Monday, June 25, 2012

Wouldn't It Be Nice?

Although Pat Lykos never actually made herself very familiar with an actual courtroom during her tenure as District Attorney, she does seem to be making herself quite comfortable by appearing in front of the Commissioners' Court these days.

Two weeks ago, there was an appearance before the Commissioners' Court that had something to do with the salary levels of some support staff within the Office.  There are some reports that at tomorrow's meeting, she may be making a similar appearance in regards to tinkering with prosecutorial salaries.  There is some confusion and controversy about what those appearances are designed to accomplish, so I'm not posting about them quite yet.

What is very clear on tomorrow's Commissioners' Court agenda is item 14(d), which is a request for money that reads:
$17,108 to reimburse Stephen Scott Morris for legal expenses incurred in connection with an investigation and court proceedings in the 185th District Court.
Morris, if you will recall, was one of two prosecutors and two court reporters who were ordered to appear in a Show Cause Hearing in front of Judge Susan Brown when it was alleged he and the others had unlawfully come into possession of some Grand Jury transcripts on a proceeding the Harris County District Attorney's Office had been recused from.  A contempt action was considered and ultimately dismissed against Morris, Carl Hobbs and the two court reporters.

During the pendency of the Show Cause proceedings, Morris was represented by Randy and Josh Shaffer.  Apparently their bill to Morris was so significant that Lykos is asking you, the taxpayer, to help him out on it.

Now, let's take a look at a couple of thoughts that may spring to mind here.  I suppose an initial reaction to this might be: "Well, if the case against him was ultimately dismissed, then he deserves to be reimbursed for any money he had to spend.  He's not guilty of anything, right?"

Well, that's a lovely thought, and wouldn't it be nice if every time a case was dismissed or a defendant was found not guilty, the government reimbursed the Accused for his or her attorney's fees?  It seems only right, doesn't it?

Yeah, that never happens.

I mean, ever.

So, it seems pretty disingenuous to me that you have an employee (and lawyer of the very Agency in charge of prosecuting people) wanting reimbursement when he finds himself prosecuted.  All of those other folks that get prosecuted and then get their cases dismissed (or are found not guilty) still have to pay their legal bills, but that type of thing is just unseemly if you are a prosecutor.

The absurdity of the idea that Lykos would even approach the Commissioners' Court and ask them for money to repay the expenses of a debacle that her Office created and perpetuated is astounding.    

Every day, hundreds of people get charged with crimes by the simple accepting of charges by an Assistant District Attorney sitting at intake when a cop call in.  As a result, they may lose their jobs, their homes, their spouses, and tons of money.  If Steve Morris is getting reimbursed for his fees, then every last person who pays for their own attorney should get the same benefit.

Do you think that Roger Clemens is going to be getting money back from the government to help him pay Rusty Hardin's bill?  He was found not guilty after all.

Of course not.

But Roger Clemens' tax dollars will certainly be helping pay for Steve Morris' legal fees if the Lykos Administration gets its way.


Anonymous said...

I sure hope the good folks across the street see through her antics and deny her request(s). She may be looking for another government job real soon and / or need a favor. Any face time in front of CC to "shine" is good face time for a true politician.

She never ceases to amaze, excpet when it may benefit her down the road.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering who is paying Joe the Investigator's salary?

Anonymous said...

Morris needs to pay his own legal bill.He is paid a large sum of money and it is an insult to ask taxpayers to pay for this. Insulted Taxpayer

Anonymous said...

Exactly how much did that work out to for an hour? Hello Oberg and dolcefino are you paying attention?

Jigmeister said...

That seems a might high for a little advice. I wonder if Clay and the others worked for nothing or is Patsy trying to slip them by one at a time.

Anonymous said...

I can see the county paying for the defense of its employees if accused of doing something in their official capacity. In the long run it can help reduce expenses and the cost of judgments, if wrongdoing is found. Of course, they should probably have some control over who gets hired, as well.


Anonymous said...

I would like to point out it was a contempt matter which means the general counsel should have represented Morris. That statement is predicated on the premise that Morris was acting in his official capacity when he obtained the grand jury testimony. That certainly was the way things were handled in all prior administrations. Once I was threatened with contempt and was told general counsel would represent me or if I did not have confidence in the ability of the general counsel, I could hire outside representation but it would be at my cost.

But why are you surprised. Lykos has hired so many of her friends who "work" for the citizens of Harris County in high paying slots. Lykos just feels entitled to use taxpayer money however she likes.

Anonymous said...

Citizens should go down to the meeting tomorrow and object to this improper use of tax money.

Anonymous said...

Up to this point have Mr. Emmett, Mr. Radack, et. al., ever said no to this DA administration? If Lykos gets away with this, shouldn't the commissioners themselves deserve some taxpayer scrutiny about the way in which they handle their business on behalf of a public, who recently expressed their disdain LOUDLY and in an unprecedented way for Lykos in the primary (2 to 1 ratio against her)?

And what exactly is she doing here? Steve Morris wasn't the only "target" to incur legal expenses due to the 185th grand jury investigation. He could be viewed as perhaps the peripheral, least culpable of the bunch. Could Lykos be floating Morris' legal fees(probably the cheapest) to see if if the commisioners are willing OK it? Is she monitoring any possible media attention on this subject? Is she testing the water for an onslaught of future requests on behalf of Rachel Palmer, Jim Leitner, Carl Hobbs,Don McWilliams and herself?? Can you imagine how much the taxpayers will pay for the legal fees for Attorney Clay Rollins on behalf of Palmer and also the others?

If that is NOT what is happening here, then WHY didn't she put all the targets and herself on the agenda at once? She defiantly presents herself as righteous, so what's the hold up here?

Futhermore, I would venture to guess that the taxpayers do not wish to cover legal expenses EVEN IF incurred by conduct committed during the course and scope of their duties' if those individuals might still be indicted! Hello, there is still an ongoing investigation....

Dear Mr. Emmett,
The public has rejected Pat Lykos. She has abused the public's trust. As a lame duck, she is now in the process of depleting the bank accounts of the DA's office by way of huge monetary gifts to various agencies at a time in which there is no money for raises and at the same time she is requesting your approval to lower the maximum value of pay slots for her own personnel. Please do not allow her to further bleed the taxpayers by having them pay for the legal expenses of wrong-doers.

The Average Voter.

And as to Murray's comment about the pay slot reductions she recently placed on the commisioners' agenda, there are some who believe those pay slots are currently unfilled positions. Could the money being saved by keeping those open be used in another way? To whom might she be granting unreported "merit raises"? Whose financial future is she primarily worried about now that the handwriting is on the wall? Who seem to have undefined, obscure,unsupervised and unheard of unclassified job descriptions at the DA's Office and are not yet arrived at the magic Rule of 80? Benzion, Shadwick, Leon, Joe Strange, Joni and the community outreach woman I cannot recall because the office roster has not been updated for almost a year? Those personnel should be monitored for salary increases. It truly is, and has been since January 2009, a Pat Lykos shell game. And the biggest loser is the public.


Anonymous said...

1. Morris was never acussed of a crime
2.The grand jury purpose is to determine that a crime was committed or not.
3.The grand jury dutys are to hear the evidence and rule that there is a, No Bill, True Bill and or no Action taken.
4.You state that Morris was being prosecuted. That did not happen! Tell the truth dude, thank god you show your true colors and allow the public to see how incompetent your are.

Anonymous said...

If the monies are to be taken from the discretionary funds available to the DA then it is not tax money. If she is asking CC to reimburse then it is tax dollars. As someone above stated, the General Counsel should be representing employees on work related contempts. Oh wait, I forgot, Barnhill is General Counsel and .......... December 31, 2012 can't come fast enough.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:35

Hey Don! I see that you're STILL struggling with English. Might I suggest you spend less time calling other people stupid, and more time studying Hooked On Phonics.

Anonymous said...

Last day for Barnhill, FRIDAY. One down

Anonymous said...

A criminal defendant paying for his own defense is not the same as expecting a public servant to pay for the defense of a matter related to his job. While you might not like the particular issues in this claim, there are lots of innocent situations that could cost a public servant his livelihood. We pay for the costs of those defenses so that the public servant can focus on doing a good job and not make decisions solely designed to keep out of harm's way. The alternative is to have very tame public servants who decline to take on hard cases, leaving victims and the public unprotected in difficult cases. Keep the big picture in mind and try not to get caught up in the political feelings of this particular set of circumstances.

B. Todd Dillon said...

Anon 10:19 PM,

I'm far from an expert on the workings of the Harris County DAO, but doesn't the public already pay for defense of public servants by funding the office of the general counsel? According to Anon 9:07 PM, retaining independent representation is allowed, just at the public servant's own expense. Can someone confirm this is the case?

Assuming ADAs are entitled to be represented by general counsel free of charge, then the CC request is not just paying for a public servant's defense related to his/her official's double dipping.

Anonymous said...

I agree with what B. Todd Dillon says, and to add, if a citizen defendent cannot afford counsel, it can be appointed to him as well, if he chooses to go hire his own, the state does not pay that counsel like they would had he taken the state-appointed counsel, so why should Morris' fees be covered?

Anonymous said...

I think one problem is that several people were being looked into from the DA's office, and the office of general counsel couldn't represent them all without a lot of waivers in place--waivers I bet none were willing to sign.


Anonymous said...

Exactly. So, the public servant, who rightfully expected to be protected by his office, lost that with the conflict. That's not his fault. It is standard practice to seek outside counsel for such conflicts and request that the county pay for it.

There is so much poison on this blog. Sometimes it leaks into normal policies.

Anonymous said...

Steves legal fees were much more but thanks to the Schaffer Law Firm they reduced their fees so that Justice would be done.They are honorable lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Poor, Poor Cow Chip! The commisioners saw right through him and did the right thing. They knew the poison he tried to spread during those proceedings and as usual he lost.

Murray Newman said...

Anon 6:24,

I don't think you can really consider Chip as one who loses much. He's pretty damn successful in trial, and he sure was an outspoken advocate of Mike Anderson, who won by an even more crushing victory than his supporters would have ever imagined.

Your comment doesn't really make much sense.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Newman,

Anon 6:24 is a little upset because Chipster saw and spoke the truth about Pat and her leadership team. I have new found respect for him now. He didn't have to but came out to defend the institution.

I would go further and believe that 6.24 is someone who will lose their job come Jan 1. Probably because of ignorance in backing a pure evil individual.

Anonymous said...

No, no, no 6:24 will not lose his job because he is unemployed. Now his wife will lose her job and not soon enough.

Anonymous said...

As a local police officer I truly hope CC approves this money.

Anytime in the future a police officer runs into trouble during the course and scope of their duty it should be a non issue to send the bill for legal counsel to CC.

Anonymous said...

so what happened? The result isn't list on the commissioners website.

Anonymous said...

Most of these comments assume Steve and his cohorts were doing these actions "during the course and scope of their job" but they coerced those court reporters to hand over testimony that they had no right to have.   The DAO had been kicked out by the 185th conducting its independent investigation and was not entitled to get those transcripts, but these folks didn't have the guts to stand up to the person who requested that they pull this stunt and say This is WRONG and I won't do it.  They made the choice to do something they should not have done and after getting caught, want a taxpayer-funded bailout.  Even if we are talking about asset-forfeiture funds, that money is supposed to accrue to the benefit of Harris County taxpayers, and those prosecutors who got caught poking their nose under the 185th tent were NOT benefitting the taxpayers in general, only the one who sits on the 6th floor for six more months.

As to the request to Commissioners Court, just remember all the county commissioners who endorsed PL, of course they will bless her every action.  But the older I get, the longer my memory gets about things that stick in my craw, and you can bet I will remember this when they are up for re-election.

Anonymous said...

All items approved with this list of exceptions:'/1212.htm

So, her items were approved.

Thomas Hobbes said...

Discretionary funds were used to cover the request. There was virtually no chance that the CC could or would reject the request.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Lykos enjoyed a cigarette after she got out of bed with the Commissioners. I can promise the Commissioners (particularly Radack and Emment) that I will be working as hard to get them out of office as I did helping Mike Anderson kick Lykos out. These good ole boys make the public sick of their incestuous relationship with Mrs. Lykos.

Anonymous said...

How much longer is Lykos going to leave her campaign website "" up? Geez, she lost a month ago. It's embarrassing for Christ's sake. Take it down already. Hell Lana shut hers down in a week or so.

Anonymous said...

To 6-27 11:11 am :

If asset forf funds were used, the statute says they must only be used for investigation of criminal violations.

Anonymous said...

I'm just putting on my happy face and covering my eyes and ears until January 1, 2013.

Not worth the emotional energy required to engage - anymore.

So....mentally disengaging in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1....mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Anonymous said...

To 6/28 8:31 am :

You can close your eyes till Jan 2013 but you may be disappointed when you open them if Lykos has lowered the maximums for a large number of pay positions and/or eliminated currently unfilled pay positions in the name of saving money today. You won't have them when the economy (property tax revenue) rises again and you will be moaning about how you can't get a raise and you don't have enough people to do an adequate job on your giant case loads. One of the good things Rosenthal did was get Commis. Ct. to add pay positions and raise salary maximums to get the DA's Office closer to other jurisdictions in pay and number of positions. Before he did that we were dead last in number of prosecutors per number of cases filed among the top 30 jurisdictions in the entire country. We had not added any prosecutors to the Felony Trial Courts since 1986 and the cases filed had doubled in that period of time. We were well behind Dallas and San Antonio in salary maximums. I hope these pay adjustments by Lykos don't put us back in the position we were in before the equalization accomplished by Rosenthal.

Anonymous said...

What A Pack of Cigarettes Costs in Texas with conservative equations:

$6.07 x Pack of 4 = $24.28 per Day = $169.96 per Week = $679.84 per Month = $8,862.20 per Year X 4 years in office = $35,448.00!!
MINUS - 2 Lungs = ?

Who should really be caring about fudging on budget numbers or image matters with THESE figures?

Seriously Pat – For the love of second hand smoke breathers (at least)get YOUR priorities straight!

Anonymous said...

There's a strong rumor that Fric and Frac are leaving at the end of July. Guess Hannah will be wearing three more hats with Barnhill's gone. The Wizard's curtain has not only fallen down, the balloon also has a serious leak.

Anonymous said...

You should know better, Murray. It is standard operating procedure for a county in Texas to reimburse a prosecutor for legal expenses when either criminally investigated and exonerated or sued civilly, when the acts complained of arose in the course of one's duties.

In fact, I'm familiar in criminal cases with Commissioner's Courts in other counties voting to pay criminal representation up front. Likewise, although I've never criminally been investigated as a prosecutor, having been sued more than once myself based on prosecutorial duties, if the county attorney is conflicted out, then the county pays for the civil representation, up front.

It's not unusual at all.

And I don't think the fee of these fine lawyers in this case is too much...look at the results.

Anonymous said...

Agree with one of the above-posters about the amount of poison on this site. Dude, get some group therapy or something. Lycos is on her way out. You won. Get over it. You'll live longer. It's been how long now that the venom has been flowing strong...four years?

Anonymous said...

Two points in response to last posters:
1. The accusations that lead to hiring outside defense counsel by the prosecutors were that they had engaged in illegal activity in their capacity as public servants. They weren't automatically entitled to be reimbursed in that circumstance. Other ADA's also appeared before the Grand Jury and chose not to hire criminal defense counsel. Seems like only those who's conduct was suspect felt that need.

2. The venom spoken of started with Lykos when she took office and it is still spewing forth in her last gasps of office. That is the only reason we must keep vigilant and call her hand until she is finally gone for good.

Anonymous said...

This blog IS group therapy! It is what has helped keep us united and hopeful of what occurred on May 29th.