Showing posts from August, 2009

Humor on the Elevator

Overheard today on the elevator: ATTORNEY: Yeah, they didn't put anything [any courts] on the 13th floor, you know, because the 13th floor is supposed to be bad luck. DEFENDANT: Shit, every floor in this building is bad luck.

The Judges' Club

The Houston Chronicle is reporting this afternoon in this article that all charges have been dismissed against Texas Supreme Court Justice David Medina's wife, Francisca Medina, in relation to arson charges which she was indicted on last year. Now for those of you who don't recall, the indictment against Mrs. Medina stemmed out of the "Runaway Grand Jury" that had indicted both Mrs. Medina and Justice Medina despite the fact that prosecutors were not seeking an indictment at that time. If you recall, then-prosecutor Vic Wisner got lambasted (extremely unfairly) over the actions of the Grand Jurors (whom he could not control). I still believe that Vic's association with the Medina case (and the fact that Medina is a Republican) is what got him his walking papers from "rock solid" Republican "standard bearer" Pat Lykos when she took over in January. Vic Wisner has got more integrity and trial talent in his little finger than the entiret

Tyler Flood's Experience with the DIVERT Program

My friend and Officemate , Tyler Flood , was kind enough to share his recent experience with Pat Lykos ' new, controversial DIVERT program. Tyler, who's criminal law specialty is DWI and other related intoxication offenses details how Bridgwater's "rehabilitation program" really is just a great opportunity for a DWI Defendant to risk getting betrayed and screwed over by the Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight. Tyler describes his experience as follows: I accompanied a client to a DIVERT interview a week and half ago and met Raymie Hairell -Sweat, the person in charge of this program at 49 San Jacinto . She was very professional and did an excellent job at calming my concerns about what questions would be asked of my client about the actual incident. I was concerned with my client making any admission that could later be used against him. I expressed my concern to Raymie that I didn ’t want my client to have to go into details about the incident and she ASS

Congratulations to Joey DeBruyn

Congratulations to my good friend, Joey DeBruyn , who is celebrating his 25 th year with Harris County today. Joey is the court coordinator in the 337 th District Court under Judge Herb Ritchie, but I first met him many moons ago when I was the Felony Two in the 177 th District Court under Judge Davies. Given the fact that we were both damn good lookin ' bald guys with goatees, people were always confusing us with each other. Joey is one of the best coordinators in the building. It doesn't matter if he is in the middle of the worst day of the year, he remains polite, professional and cheerful under all circumstances. In a job that is as hectic as a coordinator's, it's amazing he's still smiling after all this time! Congratulations, my friend, on a job well done!

Judge Hatten's Birthday

Today is Judge Bill Hatten's 96th birthday, and a celebration will be held in the 176th District Courtroom at noon. Judge Hatten was before my time as an elected Judge, but I had him once as a visiting Judge during a voir dire on a Robbery case I was picking in the 179th. It wasn't all that serious of a robbery case and I had decided that some humor in my voir dire would work well. Unfortunately for me, I didn't realize that Judge Hatten was going to talk to the jury before I did. If I recall correctly, it was around the time of his 90th birthday when the trial occurred, and he mentioned his birthday to the jury panel, before launching into the problems with getting older. In a deadpan voice, he told the jury panel: The problem with getting older is that it's getting harder and harder to wake up in the morning. I knew I was getting older when my hearing was going and I couldn't hear the alarm anymore. Then I would try to just look at the clock and see what time i

Lisa Falkenberg's Column Today

I'm a little late on the draw on commenting on Lisa Falkenberg's column this morning about the actions of Judge Kevin Fine in a recent sexual assault trial. I think it is a very good column and makes a very good point, and I say that despite the fact that I like Judge Fine, and Judge Fine has never been anything but kind to me (both as a lawyer and now as a Judge). The problem is that sometimes when shifting into a new job position, one needs to learn that the role you used to play isn't the one you will be playing any longer. I can certainly sympathize, having shifted from a prosecutor to a defense attorney right around the same time that Judge Fine switched from defense attorney to Judge. Although I've been criticized for blogging like a prosecutor, I think that all of my clients would gladly tell you that once we're in the courtroom, I am able to put my past career entirely behind me. I'm there to represent them wholeheartedly. If I didn't do that, I w

'bout Damn Time

Brian Rogers long anticipated article regarding the departures from the D.A.'s Office hit Monday morning's edition of the Chronicle today, and it's a pretty good read. It's a shame that whoever is in charge of article placement couldn't have gotten it in Sunday's edition so that more folks could become familiar with the wonderful world of the Davidians . Of course, as usual, Lykos is stating that there is no problem in a scene reminiscent of Sergeant Schultz from Hogan's Heroes . There was nothing unexpected about that. It was nice to see that Leitner was back to lying on the record by denying a a communication problem within the Office: “Channels of communication have always been open,” Leitner said. “Just because one person says something doesn't mean that's the universal way of the office.” Yeah, the problem with that, Jimbo , is that it isn't just "one person" saying it. It's your whole damn Office, and you arrogant schmu

Malicious Twits

Looks like the Fake Pat Lykos blogger has gotten the attention of Houston Chronicle legal blogger Mary Flood with this article on the Chron's website today. Looks like Ms. Flood is as amused with Jared Woodfill's McCarthy- esque accusations of the "wild eyed Liberal elite" being behind the fake Twitter account as I was. I did enjoy learning what Patsy's response was to the fake Twitter account: "The fraudulent twitters appear to be the work of a malicious twit." Should I respond with the "takes one to know one", or is it too obvious? Nah. Too obvious. As someone close to me would say "That's beneath you." I'll let Snooks slide on that one.

I'll Take "Vast Left-Wing Conspiracies" for $1,000, Alex.

Local Republican Chairman Jared Woodfill came to the screeching defense of the GOP's Golden Girl Pat Lykos today with a screaming attack on the practical joker who created a fake Twitter account last week on behalf of the District Attorney. Now, for those of you who missed the short-lived practical joke, somebody (and no, it wasn't me, but I do think it was hysterical) created a profile purporting to be Pat Lykos and started sending out Twitter "status updates" on her behalf. The status updates were clearly satirical and literally had me doubled over with laughter. Some of the highlights from "Pat" included: -"Grabbing a smoke before going back to building the best f*cking DA's Office in the USA." -"Going to send Hannah (Chow) to make the rounds and make sure everybody is working hard. These bastards will slack off if you let them." And my personal favorite (in response to this post ): -"What's the matter, asshole, you don

When We All Agree

If you read this blog and other legal blogs with any regularity, you have probably figured out that I'm often in the minority on a lot of issues when it comes to agreeing with my friends Cynthia Henley , Paul Kennedy , and Mark Bennett . But today, I think the four of us are all in agreement in condemning the behavior of Andy Nolen , a local defense attorney in Harris County, Texas. Based on the research of Cynthia, Paul and Marky Mark, it appears that Andy has been creating a false "profile" on the internet to go about blasting other defense attorneys while praising himself. The trick he was pulling is pretty simple -- rate all these other attorneys with the lowest possible rating while giving himself stellar marks. It's about as grade school and immature of a stunt as one can pull. It's unbecoming of freshman in high school, let alone an attorney with several years under his belt. Let me just say this -- out of the four of us (me, Mark, Cynthia, and Paul),

Barkings from the Lykos Lap Dog

There's a cute little letter to the editor from Hannah Chow today, defending the Lykos record on minority hires. It's in response to the Lisa Falkenberg article on Carvana a couple of days. She is proudly touting the fact that the Office has hired 5 (count 'em, 5) more minorities than there were at the end of last year. This is truly a stunning step forward in race relations. Let's see, they've been in Office for 8 months and hired five, that's like about .75 minorities a month! What she doesn't address in her article is why it seems that none of these minorities are actually moving forward in the Office in any meaningful type of way. Don't get me wrong, I am not advocating promotion based solely on race, but Lykos and the Davidians are clearly letting it be known that your best chance for promotion within the Office is if you are Caucasian. I mean, come on, when they are citing that they have two minority Bureau Chiefs and they are talking about s

Patsy's Playhouse

Back in the olden days, as the Rosenthal Administration was crashing to the ground, one of the accusations often thrown around was that Chuck had run a "good old boy network". Now, we all have a generalized idea of what that phrase means, obviously -- giving jobs to friends, ignoring charges against friends, and utilizing county money for personalized perks or silly and frivolous things, right? And given some of the decisions made by Chuck, arguing that there was no "good old boy network" at all is sometimes a difficult position to take. I do not, however, think it was nearly pervasive as the media made it out to be. Although there have may have been some personnel decisions made by him that raised some eyebrows, I never saw him refuse to file charges on anyone based on the fact that they were friends or political cronies. Perhaps I was too low on the totem pole at the time, but I'm just saying I never witnessed it personally. That being said, that even if Chu

Addiction to Blogging

Apparently, Troy McKinney's recent foray into blogging has inspired him to start up his own blog at . As I've said before, and I will say again, Troy is a legal genius. I would strongly encourage you to check out what the man has to say. Check early and check often. You might just learn something.

Troy McKinney on the DWI Pre-Trial Diversion Program

I recently asked my friend and legal genius, Troy McKinney , if he would mind taking time out of his busy schedule and sharing his views on the new Pre-Trial Diversion program. For those of you outside the criminal law field, Tory is one of the most knowledgeable minds in criminal law across the board, but has a specialty in DWI law. He is a nationally recognized attorney and I appreciate him very much for posting the following, well-researched and well thought out article on why the Diversion Program is a terrible idea. Many have very mixed views about the DWI diversion or intervention program being initiated by the Harris County District Attorney's Office. Below are some of the problems I see in the formation and implementation of the program. While there is no doubt that some folks will benefit from getting a disposition that does not involve a full trial and does not result in a formal conviction, I fear that for far too many more it will be little more than a false promise cru

McAnulty & Knotts

Okay, I've been a bit remiss in my duties as Blogmeister . I've been moving the past two weeks and not paying to attention to what was going on in the Chronicle , so I feel very bad for missing this article on the retirement of two incredibly talented (and legendary) investigators this week -- Dan McAnulty and Ron Knotts . Now, out of the two of them, I gotta admit I knew Ron better, because we had the common ground of Aggieland to talk about, but the respect I had for both of them was immense. I don't think that I can rival the tribute to these great men that Brian Rogers did in his article in the Chronicle, other than to say that it was an honor to work with them both. I've mentioned it time and again, but knowing the history of the people we are all working with is a huge part of the job that we all do. Both Ron and Dan were Old School investigators who leave behind them a career that I think anybody who enters into law enforcement would be envious of. The funny

Lisa Falkenberg's Column on Carvana

In case you haven't seen it already, make sure to check out Lisa's column on Carvana Cloud leaving the Office in today's Chronicle . I love it that Lykos gets caught in a lie about the number of minorities in the Office. I also think its pretty damn interesting that she doesn't deny screwing over Carvana for political reasons. Hopefully Lisa's column today will make more citizens of Harris County aware of what the hell Lykos and her Davidians are doing.

Here and There

I was talking to a friend of mine whom I went to high school with yesterday about the difference between our old hometown and the cities where we now live. As most of you know, I'm from Bryan/College Station, and although the towns have grown exponentially since I made my first appearance back there in 1972, the place still has a very small town feel about it. In Houston, there are murder cases that don't ever make the newspaper. By contrast, this story from my beloved Bryan/College Station Eagle is one of the top three stories on their web page at this writing. It's kind of refreshing, actually.