Showing posts from May, 2012

Tonight's Reasonable Doubt (5/31/12)

Please join Todd Dupont and me for tonight's Reasonable Doubt  as we do our post-election analysis and discuss the upcoming races in November.  Our guest will be aspiring TV personality and die-hard Republican, Franklin Bynum. As always, the show is on the air live at 8:00 p.m., and you can watch it live-streaming on the internet by clicking here .

Election Wrap Up

Well, I'm not going to lie.  I woke up with a smile on my face this morning. I keep remembering that in December of 2008, I got fired from the same job by two different people.  Last night, Pat Lykos got fired by 90,842 people. My analysis of the election is mostly just a confirmation of what I've always thought.  In 2008, Lykos and Leitner won the Election only  by getting into a run-off with Kelly Siegler.  The 2008 election wasn't the rejection of Kelly -- it was just the successful manipulation of politics by Lykos.  I have been cautiously optimistic about the 2012 Election ever since we learned it was only going to be a two-person race. The fact that the voters in Harris County got the message from the Criminal Justice Center is a relief.  Time and time again, I heard the old line about how "nobody cares what is going on in the CJC other than the lawyers" and that those things Lykos was doing didn't bother the General Public.  I kept remembering bac

Election Day

Hopefully, if you are reading this, you voted at some point over the past two weeks and all you need to do is wait for tonight's election results. If, however, you enjoy the experience of voting on Election Day, please don't forget to get out there and vote!  You can only vote at the polling location where you are zoned to today.  If you need help figuring out where to go, try clicking here . It is hard to believe that this campaign season is finally (mercifully) coming to an end.  I'm exhausted and I wasn't even running for anything!  My heart and admiration goes out to those candidates who put themselves through so much for the opportunity to serve the Public.  If you have never worked closely with a campaign, you have no idea about all of the time and effort that these fine men and women running for office go through! So the very least the rest of us can do is get out there and vote today. If you have some extra time today and can actually work at a polling l

Of Frat Houses and Leadership

As you all know, today is Memorial Day.  We honor those Veterans who lost their lives in the defense of our Nation.  It seems to me that nothing could be more appropriate than for the day following Memorial Day to be Election Day.  Obviously, the latter could not exist but for the former. I'm not a Veteran.  I'm the first generation of my family who isn't.  My public service consisted of my time at the District Attorney's Office and by no stretch of the imagination is that comparable to the men and women of the Armed Services who get shot at as part of their daily job description.  There are very few similarities between the jobs of a soldier and a prosecutor unless you examine them by way of analogy.  The camaraderie and the feeling of working toward a goal larger than your own interests are the first of the similarities that come to mind.  Both deal with a subject matter that the general public would prefer not to be forced to discuss or confront during polite dinne

Suzanne McDaniel

As Calvin mentioned in the comments yesterday, Suzanne McDaniel, the founder of the Victim's Assistance Program within the Harris County District Attorney's Office under Carol Vance, passed away last week. I can't say that I ever met her, but I admire the work of all those in the Victim-Witness field.  As a prosecutor, I can't tell you how many times I relied on the wonderful people in Victim-Witness to hold the hand of a victim's family or a survivor of a violent crime. The compassion that the good people of Victim-Witness show every day is amazing.  It isn't amazing that they have  compassion, exactly.  It is amazing that they are able to get up every day and go to work and have to deal with such sadness.  They lend strength and encouragement where there often is none. There is a very nice article on Ms. McDaniel in the Chronicle today .  I just wanted to do a post that people around the CJC were welcome to comment on here as well.

The Appropriate DIVERT Candidate

One of the many complaints that people have with the illegal DIVERT program established by Pat Lykos at the Harris County District Attorney's Office is that it is entirely too arbitrary in who it does or does not allow into the program.  This begs the question,  "W hat characteristics makes one a good candidate for DIVERT?" Well, apparently Erick Erminger was a good candidate per the Lykos Administration and aspiring Judge Roger Bridgwater.  He was screened and placed on DIVERT by ADA Roger Bridgwater on May 27, 2010 and had his case dismissed on June 13, 2011. I guess he was one of Lykos' "success stories" until this happened . Per KHOU's website: According to police, Erminger called his girlfriend, Jennifer Lynette McKinley, late at night on Friday, May 18, asking her to come pick him up from a bar, because he was too drunk to drive. Once McKinley brought Erminger back to their apartment, police said they got into a fight, and Ermi

Last Day to Early Vote

Okay Ladies and Gentlemen, today is the very last day you can Early Vote. If you are registered, you can go to ANY location in the county between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to vote.  After 7 p.m. tonight, the polls close and Early Voting is over. There is NO Early Voting this weekend. You will have to wait to Election Day on Tuesday, May 29th at the location you are zoned to ONLY. Here are the Early Voting Locations. Go vote for Mike Anderson . Go vote for Kristin Guiney. Go vote for Joe Vinas . Go vote for Renee Magee . Go vote for Ryan Patrick . Go vote for Leslie Johnson for County Attorney. And make sure you vote for Paul Simpson over Jared Woodfill for GOP Chair. Tuesday is going to be a long day and absolutely NOTHING has been decided.  Your vote matters more than ever, so get out there and vote for these great candidates!

An Insight Into Office Morale under Pat Lykos

Although any prosecutor (or other employee) of the Harris County District Attorney's Office is too smart to risk being fired by supporting anyone other than Pat Lykos for D.A. in this election, there are some signs of rebellion coming from the Office. In this post , I suggested that any prosecutor who wished to remain anonymous (and support Mike Anderson's campaign) could donate $49.99 and not have their name disclosed under the law.  This morning, I learned thus far, there have been 65 donations to the Mike Anderson campaign in that exact amount. Thinking about how many prosecutors were willing to give their hard-earned money to the Anderson campaign in the hopes of bringing better leadership to their jobs got me to thinking about the prosecutors who left during the Lykos tenure (or in immediate anticipation of her arrival). These are the folks who Lykos waived off as being the "normal rate of attrition."  I thought it might be worth taking a closer look at tho

Tonight's Reasonable Doubt (5/24/12)

Please join me and Todd Dupont for tonight's Reasonable Doubt with our guest, new HCCLA President Chris Tritico.  It has been several weeks since my last appearance, and I apologize for the long-haired hippy that Todd got to fill in for me.  I know that I will be much more entertaining. We're going to probably be talking about some politics and election fever, so please tune in at 8:00 p.m. tonight. As always, you can watch it live streaming by clicking here .

Three Days Left - Go Vote

This time next week, you'll be waking up to learn the results of the Republican and Democratic Primaries. Hopefully, you've already voted by now, but if you haven't, get off your rear end and go do it. If you have already voted, now is a great time to start calling and e-mailing your friends and making sure that they've voted already. Yes, it is time to start annoying them into voting.  They will forgive you.  Eventually. Early voting ends on Friday and then you'll have to wait until Election Day to vote. If you need more information, click here .

Campaign Violations

Anybody notice the Election Code violation in this picture? I'll admit the picture is taken from a little bit too far away, but if you look closely, you can see them. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Downtown area, you are looking at the Harris County Jury Assembly Building, which, obviously, is government-owned property. If you look closely, in the circular "step paths" in the bottom right and bottom left corners there are campaign signs posted in those circles.  Having campaign literature and campaign signs on government property is illegal. The candidate who had signs placed there?  Patricia Lykos, of course. I have heard from multiple sources that Lykos' General Counsel John Barnhill informed our beloved District Attorney of the signs' presence this morning and of the fact that their presence was illegal.  My sources inform me that Lykos' response was (no, I'm not kidding): "What the f*ck do I care?  I didn

Guest Post: Lykos and Judicial Activism

A guest post from a commenter who wishes to remain Anonymous: I ask all those who consider themselves to be Republican party activists, members of the Tea Party, and/or those who find judicial activism to be antithetical to the law and the will of the people to imagine the following scenario.   Attorney General Eric Holder holds a press conference to announce he has unilaterally determined that the Department of Justice will no longer prosecute certain low weight narcotics cases even though Congress passed a law making it illegal to possess these narcotics regardless of their weight.   He provides four reasons for this decision: (1) This is the practice in other jurisdictions, including Canada and France (2) Federal judges complain that these cases are clogging their dockets, (3) Assistant United States Attorneys observe that juries do not care much about these cases, (4) in a period of limited resources, law enforcement’s time can be better used fighting other crimes

Lykos' Anger, Hypocrisy, and Desperation - Pt. 1

If you are, like me, a career Republican voter, you are no doubt "enjoying" finding your mailbox so stuffed with political mailers these days that you need a crowbar to get them out.  Pat Lykos and her cohorts are definitely doing all they can to generate enough negative mailers to deflect attention from her terrible tenure (and possibly break the back of your mailman in the process). Lykos' accusations against Judge Mike Anderson run from the benign to the out-right false and reek of a candidate who is desperate to shift focus away from her phenomenally bad tenure as District Attorney. If you want an idea of just how petty Lykos' attacks are, my personal favorite is that she takes issue with Judge Anderson's use of his old courtroom to shoot a commercial for his campaign.  She feels that he owes the county some money for borrowing an empty courtroom for an afternoon. Um, okay.  This is coming from the woman whose first act as Elected D.A. was to use taxpay


If you are an ADA and want to help Judge Mike Anderson's name, but don't want to end up on the Lykos/Palmer/Hooper enemies list, there is a compromise solution for you. As noted in the comments of my last post, only donations to a political campaign of $50.00 or more have to be reported by the campaign.  So, if you'd like to help, but not get your name on the list (of those that Hooper is now claiming should be "bayonetted on the battlefield"), simply donate $49.99.  You can write a check or do it online by clicking here . I know of at least two people who have already donated that exact amount, and I hope you will too.  It isn't that much money in the big scheme of things, and just think how crazy it will make Lykos to know she can't discover and punish her enemies from within the office. Send a message.  Send $49.99.

The Lykos-Benzion-Big Jolly Triangle

It seems like only yesterday that I wrote this article on the blog, pointing out my personal opinion that David "Big Jolly" Jennings had become a shill for Pat Lykos at the behest of his friend and former cohort at Lone Star Times, David Benzion .  Man, that article ticked off a lot of Big Jolly's friends. Of course Dave denied it.  His drastic and sudden support of Pat Lykos had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Benzion had just become the Office's newest employee.  The fact that Dave scored an interview with Lykos at the same time she was dodging every major news network in the city was completely coincidental.  The fact that she then used all of the great things he said about her was also coincidental.  He was completely neutral, he protested. When he posted his picture with her at one of the debates, Dave wrote with the enthusiasm of a 12-year-old girl who had just met Beyonce.  He was so very excited, even though Lykos didn't know who he was (a

Early Voting Hours

If you didn't get a chance to Early Vote this week because of work or other scheduling problems, please remember that all of the Early Voting locations are open this weekend. On Saturday, you can vote between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.  On Sunday, you can vote between 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Next week, the polls will be open from Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.  After that, you'll have to wait for Election Day where you can only vote at the location you are zoned to. Please get out there and get it done before May 29th!

No Apathy Zone

Today is Day Four of Early Voting in what is predicted to be a very low turnout primary in Harris County.  I'm no Charles Kuffner by any stretch of the imagination when it comes to analyzing the numbers and making any predictions, but I do feel pretty comfortable in saying that none of the races affecting the CJC are decided by a long shot. The biggest enemy that outstanding candidates like Judge Mike Anderson, Joe Vinas, Ryan Patrick, Kristin Guiney and Renee Magee can have at this point is the apathetic voter who thinks the election is decided and doesn't vote. I don't like bringing up the 2008 Republican Primary, but there couldn't be a more relevant illustration of what happens when a good candidate's supporters get complacent about their candidate winning. Remember in 2008, the numbers looked like this in the Republican Primary: KELLY SIEGLER -- 58,208 votes PAT LYKOS -- 44,014 votes JIM LEITNER --  23, 851 votes DOUG PERRY -- 14,831 votes Because

Happy 40th Birthday Todd Dupont

I am completely remiss. I forgot to wish my dear friend and Reasonable Doubt co-host Todd Dupont a very Happy 40th Birthday today. I was so remiss that Todd had to call me and remind me to wish him a Happy Birthday while I was at Target. So, Happy Birthday, my good friend.  Looking forward to the party on Saturday.

Your 2nd Motivational Reminder to Early Vote

To my friends who are Police Officers and Deputies, One thing that is unquestioned in the self-imposed duties of the elected District Attorney is that he or she handle all Capital Murder charges where a member of law enforcement has been killed.  Previous District Attorneys like Carol Vance, Johnny Holmes, and yes, even Chuck Rosenthal would drop whatever they were doing and go immediately to the crime scene or hospital when an officer was shot.  They attended the funerals.  Most importantly, they tried the case themselves. Pat Lykos, despite being a former police officer, has done none of those things as District Attorney that I'm aware of. The disconnect and disrespect that Lykos and her upper-echelon advisors have had with Law Enforcement has been shameful and it is no wonder that the Police Unions issued a vote of No Confidence in her.  Her lack of interest in the Men and Women of the Police Agencies across Harris County is appalling.  Her characterizing Police Unions as

Your 1st Motivational Reminder to Go Vote

Welcome to Day Two of Early Voting ! I have to admit that I was in Brazos County all day yesterday so I didn't get to vote.  I will remedy that this morning on the way to court. Did you vote yesterday?  If so, you can disregard the rest of this message.  If not, perhaps you need some inspiration. For today's inspiration, I take you back in time to a little over three years ago.  A brand new Pat Lykos Administration had just taken over the D.A.'s Office and she was still trying to find some common ground with the prosecutors she now presided over. Her first move? Publicly eviscerating two highly respected and liked prosecutors on the front page of the Houston Chronicle . As I'm sure you recall, both Mark and Rifi were immediately shown to have done absolutely nothing wrong like Lykos accused them of, but that never merited an apology from her. Both men went on to accept prestigious jobs with the U.S. Attorney's Office, but their reputations took an unde

Early Voting Begins Tomorrow

It is strange to think that it has been four years since the 2008 election that brought the Harris County District Attorney's Office the "gift" of Pat Lykos.  Tomorrow begins your first opportunity to do everything you possibly can to correct the mistake made back then, as Early Voting opens with locations across the county. It doesn't matter where you are registered to vote.  During the Early Voting period, you can vote at any location.  I highly recommend that you vote early while it is so convenient.  Election Day is Tuesday, May 29th -- the day after  Memorial Day.  On that day, you can only vote at the location where you are zoned to vote.  No exceptions. If you care about the results of the elections affecting the Harris County Criminal Justice System, I cannot stress enough how important it is that you vote early.  Too many things can come up on Election Day that might keep you from voting.  That is going to be even more true on the Tuesday after a three da

The Shadwick Leave Of Absence

As we grow closer to the beginning of early voting, someone posted on the blog last week that Grand Jury prosecutor and aspiring judge Lana Shadwick has taken a leave of absence from the District Attorney's Office.  The "official" word is that the leave was done for Lana to spend the last few weeks before May 29th campaigning. Other sources have indicated that the leave of absence may not have been for such simple reasons. Apparently, a case was recently dismissed in one of the felony courts due to the Defendant having an alibi.  The co-defendant on the case was not so fortunate as to get a dismissal from the State.  After a court setting, that co-defendant's file was sent down to the Grand Jury Division to prepare for presentation to the Grand Jury. As is the practice with co-defendant files, the dismissed Defendant's case file was rubber-banded to the pending active co-defendant's case.  My understanding is that the dismissal was properly marked and d

The Houston Bar Association Poll Results

On April 15th of this year, I wrote  this post  detailing why I believed that Judge Mike Anderson was a  much  better candidate for Harris County District Attorney than his opponent.  I also detailed how Kristin Guiney, Joe Vinas, Ryan Patrick, and Renee Magee were the best candidates for Judge in their respective races. Yesterday, the  Houston Bar Association  released the results of its  poll on the candidates' qualifications for office , which showed that I am not alone in my opinions. If I did my math correctly (which is not a given, since I am an Aggie), 1720 members of the Houston Bar Association voted in the poll.  Those who voted in the contested races were given the option of selecting one of four answers in response to a candidate's qualifications.  Those options were:  Not Rated, Not Qualified, Qualified,  or Well Qualified.  Given the fact that only lawyers who are members of the Houston Bar Association voted in the poll and that the majority of those members do

The Long-Anticipated Rachel Palmer Endorsement

If you are like me, you have probably been sitting anxiously by your computer for the past five months, anxiously awaiting news from the internet to find out who Rachel Palmer was going to endorse in the 2012 Harris County District Attorney Race.  Would she go Republican?  Would she go Democrat?  It was quite a nail-biter. Well, my friends, your wait is over, because over the weekend, Rachel's long anticipated endorsement was finally revealed as her husband, Don Hooper , forwarded an e-mail written by her to all of his friends. It quickly made its way across the internet and I received multiple copies of it from friends under the title of "FW:  Have you seen this?" Drumroll, please.  In a move that is about as surprising as Squeaky Fromme endorsing Charles Manson in 1969, Rachel Palmer has endorsed Pat Lykos. Now, I'm not going to post the e-mail in its entirety for fear that somebody might miss my sarcasm and actually think I agree with what this political &q