Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What's so "Republican" About Pat Lykos, Anyway?

I've been running this blog for about three and a half years now.  According to my Stat Counter, this will be my 788th post.  I've received 10,482 comments.  I've gotten 1,143,398 "hits."  Other than a brief dalliance with something called "Ad Sense" in my second year, I've never taken a dime for what I write.

I've gotten used to the trends and the writings of commenters.  I know what posts will have prosecutors bashing me.  I know which ones will have the defense bashing me.  I know that I can write a post on liking puppies and Rage will find a way to get into a fight with someone over it.  I can usually make a pretty good guess on who the anonymous authors of substantive comments are.

I know my blog and I understand it for better or for worse.

But the one thing that I have never understood is the fascination the Republican Party has with Pat Lykos, and why they seem to consider her such a Republican Juggernaut for the 2012 election.

In the 2008 Republican Election, Kelly Siegler received 58,208 votes (41.31%) versus Lykos' 44,014 (31.24%).  As we all know, that election went to a run-off where Kelly Siegler received 18,962 votes (47.32%) and Lykos won the election with 21,106 votes (52.68%).  Yes, all is fair in love and run-offs, but I have never quite gotten why Lykos so many people think that the general voting Republican loves Lykos so much.  If you add the numbers of both elections, Kelly still received 77,170 votes compared to Lykos' 65,120.  That's a difference of 12,050 votes.

Lykos had her "ringers" in the 2008 election with Leitner and that odd Doug Perry guy that forced a run-off, and that, my Republican friends, is the only reason she won.  So, I suppose if the Republican Party Leaders thinks that their best example is the one who best manipulated the election system, that's a pretty sad statement.

Some die-hard Pat Fans will point out that she was one of only a handful of Republican survivors in the 2008 Democrat Sweep, and therefore, she must be the Chosen One.  Lykos did not win the 2008 election; rather, she simply failed to lose it.  In a race against a disgraced former police chief who had some of the City's worst scandals permanently tied to him (DNA lab, K-Mart raids, etc.), she won by a stunning margin of 4,784 votes (.42% of all votes cast).  She certainly didn't carry the rest of the ticket, did she?

In running against someone as bad as C.O. Bradford, that margin should have been higher, regardless of whether or not Obama Fever was sweeping Harris County.    Amusingly, if you were to add up Siegler's numbers with Bradford's, they still got more votes than Lykos ever did.

I understand that there are some diehard Pat Fans that have known her since 1982 and would vote for her even if she was running against Ronald Reagan.

But to the rest of the Republicans who have a mind of their own, I'm kind of wondering what you think is so Republican about Pat Lykos in the first place?

I'm sure she can give a fantastic speech about being Pro-Life and a long-time Republican.  That's super.

But the position she has run for and won is that of Harris County District Attorney.  Her abortion beliefs have about as much relevance to the job as whether or not she drinks Bud Lite because it tastes great or because it is less filling.

She's supposed to enforce the laws set forth by the Texas Legislature and administer Justice -- nothing more, and certainly nothing less.  Her administration of the job she was elected to do has flown in the face of the principles the Republican Party is typically known for.

Traditionally, the Republican Party has been known for its Pro-Death Penalty Stance.  Pat Lykos has dodged those types of cases religiously.  Her decision to plead Randy Sylvester to life in prison for the murder of his two children was nothing short of cowardice.  If anyone ever deserved the death penalty, it was Sylvester.  Lykos is now so celebrated for her anti-Death Penalty stance that she was even invited over to England on behalf of the Innocence Project.

Republicans are known for shunning ideas of "political correctness" and forging ahead with what they believe is right.  Pat Lykos attempted to destroy the careers of two highly respected prosecutors by bashing them in the press when she thought they had done something politically incorrect.  She didn't even bother to get the facts straight before talking.

Republicans are known for the unwavering support for police officers.  Pat Lykos pled a cop killer to 40 years in prison.  He wasn't even convicted of Capital Murder. It is no wonder the police unions spoke out against her. (NOTE:  For those Lykos supporters who want to grumble that Republicans are anti-Union, please remember you are talking about a group of POLICE unions -- not the Teamster's).

Republicans (at least, theoretically) are supposed to be the Party of Lincoln.  Yet, Lykos' early personnel moves showed retaliation and racism.

Republicans are generally thought of as the "tough on crime" Party, yet Lykos created the DIVERT program which gives all DWI first offenders a free pass on their DWIs, and has now made it possible for a person to have three DWI cases against them before it is considered a felony.  Additionally, her decision not to file crack pipe residue cases has not made the police very happy, seeing as how the Penal Code kind of allows for it.

Most importantly, Lykos has lacked integrity since the day she set foot in that Office.  Actually, she lacked it waaaay before then, but I only have so much time to write.  She has promoted political cronies (like Roger Bridgwater, Jim Leitner, Hannah Chow and Lana Shadwick) to soft positions where their lack of intellect won't be blatantly revealed, while running off experienced prosecutors with excellent reputations in droves.  Those experienced prosecutors who still remain at the Office have had their discretion and authority taken away from them to the degree that courts have become gridlocked with otherwise resolvable cases.

In short, Pat Lykos has virtually destroyed the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

So Republican activists, when Jared Woodfill or your Precinct Chair comes to you and tells you that a vote for Pat Lykos is good for the Party and she is a shining example of your Conservative Values, you may want to ask them for some examples.   I'd like to hear the answers.

I know that I'm going to get bashed by several sections of blog readers for this post.  That's okay.  I expect it and I understand it.

But, I'll be damned if I can understand why the Republican Leadership seems to think that Pat Lykos is a candidate that adheres to their values.


Anonymous said...

Great Post, Murray; however, your personal preferences aside, it is Miller Lite that tastes great AND is less filling, not Bud Lite.


Anonymous said...

Murray, the police unions should have talked to you before their worthless conference. Great talking points.

But - do you support the filing of crack pipe cases?

How come you haven't covered what happened in Harmon's Court where he found Divert unconstiutional?

Murray Newman said...

Anon 11:23 a.m.,

Regarding the crack pipe filing issue, I'm kind of torn. I think the police should be able to make the arrests to do all they can to clean up areas that are plagued with drug use, and clearly crack pipes have residue in them because the crack rock has already been smoked. However, given the massive backlog of cases in courts, I'm hard pressed to say that they need to be tying up the dockets.

I kind of look at it like the situation if an officer rolls up on two crimes at the same time - one guy smoking crack and the other guy robbing someone. Obviously, I think the officer should put priority on going after the robber first! I would simply like to see the emphasis placed on more serious cases.

As far as the incident in Harmon's court, I haven't written about it because I'm not entirely up on what happened. I've heard bits and pieces, but don't have a cohesive overview of what happened. Something about Bridgwater getting defensive on the stand and storming out?

Anonymous said...

Maybe if we treated drug use as a social problem and had rehabilitation available it wouldn't be such a problem here, but as it stands now, it has to be dealt with legally. I just wanted to say this is a great post and sure would like to see it printed out in the Houston Chronicle.

Anonymous said...

Trace cases do not need to be felonies for us to do our job.

In the case where the officer popped the Hijackers with guns and a crack pipe, all those crooks needed was a night in jail. why? because the are off the street and their guns are tagged into the property room. Now they have no guns and they were stopped before they committed a crime.

Anonymous said...

With your prodigious brain, just wondering if you think anything other than "Pat Lykos sucks?"
You do understand that most of the defense bar is satisfied if not pleased with her, right? This is the same defense bar that HATED Chuck Rosenthal AND Kelly Seigler.

Murray Newman said...

Anon 12:03 p.m.,

Yes, I think about lots of different topics. But when it comes to Lykos, it is rarely favorable.

I know that as a general rule, the Defense Bar likes Lykos. The reason for that is mostly because we get copies of the ORs (and idea first suggested and supported by Siegler) and also because of the high profile exoneration on the Greene case.

That's great for Mr. Greene, but Lykos was only doing what she was mandated to do when a guy is proven factually innocent. It isn't as if she went above and beyond the call of duty. However, her distrust and lack of faith in her rank and file prosecutors have lead to unreasonable recommendations that cause damn fool results.

Have you had a copper wire theft lately where the value of damage and copper was around $100, but the ADAs can't reduce it to a misdemeanor? Or a theft-3rd where a guy stole $52 worth of lunch meat and they can't give 12.44(a) time?

And don't get me started on her trying to stifle Amanda Culbertson and her BAT Van testimony.

When it comes to Pat Lykos, she isn't good for ANYBODY. Except maybe herself.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

I like the fact that if the defense lawyer doesn't like the stance of a very small number of trial attorneys still employed by " Judge Pat " have about a case and the punishment offer they can called " Big Jim" who will take the case out of their bad attorneys hand and make the defense happy with a going out of business deal....happens everyday.....Biggest Tax supported Defense firm in the county......

BLACK INK said...

Most ADAs and police officers are very good people. However, good people rarely make good politicians.

Pat Lykos is a very good politician.
Good politicians win elections.

Murray you are an outstanding and wonderful human being who tiredlessly puts self interest aside in your fight against injustice. You are loyal, fair and courageous......very few folks walk the talk as strongly as you.

So with the utmost respect, your honest and heartfelt rendition of FACTUAL Lykos history is of no real consequence when it comes to politics, my good friend.

Kelly Siegler, Rusty Hardin, Ted Wilson and even Mike Anderson would all have been great DAs.
Notwithstanding, qualifications and police union endorsements are insufficient to overcome the Harris County Republican political machine in a run-off.

It would be incredulous for Lykos to be involved in a sex scandal; so unless there is a very major misstep that cannot be dismissed as petty sour grapes, Lykos wins head to head with Mike Anderson or in a run-off against Kelly Siegler.

As true and as damaging as Lykos' behavior is and has been to the Harris County District Attorney's Office; an outsider will buy Lykos' version of cleaning house and having to deal with residual spoiled ADA children whose complaints will remind voters of the Occupy Wall Street crowd.....

So if Kelly Siegler decides not to run; all the best to Mike Anderson and I pray that he and Devon are not subjected to the same political crucifixion Kelly Siegler endured last election cycle.

Anonymous said...

From a Long-Time Republican Activist:

Murray and Readers,

Please be encouraged. High level Republican activists are finding out how bad Lykos is and are getting firmly behind Mike Anderson. Kelly is definitely not going to run. I know that for a fact.

Pat is not half as loved in the Republican Party as most of you think. Yes, she has some loyal supporters among moderate Republican women. Don't forget, she came from the moderate side of the party and was known for being soft on crime. That is why she lost her primary races for DA and Atty. Gen. in the past. In 2008, the local party leadership was scrambling for someone to run against Rosenthal at the last minute when Rosenthal was saying that he was still running. Pat was the best they could do since no high-level prosecutors wanted to lose their jobs by running against Rosenthal. When Rosenthal dropped out, they had already committed to Pat. Pat quickly learned to say all the things she needed to in order to sound like a social conservative and tough-on-crime Republican.

Pat then convinced many people, activists and primary voters alike, that Kelly was just like Rosenthal and that only Pat could clean out all the supposed corruption in the DA's office. Pat also used other things against Kelly, some of which were true and others very questionable.

Pat was able to use the quote about Lakewood people to make it look like Kelly was against church people. I ran into quite a few church-goers, who came in a huff to the polls in the runoff, just to vote against Kelly, based on that one quote.

Mike will not have the problems that Kelly had. He will not have to run on Rosenthal's record like Kelly did, albeit unfairly. Mike has tremendous conservative Republican credentials. He is very well liked and highly regarded. He may not have as much name ID as she does right now, but there is plenty of time to fix that.

Most activists don't know there is a race yet, but they are not so loyal to Pat that they will not listen to Mike and the people they respect who are backing him. I predict that the majority of activists will eventually get behind Mike.

The typical Republican primary voter doesn't remember right now who the DA is, unless they have been watching the bad publicity she has been getting lately. So, probably their opinions are bad or neutral at best. When it gets closer to primary time, they will either tune in to the race or listen to people they trust to research the candidates for them.

Based on the facts that I know right now, concerning exactly who is supporting Mike already, I don't see how Pat can beat him. And don't worry about her getting him into a runoff, Mike will beat her there, too. Especially if all of you who no longer work at the DA's office (and don't have to worry about getting fired) would get involved in the campaign and stop just griping and sniping at each other.

As far as why most Republican activists still think Lykos is doing a great job, it's because she shows up at many Republican events and club meetings and says all the right things and no one comes to tell the activists the other side.

They believe her because none of you are there to tell them the truth! Please stop blaming Republican activists for their ignorance on the matter if you haven't gone to the trouble to come to Republican events and tell your side. To those of you who no longer work at the DA's office: those who are still there are counting on you to speak for them!

Please go to and look under "Our Party" to find the calendar of events. Pick a few and start going and meeting people and telling the things you know. You will meet a lot of very nice people who will be interested in what you have to say. Republicans really do want a good DA's office. Let them know there is a problem.

Republican Activist

Anonymous said...

From a Long-Time Republican Activist:

Murray and Readers,

As far as Republican reaction to the law enforcement press conference: It is true that Republicans are not typically pro-union, but they are extremely pro-law enforcement. If all the law enforcement officers in the county are that unhappy with Lykos, believe me, that will speak volumes to Republicans.

So please, stop griping among yourselves and get involved. (Or at least do both at the same time!)

Thank you all for your service to our community.

Republican Activist

MA6564 said...

"Murray you are an outstanding and wonderful human being who tiredlessly puts self interest aside in your fight against injustice. You are loyal, fair and courageous......very few folks walk the talk as strongly as you."

I have always thought the same thing, Murray, while reading your blog.

As far as residue cases, I feel they should be misdemeanors. I personally know a gal that received 25 years for "residue" and thought that was highly unreasonable. Especially when I personally saw someone get probation for murder in Judge Poe's court.

Anonymous said...

The attacks on DIVERT re: Lykos are humerous. Mike Anderson (and wife Devon) support all these DIVERT, STAR, Mental Health, get out of jail free courts. They are far worse on the everyone is a victim - even the criminals - than Lykos.

Anonymous said...

You're going to have to get over this love affair you have with me Murray.


Anonymous said...

Anon 2:46 DIVERT is illegal . The other programs you refer to are not. See Mike os smart enough to know he difference. You and Pat at not.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:46 DIVERT is illegal . The other programs you refer to are not. See Mike os smart enough to know he difference. You and Pat are not

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:01
If Divert is illegal, why is pre-trial diversion not illegal?

I'd love to hear your analysis.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:32, Pre trial diversion is legal if it is done the right way. True pretrial diversion requires no plea to be entered. If the person screws up on pretrial diversion the case goes back to square one as if the pretrial diversion never happened. With Divert the person enters a plea and if he violates the Divert he is sent to jail. If he does not the cases dismissed. Divert is actually deferred adjudication for a dwi which is clealy illegal. Can you follow that? Hell even Billy Harmon figured that out.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if Pat Lykos is singing Folsom Prison Blues?

Anonymous said...

Trace cases clog the courts?????
What about MRP and MAGS? Court dockets are filled with probationers who did nothing more than piss-off their probation officer or didn't pay a $50 fine/fee and end up in the overcrowded jail, waiting for the judge to see them at his convenience.

Anonymous said...

Lykos is so bad that we members of HPD lament the fact that C O Bradford didn't win. How screwed up do things have to be that we want Bradford as DA?!

Anonymous said...

She's a Republican. I ate lunch with her more than a few times ... trust me, she's a Republican. As a progressive I was sometimes very bothered by name calling of progressives but that's just the way she is. Anyway, Murray you are incorrect as she is a Republican. Why do you hate her so much? Are you really carrying around this bitter seed for the rest of your life? Was Rosenthal better? Were you proud to work there when Rosenthal's racist emails and drug use was exposed? Judge brought ethics back to the office understanding practicality with DIVERT and residue cases. You know she did the right thing with residue cases but you chastise her for it. Move on Murray, she won and will win again.

Murray Newman said...

Anon 7:42 a.m.,

You had LUNCH with her? Well, why didn't you say so? Because that absolutely refutes all of my points that I tried to make in my post.

I don't hate Lykos. I don't hate much of anyone. I hate what she has done to an Office and to the good people who still work there. She is an unintelligent megalomaniac who thinks that the main point of criminal justice is to make her look good.

You think she "restored" ethics to that Office? First of all, outside of Chuck Rosenthal, who did you find to be unethical? What concrete points of unethical behavior can you cite? Because I've had LUNCH with a lot of those people and let me tell you, they aren't unethical.

Second, you are aware of the fact that she and her upper administration are under an investigation by the Grand Jury, which if she is LUCKY, will prove to be ONLY ethical violations, rather than actual crimes committed, right? Withholding evidence, intimidating witnesses. That kind of thing fits your description of ethical?

As far as my thoughts on Chuck, I only had to deal with him in a professional capacity on a handful of occasions. He was direct and to the point, but we weren't best friends.

I love how all supporters of Lykos immediately accuse her opponents of being Rosenthal Loyalists. Has it ever occurred to you that Pat is doing such a bad job that we can dislike her on her own merits?

Anonymous said...

The answer to your question is Jared Woodfill. There was an effort to oust him as Repub chair last time, but unfortunately he's still there.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 6:01. They are all get out of jail free cards - DIVERT, STAR, DUI court - as far as I am concerned. Procedure is just a matter of semantics, although by technicality, I do agree DIVERT is illegial and drug courts perhaps are not. But there is a body of research questioning the constitutionality of drug courts as well. We will see that can in front of a federal court in the next few years. God forbid anyone in 1201 say anything negative about the "special, feel good dockets" --it's an unwritten rule that if you disagree with them, you just shut up. Anyway you cut it, I don't think we need a feel good DA... Anderson is more feel good than good old DIVERT Lykos will ever be...