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Showing posts from February, 2009

Where's My Offense Report?

During the campaign for District Attorney one of the issues that probably meant the most to those of us working in the CJC (and probably the least to the general voting population) was the idea of Xerox copies of offense reports being provided to the Defense Bar on their cases. For those of you who don't practice criminal law and are just morbidly curious as to how the criminal justice system works, let me give you a little bit of background. Obviously whenever the police do a criminal investigation, they document their actions (some times better than others) in an offense report. Under the law and the rules of evidence, that offense report is considered to be what is known as "work product". Work product is basically privileged information because it is generated by a party to the lawsuit, namely the State of Texas (via the police agency) in a criminal case. Theoretically, the State of Texas (AKA the District Attorney's Office) doesn't have to let a defense a

Lykos on Diversity

Well, we're a little over a month and a half into the Lykos Administration and it doesn't look like there has been much ground gained in making the Office "the best in the Nation" as promised by Pat in her campaign. -members of the Defense Bar are still anxiously awaiting their copies of offense reports. We keep being told that they are coming! -the A.D.A.'s are being told that the budget has already been expended. -the morale within the Office continues to plummet. - Lykos is spending a large amount of time in the basement parking garage smoking like a chimney while forcing her staff to come with her to talk business. -the Office is hemorrhaging money having to pay for special prosecutors to handle every case where Jim Leitner or Clint Greenwood acted as defense attorneys. -the investigator that Lykos brought in to act as her personal chauffeur for her county vehicle has apparently already wrecked said county ride. But of all the things that Lykos has fai

Cynthia Henley Joins the Blawgosphere

My friend and fellow member of the Defense Bar, Cynthia Henley is joining the ranks of Mark Bennett, Paul Kennedy, and me as a new person who is willing to be yelled at for putting her thoughts on criminal justice in writing. She's just getting started with her blog, so bookmark her website and see what she has to say. Welcome to the Blawgosphere, Cynthia! It will definitely teach you to have a thick skin!

The "Aggie Special" on Video

I was glad to see that the local TV station in my hometown of Bryan, Texas did a small piece on Dude McLean. They even included the video replay of the famous "Aggie Special" that helped earn him his claim to football fame. You can check it out here .

Information on Ken "Dude" McLean's Memorial Service

A service celebrating his life will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, February 13, at Klein Funeral Home, CyFair Northwest. Graveside services will take place at 1 p.m. on Monday, February 16, at Stennett Cemetery in Stennett, TX.

Humor in the Courtroom

From Rayford Carter in the 351st today, addressing the folks awaiting docket call: RAYFORD : I'm looking for [Smith]. Is [Smith] here? After a few seconds of awkward silence . . . RAYFORD : Anybody here forget their last name?

Ken "Dude" McLean

I learned the sad news that our friend and distinguished member of the Defense Bar, Dude McLean passed away earlier this week. Although I had seen Dude around the courthouse during my entire time as a prosecutor, I never really got to know Dude until we tried a very brutal Aggravated Robbery case against each other in Judge McSpadden's court in 2006. It was a re-trial of a case that Dude had gotten flipped on appeal, and was taking it to trial. The victim of the aggravated robbery (who had been shot during the crime) had subsequently died from other reasons, and the case was very sad. From the State's perspective, the case was a "whale", and Dude didn't have much to work with, but that didn't slow him down in the slightest. He threw his heart and soul into the case and tried it with grace and dignity. In the weeks leading up to the trial, I mentioned to my dad, during a trip home, that I was trying a case against Dude, and my dad was very excited about it.

The 0800 Rule

As I've mentioned here before, Assistant District Attorneys don't get paid overtime (with the pseudo-exception of Intake pay). If they work past the typical eight-hour work day, they get to earn Compensation time, which they can use whenever they want. It's a good system, and a workable one, as well. It also gave some flexibility to prosecutors who may have outside family obligations that might require them to come in late or leave early. The way that Comp Time worked usually depended on what position one was holding within the Office. Felony Threes, for instance, will typically arrive at the Office anywhere between 6:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. to make sure that all of the cases have been pulled for the docket, offense reports have been ordered for those cases, and calls have been made to the victims on the cases. Felony Twos who aren't responsible for getting the docket together for court, often work well past 7:00 p.m., and sometimes would sleep in a little later, arriving

Quiet! Delicate Genius at Work!

Assistant District Attorneys were scratching their heads today over an Office-wide e-mail announcing that the doors to the Southwest stairwell would be "off limits to all employees" on the 6th floor. For those of you unfamiliar with the layout of the Harris County Criminal Justice Center, there are stairwells in the Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest corners of the building. The stairwells are more or less off limits to the general public, but are useful to the Assistant District Attorneys traveling from floor to floor within the Office. Most of those doors are guarded by a cardreader, which beeps when an office personnel's ID card accesses it. The Sixth Floor houses the Administrative section of the D.A.'s Office, with Pat Lykos' office being on the Northwest corner of the building, and Leitner's down the hall. The rest of the floor is comprised of some other divisions, including the Appellate and Writs Divisions, and the Office of the general c

Humor in the Holdover

The following conversation may or may not have taken place today with one of my clients: CLIENT: I can't do that [amount of time]. I would be 36 by the time I got out, and my life would be over. ME: Um, I'm 36.