Monday, August 10, 2009

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 Chuck was guilty of utilizing the fabled "good old boy system", he apparently has nothing on Pat Lykos, who has seemingly turned the Harris County District Attorney's Office into her own personal playhouse with little to no shame about who knows about it.

During the past eight months, we've already discussed the little things Lykos has done to make the Office a better place -- not for the people who work for her or the citizens she was elected to represent -- but only for herself. Sadly, we aren't even a quarter of the way done with The Snookems Era, and we've already watched her stretch an extremely budget-strapped Office into her own personal playhouse by:

-making her prosecutors (including 1st Assistant Jim Leitner) accompany her to the basement to smoke while discussing death penalty cases (NOTE: Um, Patsy, that's still inside a public building and kind of sort of against the law. I'm just sayin' . . .)

-hiring a driver to escort her around town.

-having Hannah Chow strategically place water coolers throughout the Office.

-hiring political cronies and friends into top level spots (including one prosecutor from Montgomery County who apparently just stuck around long enough to get her retirement and is retiring at the end of this month. Thank you so much for your eight months of service to Harris County, ma'am.)

-hiring a speaker to come lecture her prosecutors and let them know that their primary objective was to make Lykos "look good".

Now, before I sound entirely too harsh about Patsy, I should point out the positives. She was able to send a message across the county that the D.A.'s Office didn't take DWIs all that seriously anymore, and let the Houston Chronicle know that the media would have a major influence in all decisions affecting criminal justice.

It seems to me that the one thing Lykos isn't doing from the 6th Floor is her job.

Right now, there is at least one Felony Court that is running short a Number Three prosecutor, which is absolutely unsustainable in Harris County. I've talked before about the job of a Felony Two -- the prosecutor in the court who tries 99% of all the murders and 100% of all the sexual assaults and aggravated robberies. It's the toughest job in the Office, and it can't be done without the assistance of a Felony Three, who handles the logistics of court every morning.

The idea of leaving a Felony Court shorthanded is absolutely inexcusable, especially when there are other felony courts that have four prosecutors. There is no rational explanation why one would be running with two prosecutors, unless Lykos and the Davidians are trying to kill the Two in that court.

Failing to keep your courts fully staffed is, uh, incompetent and negligent, Pat.

Now, I've never been an elected official, so I'm sure that Patsy and the Gang are very busy beyond my comprehension. It's a wonder that she has had time to chain smoke, quite frankly.

But apparently Lykos has found the time to redecorate her office and get the Office a dog.

While leaving her prosecutors flapping in the wind, Patsy has made time to have the wall that seperated her office from her secretaries removed and the carpet pulled up and replaced with hardwoods. She said the carpeting was making her sick.

Yeah, I'm sure it had nothing to do with the smoking or the smoke getting trapped in the carpet.

And, once she got her home away from home all squared away, she has entered into a project that will bring an Office Dog to 1201 Franklin as part of the Victim Witness Program.

Yeah, I'm not making that up. I'm not making this part up either -- they are calling the program "Paw & Order: SDU". The "SDU" stands for Special Doggie Unit.

Seriously, I'm not kidding.

And her prosecutors are overworked and underpaid. But hey, at least she got them a dog.

Lykos' stunning ability to avoid doing the actual job she was elected to do is just staggering. I'm reminded of when I worked for my dad when I was 16 years old and he would look at me being lazy and say "Would you do some work, please?"


Free at Last said...

Murray you're being a bit hard on Patsy. This is a learning process for her. Patsy has never been a prosecutor before so how would you really expect her to know what to do in 8 short months?
Further, Patsy has never even tried a criminal case from either side of the bar so she is not familiar with how to staff a misdemeanor, let alone a felony court.
Did you ever think that maybe, just maybe, Patsy's little troll eyes are not what they used to be? The dark damp troll caves are known to impair troll vision and the little pooch may actually be a reasonable and necessary guide dog.
As far as the interior decorating goes, the hard wood floors would also be reasonable so as to more easily identify and remove dog and troll droppings as well as the various indigenous insects and other parasites commonly found on dogs and trolls.
Anyway, thank goodness neither of us have to work for her anymore...that's a chapter I won't miss.

Anonymous said...

I could give two poops about hardwood floors, or PR stunts such as dogs for victims. The understaffing of felony courts--THE most important positions in the office--is absolutely ridiculous. It is utterly without sense or logic, and it pisses me off more than anything else.

The Moose said...

I am shocked and saddened at how the old office has turned out. Embarrassed actually.

Two years living in Denmark, I have kept up with your blog.

Thanks Murray. You are a very talented writer.

Anonymous said...

Aside from the dog thing, there's nothing here that's not a re-hashed attack on her.

I'm not thrilled about her, but let's get some new material.


Anonymous said...

Add to the mix that she's making some attorneys in the office research and write memorandums on subjects her cronies outside of the office have asked her to research as a favor. She is all about favors to friends, whether they work in or outside of the office. That's how she got elected -- she is always doling out favors! Why else would people elect such a bitter, harsh, mean-spirited, grouchy, chain-smoking, pinch-faced woman?!

Cyn said...

I would love to have one of our Boston Terrier rescues find a new forever home but I'm not sure that this proposal would pass our inquiries & inspections. Who is actually going to take care of the animal? What is she going to do the day some kid pulls its tail & it chomps down? She does not think very far ahead. Funny blog, Murray

Cyn said...

We would love for a Boston Terrier to be adopted - by a suitable person who has to pass several levels of interviews & home inspections. How is going to take care of the pet full time? Who is going to take it to do business throughout the day? What is she going to do when it bites some kid because the kid because the kid hit it or pulled its tail or whatever? Pat has some ideas that sound good on occasion but she does not think the results (like the DIVERT program) through nor does she consult with those with knowledge on the subject. I doubt the DA's office could pass the rescues requirements . . .

Anonymous said...

Slow news day, huh?

BLACK INK said...

Why has the AG's office not started an investigation?

Catalina Booth said...

I am horrified! I was a two in a tough court when my chief went on family leave. I was left with a brand new #3. That was a bad experience that played some part in my decision to leave the office. But at that time there were no courts with 4 prosecutors so there was not much supervisors could to help. But prosecutors in special crimes and other specialty divisions at least were able to pitch in and help with docket whenever they happened to be inb my court.

I can't believe Patsy is choosing to do this to the poor #2 and the citizens of Harris County!

BTW- why is the CNN crew at the CJC wanting to talk to the elected DA?

Cyn said...

Catalina - maybe CNN is there to talk about Ms. Lykos' new twitter account.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget about the investigator hired that does not know how to write a report. Okay, don't let him go, new title with investigator pay. DA photo man. Yep, he just followers her around taking pictures. Okay, maybe a few pictures of retirements. When she arrives.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please tell me where in the world the money is coming from to decorate her office? Dont tell me that she is using TAX PAYER ASSET FORFEITURE MONEY??? Instead of buying needed equipment for law enforcement, she is having hardwood floors installed? Okay, Harris County Commissioners. You voted for that? Shame on you too. For anyone involved in politics. Take note of that and file it away for 2012

Anonymous said...

What's the deal with "Do the Write Thing" occupying one of our offices? Is that a District Attorney function as well? It's a great organization but I'm just wondering why it's at our office. I'm just saying...

Anonymous said...

In offices I've been around, when shortages occur, the upper eschelon steps down and begins helping with the dockets.

I've seen appellate, first assistants, administrative assistants and basically, any available prosecutor help out. Sometimes this has included the elected DA.

Where is the spirit of the corps amongst the upper eschelon? Why isn't wee man jim or RB or Hannah down there helping in the trenches.

Or God forbid, the elected DA herself and go lend a hand. Do a #3's job for a day or two and see how the other half lives. I mean, really do a #3's job and leave the hardwood floors to the three stooges to run.

Ironically, the fact she hasn't done it already underscores the fact she can't see how it might gain her leaps and bounds of credibility amongst the troops.

But it would probably be too pedestrian.

jigmeister said...

What leads you to conclude Lykos could do a #3's job?

Anonymous said...

The AG doesn't have time to investigate anything. They're too busy rewriting they're SCOTUS arguments explaining how it's OK to execute an innocent man as long as he got a fair trial.

Anonymous said...

I'm just assuming, Jig, that with a few days or months of intensive training, Lykos could actually attempt the job of a felony 3 for a day or two.

Pat's House of Whores said...

Bro' please! Pat Lykos could not even adequately function in the role of an unpaid intern let alone an actual prosecutor.

Where is Brian "I'm a Pussyless Pussy" Rogers? He'd be perfect to fill a felony slot under this sham.

The voters got so fucked on this deal and we haven't even finished a year.

I do not envy the DA that takes over at ground zero in 2012 and has to clean up "Pat's House of Whores". (Playhouse just doesn't give it justice, Murray....).

OUTRAGED said...

Murray, I understand the Houston Chronicle is having another round of big layoffs next month and may soon go to a 4 day run. They're down from 500K copies to 300K copies on Mondays, so don't count on a hard copy of the Monday morning edition for very long. I'm betting the press will only be running Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday editions starting late Fall.
So Pat's boy Brian Rogers may very well be working a felony court soon. Now before you say that prosecutors must be licensed to practice law in the State of Texas; Pat's PTD program demonstrates that following the law is not an issue of high level importance at the HCDAO.

Seer said...

Hey man, the dog is just doing its job. You better shut this one down now.

Anonymous said...

I hope she is smart enough not to smoke around the dog.
I don't care about her followers coming down with health problems due to second hand smoke. They get what they deserve.
I just don't want to see a truly innocent little pup get health problems from wonderbitch.
Yes I smoke, but not around children or animals.

As far as her new wood flooring maybe the bitch will slip and fall in a dog puddle and wake up with a brain.

Anonymous said...

What happened to the Judge and his adventure.The Judge that people were talking about all week Was there a cover up?

Anonymous said...

In reference to the gal from Montgomery County...she's already out the door! If it's the person/old bag I believe you're talking about...she announced she was leaving the last day of July and that was all she wrote! No note on a disabled copier or anything....but she will be in the 2009 staff picture!

Rage Judicata said...

Why has the AG's office not started an investigation?

What is there to investigate? Please enlighten us, and if you're a lawyer, and especially an ADA, you have an obligation to report any corruption or illegality.

So, let's hear it big boy.

Anonymous said...

OK, Murray, I'll grant you that Lykos is beyond worthless. And I know enough from the inside to say that without your blog. But to say that the ADA's are underpaid is overstepping. Prosecutors in smaller jurisdictions cannot even fathom the Harris County salaries. And while one might argue that the Harris County caseload is substantially greater, the smaller offices have to deal with every aspect of the case. Can you say that Harris County prosecutors can do midnight phone calls, intake, grand jury, negotiation, trial, appellate and forfeitures all at the same time?

I don't slight the folks downtown, but they are pretty well compensated for it.

Just keeping it real.

Anonymous said...

I have never complained about my pay, just the workload. As for comparing our salaries to smaller jurisdictions, have you seen the home prices (and real estate taxes) in Houston compared to smaller jurisdictions? The Harris County DA's Office also competes against other employers in downtown Houston. Harris County loses a huge number of prosecutors every year because the salaries can't keep up with other opportunities in Houston. It's supply and demand.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:49

You're right on the money. Pun intended.

No doubt all is not rosy at Pat's Place. But ACA's and ADA's that work just as hard with less resources in other parts of the state make 2/3rd's at best of what Houston folks make. Many make about 1/2.

And all that jazz about cost of living doesn't cut it. Sometimes home and tax rates are less, but everything else costs just as much in a small town, if not more.

Anonymous said...

"I don't slight the folks downtown, but they are pretty well compensated for it."

Tell us how much you make, and what you do, and then WE can decide if you are worth what you get paid.

Keeping it real my ass.

Anonymous said...

Do you people think that bankers in small towns make as much as in the big cities? Does a football coach in Giddings make as much as the coach as Westlake? Does a teacher in Diboll make as much as a teacher in Dallas?

What the hell is wrong with you morons?

Rage Judicata said...

Do you people think that bankers in small towns make as much as in the big cities? Does a football coach in Giddings make as much as the coach as Westlake? Does a teacher in Diboll make as much as a teacher in Dallas?

Actually, I believe the highest paid coach in Texas is in Ennis. So, yes.

The Harris County DA's Office also competes against other employers in downtown Houston.

Not really. Most ADA's couldn't get a job at a civil firm downtown, which is why they agreed to sign a three year contract for maybe $40,000 a year. It was $33,000 a year when I goit out of law school, and associates at even second-tier firms were starting out at six figures.

That's, keeping it real.

Anonymous said...

Keeping it real Rage style---Real Fucking Stupid.

Some of the best DAs I know came from civil firms, leaving behind larger salaries. Why? Because the civil law is a pile of steaming crap, and they wanted to do something fun, interesting, and challenging--none of which the civil law as commonly practiced at firms is in any fashion.

DAs don't generally complain about money--it's only morons who think they are somehow overpaid for helping to keep your fat asses safe that seem to want to complain, for some reason.

Rage Judicata said...

Some of the best DAs I know came from civil firms, leaving behind larger salaries.

I bet they are the best DA's. The masses, however, never had a chance in the real world.

for helping to keep your fat asses safe

Uhhh, you think you're keeping me safe by locking up the wrong guys and destroying the DNA evidence to make sure the right guy is never convicted? The policies of the HCDAO have contributed for years to making us less safe.

Come down off that cross please.

Anonymous said...

Rage -

I left the civil world to come to the DA's office. I worked for a very respected firm and left on my own terms, because I was tired of the tedious boredom of civil work. I know that you are just a grown up version of the fat kid in the back of the class room that wants attention, but you really should shut the fuck up.

I lose my job if I reveal my identity. You have commented several times that you would lose nothing. So let us know who you are. You can then pick up a case pro bono and try it against me. Since you know everything, you will do better than whichever appointed lawyer is assigned to the case, and you can help that child rapist that you are so eager to help.

And everyone can watch me beat the shit out of you in a court room. You are nothing more than talk.

Anonymous said...

"The policies of the HCDAO have contributed for years to making us less safe."

And that's why you are a moron--you actually believe this.a

Anonymous said...

Convicting the wrong person permits the truly guilty perp to continue wrecking havoc on society. This continues to be shown in Texas with the DNA exonerations. This is a double crime for which the State must, but does not want to, bear responsibility. Keep it up, Rage!

Anonymous said...

Anon 749--awesomely well put. I love how these a-holes like Rage and their apologists talk the talk, but have never, and will never, walk the walk.

Everyone with a brain knows that it's a horrible situation when someone is wrongly convicted, and everyone with a brain knows that it doesn't happen often.

The hardest part about being a DA is dealing with the people who think that every single thing you do is wrong. We sometimes end up fighting with the cops, the defense, and even sometimes the victims, no matter what we do. It is largely a thankless job, and it especially sucks when morons on the blogosphere or in the paper act as if our sole aim is to the wrong thing and that we get paid too much to do that.

The ungrateful out there are plenty and they are usually a vocal group of assholes. But it still doesn't mean that they deserve to have their property stolen or get shot, or have their kids molested. That's why I go in every day, and I am not going to stop doing it just because some blowhard dickhead wants to pretend he's better than me while he sits around and does nothing but bitch like a little pussy.

Keep it up DAs, and fuck 'em all.

Rage Judicata said...

and you can help that child rapist that you are so eager to help.

You mean child rapists like Ricardo Rachell, who was convicted when three different ADA's ignored exculpatory evidence?

Thanks for proving my point, genius.

Anonymous said...

"Thanks for proving my point, genius."

Actually, thanks for proving ours, asshole.

Anonymous said...

Anons. 7:49,7:56, 10:46, 7:46: Grow up. No one's afraid of you.

Rage Judicata said...

Actually, thanks for proving ours, asshole.

You had a point?

Let me guess:

Your point is that you feel that criminal defense lawyers (although I am not one), want to "help" child rapists, despite knowing that the HCDAO systematically ignored the evidence in one case at every level of the prosecution, and I'm the asshole and you're the one seeking justice?

I'm also guessing that the only thing you just understood and will harp on is that I am not a criminal defense lawyer.

Seriously, ADA's like you do more harm than good. There are good prosecutors out there who would feel terrible for convicting the wrong person. You? You just ignore the fact that Harris County destroyed the very evidence that could uncover dozens more wrongful convictions and still has a system set up to ignore exculpatory evidence. Unless, of course, you;re going to argue that Lykos will be better than Holmes or Rosenthal when it comes to the integrity of the convictions coming out of that office.

Didn't think so.

Anonymous said...

"Harris County destroyed the very evidence that could uncover dozens more wrongful convictions and still has a system set up to ignore exculpatory evidence."

It sounds like you have personal knowledge that the ADAs are corrupt. Can you please describe how the system is set up to ignore exculpatory evidence? The listening public is eager to know.

Anonymous said...

"the HCDAO systematically ignored the evidence in one case "

At least you admit that the problem isn't as bad as morons would like to make it out to be, moron.

Anonymous said...

10:52, are you saying that Rosenthal didn't destroy DNA in hundreds of old cases?

It's widely known that Dallas is using their bank of DNA evidence to exonerate people there, but we're having a difficult time because your hero Chuck destroyed the evidence after he had a defendant that he prosecuted exonerated based on DNA. And that's justice to you?

Prosecutors who obfuscate to the extent that you have are the greatest threat to our liberty that we know of.


Anonymous said...

"the greatest threat to our liberty that we know of."

Good lord you are an idiot.

Anonymous said...


10:52pm here. You make a couple of fatal assumptions about me. First you assume I am a Rosenthal fan. Second, you assume I was asking about Rosenthal's antics. Third, you assume I disagree with preserving and retesting of DNA evidence. Fourth, you assume I am a prosecutor or even a lawyer. All of the above couldn't be further from my beliefs or what I specifically asked you.

I will ask my question again with added clarity since you only replied with tangential information. How is the "current system" set up to ignore exculpatory information? Before you answer, please talk about the Lykos administration or something other than DNA evidence. If you have personal knowlegde please share because you aren't giving any ground breaking information by talking about how screwed up Rosenthal was.

Anonymous said...

9:04, you can obfuscate all you want.

And it makes perfect sense that you're not a lawyer, by the way. We are all better off because of it.