Showing posts from April, 2009

Visitation & Funeral Information for Bob Sussman

Visitation for Bob Sussman will be tonight, Thursday, April 30, 2009 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Bradshaw-Carter Memorial & Funeral Services , 1734 W Alabama St., Houston, TX 77098. The funeral will be tomorrow, Friday, May 1, 2009 at 1:30 p.m. at Woodlawn Funeral Home - Chapel, 1101 Antoine Dr, Houston, Texas.

Bob Sussman

I started law school at the University of Houston in the Fall of 1996. I knew I wanted to be a criminal lawyer, but I had about as much direction on how to achieve that goal as a wind sock. Unlike most of my fellow law students, I had no great plans for a clerkship at a Court of Appeals or some equivalent that was career-guided. I had absolutely no idea how a law student was supposed to fill his Summer Break. A very dear family friend, Gardner Parker, called and told me that I ought to spend my Summer as a law clerk for the firm of Hinton Sussman Bailey & Davidson -- a criminal firm built of four former Harris County prosecutors with amazing credentials. Although my ambition was to ultimately to be a prosecutor, I obviously jumped at the chance. I started in May of that year. I was dating the girl who would ultimately become my (first) wife, and the job was fantastic. Mike Hinton, Bob Sussman, Joe Bailey, and Charley Davidson were some of the best bosses that any aspiring criminal

CLE Cancelled

Sorry for the notice about the CLE this morning. It was cancelled shortly after my arrival at the CJC this morning and I'm just now getting back to my computer. I've been informed that it will be rescheduled in the near future.

Free CLE Today

For those of you who don't get the notices from HCCLA about upcoming CLE classes, today there is a free CLE called "Dealing with the Practice" on the 20th Floor of the CJC in the Ceremonial Courtroom. It's 6.5 hours of CLE, with 2.5 being for ethics. And as an additional bonus, I'm apparently moderating during the 2:00 to 3:30 session. You just can't beat that with a stick. Thanks to HCCLA for putting it on.

An Amusing Morning

I was caught a little off guard this morning walking into the 177 th District Court, where I was assigned to work as Attorney of the Day today. The media was in the front foyer hoping to get some film footage of a locally high-profile murder case that came in last week, and one of the cameramen asked me: "Hey, is your guy going to come out today?" Now, by "coming out", the camera man wanted to know if the Defendant was going to actually be brought out of the holdover cell to be talked to by Judge Kevin Fine (thus giving them something to actually film). However, when serving as Attorney of the Day, a defense attorney has no idea what cases he will be actually handling until he arrives in the court that morning. So, basically, I had absolutely no clue as to what case the camera man was referring too. "My guy?" I asked him. "Yeah, the student who killed the homeless man," he told me. "Am I getting that case?" I asked him. "We talke

I'm Just Saying . . .

Today will be the last day for yet another member of the Harris County District Attorney's Office. Now, before you Lykos fans start applauding too hard about old Patsy and the Gang running off another one of those "lazy, corrupt and racist prosecutor holdovers from the Evil Rosenthal Administration", you might want to know who it is. Beverly Chambers, who was handpicked by Lykos to be the top Executive Administrative Assistant and brought into the D.A.'s Office on January 1st is now making her exit -- shortly after about 100 days of having the "honor" of working right outside Pat's door. Perhaps you remember her from her role in Secretaries' Day . No official reason has been provided for her departure after her three month contribution to the job. Also, there's no word from Patsy if Ms. Chambers was being "negligent" or "incompetent" (but then again I haven't read the Chronicle yet this morning). However, given the

Another Day Another Chief Leaves

Immediately on the heels of Stephen St. Martin's resignation on Friday, the Lykos Administration received yet another resignation from a Senior Felony Chief Prosecutor this morning. Chief Prosecutor for the 230 th District Court, George Weissfisch turned in his two weeks notice today. George was very much a shining star at the District Attorney's Office from the moment he arrived there. Most prosecutors when they first begin at the Office take several months if not years developing their trial skills, and their win-loss ratios often reflect that. It's not unusual for very talented prosecutors to come out of misdemeanor with a 50% success rate, just due to the level of inexperience and the nature of their cases. George defied those odds and (if I recall correctly) was undefeated for quite some time in his stint as a baby prosecutor. He continued to impress people at high levels as he worked his way through the Office. Ultimately, George's reputation as a trial att

More Experience Leaves the Building

Yet another Senior Prosecutor turned in their two weeks notice to Lykos and the Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight today. Veteran Chief Prosecutor Stephen St. Martin will be leaving the District Attorney's Office and joining the Defense Bar, effective at the end of business on May 1st. If you will recall, Stephen, along with fellow Chief Prosecutor Lance Long was recently honored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Director's Award on April 1st for his role in working with the FBI on the Randy Sylvester case. His dedication to the Office for well over a decade has been a tremendous asset to the law enforcement community. His award was the one where Lykos snubbed both of her prosecutors at the ceremony . Stephen also has a reputation as a no-nonsense and fair-minded prosecutor that Defense Attorneys find to be reasonable and attentive to their arguments. Harris County's loss will definitely be the Defense Bar's gain. I have a feeling that the above phrase

Day One

I think that since we now know that Rifi Newaz and Mark Donnelly did, in fact, have race-neutral reasons for their strikes in the Ricky Whitfield case that it stands to reason that Pat Lykos : 1. should reinstate both men to their prior positions; and 2. issue a PUBLIC apology for smearing their reputations in the media. I'm going to keep track here until she actually does it. Just like I did with Alan Bernstein last year when he refused to run the Yarmulke Story. It's Day One, Judge Lykos . You're on the clock.

The Transcript Is In

Prior to weighing in on the validity of the Batson challenge being granted in the Ricky Whitfield case, I decided to take a very un -Pat Lykos like approach and actually read the transcript. I only ordered the portion of the transcript that dealt with the Batson challenge being made by Eric Davis and Jacquelyn Carpenter and the responses to the challenge to by Rifi Newaz and Mark Donnelly . It took about one day to get the transcript, and it only cost about $25 for that particular portion. I guess that Lykos really has screwed her budget up pretty damn badly if she couldn't spend the $25 before she decided to try and ruin Mark and Rifi's careers. So, here's a synopsis of the bench conference regarding the Batson challenge: Ms. Carpenter objected to the striking of Juror Numbers 2, 3, 10, 13, 18, and 43 and properly made a Batson claim because those six venire members were African-American. As I've mentioned before (for the non-lawyers out there), that once the

A Letter to Pat Lykos

Former Bureau Chief of the Appellate Bureau under former-District Attorney Johnny Holmes, Calvin Hartmann , sent the following letter to Pat Lykos in response to the scandal she created regarding Mark Donnelly and Rifi Newaz and the Batson controversy. It is reprinted here with his permission. March 30, 2009 Patricia Lykos District Attorney, Harris County Texas Harris County Criminal Justice Center 1201 Franklin, Suite 600 Houston, Texas 77002 District Attorney Lykos : Approximately nine years ago at a campaign debate between Chuck Rosenthal and yourself for the office of the Harris County District Attorney, being vacated by the retirement of John B. Holmes, Jr., I stated to you that if you were elected that it would lead to numerous departures of the professional staff and that you ultimately would destroy the employee morale in the office. In three short months following your election in November 2008 that prediction unfortunately has come to fruition. The purpose of this l


Well, one has to give credit to our gal, Patsy -- she is consistent. When she doesn't like her prosecutors, she makes no bones about throwing them under the bus or distancing herself from them in both the good times and the bad. We all know what she did to Rifi Newaz and Mark Donnelly last week, and knowing the shameless politico like we do, it wasn't really all that surprising. But today was a day that was actually a day that would shine a positive light on the Office, as Andrew R. Bland , Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Houston Office, came to the CJC to personally give awards to Assistant District Attorney's Lance Long and Stephen St. Martin on behalf of the FBI. Lance and Stephen were both Chief Prosecutors in the Special Crimes' Major Offenders Unit for years until Lykos promptly kicked them out of the Division due to her political cronyism. These guys, along with others, worked day and night, drafting search warrants, arr