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Showing posts from February, 2010

REMINDER: Friday is Your Last Day to Early Vote

Get out there and vote, folks. You'll be kicking yourself down the road if you don't. Remember, only YOU can prevent bad elected officials.

It's Not Just the Republicans . . .

Lisa Falkenberg is back from maternity leave with a good column this morning covering a couple of the judicial candidates that the the Democrats have put forward this year, despite the fact that they have no criminal experience. Lisa's article focuses on candidate Brandon Dudley, who at least was very candid about his lack of experience, and has some things in his background that at least tie to criminal law. He's running against Judge Jeannine Barr in November. And then there is Kathy Cheng, who has made the decision to run against one of the most highly esteemed and the most senior judge on the bench, the 209th's Judge Michael McSpadden. Both Judge McSpadden and Judge Barr are well regarded judges with years and years of experience. It would be pretty sad to see them lose to people who never tried a case, wouldn't it? But, the Democratic Party seems to be working its ugly back-room deals just like the Republicans. At least the Democrats aren't standing behi

The Chronicle Endorsements

Jeff Cohen and Crew finally got off their lazy butts and published their list of endorsements for the County Courts today . I agreed with a little over half of their decisions, which is better than usual for the Chronicle. But, in a move that guarantees that they are still sucking up to Pat Lykos, they endorsed Rachel Palmer over Don Smyth. Seriously. A seven year lawyer who generates nothing but controversy within her own office as opposed to a veteran of over 30 years who has an immaculate record. Wow. Don't even know where to begin with that one.

Have You Voted Yet?

Sorry to be a pain in the butt, but you are running out of time on early voting if you haven't done it already. Here are just a couple of random thoughts to help get you motivated: 1. Most of the folks who read this work Downtown at the CJC (or at least go to the CJC pretty much daily). All you have to do is walk two blocks over to the Administration Building at some point. It's a convenient location. 2. You don't have to clock out to go vote! 3. On March 2nd, you'll have to go through the pain in the butt of figuring out where your polling location is near your home, drive there and figure out where to park. And you'll probably have 50 million other things that you need to be doing on that day anyway. 4. This being a non-presidential election will cause a much lower voter turnout than usual. Your vote counts more now than ever. 5. Remember for you folks voting in the Republican Party that if your candidate isn't the darling of the older voters who live

The Vileness of Terry Lowry

In case you haven't noticed by now, I'm not a fan of Terry Lowry. In the Harris County political system filled with people you love to hate, Lowry has distinguished himself as an almost cartoonish caricature of all that is wrong with the system, and the Republican Party seems to have no qualms about embracing him as their own. Lowry publishes his FOR PROFIT crappy little LINKLetter that goes out to all Republican voters and he also buys time on a radio slot where he can spew out his "values" on a program called "What's UP". And of course, under the 1st Amendment, I support his right to do so, even though I recognize the fact that he is a schmuck. Lowry sprinkles in "articles" in his endorsement-laden "LINKLetter" which should offend even the most conservative of Republicans. In his latest issue, he opens up addressing Pat Robertson's idiotic statement last month that the Haitian Earthquake was "the manifestation of G

C'mon Chronicle

I've been sitting around, patiently waiting for the Chronicle to finish up its endorsements of the Judicial Candidates, but damn, they are taking their sweet time over there. So far, they've only covered the District Court (recommending Marc Brown, Lori Gooch, and Trent Gaither in their respective races) and the Juvenile Courts (recommending Fred Wilson, Marc Isenberg, David Longoria and Keith Branch in theirs.) As of this morning (Sunday, February 21st), we're still waiting on the County Court recommendations. The District Court and Juvenile Courts only came out yesterday. You can check out their endorsements here . But c'mon guys, you are a newspaper and early voting started LAST TUESDAY. Aren't you supposed to be giving people information or something? I just do this freaking blog as a hobby, and even I got my homework done. I mean it isn't like the political primaries snuck up on you or something. I'm pretty sure they've been scheduled for

The Houston Bar Association Judicial Candidate Poll

The Houston Bar Association released its Judicial Candidate Qualification Poll today. You can check them out for yourself here . Those attorneys who took the poll were given four options of rating the candidates: -Not Rated -Not Qualified -Qualified; OR -Well Qualified To me, the results weren't surprising. Although you can read them for yourself, I thought it was worth noting a couple of things: -180th District Court Candidate Danny Dexter had 220 voters say he was "Not Qualified", while 57 said he was "Qualified" and 56 said he was "Well Qualified". I understand that Danny has been trying to play off his bad evaluations on the campaign trail by saying he just wasn't "popular". Actually, Danny was fairly popular at the Office. He just wasn't good at his job. This poll result shows that. -by contrast, 180th District Court Candidate Marc Brown had only 108 voters say he was "Not Qualified" (hmm, anybody else notice that&

For a Good Cause

I don't normally send out notices for things that are non-CJC related, but I figured y'all might excuse me for posting this notice for a good cause. A friend of mine in NYC (no, not my Editor) is running her first marathon to raise research funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It's a cause that is near and dear to many of us and I think it's awesome that she's actually going through the process of training to do something as rigorous as a marathon (especially seeing how the furthest I run anymore is to the refrigerator to get a Bud Lite). So, anyway, if you want to show my friend a little Texas hospitality and donate to a good cause, please click on this link and donate what you can. Thanks in advance for your consideration.

Pachyderm Club Meeting

Just FYI - tomorrow (Thursday, February 18th) at noon, the Pachyderm Club will be hosting an event that will feature the Republican Candidates who are running for criminal benches. It's at Spaghetti Warehouse. I don't know any more about the event as far as whether or not there is an admission fee or anything like that. If anyone has more info, please let me know. And if there are any other events coming up from either the Democratic or Republican side, let me know and I'll post it. Oh, and if you haven't voted already, HURRY UP AND VOTE!!!!

Early Voting Begins Today

Okay boys and girls, Early Voting begins today! Go vote. Get your family and make them vote! Get your neighbors and make them go vote! There are a lot of good candidates out there who deserve your votes and there are some really bad candidates out there that really need to be voted AGAINST. For those of you in and around the CJC, you can vote at the Administration Building. Here were my suggestions on the best folks in the individual races. I've also included the winners of the polls. No candidate gave me any money, so my suggestions for who is deserving of your vote is based on their qualifications. REPUBLICANS County Court at Law # 1 - Peyton Peebles -Poll Result -- Paula Goodhart County Court at Law # 3 -- Cary Hart - Poll Results -- Cary Hart County Court at Law # 4 -- John Clinton - Poll Results -- Jackie Gifford County Court at Law # 13 -- Don Smyth - Poll Results -- Don Smyth (by a landslide) 180th District Court -- Marc Brown - Poll Results -

The Witch Hunt

So, I just got back from a much needed vacation for a couple of days in the arctic tundra known as New York City. I don't even get off the plane before my cell phone starts lighting up with questions over me being called into Lykos' office to answer questions about where I got the offense report dealing with the Rachel Palmer/Don Hooper incident. Now, first of all, let's explore the idiocy of this rumor: 1. I don't work for the Old Goat, so the idea of her "calling me in" to her office is beyond silly. 2. Under the Journalist Shield Law that she supported in her sucking up to the Chronicle, my sources would be protected. AND 3. I've never seen the offense report. So, this rumor that I'm hearing apparently traces back to none other than Don Hooper, himself, and his new best friend, Danny Dexter . (NOTE: This shows that Danny lacks judgment, just FYI). The rumor is apparently that I got "called in" to see Cruella de Vil herself, a

The Juvenile Races

Across the street from the Criminal Justice Center is the Juvenile Justice Center, which houses the 313th, 314th, and 315th District Courts of Harris County, Texas. I don't go over there much if I can help it. Although I'm glad that there are folks more qualified than me to handle juvenile matters, I'd just as soon not go over there. If you can take all the drama and tragedy that you find in the CJC and then apply it to children, you get the juvenile system. I spent about four months there in 2000 as a rookie prosecutor, and that was about the extent of my experience there. I say this as a caveat that I don't know that much about the candidates running for election or re-election other than (mostly) just reputation. That's why I'm lumping all the races into one blog post and inviting those of you who know more about the candidates to chime in. So, here's what little I do know. The 313th District Court Current Judge Pat Shelton has decided not to run f

Sam Gentry

I was saddened to read in the Chronicle this week that former long-time Grand Jury Bailiff, Sam Gentry , passed away this week. He may have been before the time of some the younger CJC folks, but he was a fixture of Grand Jury for many years. He loved grumbling about the ADA's and making fun of anyone he possibly could, but you always knew that Sam liked you and he liked his job. He was a good guy and (although he would shudder to hear it) a pretty sweet guy, too. My sympathy goes out to his family. He will be missed.

The Race for the 248th District Court (Democrat)

The final contested matter in the Felony District Courts of the CJC for the primary season is the Democratic Primary for the 248th to see who will challenge incumbent Republican Judge Joan Campbell in November. Defense attorneys Jim Sullivan and Trent Gaither are competing for the nomination. And unfortunately, I'm not going to have a whole lot to say on this particular race. Although I know Jim Sullivan in passing, I don't recall ever dealing with him on a case or having seen him in trial. I also don't know much about his reputation as an attorney. He has always seemed to me to be a nice and pleasant person, but I'm really don't know enough to say anything about him otherwise. And, unfortunately, I was even less familiar with Trent. I also never had any dealings or trial with him, and it wasn't until I looked at his website that I actually put a face with the name. Clearly, I need to get out more. I wish I had some more information on this particular

The Race for the 180th District Court (Democrat) [Updated]

[NOTE: I received an e-mail from Darrell Jordan this morning (2/12/10) pointing out some things he disputed in the post I did on him regarding his dealings with Sylvia Escobedo. I have made those changes and noted where they are within the post. If these edits and additions change your mind about Mr. Jordan, then I apologize for their initial omissions.] Some of the recommendations in the Judicial Races are very difficult to make. This isn't one of those difficult ones. The race on the Democratic side of the 180th District Court race is between former-prosecutor and now defense attorney Lori Gooch and defense attorney Darrell Jordan . In case any of you are dying in suspense, the clear choice for this race is Lori. Lori graduated from law school in 2001 and came to work at the Harris County D.A.'s Office that year, which is where I first met her. There are some people that walked in the door of that Office that were just instantly adored by everyone that they worked wi

The Race for the 180th District Court (Republican)

The announcement of long-time 180th District Court Judge Debbie Stricklin that she would not be seeking re-election this year has brought out five candidates to replace her, with 3 on the Republican side and 2 on the Democratic side. On the Republican side, we have Harris County District Attorney's Office Division Chief Marc Brown , defense attorney Emily Munoz , and Danny Dexter vying for the spot. In this race, I know all three candidates. Two of them are very good candidates. The other one absolutely flabbergasts the mind as to why anyone would consider voting for him. Danny Dexter is a former Assistant District Attorney who was fired from the Office in 2004 because he was incompetent of doing the job. Since 2004, nobody has seen him around the CJC and he certainly hasn't been practicing as a defense attorney at the State level. For some reason, he has been able to garner the endorsements of some high level Republicans, which just absolutely astounds me, because Danny ha

Commissioner Gordon, Turn on the Pat Signal!

Looks like the past 24 hours have been busy ones for the fine men and women that investigate homicides in Harris County. According to this article in the Chronicle this morning, there were ten homicides in a 24 hour period, which is an unusually high amount. Normally, an article like this isn't something that I would put in the blog, except for the fact that Pat Lykos decided to come to the rescue in figuring out the murders! District Attorney Pat Lykos said her office is studying the surge in violence that included two double homicides, two murder-suicides, a police-involved death and a shooting in which a mother allegedly killed her son. “We are conducting an analysis to determine whether this is a tragic anomaly or if it portends an alarming trend,” Lykos said in a statement released Friday. An analysis? Um, yeah. Considering the fact that Lykos and the Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight couldn't find their ass with both hands and a flashlight, I'm not feeling

The Ghost of Bernstein Lingers

Okay, so apparently the offense report regarding Rachel Palmer's fiancee, Don Hooper, and Rachel's badge is out and about, now. The question now becomes is the media going to ask Lykos and crew why something wasn't done about Hooper and/or Palmer following the incident. Is it because Hooper is a big Republican backer and buddy of Lykos? I'm hoping that one of the journalists (hint, hint Brian Rogers) is going to step up with the story and not follow in the footsteps of journalistic hack Alan Bernstein who hid from the Pat Lykos yarmulke story like a scared kitten for months and months. At least we can't blame Bernstein for not doing this story -- he finally stepped down from pretending to be a journalist so that he could go work for the HCSO as Chief Apologist.

The Race for County Court at Law # 13 (Democrat)

The final contested primary at the Misdemeanor level is that of County Court at Law # 13, where Dennis Slate and John V. O'Sullivan are competing on the Democratic ticket to replace retiring Judge Mark Atkinson. Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with John V. O'Sullivan, or at least, I'm not putting a face with a name. He also doesn't have a website up for me to do an unofficial photo array. His name sounds extremely familiar and I've been told I would know who he was if I saw him. But, right now, I've got nothing. I have heard that he's a nice guy. I do know Dennis Slate, however, and I've got to say that his resume is an impressive one. As you can see from his website, he's been in the military since he graduated from high school, and in addition to his law practice, he has also been serving as a municipal associate judge in both Pearland and Houston. Someone had previously written on the blog that Dennis didn't do criminal law, but t

A New Houston Press Article

This week's Houston Press is out with a great article on the D.A.'s Office's handling of vehicular fatalities written by John Lomax. The article is somewhat stunning because it has me agreeing with Mark Bennett on several issues -- although I do think that Bennett is trying to recreate his High School Senior Photo with his pose in the article's picture. (That will teach Mark to insult my couch.) I think Catherine Evans should be commended for finally articulating some of the criteria the D.A.'s Office is looking at in filing the charges. See how she did that Jim? You don't have to run out of the interview when you actually know what in the hell you are talking about.

The Race for County Court at Law # 13 (Republican)

Unquestionably the most heated primary race this Spring is the Republican Primary in County Court at Law # 13 to replace Judge Mark Atkinson, who is not running for re-election. Before the field was even finalized, there was mass confusion as Felony Division Chief Denise Bradley (who was originally in the CCL # 13 race) switched to the 262nd race, leaving controversial Deputy Misdemeanor Chief Rachel Palmer seemingly unopposed in the primary. That changed on December 23rd, when Division Chief Don Smyth announced his candidacy. Don's decision to run was a principled and gutsy call considering the fact that Palmer had about a year headstart on him in campaigning. Nevertheless, Don and his supporters were able to raise over 700 signatures in slightly over a week (when only 250 were required) and Don is now at the top of the ballot. The differences between the two candidates could not be more pronounced. Rachel has been practicing law less than 7 years. Don has been doing crim

This Has Absolutely Nothing to Do with the CJC . . .

. . . but the History major in me couldn't keep from posting this article off of CNN.com. It is very thought-provoking that out of the entirety of World War I, we only have one single veteran from such a massive conflict left in the United States. It is amazing to me how quickly the "present" can transform into "history" without so many of us ever fully appreciating it. Take a minute to recognize and ask questions of the Veterans in your family and circle of friends. They were a part of a history that seems to escape all too quickly.

The Race for County Court at Law # 12 (Democrat)

There are two attorneys running in the Democratic primary to face off against incumbent Judge Robin Brown for Court 12 in November. Robert Cardenas and Cheryl Harris-Diggs both practice criminal law, but I'm only familiar with Robert. Neither candidate appears to have an available website for their campaigns that I could find. I recognize Ms. Diggs' name, but I don't believe that we've ever dealt with each other on a case. Maybe one of the commenters will be able to provide some information on her. Robert and I tried a case against each other back when I was a Baby Prosecutor, and I recall him as being a very ethical and pleasant person to try a case against. He was fairly quiet, but he was thorough in his defense. We tried a DWI case against each other and I do remember that he cultivated a defense indicating his client had diabetes. Although the defense ultimately did not work, Robert had done a thorough job of presenting the case and establishing his defense.