Showing posts from January, 2011

Trial as a Condition

I was having a drink discussing legal issues with my friend John Craig Still  after work today, when he mentioned that a court he was working in this morning was in trial on a murder case with some fairly graphic crime scene photos. It brought to mind different times in my career (both as a prosecutor and a defense attorney) where I was trying cases when a morning docket was still in progress, and the interesting phenomenon occurred where there would be defendants charged with completely unrelated offenses who found themselves very intrigued by the case on trial.  On some occasions, defendants would even approach me and the other lawyers involved in the case and either ask questions or offer words of encouragement as the trial progressed. The point that Reverend Still mentioned to me was that the prosecutor on the case had cautioned the audience that graphic photos were about to be shown in the courtroom, and that actually made me think of an idea.  Ideas are sometimes few and far

Great Article on Alicia O'Neill

For those of you who don't get the Houston Chronicle , there is a fantastic article this morning on Alicia O'Neill .  It talks about her childhood and being friends with Jessica Cain and the work she does now with the Harris County District Attorney's Office. If you haven't read it yet, check it out.  As always, Alicia continues to make everybody proud of her. Great job, Alicia!

Please Vote No on the Texas State Bar Referendum

EDITOR'S NOTE:  Unless you are a practicing attorney, this article is going to mean nothing to you. Back when I was a prosecutor, I generally paid little to no attention to what the State Bar of Texas had going on within its ranks.  The Office made it easy to do that.  When it came time for Bar Dues, the Office paid them.  If there were elections, or Bar Poll rankings, there was usually an Office-wide e-mail letting us know that we needed to vote or otherwise participate. Other than that, there was very little interaction. That changes when an attorney goes into private practice.  You no longer have someone else to act as a liaison between you and the State Bar, and you have to keep a close eye on those votes and referendums that they propose. I'm telling you this because first thing tomorrow (Tuesday) morning, voting begins on the State Bar's 2011 Referendum on the Texas Disciplinary Rules, and even if you are a prosecutor, I'm hoping you will take time out of

Walter Waldhauser & The Cop Who Wouldn't Quit

One of the many reasons that I was excited about getting to work for the Harris County District Attorney's Office back in 1999 was that I would finally get to meet some of the heroes that I had read about in True Crime books as I was growing up.  As I've mentioned before, there are many books about famous and notorious crimes that happened in Harris County. Out of all the books that I read, my hands-down favorite was The Cop Who Wouldn't Quit by Rick Nelson which was written about then-HPD Homicide Detective Johnny Bonds.  The book outlines how Johnny investigated the murders of John, Diana and Kevin Wanstrath, a husband and wife and their 14-month old son.  I highly recommend reading the book, if you can find it in print. Johnny became one of my biggest heroes after reading it. The case had originally been ruled a double-murder/suicide until Johnny spent two years proving it was a murder for hire.  Along the way, he also proved that the killers involved in the case ha

Luci Davidson's Birthday

Happy 50th Birthday to my former-Division Chief, current Officemate, and friend, Luci Davidson. I told her that to make her feel better after turning a half-Century old that I would try to come up with some things older than she was, but so far, all I've come up with are: 1.  Dirt 2.  Sin and 3.  Pat Lykos Feel free to add to this list, and if you see Luci, wish her a happy birthday.  Just don't startle her.  You know, at her age .  . .

Felonious Phraseology

Heard a new one today when an offer was made to a client who had never been convicted of a felony. The offer was the ever-elusive 12.44(a) time (which is a felony conviction where the client serves misdemeanor time): "You know, it would be one thing if I had already gotten an 'F' on my report card before, you know what I mean?"

No Rest for the Weary

Just when it seems like we finally got the 2010 elections out of the way, and our newest members of the Judiciary sworn in, we are already hearing talk about the 2012 election. As you all know, the 2008 Election swept out all but one of the Republican Incumbent Judges and replaced them with their Democratic challengers. And, of course, 2008 also gave us Pat Lykos -- the gift that keeps on giving. Even though we are just in 2011, and the election of 2012 is, uh, about 23 months away, speculation and announcements have already begun.  Clearly, the Republicans will be seeking to regain the benches lost, and there are rumors and innuendos flying all over the place about who is going to run for what bench. Thus far, the only person I know who is "officially" running is Felony Chief Prosecutor Brad Hart, who has announced he will be running as a Republican for the 339th District Court.  There are very strong indications of others running as well.  You need only to look at t