Sunday, September 30, 2012

Kelly Siegler Responds

NOTE:  The following article is unavoidably long.  It addresses the allegations made by Dick DeGuerin and Stan Schneider in their defense of David Temple.  Most trial cases (especially murder cases) can't be fit into a sound byte or a short news article.  Some can't even be adequately addressed in a full-length documentary.  This article is for those who are interested in reading the facts behind David Temple's murder of Belinda Temple and they have a lot of detail to them.

It has been a little less than three weeks since Dick DeGuerin and Stanley Schneider filed their "Out of Time Motion for New Trial or Alternative Application for Writ of Habeas Corpus Based on Actual Innocence, Newly Discovered Evidence and Willful Suppression of Exculpatory Evidence" on the David Temple murder case.  During the past few weeks, the Harris County District Attorney's Office has elected not to participate in the investigation of the Temple matter, opting to employee Special Prosecutor Brad Beers to handle the work.

As of this writing, David Temple's appeal is before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.  It is my belief that the Court of Criminal Appeals has sole jurisdiction over the Temple case at the moment and that Dick and Stanley's "Out of Time Motion" was done more for a publicity stunt in the 178th District Court -- the idea being that the Out of Time Motion was to get some publicity that the justices of the Court of Criminal Appeals might pay attention to before they made their own ruling.

The Upper Administration of the D.A.'s Office seems content to sit silently by and allow DeGuerin and Schneider's allegations to remain unanswered.  However, Kelly Siegler (who was the prosecutor that defeated DeGuerin in the Temple case) has spoken up with an affidavit filed in response.

In the affidavit, filed with the Court on Friday, Kelly addresses all of the allegations made by DeGuerin regarding everything from Temple's actual innocence to DeGuerin's claims of prosecutorial misconduct.

Here are some of the highlights:

Regarding DeGuerin's assertion that "unbeknownst to Temple or his lawyers until only recently, the State presented evidence concerning two possible suspects: Temple and Riley Joe Sanders."

Siegler points out that DeGuerin is basing the idea of the Harris County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) having a "second suspect" on the random statement of a Grand Juror that appears to have been taken out of context.  Furthermore, she points out that DeGuerin claiming that his "alternate suspect" Mr. Sanders was newly discovered is disingenuous.  She states:
What the defense leaves out is that Riley Joe Sanders voluntarily came forth to testify at the trial before the jury as the State's final rebuttal witness and voluntarily allowed himself to be cross-examined by Dick DeGuerin himself.  Regarding this particular assertion, it is deplorable that now the defense wants to misrepresent to this Court that the prosecutors all along believed that Sanders was involved in the murder of Belinda Temple and that the trial prosecutors deliberately withheld that opinion.  
Regarding DeGuerin's assertions that an earlier Grand Jury "Failed to Indict" and that Siegler "shopped the case to multiple Grand Juries" before finally landing an indictment of Temple.

Siegler notes that DeGuerin has made numerous statements to the media and to the Court that a Grand Jury failed to indict Temple in 19999.
I repeatedly told Mr. DeGuerin that the initial grand jury investigation conducted by Ted Wilson and Donna Goode in 1999 was simply used to develop evidence and to present witnesses.
This case was presented for indictment to one and only one grand jury in February 2005, and that grand jury indicted David Temple.   
Regarding DeGuerin's assertions that the subject of his "Out of Time Motion" is his First witness to have allegedly overheard the "true killer" of Belinda Temple admit to the crime.

Siegler brings up that this new anonymous and "mystery witness" is not the first time DeGuerin has miraculously discovered a witness who was available to clear David Temple's good name.  She points out that in January or February of 2005, DeGuerin found a witness from TDCJ named Michael David. Mr. David was apparently represented by a then-little known lawyer named Sean Buckley.  Much like 2012's "mystery witness," he also claimed to have overheard someone else admitting to the murder of Belinda Temple.

It was this controversial bench warranting of witness David that led to DeGuerin and Buckley filing a grievance against Kelly Siegler, alleging, amongst other things, that she was "practicing law through use of an alias not referenced in State Bar records" because she no longer practiced law under her maiden name.

It is worth noting that shortly after the Temple trial concluded, Buckley went to work for DeGuerin, where he is still employed as of this writing.

The similarities to Mr. DeGuerin's "new witness of 2012" and inmate Michael David are interesting.  Both claimed no personal knowledge of the murders, but claimed to have heard from an alternate suspect who admitted to the killing.  Additionally, both mystery witnesses allegedly received death threats that necessitated them remaining anonymous.

Regarding DeGuerin's "Selective Recitation of the Facts and the Record"

This section of Siegler's affidavit is broken into several parts, addressing individual factual disputes.  Some of the more interesting ones are as follows:

  1. DeGuerin's assertions regarding the crime scene on issues of blood spatter were directly controverted by the testimony of Harris County Medical Examiner Dwayne Wolf.
  2. The allegation that no biological matter or gunshot residue was found on David Temple or his clothing is simply false.  A warm-up suit of David Temple, as well as his tennis shoes found at the foot of his bed in the master bedroom did have the presence of gunshot residue.  NOTE:  Judge Doug Shaver ruled that the evidence of the residue was not admissible during trial.
  3. The belief that there was no indication that David Temple ever owned a shotgun was controverted by witness Quinton Harlan, who testified that when "he helped move David Temple out of the house after the murder, he observed boxed shotgun shells and a hunting vest in the garage of the house."
  4. The assertion that the way glass was found at the scene had been caused by the rear door hitting a doorstop was refuted by DeGuerin's own expert witness, Max Courtney.  Apparently, DeGuerin had represented different dimensions of the breakfront in the Temple home to his expert.  Once Mr. Courtney had the actual breakfront to observe, he negated Mr. DeGuerin's theory.
Regarding the truth behind why Siegler closed her file to Dick DeGuerin

During the entirety of the time that I was at the Office, it was policy that if a defense attorney requested an Examining Trial, the State was to close the file to the defense attorney.  Siegler states:
The charges were on David Temple on the Monday following Thanksgiving of 2004.  The State's file was open and available to defense from that time until his Motion for an Examining Trial was filed two months later.
I had a discussion with Mr. DeGuerin where I asked him why he would file such a Motion if he knew the file would then be closed, and he told me not to tell him how to handle his case.  It was his decision that caused the file to become closed.
Regarding DeGuerin's Claim that they had no knowledge of the actual investigation of Riley Joe Sanders

Siegler notes that throughout DeGuerin and Schneider's new motion that they refer to Riley Joe Sanders and the "Katy boys" that he allegedly did burglaries with.  They also assert that there were four statements in the offense report that they were unaware of that would have been considered to be exculpatory (Brady) material that they were entitled to know.  In rebutting this, Siegler points to the testimony of HCSO Detective Charles Leithner who testified regarding Sanders and the "Katy boys."

In fact, Siegler asks the following rhetorical question in her affidavit:
Directing the Court to p. 5 of the trial transcript dated November 13, 2007, immediately before David Temple testified, Mr. DeGuerin is quoted as marking and offering for the record Defense Exhibit # 65, a copy of Detective Leithner's offense report.  How can the defense now say they learned something "new" when he had this report at trial?
Siegler additionally points out that Sanders voluntarily testified at trial and was there to answer every last question DeGuerin might have had at the time.

And finally . . .

Regarding the Defense's Assertion that they were not provided with Brady Evidence

The defense claims that "the prosecutor did not produce any reports, statements or documents relating to the 1999 investigation of Riley Joe Sanders III, prior to trial."  She notes that those issues DeGuerin and Schneider are addressing are contained within Grand Jury transcripts, which require a Court Order to be turned over to the defense.

Siegler points out:
I provided not just one, but two different Judges, Judge Harmon and Judge Shaveer, with the grand jury testimony of all seventeen witnesses.  Those transcripts provided include the Katy Boys . . .
. . . both Judge Harmon and Judge Shaver ruled that there was nothing Brady in all of the Grand Jury testimony. 
Judge David Mendoza of the 178th District Court will make a ruling at some point this week over whether or not he feels his court has proper jurisdiction over DeGuerin and Schneider's Motion.  My guess is that he will rule that he does NOT, and let the Court of Criminal Appeals do the job that they are tasked with.

Either way, Siegler's affidavit certainly provides a different view to DeGuerin's assertions, and that may very well explain why a jury convicted David Temple and sentenced him to Life in prison in the first place.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Red White and Blue with Mike Anderson and Lloyd Oliver

Okay, I'm back after a week's hiatus.

Sorry for the confusion over last week's Reasonable Doubt, and I particularly apologize to our potential guest Gemayel Haynes.  We had a scheduling mix up that we didn't learn about until we arrived at the studio on Thursday night.  We look forward to having Gemayel on once our episodes resume after the break.

If you need to get your local cable access on Harris County Politics, you should check out tonight's Red White and Blue hosted by Gary Polland and David Jones.  Judge Mike Anderson will once again face off with Leaping Lloyd Oliver on PBS tonight.

The show is on tonight at 7:30 on Channel 8, but if you can't wait that long, it is already airing on-line by clicking here.

I've started watching it and it is certainly quite animated.  Lloyd starts off by arguing with David Jones. It progresses from there.

At one point Lloyd literally states "There are some people - I don't understand it -- but part of their making love is beat up one another first."

Clearly, taking his domestic violence platform more seriously has not been a primary goal of Lloyd's over the past few months.

I highly recommend tuning in!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Reasonable Doubt (9/20/12)

Please join me and Todd Dupont for Thursday's Reasonable Doubt, where our guest will be our friend Gemayel Haynes.  Gemayel is a former-Assistant District Attorney with Harris County and a criminal defense attorney.

There is no shortage of topics coming out of the Criminal Justice Center these days, so we have a lot to talk about.  Please call in with your questions.

As always, you can watch us live streaming at 8:00 p..m. by clicking here.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

If Pat Lykos Owned the Houston Texans: A One Act Play

SCENE -- the Interior of NFL Owner Patricia R. Lykos.  LYKOS sits behind a large desk, marveling over her hardwood floors.  The phone on her desk rings.

SECRETARY:  Ms. Lykos, Coach Leitner is here to see you.

LYKOS:  Send him in.


LEITNER:  Greetings, Your Holiness.

LYKOS:  Coach, great to see you.  Great job this weekend.  How are things?

LEITNER:  Well, we got an interesting phone call this morning.

LYKOS:  From who?

LEITNER:  Coach DeGuerin from the Dolphins.

LYKOS:  DeGuerin?  I LOVE that guy!  Everybody loves Coach DeGuerin.

LEITNER:  Um, yes.  Well, everyone in Miami loves Coach DeGuerin.  He's not really on our team.

LYKOS:  You know under my administration that I don't like to consider opposing teams as if they are, you know... opposing.

LEITNER:  Yes ma'am.

LYKOS:  So what did Coach DeGuerin call about?

LEITNER:  Well, he'd like to replay Sunday's game against us.

LYKOS:  What?!  That's crazy.  Didn't we beat the Dolphins fair and square?  For the third time in a row?

LEITNER:  Well, yes, ma'am.

LYKOS:  And didn't we have twelve referees and a line judge who decided the game?  And instant replay?

LEITNER:  Yes.  But, it's Coach DeGuerin!

LYKOS:  Well, you do have a point.  I'm listening.  Why does he think he deserves a new game?

LEITNER:  Well, he has some new information.

LYKOS:  New information?  You mean like a new player?

LEITNER:  No, ma'am.  He still has the same group of players, but he claims that he only recently learned from an outside source that one of the players could help him win the game.

LYKOS:  What's this outside source's name?

LEITNER:  He'd like to keep it anonymous.  He's afraid of death threats.

LYKOS:  I see.  And what's this new information?

LEITNER:  He says they should have played a different quarterback.

LYKOS:  Why didn't this source tell them that before the game started?

LEITNER:  He just watched the game on his DVR a couple of hours ago and suddenly remembered that the backup quarterback was the better athlete.

LYKOS:  Does he have personal knowledge that the back up would have been better?

LEITNER:  He says they used to hang out together in high school.

LYKOS:  Did he see the other quarterback play football?


LYKOS:  Did the other quarterback tell him that he was better at football?

LEITNER:  No.  But the unnamed source said that the backup quarterback told him that he once kicked a dog.

LYKOS:  What does that have to do with football?

LEITNER:  He said it was a "code."  Remember, it is Coach DeGuerin.

LYKOS:  You make a good point.  I'm inclined to agree.

LEITNER:  Coach DeGuerin has a few other requests . . .

LYKOS:  Like what?

LEITNER:  Well, he said that he didn't really like the job that Andre Johnson did.  Said he was trying to win too hard.

LYKOS:  Hmm.  I see his point.

LEITNER:  He'd like us to start a wide receiver who has a better working relationship with his receivers.

LYKOS:  That's fair.  I'm in so far.

LEITNER:  Also, he's asked that we not let Matt Schaub start at quarterback.

LYKOS:  What?!  Did you see how much I just agreed to pay on Schaub's contract?

LEITNER:  I know ma'am, but Coach DeGuerin pointed out that since Schaub was involved in the defeat on Sunday, he can't be a fair quarterback.

LYKOS:  Well, Schaub did drub them pretty good.

LEITNER:  He'd like to bring in Dan Marino to replace Schaub.

LYKOS:  But he was a Dolphin!

LEITNER:  Again, ma'am, we're talking about legendary coach Dick DeGuerin here.

LYKOS:  Fine.  Anything else?

LEITNER:  He also wants us to bench Arian Foster, Owen Daniels, Brian Cushing, J.J. Watt and pretty much the whole defense.

LYKOS:  He won't let us keep anybody from the defense?

LEITNER:  He said we could use Kareem Jackson if we wanted.

LYKOS:  (Sigh)  This is ridiculous.  But fine.

LEITNER:  One last thing.  He wants me replaced as Coach.

LYKOS:  A lot of people want you replaced as coach, Jim.  Who does DeGuerin want?

LEITNER:  Don Shula.

LYKOS:  Well, at least that makes a little sense.

LEITNER:  So, do we agree to Coach DeGuerin's demands?

LYKOS:  Of course!  It's Coach DeGuerin!  Did you forget that part?

LEITNER:  I don't think the NFL is going to go for this.

LYKOS:  That's because it's all political.  Just have our team spokesman, what's his name?  Hooper?  Have him explain it to the fans.  People always listen to him.

Tonight's Reasonable Doubt (9/13/12)

Please join me and our host Todd Dupont for tonight's Reasonable Doubt this evening at 8:00 p.m.  It will be our last show for a few weeks as the station is broadcasting some political shows as the November election approaches.  Todd assures this "hiatus" had nothing to do with him threatening to walk off the set if he didn't get his own dressing room.

Our special guest tonight will be attorney Lisa Andrews, who you may recognize from the news recently.  Lisa recently did an amazing job of exposing the Harris County Community Supervision and Corrections Department's faulty drug testing procedures.  We have a lot to talk about tonight and we hope you will call in.

As always, you can catch it live streaming at 8:00 by clicking here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

David Temple and the Dereliction of Duty

On the afternoon of January 11, 1999, David Temple took a shotgun, placed it to the back of his pregnant wife's head, and murdered her in cold blood.

On November 15, 2007, after a long and winding road through the Criminal Justice System, a jury convicted Mr. Temple of the murder of Belinda Temple, and sentenced him to Life in prison and a $10,000 fine.  The jury had listened to six weeks of testimony in a battle between one of Harris County's best defense attorneys, Dick DeGuerin, and the District Attorney's best prosecutor, Kelly Siegler, before arriving at their verdict.  Despite the length of the testimony, their time of deliberation was only a few hours.

At the end of July, I wrote this post, explaining how Harris County First Assistant District Attorney Jim Leitner was working with DeGuerin in an effort to clear the name of David Temple.  In that earlier post, I mentioned that Leitner had authorized unlimited overtime for a Harris County D.A. Investigator (Steve Clappart) to assist in the investigation.  Clappart was to assist defense attorney John Denholm as Denholm (a former Harris County Sheriff's Department Homicide Lieutenant) assisted DeGuerin.  Clappart, by his own admission, had a "personal relationship with John Denholm for 20 years."

The position of the Harris County District Attorney's Office quickly became one of an agency talking out of both sides of its mouth.  While the Appellate Division of the Office was arguing that Temple's conviction should stand, the First Assistant was covertly authorizing an investigator to try to undermine the factual basis of the very same conviction.  Leitner's authorization of funding for Clappart's investigation was something he wished to keep under the radar.  Belinda Temple's family (the Lucas family) wasn't informed of what Leitner and Clappart were up to.

As of this writing, the Lucas family still hasn't been informed of what is going on.

The objective of the Clappart/Denholm "investigation" was to shift attention away from David Temple as the prime suspect in the murder of his wife and focus it on a trio of teenagers who were believed to have been committing burglaries in the neighborhood during that time frame.  A startling new piece of evidence came from a new witness who had allegedly heard one of those teenagers make a statement of "guilt." (NOTE:  More on that "statement of 'guilt'" in a moment.)

When I wrote the post at the end of July, Leitner was reportedly infuriated -- not that he and I were exactly best friends in the first place.  Suddenly, he was having to field phone calls about why the victim's family had not been informed.  In an effort to attempt some semblance of an appearance of neutrality in the DeGuerin/Denholm/Clappart investigation, the Office appointed a "Special Prosecutor."  That prosecutor is a reputable attorney by the name of Brad Beers.

Let me start off by saying that I like Brad Beers.  He's a nice guy and an excellent attorney.  Many moons ago, he gave me some advice as a prosecutor that I will never forget and will always appreciate.  But Brad Beers has a conflict of interest in this case that is so significant that he should have NEVER accepted a request to serve as a Special Prosecutor at the behest of Pat Lykos where Steve Clappart was the lead investigator.

Clappart and Denholm are currently trying to get warrants signed for the arrest of at least one of the teenagers (at the time) mentioned above.  In their opinion, one of the teenagers committed a burglary and killed Belinda Temple in the process.  Under Texas Law, that would make him a Capital Murderer.  The type of warrant they are trying to get signed is informally called "Pocket Warrants," but it is nonetheless an arrest warrant accusing someone of Capital Murder.  Clappart and Denholm want the (then) teen arrested and charged with the highest crime our State has to offer.

If they are successful in having the warrant signed (NOTE:  More on the content of the warrants in a moment), Brad Beers will be the "Special Prosecutor" and Steve Clappart will be his star witness.  Here's where the Conflict of Interest comes in:

Several years ago, there was a highly publicized case involving an exonerated defendant -- George Rodriguez -- who sued several people and agencies in conjunction with his wrongful conviction for sexual assault.  Steve Clappart was one of those people sued.  Clappart's attorney in the matter?  Brad Beers.

Fast forward a bit, and Harris County Investigator Steve Clappart is disciplined by the Office for breaking policy and surreptitiously sending offense reports to a criminal defense attorney (before such things were permitted).  The defense attorney in question?  That would be Brad Beers.

Brad is also rumored to have been Hannah Chow's defense attorney during the recent Grand Jury investigation into the Office.  Brad also contacted me several months ago to let me that he was representing Investigator Leon Wilson, who was looking to sue somebody for nasty things being said about him on this blog.

Leitner and the Gang may call Brad Beers a Special Prosecutor, but they damn sure can't call him a neutral one.

Now, let's get back to the events of this week and that Pocket Warrant.

Clappart has been shopping around a warrant for the arrest of the (then) teen for the Capital Murder of Belinda Temple.  He cites the testimony of a new witness who, per the warrant, had only learned of Belinda Temple's death (which happened in 1999) only "5 or 6 months ago."  Furthermore, that "Smoking Gun" evidence that this new witness has involves him overhearing one of the three (then) teens admitting to shooting a dog during a burglary and throwing it in the closet.

Yep, you read that right.

There isn't some new confession to the murder of Belinda Temple.  There's the confession of shooting a dog that Clappart and Denholm would like to extrapolate into a Capital Murder warrant.  There are no fingerprints.  No DNA.  No confession.  Yet a licensed peace office and a former licensed peace officer would like a judge to arrest someone for Capital Murder because he stated that he once shot a dog.

In the meantime, while Clappart and Denholm are trying to arrest somebody for a Capital Murder based on that evidence, we have DeGuerin and Stanley Schneider filing an "Out of Time Motion for New Trial or Alternative Application for Writ of Habeas Corpus Based on Actual Innocence, Newly Discovered Evidence, and the Willful Suppression of Exculpatory Evidence."

They did that yesterday.

Well, of all the strange coincidences -- that Motion for New Trial for David Temple just so happens to have gotten filed right around the time that Clappart is trying to get a warrant signed on the teens.

Amazing, isn't it?  How on earth could Schneider and DeGuerin have known what a D.A. Investigator was up to?  At least, how would they have known without the collusion of the District Attorney's Office?

As an aside, in their Motion/Writ, DeGuerin and Schneider make mention of the statement of the "New Witness" being sealed for his protection.  It isn't being sealed for the witness' protection -- it's being sealed because it's a confession to animal cruelty -- not capital murder.

Still not convinced that the District Attorney's Office isn't operating out of Dick DeGuerin's back pocket?  Let's take a look over at our friend Don Hooper's blog.  Don, if you will remember, is the husband of 5th-Amendment-taking-prosecutor Rachel Palmer, and he operates a blog to combat mine.  He remains cyberspace's best Lykos Administration Defender.  He had an interesting post in his comments section last night:

So, Don apparently got advance word from the Office and was quite excited about the Temple story getting some press attention.  Glad to see that he shares their interest in Justice.

Anyway . . .

That brings us to today, as Schneider and DeGuerin are trying to get Judge David Mendoza of the 178th District Court to make a ruling on their Motion.  The District Attorney's Office via their Appellate Division Head Alan Curry have made the argument that since Temple's case is currently pending in front of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the trial court doesn't have jurisdiction to rule on the new motion.  (NOTE:  Although the Temple Case was tried in the 178th District Court, visiting Judge Doug Shaver presided at trial.)

DeGuerin and Schneider don't like Mr. Curry's arguments and they would sure like him recused from the hearing.  Unfortunately, the only way they can do that is to try to recuse the District Attorney's Office as a whole.  They don't want that, because then they would have to recuse Clappart, too.

Additionally, they would have to recuse Special Prosecutor Brad Beers as well.  You see, he's not a Prosecutor Pro Tem -- he's a special prosecutor, and thus, an employee of the District Attorney's Office, albeit temporarily.  

The defense needs Beers and/or the District Attorney's Office to agree that David Temple was wrongfully convicted so they can either a) get him a new trial or b) get him released.

Sound like a mess?  It is.  And it certainly isn't a mess that the District Attorney was elected to create and encourage.  

The debacle created by Leitner and the rest of the Gang is an absolute disgrace to the District Attorney's Office and it illustrates a gross dereliction of duty.  

Exhaustion or Outrage?

Part of being an effective defense attorney is judging the mood of the prosecutor that you are talking to when discussing your client's case.

So, as a drill for the folks at home, please make your call on whether the reaction of the prosecutor below while reading my client's file is a) Outrage or b) Yawning.

NOTE:  Thanks to Stephen Driver who (although he did not know I was taking this picture) had a good enough sense of humor to not threaten me with a lawsuit for publishing this photo.

A Prayer for the Day

Every morning when I wake up, I read a few verses from the Bible.

I don't know when exactly I started doing this, but I have done it for as long as I can remember.  I scan through the chapters for verses that I've underlined over the years -- verses that I've found meaningful or inspiring.

I woke up this morning, thinking about September 11th, as I have on every September 11th since 2001.  There is little new that can be said by me about that horrible day.

But I thumbed through the Bible on my bedside table that I got when I was confirmed in 6th Grade and I came to Romans 12:21.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
It seemed like a nice quote for a day like September 11th.

I don't share this with you to open up a discussion on politics or policies.  In fact, I think we should have mandatory "no political discussions" on the anniversary of this day.

I just shared that with you because it made me think that in the face of events as devastating as what happened in 2001, that's truly the best thing anyone can do . . .

Just get up in the morning and do whatever you can to try to make the world a better place.

Monday, September 10, 2012

More from the Lame Duck Administration

As of this morning, we are 112 days away from the End of the Pat Lykos Era at the Harris County District Attorney's Office.  Whether the new District Attorney will be former Judge Mike Anderson or former indictee Lloyd Oliver will be decided in November, but the fact that Patricia R. Lykos is now an official Lame Duck politician has long been decided.

It is an interesting phenomenon when a politician becomes a Lame Duck.  Some use their short time remaining in Office to prepare for a clean and seamless transition.  Others try to rally their troops to execute one last piece of policy that will become their Legacy.  Some simply do nothing and just wait for the end to come, patiently drawing a paycheck.

And then others seem to want to treat the office like a hotel room being occupied by Motley Crue and Quiet Riot on a bender.

Ever since Pat Lykos lost the Republican Primary, she has been making regular trips to the Commissioners' Court, tinkering with the personnel roster, and toying with the budget.  All of these things are designed to leave the Harris County District Attorney's Office in a much weaker position when whoever takes over on January 1, 2013.

She's dropped the maximum salary slots on several positions in favor of handing out some raises to her chosen few.  She's been hiring both new investigators and new prosecutors of political allies.

And she's been raiding the Office's Budget fund like it was King Midas' piggy bank.

Apparently, Lykos now has an item on the Commissioners' Court agenda for Tuesday where she is going to be asking for about $365,000 for payment for a three day CLE seminar for about 160 or so junior prosecutors.  It is mandatory training for them and she wants to take the funds out of the D.A.'s Discretionary account.

The CLE is to be hosted by the National District Attorney's Association (on which Lykos is a Board Member).

The idea that a CLE would cost well over a quarter of a million dollars is staggering -- especially when it isn't in Hawaii (where she sent herself for a CLE last year).  The idea that there is some sort of rush to get it done before she leaves office is foolish, as well.  Unless there has been a sudden and massive change in the law or the way that prosecutors handle their jobs, I fail to see the urgency.

It would seem to me that the decision on how the money should be spent would be better decided by the new Administration.  They will have to operate under budget for the next several years to come.  Frivolously throwing away $365,000 to an organization where you serve as a Board Member seems, well, unseemly.

When I was a kid, my parents taught me that I should always leave a place where I visited in better shape than how I found it -- or at least not in worse shape.

Too bad that Lykos doesn't follow that same principle.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Day of Reckoning for Lloyd Oliver

Today we should learn whether or not Democratic Candidate for District Attorney (maybe) Lloyd Oliver's name will be appearing on the ballot in November.  As noted in the update to my last blog post, Federal Judge Lee Rosenthal remanded Lloyd's lawsuit back to State Court.

A hearing is scheduled this morning at 8:00 a.m. in the 189th District Court -- Judge Bill Burke presiding.  The ruling on the hearing has been promised by this afternoon.

I'm out of county this morning, but I'll try to keep you updated via Twitter if I hear any news.

Episode Seven: The Voters Awaken - A One Act -Sci-Fi Play

SCENE:  The Death Star orbits over Downtown Houston. [INTERIOR] The Imperial Council Chambers. EMPRESS OGG sits at the head of a long table ...