Posts

Showing posts from April, 2008

Ethics and the Media

QUESTION: What would happen if a prosecutor made this statement during his opening? "Ladies and Gentleman of the jury, this case is about punishment of the Defendant, because there is no question of his guilt. How do I know that? Well, I know that because he offered to plead guilty if I would offer him ten years in prison. However, during plea negotiations, I decided that 10 years was too low, and I want at least 40." ANSWER: There would be an immediate mistrial. The prosecutor would most definitely be fired. The prosecutor would be grieved. For those of you who don't practice criminal law, the plea negotiations that occur before any trial are absolutely forbidden from being brought up during a trial. The jury should absolutely have no knowledge of the plea bargain offers and counter-offers, because they aren't relevant. That being said, I found it interesting when I read Brian Rogers' article on Sunday that noted that accused cop-killer Juan Leonardo Quinte

The Capital Murder Decision

Harris County has long been synonymous with being the "Death Penalty Capital of the World" and it has always been pretty much the center of every debate on capital punishment since the 1970s. Couple that in with the fact that Mr. Kathryn Kase (AKA Jeff Cohen) is the Editor of the very anti-death penalty Houston Chronicle , and it seems like the District Attorney's Office will always be destined to be portrayed as more blood-thirsty than those it puts on Death Row. This piece isn't about whether or not the Death Penalty should exist. Former District Attorney Johnny Holmes once told me that there was no point in ever debating the death penalty, because it is too much of a part of a person's moral and religious values to ever change a mind. If you believe in it, then you will, most likely, always believe in it. If you oppose it, you will always oppose it. But have you ever wondered what goes into the decision-making process behind a capital murder case in Harris

The Memorial Service

The Memorial Service for Melissa Harper was held today. It was a beautiful ceremony held at the Parador (courtesy of James Stafford and Deborah Keyser ). A collection of family and friends all spoke about what a wonderful person, attorney, and friend Melissa was to so many people. There was an impressive gathering of members of the D.A.'s Office, the Defense Bar, and the Judges who came to pay their respects to someone who earned the love and respect of so many. Seeing us all together under one roof really reinforced what a family we truly are. We all truly miss you, Melissa. And Kelli, we love you and are there for anything you could possibly need.

When Someone You Know Is Charged

One of the more awkward situations that a prosecutor can find themselves in at any time is when a friend, or someone they know is charged with a criminal offense. Depending on how long you stay at the Office, it is just something that is bound to happen. If it isn't the situation where you have a friend or family member charged, you will most certainly have someone call you at some point because a "friend of a friend" is charged. It is an interesting situation because of how many times prosecutors have listened to a friend or family member of a Defendant when they are trying insist that their loved one didn't do it. Prosecutors are confronted routinely by the zealous family members who will say everything from "How do you sleep at night?" all the way to down to wishing them (and sometimes their family) death. Ah yes, you never feel more popular than when you are a prosecutor in the proximity of the Defendant's family and friends. DA Texan wrote a

The Office in the Aftermath of the Election

A couple of weeks have gone by now since the April 8 th run-off election. The Assistant District Attorneys (especially the ones who have been there for over ten years) are coming to terms with the fact that whoever wins the election in November, that the jobs that they've known and loved for so long now will never be the same. The term "End of an Era" has been uttered so many times now, that I'm really wishing I got paid a royalty fee for it, so I could retire wealthy. Some people are comparing these next eight months at the Office as being akin to their Senior Year of High School. Others are comparing it to the final season of a long-running television show. I can't decide which analogy I think is more appropriate. One of the Senior (Citizen) prosecutors pointed out that the Senior Year analogy wasn't appropriate, because the end of one's Senior Year had everyone looking hopefully towards the future. That's just not the case within the Offi

Memorial Service for Melissa Harper

I know that an e-mail went out to pretty much everyone in the courthouse, yesterday, but in case you didn't receive the information regarding Melissa's Memorial Service, here it is. There will be a Memorial Service and a Celebration of Life for Melissa Harper on Sunday, April 27, 2008 at The Parador , 2021 Binz , Houston, Texas 77004 at 2:00 p.m. For those few of you that might not have known Melissa, she was a very loved and respected defense attorney here in Houston who will be deeply missed. Please keep Kelli and the rest of the family in your prayers and thoughts. The family is asking that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to either the DePelchin Children's Center, 4950 Memorial Drive, Houston, Texas 77007 or Citizens for the Protection of Animals (CAP), 11925 Katy Freeway, Houston, Texas. Thank you to Angela Beavers for getting this information out. Also, thank you to all of Melissa and Kelli's friends and family who have written so many wonderful thi

The Juvenile Appointments

Probably the worst four months of my life as a prosecutor was the time I spent as a prosecutor in the Juvenile Division. It was many moons ago, and I was a rookie prosecutor, having been at the Office less than a year. The entire system was unproductive, in my opinion. The dockets were pointless because cases rarely worked out, and yet, it seemed, they rarely went to trial, either. The kids almost always went home to the custody of their parents, whether found to have engaged in delinquent conduct or not. The whole damn thing was just so . . . frustrating. There was a natural course of business there. If a case was on it's first setting, it wouldn't work out. I mean, it wouldn't work out if you offered a dismissal, an apology, and a free trip to Chuck E. Cheese. It was going to get reset. That's all there was to it. Only those juvenile delinquents who were the Heir to Charles Manson's throne were ever treated with any degree of severity or seriousness. And for t

Melissa Harper

My good friend Melissa passed away yesterday. I have known Melissa since the day I first came to work for the District Attorney's Office. I've gone to trial against her. I've drank beer and wine with her. There may have even been a cigarette or two smoked with her, too, on occasion (but don't tell anybody). She was that world-weary, sarcastic, and talented Defense Attorney who had a heart of gold. She could argue her case with a prosecutor in a way that made you feel like if you didn't agree with her position that you might just have lost your moral compass. She was smart, but not in the way that she ever tried to make you feel stupid. And she sure as hell wasn't scared to go to trial. The second felony case I ever tried was against her. I won't tell you the details of it, but it was one of those serious cases that had a lot of those bizarre funny moments in it. (Let's just say that sometimes when you put a mannequin in front of a jury without a prop

P.C. Court and the Bond Schedule

As alluded to in some of the comments in my article on Intake , there is also a Probable Cause court open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The job is split amongst five P.C. Judges -- Blanca Villagomez , Frank Aguilar, Ron Nicholas, Jill Wallace, and Eric Hagstette . Between the five of them, the office is always staffed. Every two to three hours, a docket is called for the recent arrests who have arrived in custody at the Harris County Jail. The inmates all sit on benches over at 49 San Jacinto , while the Judge, a Clerk, a representative of Pre -Trial Services, and a prosecutor are on the first floor of the CJC . The proceedings are done via close-circuit TV, and are taped and kept on file if they need to be reviewed later. (NOTE: Sometimes some wildly bizarre things happen on those tapes. ) The Judge Presiding reads all the Defendants their rights and then they individually approach the front of the room. The prosecutor then reads the Probable Cause for their arrest

Victim Witness' Amy Smith's Q&A Session

Amy Smith of the D.A.'s Office's Victim Witness Division graciously agreed to be the first subject of our Question and Answer Session on the blog (thanks Amy!). We are going to miss you around the CJC . (NOTE: Please remember if you have any suggestions for who you want interviewed to let me know. Remember, this can end up like voir dire real fast, and only the quiet ones end up on the jury.) On to the questions! 1. Where are you from originally? Houston 2. How does one get involved in the Victim's Advocacy business? 1st you have to have a compassionate nature and want to help people and be willingly to do it for low pay and a lot of headaches and heartaches. 2 nd For this office you need to have a degree in criminal justice, sociology, psychology or social work. 3. What's the most well-known case you've ever worked on? I can't single out a particular case because each case is well known to the victim or their family members so that makes each c

CLE Hours - Public Service Announcement

Mark Bennett was kind enough to post that there are 6 free Ethics hours of CLE available tomorrow at the CJC . (NOTE: For the non-attorneys reading this, CLE stands for "Continuing Legal Education" hours that each attorney is required to keep up with every year. At least three of those hours have to be approved as hours of Ethics education. For some reason, the Ethics classes are relatively few and far between.) Mark, himself, is going to be speaking, and I highly encourage folks to attend. He's a great speaker even if you disagree with 99.99999% of what he is saying, and I bet his portion will be entertaining. Even if he pleads the 5 th during the Question & Answer session. :-)

Write-In Candidates

A friend of mine today provided me with the rules from the Secretary of State for "Write-In Candidates". It reads: In order to become a write-in candidate in the general election, file a Declaration of Write-In Candidacy with the Secretary of State or your county judge, as appropriate, no earlier than July 27, 2008, and no later than 5:00 p.m. on August 26, 2008. Your declaration must be accompanied by either a filing fee or a nominating petition signed by a certain number of qualified voters. The rules for a Write-In Candidate for District Attorney requires a filing fee of either $1,250 or a petition of 500 signatures. If a person complies with one or the other, they can be official, eligible "write-in" candidates for the D.A.'s race. They won't be on the ballot, but you can fill them in if you want to. So, if you want to run, get your closest 500 friends to sign your petition and make it a possibility! If I were to run, I think I would announce u

The "Holding Your Nose" Conflict

Kevin Whited wrote in a comment today under my "Bradford vs. Lykos -- pt. 1" that the race for District Attorney will end up with voters feeling: "Man, talk about holding your nose and picking between the lesser of two evils. Sheesh ." As a former/current Assistant District Attorney, it is so sad for me to read that quote, yet I have a hard time disagreeing with it. Whether you were a Siegler or Leitner fan during the Republican Primary, the fact of the matter is that the voters are left with two candidates who have never been prosecutors and have no trial experience. Now, I've stated, and I stand by the position that I will never ever ever ever cast a vote in support of Pat Lykos . To me, she illustrates everything despicable about politics, and reaffirms for me that partisan politics have absolutely no place in elections regarding criminal justice. (SIDE NOTE: If our city's mayoral election doesn't have a Republican/Democrat marking on it, why

A Couple of Outside Takes on the D.A. Race

I ran across two pieces today on the D.A.'s race. The first was from the Houston Press, which offered a comparison chart between Bradford and Lykos. It was actually pretty damn funny, if it weren't so sadly true. Yet again, reading the Houston Press, I become depressed that they aren't the dominant Houston newspaper, rather than the Chronicle. Their writing (although very liberal) at least looks at both sides of the issues and has insightful writing. The other part I read was from Off the Kuff in an article entitled "Early Overview of the DA Race". Again, dammit, I'm having a hard time isolating that particular article off the page, but scroll down and find it. It's a good article, and I agree with it whole-heartedly. The only part I question is that I thought it was documented somewhere that C.O. Bradford was waaaaaaaay ahead in the fundraising department (but I could be wrong about that). Anyway, it is worth the read.

Intake

One of the lesser known aspects of how the Harris County District Attorney's Office works is what goes on behind the scenes at Intake. Located on the second floor of the CJC , the Intake Division is the place where criminal cases are first filed. It is staffed by at least three prosecutors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Prosecutors get paid extra money outside of the standard 8 to 5 business day. It's the only possible way that prosecutors can make extra money to supplement their salaries, and the vast majority of them participate in it. This is how it works: When a police officer seeks to arrest a suspect on any criminal case (other than a Class C misdemeanor), they must get the charges approved by a prosecutor. A typical example of what the call from a police officer on a case (let's say a DWI for this scenario) goes something like this: "This is Officer Smith with HPD . Stopped a guy for speeding, failure to maintain a single lane of traffi

Bradford vs. Lykos - Pt. 1

I'm calling it Part 1, because we've got over six months until the November 8th election, and I highly doubt that this will be the only post on it. For those of us who were active Kelly Siegler supporters (and still are, I might add), careful consideration now has to be made over who is the best candidate for District Attorney -- former HPD Chief C.O. Bradford or Pat "Snookems" Lykos. Today, the Chroncile ran an editorial suggesting that this week's settlement of the the majority of the lawsuits was "Burying a Blunder", and Bradford's role in the raid "should and likely will be an issue in his November contest". Um, okay, after the Chronicle's antics during the Republican primary, I hardly see them as being the appropriate entity to accuse anyone of "burying" something. Getting the Chronicle to run stories regarding Pat Lykos' behavior was like pulling teeth, and when they finally did do something, it only revealed ab

Concert Review

Although I'm not quite as high-brow as my friend, Mark Bennett and the League of Extraordinary Gentleman, I thought that I would try to make my blog a little more cultured by adding an Arts Section. I begin by reviewing last night's concert by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Toyota Center. It was freaking awesome. Seeing Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt , Clarence Clemmons and company may just be the coolest damn concert I've ever been to. My ears are still ringing, and it was just incredible. There. You have now had your daily dose of culture.

A Reader's Idea

I got a suggestion from one of my readers that, in an effort to let the people who read this blog get to know some of the cast of characters within the CJC , that I ought to start doing a 20 questions type of interview with Defense Attorneys and Prosecutors. I think it's a great idea, and I actually have the technology to do it! Since the D.A.'s Office makes it a little easier to figure out the e-mail, I will probably need more help getting in touch with the Defense Attorneys. So, if you are a member of the defense bar and would like to participate (or would like to suggest someone who should participate) just shoot me an e-mail at ahcl2008@gmail.com . Think of the free advertising, Defense Bar! And thanks for the idea to the Person who already knows who he/she is. This could be fun with a little participation. [NOTE: In the spirit of keeping this fun, I will be monitoring the comments. If you want to say something nice about the person profiled or ask a follow up quest

The Prosecutor Translation

Mark. Mark. Mark. Mark. Mark. You were so nice the day after the election, and now you've hauled off and written this crap . Now, I've grown accustomed to your article comments when you, Steve Gustitis and that Scott Greenfield dude start applauding yourselves as Defense Attorneys like you were from the League of Extraordinary Gentleman, but come on, who appointed you the Gate Keeper to who and who is not going to translate well from the job of prosecutor? Now, granted, you hedged your bets and said Kelly might end up being a good defense attorney, and then you added: but give ‘em all a few years of proving that their hearts are in the right place as defense lawyers before you even think about trusting them with your freedom. Isn't that a bit of a Catch-22 for the poor ex-prosecutor? Now, you clarify your position in your comments that you aren't threatened by the business competition because there are plenty of cases to go around. I agree with that. Most prosec

Rick Casey's Article on Kelly Siegler

Rick Casey wrote an article on Kelly Siegler that has generated some conversation on the blogs. A defense attorney friend of mine pointed it out to me (since I've been trying to avoid reading the news for a week), and his opinion of it was that the article was designed to praise Kelly. One of the commenters on Casey's article thought the article was "kicking Kelly while she was down". And somebody in one of the comments on Bennett's article on the topic pointed out that we were all missing the boat, because the article was clearly satire . Um, okay. Me, I viewed the article from a more practical standpoint. It was a complimentary article that Rick Casey buried until after the election so as not to displease his boss, Jeff Cohen by saying something nice about Kelly Siegler . Casey was also writing the article in a weak attempt to make peace with Sam Siegler so that Sam doesn't sue Casey's rear-end. Casey is the one who reported (without fact che

Amy Smith Leaving the D.A.'s Office?!?!?!

Longtime Victim Witness Coordinator Amy Smith is leaving the D.A.'s Office on April 25, 2008 to head to work for CrimeStoppers , much to the sadness of her co-workers at the D.A.'s Office. Although a certain candidate in the race for D.A. is claiming that she  will be establishing  a Victim Witness Division if elected, the Division has, in fact, been around for some time now.  Amy and the incredibly kind-hearted people that work with her on a daily basis have been helping the victims of violent crime since before I ever came to work for the Office. Victim Witness first becomes involved in a victim's life when they send out preliminary letters to victims of all crimes (violent or not), seeking to gather information for Victim Impact Statements that will become relevant in the punishment of any given defendant. When the case involves a homicide, they make quick efforts to locate the next of kin of the victims and let them know of all services that victims in Texas are enti

The Blog

I had several people ask me about the future of the Blog yesterday, and whether or not I would continue running it. I was kind of surprised that they asked. I know I've gotten a lot of flak from lots of people for running a campaign blog for Kelly Siegler . One guy, yesterday, who I assume was this former-prosecutor guy James Rust (the one that Lykos had to go back 20 years and 200 miles away to get for a last minute endorsement) even told me that I needed to change the name of the blog. I understand their criticisms, and this blog has been very political and very pro-Kelly over the past three months. And if this was a blog on Gardening, I would understand their criticism. But this blog is on Life at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center, and there has been nothing more important within the CJC over the past four months than this election. Could I have been more neutral (okay, a lot more neutral)? Sure I could have. But Kelly Siegler was the best choice by a lo

The Day After

Yesterday was a very strange day around the Harris County Criminal Justice Center. The ADAs who had worked on Kelly Siegler's campaign were still shell-shocked over the results of the election. Many of the members of the defense bar offered words of encouragement to the ADAs and told them that everything would be alright. The words of kindness meant a lot to them. Not all defense attorneys were so kind. At least two that I know of took a morbid pleasure in trying to rub the ADA's noses in the election results, gleefully telling them that they would all be fired. I'm not real sure what ends those attorneys were trying to accomplish other than to give an exhibition on low class. ADAs discussed scenarios under which they would stay within the Office. Oddly enough, although shock and sadness permeated through the Office, the anger was only directed one way. The name being discussed and cursed throughout the entirety of the day? Chuck Rosenthal

Clarence, Meet Snookems

In part of the Chronicle write up this morning, Alan Bernstein notes that the shots are already being fired across the bow between Lykos and Bradford. Bradford fired the first shots, but it wasn't anything outrageous. What makes the article so damn funny is Lykos ' response: "I am very disappointed in Mr. Bradford," Lykos said. "I was hoping we could run an issue-oriented campaign." I nearly spit my coffee out on the computer when I read that. The Queen of Mean has been dodging the issues since January to take personal shots at Kelly Siegler and the ADAs , but now she suddenly wants to tackle them with Bradford. And it's worth noting that Bradford hasn't called the ADAs a bunch of drunken racists, like Lykos gladly did. I wouldn't be too surprised to see a lot of the ADAs getting behind his candidacy now. I know that I'm liking Bradford more and more . . .

An Open Letter to Kelly Siegler

Dear Kelly, You have been my friend for a long time now. You are one of those people in my life that I can truly and honestly say that I am proud to know. After Chuck's debacle at the end of last year, you stepped up to the plate to fight for what all of the Assistant District Attorneys who needed something to believe in. You aren't a politician, and you never were. You are too honest and true to yourself to be a politician. You offered yourself up for to so much scrutiny to protect what the Harris County District Attorney's Office has always stood for (no matter what the critics said). You let people like Pat Lykos and Terry Lowry and Jim Leitner attack your professional and personal life. And you did it all for us. You sacrificed yourself to make one last valiant stand to see that justice was done. And we went out in a Blaze of Glory, didn't we? I'm so proud of you, Kelly. I'm proud of the fact that the most talented lawyer in the United States

So Now What?

Obviously tonight was a disappointment to me and a lot of people. One of the mantras that you learn when you first become an Assistant District Attorney is that sometimes, the bad guy wins. Tonight, the bad guy clearly won. I offer this advice to the ADAs who supported Kelly Siegler because they knew she was the best candidate in this race. Keep quiet. Don't be politically active. This too shall pass, and if you ride out the storm, you just may be okay. To Pat Lykos , congratulations on defining everything ugly about politics. You weren't qualified, yet you won. Your behavior disgusts me no less than it did this morning. For a person interested in law and order, you have done more to set it back by your actions than anything I could possibly imagine. I'm a life-long Republican, but you can guarantee that I will be voting for Clarence Bradford in November. He's kept quiet during this election and watched you damage your own party. And yet, through it all, he has

Go Kelly! Go!

It's finally here, folks! Call all your friends and family and tell them to call their friends and family and co-workers. Tell them to go vote! And tell them to remember that there is only One Qualified Candidate in this Race!

Heroes - It's Worth Repeating

Growing up, I never wanted to be a lawyer.I actually wanted to be a cop (or an FBI agent to be more precise). As I got older, I realized that getting shot at and risking getting killed on a daily basis was probably not the most stable way to raise a family. So that fell by the wayside, although most cops remain my heroes to this day. Ultimately, I decided I wanted to be a prosecutor by the time I reached high school. I went to law school, not to become a lawyer, but a prosecutor. I had no interest in civil law, trusts and wills, torts, contracts, or any of that. I suffered through three years of dry material so that I could be a prosecutor. I wanted to do what the police did, but I wanted to do it in a courtroom. I wanted to stop bad people from doing bad things. I wanted to help people who had been hurt by crime. I was an intern when I first met Kelly Siegler . Ironically, she and Vic Wisner were trying the one death penalty case that she didn't get the death penalty on. Th

Last Thoughts On Lykos

And I do truly hope that these are the last thoughts that any voter ever has to have about her. Bernstein's blog listed two articles today about Lykos . The first listed her e-mails out to her supporters, finally finding a "victim" and a "former Assistant D.A." who supported her. The victim is named "Cheryl" (no last name given) which I won't make fun of, because if Cheryl truly exists and is truly a victim, then I'm not going to question her choosing not to reveal her last name. I will, however, point out (as the commenter did) that out of "20,000 criminal cases tried", Lykos now has only one single victim endorsing her. Lykos also a former prosecutor endorsing her named James Rust, who apparently did a two year stint within the D.A.'s Office some time in the 80s. That would be the equivalent of me doing a tour of the White House in 1973 and proclaiming that during the short time I spent there that I thought Nixon was a f

On a more positive note . . .

Long before Kelly Siegler announced her candidacy, and the Houston Chronicle decided that they didn't have much nice to say about her, they used to do articles on her ability every once in awhile. I found this one in the Chronicle archives. And yeah, I know that it has a quote from Chuck Rosenthal , but who cares? Take a look at it and the big picture of the prosecutor that it describes. A prosecutor with the respect of former-Judge (now Congressman) Ted Poe: "She talks to jurors in a language that they understand, and she addresses them with the fervor of a courthouse Joan of Arc with a Texas twang," said state District Judge Ted Poe. Poe, who presides in the court where Siegler was the chief prosecutor until recently, said she is so genuine that jurors never think her down-to-earth approach is fake. "It's not an act, not something learned at some training class," Poe said. "Juries are smarter than we sometimes give them credit f

Jim Leitner and the ADAs (Revisited)

Back when all of this election mess first started, I wrote an article , somewhat sentimentally praising Candidate Jim Leitner and the awkward position both he and the Assistant District Attorneys were in. Back then (and doesn't it seem like a lifetime ago?), things were so different. Jim told the ADAs that he talked to that he had been placed in an awkward position, and that he was trying to help them out. He promised them that he would never support Lykos in the event were he to not make the runoff. What he said in private, he seemed to back up publicly at the first candidates' forum over at the Spaghetti Warehouse. He told the Republican Women at the luncheon that the elected District Attorney needed to be a trial lawyer or else the Assistant District Attorneys would never respect or follow them. It was very clear that he advocated either himself or Kelly for the job. As the campaign went on, conflicting word started coming from the trail. People attending some of

News from the Campaign Trail

Kelly Siegler and Pat Lykos have been busy in the final stretch of the campaign before Tuesday's run-off election. It's hard to believe that we have only 48 1/2 hours to go! Lykos, in a statement to Channel 11 said that "We are going to restore morale in that office." Many ADAs responded that Lykos could most effectively restore morale in the Office by never becoming D.A.

Real World Experience

Over the past couple weeks, Mark Bennett has been extolling the virtues of "real world experience" before holding any sort of job within the criminal justice system. I would quite describe him as "blasting" prosecutors that don't have prior experience, but he certainly makes his opinion known that he believes they are operating at a disadvantage because they lack some fundamental understanding of life. In his write-up over his recommendations for the 174 th Judicial Race (before March 4 th ) he advocated John Jocher and Terrance Windham, largely because of their real world experience. So my question for the day, is (while acknowledging that real-world experience is always valuable), does it mean that an ADA can't do their job effectively if they took the straight path from high school to college to law school to D.A.'s Office? I pretty much took that route, and I think I turned out okay, so there's your answer. Okay, well, maybe we can disc

From Our Humor Department - Pt. II

The recent backlash against Terry Lowry's LinkLetter and it's trash talk has probably taken away more votes from Pat Lykos than it gained her. Thinking about Lykos' reaction to that reminded me of this classic commercial from the 1990s.

Court of Equity/Court of Law

Mark's got a new post up on his site entitled "Do You Love the Law?", that I actually found myself agreeing with more than I do with most of his articles. The whole article is a rant, but it's an enjoyable one: The law is a street fight. It’s trench warfare. There’s nothing beautiful about it. It’s inelegant, messy and dangerous. Sometimes the right side loses. Often everyone loses. He cites (in the comments) that what set him off was the latest issue of the Texas Bar Journal that (to use his words) "was filled with pompous asshattery". But I think he brings up an interesting topic to those of us who practice criminal law. Do we do what we do out of a love with the abstract "Rule of Law" or because we like to just fight for what we individually believe is the right thing? It seems in foggy, hung-over haze from law school, I recall learning something about an old-timey justice systems where it was divided into two parts: the Courts of Equity