Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Who Am I?

I received a sudden and unexpected increase in people posting on my blog today. I finally figured it out when I realized that Mark Bennett had made a posting to this blog on his own blog at I appreciate the link up, but I couldn't help but notice that somebody posting as "robert guest" posted the following:

I can't take any anonymous blogger seriously. If this ADA is so proud of his blog, come out and clam it.I wonder if gov't computers are being used to promulgate this PR stunt. Maybe it's the Siegler campaign. Open records anyone?

Wow. Whatever happened to Freedom of Speech?

I have to admit to being taken aback a little bit by this posting, because I didn't realize that anything that I had posted would incite so much anger. I'm all about healing rifts here folks, so let me take a shot at addressing some of "robert guest"'s issues with the blog.

Issue # 1 - he assumes I'm "so proud" of my blog. Folks, this blog is just to generate a little thought and discussion between the people who work in the Harris County Criminal Courthouse. I'm not sure if "pride" really plays into it. Please note that I didn't name the blog "My Kick Ass Blog that Shows I'm Right and that You are Wrong".

Issue # 2 - he assumes I'm an A.D.A. Maybe. Maybe not. I've got reasons for not wanting to say who I am or whether or not I'm with the prosecution or with the defense. Who knows? Maybe I've done both. Clearly, if you've read what I'm writing, I have a level of affection for the D.A.'s Office that maybe does border on pride. But, I don't think that's unusual for a lot of the "Alumni" from the Office. One of the principle reasons that I don't want to reveal who I am is that I'm afraid it will tain the discussion, and taint it severely. I don't want this to be a "Defense Blog" that prosecutors are railing against. I don't want it to be a "Prosecutor Blog" that defense attorneys are railing against.

Issue # 3 - no government computers are being used on this web site. I can only give you my word on that. I guess you could do an open records request if you would like, but I think you'd probably have to get in line at the moment. And you'd be sorely disappointed with the results.

Issue # 4 - if you look at the times I post, and respond to those comments written, they are done well after working hours. When I started this blog, I vowed it wasn't going to interfere with my work, and it won't. I do it all on my home computer. It's kind of a checks and balances system, because God knows that this blogging stuff is addictive.

I doubt that this blog will be quite as cerebral as Mr. Bennett's, but I hope we can do some useful discussing.

And as a final note, I'd like to say that I hope that there is some quelling of animosity on this blog. I will say that I do think that Harris County is what it is because of excellent defense attorneys and excellent prosecutors. The bottom line is that we all make each other better, and I think as a collective group we are all the best criminal attorneys in the nation (and thus, the world). A prosecutor who has gone to trial against people like Dick DeGuerin or Rusty Hardin (and a list of others that is too long to write here) has something to say for himself or herself. I think the same is true for defense attorneys who have tried cases against Kelly Siegler, Ted Wilson, Lyn McClellan or Johnny Holmes (and a host of others on a long list).

I think when we blast the system as it exists, we diminish ourselves and the important work that we all do every day.


Mark Bennett said...

That settles it. Only a prosecutor would call me "Mr. Bennett".

I'm glad you turned off moderation. You can always delete posts if they get way out of hand. I haven't deleted one yet (with the exception of three or four obvious spams).

You're absolutely right about Harris County having the best criminal bar in the world (why stop there? in the solar system!) because we keep each other sharp.

Observer said...

Mark, do you really believe that anyone who happens to view both "Defending People" and "Life at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center" will not quickly reach the conclusion that you are writing them both?

Methinks you may suffer from a bit of schizophrenia, in addition to your obvious megalomania . . . .

Posting a comment to yourself, however, was a nice touch.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

I've been in the posting business for a grand total of two weeks, but your post is, by far, my favorite. I love it that you think I'm Mark, but I doubt he feels the same. He's a bit more "die hard", than I am. I love the thought though. Didn't see that one coming.

Anonymous said...

This Mark Bennett guy is hilarious. I have shoes with more legal experience than he does. Who does he think he is, a Cogdell, a Haynes, a Goldstein? No, he is not any of those.

He reminds me of some little kid following around the grownups who do the work of a criminal defense attorney, shouting "me too, me too."

Name me one trial, one verdict, one coup of any legal incident whatsoever that this Bennett has done. No, you can't. That is because he is a newbie that is obviously greatly threated by the ADAs in Harris County.

Here's some advice, Bennett. Go hang around some experienced Harris County Defense attorneys. Parnham, Mike DeGuerin, Matt Hennessey, Cogdell, Mike Hinton, Joe Bailey, Haynes, Tritico, Danny Easterling, Pat McCann, Scardino, Connie Williams, the list goes know, the "A-list" guys and gals who try their cases effectively and without great personal animus against the ADA's doing their job. Look at the difference between their attitude and yours, and see if their is a correlation between their succuss, their attitude, and your lack of courtroom success and your attitude.

Really Bennett, grow up about 10 years or so and stop thinking you are the be-all, know-all of your profession. Because you are not.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Well, good morning to you, too Anon. Clearly you have some strong feeling about Mr. Bennett!
I'm glad you dropped the website, but I was hoping we could keep things a little more civil on it. I don't want this thing starting to look like the Chronicle posting board, which appears to me to be completely devoid of logic.
If you notice the top post I have right now is asking for nominees for the most unsung defense attorney. I hope you'll pick the top three out of the good group you listed and participate.
Um, I'm guessing Mark probably won't be on your list.

Anonymous said...

AHCL- By "pride" I meant ownership of your comments.

I do appreciate your contribution to the blogging community. There is a real need for more prosecutor(or ex-prosecutor, pro-prosecutor, whatever-your angle is) blogs.

I love Freedom of Speech. I am not angry at your blog. The timing of a new anon pro-Harris County DA blog struck me as interesting and you addressed it.

Mark Bennett said...

6:45, I'm glad I've gotten under your skin, but you don't really know much about me, and you misunderstand me entirely. I don't think I'm a Cogdell (though I hope in the next twelve years I might come close) or a Haynes (though I dream of coming close in the next forty). I'm working hard on improving my craft to someday get there.

If you think there's personal animus between me and the prosecutors who are trying to put my clients in prison, then you don't know me very well. Ask AHCL -- I fight as hard as I can for my clients; sometimes I go overboard; but I generally get along with the people I'm fighting against. The few times things have gotten ugly between me and a prosecutor, I've gotten over it. Most of them have gotten over it too. If you bear some sort of grudge against me, well, that'd qualify as your problem rather than mine.

Now, granted, I have a very low-volume practice by design so I don't get as many opportunities as some do to either kiss or kick prosecutor ass, but as for verdicts? Why don't you find the last three Harris County prosecutors who first-chaired felony jury trials against me, and ask them? You'll find that I'm doing alright.