money, presumably than Mike Anderson?  According to who?  And Rogers made only a scant comment about the remarkable fact that long-time former DA Johnny Holmes has endorsed Mike Anderson.  The "average voter" in Harris County damned sure knows who Mr. John B. Holmes, Jr. is because "average voters" elected him 4 times if I am counting properly and they listen closely to what this honorable servant of the public has to say.  Rogers did not elaborate on this significance of the endorsement by this "high-ranking Republican" of Mike Anderson.  This is a man who was the "average voter's" elected DA for 22 years and would still be today if he had not decided to retire.  Rogers also did not mention other key endorsements which would normally go to a Republican incumbent which Mike Anderson now holds, such as the Link Letter endorsement, the Hotze endorsement, and both major police union endorsements. Be honest, does Brian Rogers, his Democrat strategist and his Rice University professor really believe that all this shifting away from Lykos truly means that nobody is paying attention to the DA's race?   
And instead of civil injunctions against apartment complexes, why didn't Brian Rogers even mention the fact that one of Lykos' current employees, Rachel Palmer, asserted her 5th amendment right (as an ordinary citizen, but not so much as a prosecutor sworn to see that justice is done) not to incriminate herself by refusing to answer a grand jury's questions under oath and thereby probably protecting Palmer herself, or Lykos, or both from being indicted in the process?  Where is the story of this appearance of impropriety, of harboring a witness as an employee in your office at taxpayers' expense as a reward for hiding behind the "5th" instead of telling the truth under oath?  What was so "nasty" about the truth that Rachel Palmer would rather take the 5th in public and ruin her reputation forever than to testify and tell the truth?  And what is important about keeping Palmer placated and her mouth shut that Lykos can't just terminate her employment.  Isn't that what prosecutors go to work and ask their witnesses to do everyday, take an oath and tell the truth?  I think the "average voter" can smell the hypocrisy and the corruption in this sordid tale.  And I didn't see any of it in Brian Roger's Easter article.                        
IF interest is low (and I don't believe it is low) would only be so because, in large part, honest reporting of the real issues is almost non-existent particularly in the DA race.  And if the real issues happen to be truly "nasty", who do we have to thank for that "vitriol"?  The truth of the matter is that Pat Lykos really is incompetent for the job she now holds because she has never been a prosecutor, and she has shown us first hand just how brutally unethical she is, because that is the type of character she has. The campaign against Lykos isn't vicious, the facts she has created show her to be vicious. And yes, character and competence do count for something with the "average voter", they are everything in fact.  That is, unless you favor letting the criminals who are guilty out of jail because prosecutors at your DA's Office can't try a case and you are also in favor of a DA's Office staffed by cronies who will cover up the DA's crimes for her and intimidate those who seek to find out the truth. Or unless you are the Chronicle and have made a deal with the devil.
We have yet to hear who the Chronicle will endorse in the DA race, but I believe that even the "average voter" can see that it probably won't be the right person. 
-Spunk.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Nasty

Brian Rogers posted an article on the Chronicle website that is already buried fairly deep on the site this morning, claiming that although the candidates in the District Attorney's race are being very civil on the campaign trail, the rest of us are being "nasty."

I'm glad he wrote the article, because it does highlight the complaints against Pat Lykos, even if they seem to minimize them by characterizing them as minor gripes.

What do you think of the article?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Kimberly Samman and State Bar Elections

In addition to the campaign season for District Attorney and numerous District Court benches, the State Bar of Texas is also holding elections as we speak.

Most of us in the criminal arena usually find ourselves unfamiliar with most of the candidates because they come from predominantly civil backgrounds.  Last year, Buck Files was elected as President of the State Bar, marking the first time (in a long time if not ever) that a criminal lawyer held that post.  That was a great step in the right direction in making sure that the criminal law issues are addressed by our governing body.

This year, Kimberly Samman who practices criminal defense in Harris County is on the ballot for Director 4, Place 5, and I hope you will join me in voting for her.  Kimberly has been practicing with us in Harris County for some time now and it is always good to have a representative with the State Bar who is familiar with the issues that we all deal with in criminal law and the area where we work.

So, please vote for Kimberly and make sure you get your ballots in by May 1st.

Additionally, we are also doing a write-in campaign for Robb Fickman for State Bar President-Elect.  Go with it.

No Reasonable Doubt Tonight (4/5/12)

There will be no show tonight due to the Good Friday and Easter holiday. Todd needs the evening to hide Easter eggs in his beard.

See you next week.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Rules Only Apply to the Little People

I got back to my office from court on Monday to find a very impressive piece of campaign literature from aspiring judge Lana Shadwick.  Not impressive in the sense that it made me feel that her credentials had been somehow boosted, but impressed as the son (and former employee) of a printer on how much money Lana must have spent to get it published.

The target of Lana's mailers were clearly Houston attorneys who would possibly be voting in the upcoming Houston Bar Association poll, and she blatantly asks for the recipient of the mailer to vote for her as being well-qualified.  This kind of flies in the face of logic, since she just had to move to Grand Jury because she couldn't handle the pressure of campaigning and being in appellate.  Also, I'm hearing numerous reports that Lana has yet to figure out how to read Probable Cause to a Grand Jury.  It really isn't that tricky.

Given how badly Kristin Guiney has been outclassing Lana at public appearances, it is no wonder that Lana would feel the need to shell out a lot of money for these direct mailers.  Perhaps in her mind, a flashy print piece might help overshadow her bumbling through answers in person.

But here's what the title of the post is about -- Lana had her mailers sent to her fellow employees at the Harris County District Attorney's Office, in direct violation of Rule 2.11 of the Office's rule book, which states, in part:

    "Political activities are prohibited from within the office.  No campaign material will be mailed by an employee to personnel at a District Attorney's Office address."


Perhaps you remember how pissy Jim Leitner got when Chip Lewis invited all of the Assistant District Attorney's to come to the D.A. Reunion awhile back?  I wonder if Jim is feeling equally indignant that Lana is so flagrantly violating the rules.  I mean, hell, Chip was just inviting people to a reunion -- not to mention that he doesn't work for Pat Lykos (or Jim) and he isn't running for anything.

Yet again, we find that there are special rules for those political candidates that Jared Woodfill is trying to shove down our throats.  Pat Lykos is helping accommodate Jared, which is why Jared endorses Pat.  Isn't that convenient for everybody?

While we are all waiting for Lana to be called up from her cushy position in grand jury to be disciplined for this violation of Lykos' rules, I suppose we could go vote in the HBA Bar Poll.

Just remember when you are voting which candidate left the Office as a District Court chief after years of service, trying the most serious cases under the Texas Penal Code, and which one is asking around for a cheat sheet on how to read a probable cause statement to a Grand Jury.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Leapin' Lloyd Oliver on Reasonable Doubt

If you've never tuned in for an episode of Reasonable Doubt, I would highly encourage you to watch this one.


Reasonable Doubt, March 29, 2012, Lloyd Oliver from HCCLA on Vimeo.

Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Many of you have been asking when the Reasonable Doubt video of Lloyd Oliver is coming out.

We are working on it.  My technical guy, Franklin Bynum, who shall remain nameless, is behind in getting it downloaded.  He promises to have it up and running by this afternoon.

You will definitely want to catch this episode as Lloyd handles the tough questions such as:

1.  Reasonable ways of dealing with domestic violence cases
2.  His history as a prosecutor
3.  His run-ins with the law
4.  His views on the Public Defender's Office
5.  His ideas for effective CLE classes for prosecutors

It was definitely an episode that will be remembered for a long, long time.