The case is styled "In Re the State of Texas, Ex Rel. Patricia R. Lykos v. Hon. Susan Brown, Presiding Judge, 185th District Court of Texas" and is filed as "Request for Emergency Stay of Grand Jury Proceedings."
Sound interesting? Well, it is. Very interesting.
By reading the District Attorney's Office "request" and the supporting memorandums of HCDA General Counsel John Barnhill and Grand Jury Division Chief Carl Hobbs, a very clear picture of Lykos' attempt to extract vengeance against Amanda Culbertson emerges.
First, a little background. As I talked about in this post earlier this month, the District Attorney's Office is very very upset with former-HPD technical supervisor, Amanda Culbertson. Ms. Culbertson used to be in charge of making sure that the Intoxilyzers over at HPD were all in credible, working order.
We don't want an Intoxilyzer showing your breath test results as a .14 when really you were a .07, do we?
Ms. Culbertson had some issues with the HPD Mobile "B.A.T." vans that had portable Intoxilyzers in them. She thought the conditions the B.A.T. van Intoxilyzers were being stored in could affect their reliability. She told her supervisors. Her supervisors didn't care. She quit HPD and went to work for Lone Star College, doing the same technical supervising, but now for County Law Enforcement Agencies. Culbertson let people know that she left HPD because of her issues with the B.A.T. vans, and that put all of the District Attorney's DWI cases that involved those vans in serious jeopardy.
That made Pat Lykos angry. She got the Commissioners Court to cancel the contract with Lone Star College so that the District Attorney's Office would never ever ever have to deal with that damn Amanda Culbertson again.
Did that satisfy Pat Lykos? Nope. She wants Amanda Culbertson indicted, too. Amanda seems to have pissed off Lykos in a way that even I have failed to do in my three and a half years of blogging!
Which brings us to the 14th Court of Appeals filing.
Lykos is having her prosecutors present a case to the Grand Jury involving the B.A.T. vans and Amanda Culbertson. That Grand Jury was created by the 185th District Court, Judge Susan Brown presiding. Grand Jury proceedings are secret, so we don't know what exactly has been presented to the Grand Jury so far.
But on October 18th, the Harris County District Attorney's Office vendetta against Amanda Culbertson blew up in their face.
On that day, prosecutors Carl Hobbs, Steve Morris (from Governmental Integrity), and John Barnhill all marched down to the 185th Grand Jury with the intent of calling defense attorney (and former-prosecutor) Brent Mayr as a witness before the grand jurors. Brent Mayr, if you will recall from my earlier post, is the attorney who filed a Writ against the D.A.'s Office for withholding evidence of B.A.T. van reliability issues.
Upon arrival at the Grand Jury, however, Hobbs, Morris, and Barnhill were suddenly informed by the Grand Jury bailiffs that the Grand Jurors wanted them (the prosecutors) excluded from the room while Mayr was testifying.
In legal terms, the proper response to this is "Holy Catfish, Batman."
Prosecutors are always in the room with Grand Jurors when they are interviewing witnesses. The only part they are excluded from in a Grand Jury is when the grand jurors deliberate. The Grand Jurors excluding the prosecutors from the testimony is kind of the equivalent of the President being booted out of a Cabinet meeting. It just doesn't happen. I mean, ever.
Hobbs, Morris and Barnhill were incensed, obviously. Hobbs and Barnhill quickly gathered up 1st Assistant Jim Leitner and stormed up to Judge Susan Brown's court to demand that she order the Grand Jury to let them back into the room while Mayr testified.
Judge Brown politely declined to order the Grand Jury to do anything. Thus, the Motion (or Request) to the 14th Court of Appeals that would make the Court of Appeals order Judge Brown to order the Grand Jurors to let the prosecutors in the room.
To realize that significance of this, you have to read between the lines (but just a little bit).
The 185th Grand Jury has quite apparently decided that the Harris County District Attorney's Office's involvement into the
And that has got Hobbs, Barnhill, Leitner, and Pat Lykos scared. Really scared. So scared that they are scrambling very quickly to Judge Brown or the 14th Court of Appeals to demand that they get to jump in and stop whatever is going on. Seriously. Go read Barnhill and Hobbs' memorandums to the 14th Court of Appeals.
Just prior to being escorted out of the grand jury room by the bailiff, I observed the bailiff in her office and overheard the bailiff speaking in a telephone conversation. The bailiff said to the person on the phone, "They told me to arrest the DAs." From that, I assumed that the grand jury had instructed the bailiffs to arrest Mr. Hobbs, Mr. Morris and me if we remained in the grand jury room while the grand jury was attempting to question the witness.The implication being that the 185th Grand Jury may have started their own investigation, and it ain't into Amanda Culbertson.
It may just be into Pat Lykos and the Harris County District Attorney's Office.
Remember back in that last post when I said this may just be the tip of the iceberg?
I hate to say "I told you so," but . . . Wait, no I don't. I told you so.
Watch for this story to get a lot bigger in the days to come.
UPDATE: Ted Oberg did a great piece on the Grand Jury Scandal. Check it out by clicking here.