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Showing posts from January, 2010

The Race for County Court at Law # 10 (Democrat)

Two criminal defense attorneys are facing off against each other in the Democratic primary to see who will challenge long-time Republican incumbent (and one of my favorite judges on the bench today) Judge Sherman Ross in November. Grant Hardeway and Lori Chambers Gray are both regulars at the CJC, and I dealt with both of them during my career as a prosecutor. I never tried a case against either of them, and neither of them have a campaign website listed with the Harris County Democratic Party as of this writing. I know Grant better than I know Lori, and he has always been very nice to me. However, I'm not sure that everyone has had the same positive experiences with him that I have. I can't really speak to his legal ability or trial presence because I've never seen him in trial. The same applies with Lori. In my dealings with her, she has always been very sweet, almost to the point of seeming shy. But I've never seen her in trial. I like both candidates very m

An Interesting Article

I was shocked, saddened and engrossed this morning reading Paige Hewitt's article in the Chronicle today on the tragic murder of Terri Sanvicente at the hands of her ex-boyfriend, Jason Bouchard. The article is unusual because the source of the information comes from none other than the defendant, Jason Bouchard himself. The callousness with which he provided Hewitt with the details of the murder are nothing short of horrifying. Not only does he admit to committing this inexcusable act of domestic violence in front of their three children (not to mention putting his children at risk of death by setting fire to the house), but he provides a large amount of testimony that could be very damning evidence of future dangerousness and lack of mitigation should the State decide to seek the death penalty. Normally, I don't comment on criminal cases that are pending, but after a round-table discussion this morning with some folks, it brought up some interesting questions about how the

The Race for County Court at Law # 9 (Democrat)

For our next contested primary, we jump from Court Four all the way to Court #9, where Democratic candidates Juanita Barner and Silvia Pubchara-Munoz are facing off to see who will run against Republican Incumbent Judge Analia Wilkerson. Although I know both Juanita and Silvia from work, I can't say that I've ever tried a case agaist either of them, nor have I ever seen them in trial. I have no gripes or concerns about either of the candidates from a professional standpoint, but I have to say that I always enjoyed working with Juanita much more so than Silvia. Juanita is just so much more pleasant to deal with. My experiences with her have always been that she was candid and friendly about her cases. Other than that, I don't have that much to add to this contest, but let me know your thoughts.

Fickman's Second Job

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Congratulations to my dear friend, Robert Fickman, for his victory in trial this week. With continued successes like this, he can finally give up his job as a part-time model.

The Race for County Court at Law # 4 (Republican)

The race to replace retiring Judge Jim Anderson has three Republicans competing to see which one of them gets to face unopposed Democratic challenger Al Leal in November. The candidates run from one that I hear great things about to one that I'm feeling kind of blah about to one that I think the world might fall off its axis if she were to be elected. Former Judge Janice Law is a very nice lady who has no business being a judge. Her behavior on the bench became so egregious that the Houston Press ran this article about her bizarre actions . I was the chief in her court for several months back in 2002 and I was there when she came in third place in a primary where she was running as an incumbent. Although many of Judge Law's quirky actions were nothing more than amusing moments, some were very serious. I can recall dealing with a female defendant who had been found incompetent to stand trial. The State acknowledged she was incompetent. The defense attorney knew she wa

The Race for County Court at Law # 3 (Democrat)

Um, I'm running behind on these little election posts. Luckily I have this one to speed things up a little bit. Running to replace Don Jackson on the Democratic side of the race are Defense Attorney Judith Snively versus defense-attorney-who-runs-for-everything-but-dogcatcher-every-year-because-he-apparently-has-a-lot-of-leftover-campaign-signs-and-it-is-easier-than-running-an-ad-in-the-yellow-pages-even-though-he-is-under-felony-indictment, Lloyd Oliver. Do I really need to weigh in on this one?

The Race for County Court at Law # 3 (Republican)

The race to replace Don Jackson for Judge of County Court at Law # 3 has a larger number of potential candidates than most other races with four candidates vying for the position just from the Republican side. I only know two of the candidates personally. I hear nice things about a third one. And I have no idea why the fourth one is running other than the fact that she really really likes being judge. Cary Hart is a former Harris County prosecutor and current defense attorney. Joe Licata is a former prosecutor out of Florida and a long-time defense attorney. Natalie Flemming is a former prosecutor who used to do some visiting judge stints on the County Court circuit. Sharolyn Wood is a former CIVIL court judge who lost her bench in 2008 and is apparently some sort of Republican darling (which really irritates me with Republicans). The Sharolyn Wood principle is probably what bugs me the most out of these partisan judicial elections. According to Mark Bennett's article th

The Race for County Court at Law # 2 (Democrat)

I told Judge Bill Harmon today that I was pretty sure that he had the Republican Primary for County Court at Law # 2 handled since he was running unopposed as an incumbent. The Democratic side of the race, however, is contested with long-time criminal defense attorney Mary Connealy Acosta running against attorney Miles J. LeBlanc. Again, I've got to admit some limitations on my knowledge of the race. I know Mary pretty well, but I'm not sure that I know Mr. LeBlanc. Mary has been doing criminal work for as long as I have been around the courthouse. I never tried a case against her, but I have always regarded her as an intelligent, competent and highly ethical attorney in the way she does her job. Miles J. LeBlanc's profile on the Texas Bar website indicates that he practices educational law and is currently employed by the City of Houston Independent School District. If he has any criminal law experience, I'm not aware of it. As I've said before, if anybody w

The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth

Last night, as I was tucking my 4-year-old son into bed, we had the following exchange: LITTLE MAN: Daddy, when you're 35 that makes you a grown up. ME: That's right. LITTLE MAN: And when you are 36, you are a giant. ME: Really? I'm 37. What does that make me? LITTLE MAN: Fat.

The Race for County Court at Law # 1 (Democrat)

Like the Republican side of the ballot for County Court at Law # 1, there are three candidates on the Democratic ballot vying to replace Judge Reagan Helm -- defense attorneys Beverly Melontree, Anthony Limitone, and Louis McWherter. Unlike the Republican side of it, I don't have a lot of information on these three candidates. Out of the three candidates, I know Beverly the best, and she's a good friend of mine. I've never tried a case against her, but I've seen her handle herself in court and can attest to the fact that she is a very zealous advocate for her clients. Anthony Limitone is also an attorney that I dealt with sporadically when I was at the District Attorney's Office, but it had been years and years since I dealt with him professionally. My recollections of him are that he was always pleasant and professional in the way that he handled his job. Although I recognize the name Louis McWherter, I'm having a hard time placing a face with the nam

A True Legend Retires

I somehow missed when this was happening, but a true legend of the Harris County D.A.'s Office apparently retired at the end of 2009. For those of you at the Office, you know, that, of course, I speak of none other than the legendary, Barbara "Pajama Momma" Eaglin, who had worked as a secretary in the Misdemeanor Division since most of the attorneys now there were in diapers. Barbara managed to work in the same position for decades with no fashion or hairstyle that she would not try, and with no thought that entered her mind that she didn't share with you -- loudly. She wasn't afraid to tell off defense attorneys, prosecutors, supervisors, investigators, police officers, or any other person who called into the Office. She is without a doubt one of the funniest human beings I have ever met in my entire life. My favorite story that I personally experienced with Barbara was when I was the Chief of Court Five. My godfather, Jim, called the Office looking for me

The Race for County Court at Law # 1 (Republican)

One of the major downsides to writing this blog comes around election time when I have multiple friends running for the same bench. I experienced it in 2008 in the 174th District Court race when we had Kevin Keating, John Jocher, Bill Moore, and Terrance Windham all running for the same bench, and all four of them were my friends. Not to mention that all four of them would have all made great judges. So, the same phenomena is happening now with the Republican Primary election for County Court at Law # 1, which pits defense attorneys Peyton Peebles and Paula Goodhart and former-179th District Court Judge Mike Wilkinson against each other. All three candidates are people I like and respect, and all of them have the requisite intelligence and demeanor to be good judges. The CCL # 1 bench is currently occupied by Judge Reagan Helm, who has decided not to seek re-election. Former 179th Judge Mike Wilkinson spent many years on the bench before losing in November 2008 to Democrat Rand

Lisa Wintory

I was sorry to learn this afternoon of the passing of Lisa Wintory, the wife of prosecutor Richard Wintory, and mother of their son, Michael. Information regarding funeral services can be found here . All of our thoughts and prayers are with Richard, Michael, and Lisa's family during this difficult time.

Terry Lowry & The Partisan Debacle

Another election year is upon us, and yet again, I find myself shaking my head at the potential havoc that is about to be wreaked in the criminal justice system. Since our legislators in Texas have still failed to remove the necessity behind having an "R" or a "D" next to judicial candidates running for the criminal courts, we are about to miss out on some good people either staying or attaining criminal benches. I've said it before and I'll say it again -- partisan politics have absolutely no place in criminal law. A criminal judge's view on abortion is never going to come into play in the job we elect them to do. They are there to make rulings on the law and occasionally decide the facts on a case by case basis. None of those calls have anything to do with a Republican or Democrat Party platform. Judge Harmon will never have the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade . Judge Fine won't shut down Guantanamo. Judge Fields isn't going to bring ou

The Finalized Field (Updated)

With yesterday's filing deadline for the 2010 Judicial Elections, we now know who all is running for what bench in the Harris County Courthouse. Some rather, um, interesting candidates are Lloyd Oliver (who is currently under felony indictment), former Civil Judge Sharolyn Wood (who has no criminal experience but apparently really really liked being a judge), and former-Judge Janice Law (you've got to read this article to get an idea of how that would be). Not to mention there are a whole host of candidates that I've never heard of in my life. I'll be looking at the individual races as we move closer to the March primary, but for now here's an overview. (NOTE: For the official lists of Republican Candidates click here & for the official lists of Democratic candidates click here ). In the meantime, mark your calendar for March 2nd for the primary. Don't complain if you don't vote, and don't forget that Pat Lykos' greatest campaign strength was

Happy (Belated) New Year!

Last year at New Year's, I posted that I had gone to Florida to make the damn year of 2008 end an hour earlier. It was a rough one. This year, I headed out to West Texas to make 2009 last a little bit longer, because it was a hell of a lot better year than its predecessor. Apparently life as a Member of the Defense Bar agrees with me. I realize that 2009 was not quite as a good of a year for some of my friends. So, here's to hoping for a great 2010 for everybody involved. Win, lose or draw, I'm sure it's going to be an interesting one.