Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Eldridge Case

As much as Pat Lykos likes touting the "Rule of Law" in politically ambiguous terms every chance she gets, it would seem that this 1996 Houston Chronicle article by the late John Makeig would serve the former judge wasn't always as up on the "Rule" as she claims.

The case details the very short deferred adjudication of Michael Patterson Eldridge, who received a year probation for Burglary of a Motor Vehicle. During his conversation at the bench, with his counsel present, Eldridge apparently told the Court that he never used drugs. The deferred was granted and the plea was finished.

Eldridge's attorney then left the building.

Shortly thereafter, it became clear that Eldridge had, in fact, smoked marijuana.

Now, the plea had already been done, and Eldridge was on deferred adjudication. To take that away from him, a Motion to Adjudicate would have to be filed, and a full hearing should have commenced.

Most importantly, Mr. Eldridge would be entitled to a hearing with his attorney present.

But Lykos apparently had no time for such minor Constitutional details. Without reaching his attorney, Lykos revoked his probation and sentenced him to a month in jail.

"I couldn't find a lawyer" to represent Eldridge, Lykos testified, according to Mr. Makeig's article.

Well, in that case, you postpone the hearing until you can find one. That's a no-brainer.

And one has to wonder about the honesty of the statement "I couldn't find a lawyer" in the middle of the Harris County Criminal Courthouse.

My understanding is that the case was ultimately reversed, but one has to wonder how much time Mr. Eldridge spent in jail after this unlawful detention and flagrant violation of his Constitutional rights.

Lykos likes to repeatedly cite the "Rule of Law". It would seem to me that the Rule of Law would not permit such a flagrant Civil Rights violation that flies in the face of the Constitution.

"Rule of Lykos" is probably the more apt description.

No comments: