Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Sid Crowley



Former Harris County Assistant District Attorney and defense attorney Sid Crowley died last week at the age of 69.

He was a friend of mine and a semi-regular commenter on this blog since the blog started.

To me, Sid was the epitome of what a Harris County criminal lawyer was.  He was disheveled, disorganized, sarcastic, angry, fearless . . .

. . . and a phenomenal lawyer.

I met Sid when I was a baby prosecutor.  He was grizzled and wide-eyed.  My first encounter with him didn't lead me to believe that there was anything special about him.  It wasn't until much later that I mentioned something about Sid to another attorney (I think it was Pete Justin), and that lawyer's response was something to the effect of "Sid is one of the most brilliant legal minds that building has ever seen."

As I would come to find out, Sid may not have always looked like much on the outside, but on the inside, he was an intensely zealous (and wickedly brilliant) criminal defense attorney.  He had the respect of all of his peers that knew of his work.

He commented on the blog quite a bit.  Sometimes he signed his name, but other times he did so anonymously.  He wasn't hiding his opinions when he logged in under the "Anonymous" tag.  I think he just didn't feel like wasting the time it took to log in under his own name.  He would sometimes call me to follow up and explain why he commented the way he had.  He was a keen observer of the Big Picture when it came to the Harris County Criminal Justice System, and he was willing to fight every aspect of it which he believed to be unfair.

Recently, his health was failing him and he was struggling to make ends meet.  I called him to check on him, and he sounded like the Sid that we all knew and loved.  He was aggravated and pissed off, yet still in possession of his sense of humor and oddly upbeat demeanor.

A lot of us reached out to Sid to see if there was anything we could do to help him.  A special word of thanks should go out to Robert Pelton for his efforts in finding Sid the healthcare options that he needed.  As sad as I am to learn of Sid's passing, there is some comfort in knowing how many people reached out to him and let him know that they cared, loved and respected him.

A funeral mass for Sid will be held this Friday, April 26th at 10:00 a.m. in the Chapel of Divine Mercy at St. Laurence Catholic Church, 3100 Sweetwater Blvd., Sugar Land, TX 77479.  Sid's family is asking that donations in Sid's memory be made to the animal rescue group, HOPE.

Sid was a true warrior and a champion of those who didn't have anybody else to stand with them. He was an unassuming Giant in our little legal world.  I'm proud to have known him and I'm proud to have called him my friend.

I will miss him.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Remembering Anh Reiss

It is hard to believe that it has been over three years since Dr. Anh Reiss, wife of Harris County Assistant District Attorney Josh Reiss, passed away from myelodysplastic syndrome, a form of leukemia.

I first met Josh back in 2009 when there was a bone marrow registration drive at the CJC in the hopes of finding a suitable match for Anh.  Although the registration drive signed up many new donors, a match was not found for her.  Josh and I ended up becoming good friends and I kept up with Anh's condition as she and the Reiss family fought the disease for the next seven years.  Unfortunately, she ultimately passed away on February 26th of 2016 after a truly long and courageous battle.

Josh texted me yesterday to notify me of this editorial in the Houston Chronicle detailing Josh's efforts to have the anniversary of Anh's death officially memorialized Texas Bone Marrow, Blood, and Organ Donation Day in Texas.  The bill in the legislature to create this day is sponsored by Democratic Representative (and HCDA Alum) Gene Wu.  As noted in the editorial, it is also co-sponsored by a bipartisan list of area legislators.

Obviously, this is an uncontroversial and fantastic idea.  There are some very interesting statistics listed in the editorial regarding how many people favor the idea of donating organs and blood versus how many people are actually signed up to do so.  You can learn more about the bone marrow registry by checking out bethematch.org.

I'm proud to say that I signed up to be a blood marrow donor during a lunch break when I was a JP prosecutor way back in 1999.  You should do it, too, if you haven't already.

Good luck to Josh and the Reiss family on getting the Texas Bone Marrow, Blood and Organ Donation Day recognized, and thanks to Gene Wu for drafting the legislation to get it done.