Showing posts from January, 2013

Tonight's Reasonable Doubt (1/31/13)

Please join me and our host Todd Dupont for tonight's Reasonable Doubt  where our special guest will our friend and criminal defense attorney Casie Gotro.  Casie has been practicing criminal defense for about ten years now and has built a successful practice with some amazing case results.  We look forward to her perspective. As always, you can tune in and catch us live streaming at 8:00 p.m. tonight by clicking here .

Too Much for Too Few

Every couple of years or so, the issue of the Harris County Criminal Justice System's methods of appointing attorneys for indigent defendants comes under scrutiny.  I'm glad that it does.  Scrutiny leads to improvements (hopefully) and in the past, those improvements have ultimately included testing qualifications for appointed attorneys as well the establishment of the Harris County Public Defender's Office. Robb Fickman However, problems -- massive problems -- persist and we are, once again, taking a hard look at the way criminal court appointments are made.  Most recently, Robb Fickman published an article on his blog about the massive number of cases being handled by a relatively small group of attorneys.  He linked to this list which gives a top-to-bottom listing of the distribution of appointed criminal cases from 2011. I find the list to be extremely interesting because it is very well done.  There is a breakdown between misdemeanor, felony and juvenile app

Tonight's Reasonable Doubt (1/24/13)

Please join me and our host, Todd Dupont for tonight's episode of Reasonable Doubt , where our guest will be our friend and fellow defense attorney, Carmen Mae Roe .  Getting Carmen to appear in public with either me or Todd, let alone go on television is a major accomplishment, so I hope you will tune in.  We plan on talking about the differences that trial lawyers have to make during a trial and how it applies in the appellate world. As always we will be on at 8:00 p.m. and you can catch it live streaming by clicking here .

Judicial Investitures [UPDATED]

Although all of the newly elected judges from the 2012 elections have been officially sworn in and performing their judicial duties since January 1st, the ceremonial component of their jobs can be held at a later date. The ceremonial swearing in of a Judge is called the Investiture . This year there are six new judges who took (or, in the case of Judge Brock Thomas, re-took ) the Bench:  Judges Stacey Bond, Ryan Patrick, Kristin Guiney, Brad Hart, Brock Thomas, and Renee Magee. My understanding is that the ceremony for all of the Investitures will take place in the Ceremonial Courtroom on the 20th floor of the Criminal Justice Center, with receptions to follow in the respective Judges' courtrooms. I missed the opportunity to do a post on Judge Magee's investiture.  She was sworn in on January 11th. I'm sorry I didn't give notice of it in advance. Judge Bond has her Investiture today (January 24th) at noon. UPDATE:  Judge Thomas is having his Investiture tomo

Rules of Engagement: Comments Edition

Yesterday, I was assigned a First Degree Felony case against Rachel Palmer. In my dealings on the case with Rachel she was professional, courteous, and actually, friendly.  I hope that (given the history between us exhibited on this blog) I reciprocated that professionalism. For those of you who have followed this blog over the past five years, you should recognize that I have never tried one of my cases through the blog and I have never criticized or commented on someone I was trying a case against.  I don't believe in that.  I believe that cases should be tried in courtrooms. In the past, I have made comments about Rachel and I have allowed  comments on the blog about her. They stop today. You can write in, but I'm not going to post any comments regarding her. The work I do as a lawyer -- whether I win or lose -- will be based on what happens in the courtroom and not the Internet. I genuinely appreciate how Rachel handled the case on our first appearance yesterd


At the end of last week, I had a sudden onslaught of e-mails and questions about the Harris County District Attorney's Office recent decision to abolish the Animal Cruelty Division.  I got a call for commentary from a local reporter.  My wife asked me about it because she had received an email from Barrio Dogs , a stray dog advocacy group she is a member of.  Another friend asked me about it because she got an e-mail from the SPCA. My response was the same to everyone:  Calm Down. The structure of the District Attorney's Office has absolutely nothing  to do with what crimes they will or will not prosecute.  Mike Anderson made it very clear when he was running for Office that as long as a law is on the books, he plans on prosecuting it.  Just because he dissolves a particular division doesn't mean he is going to cease trying those types of cases. As I pointed out to the reporter I spoke to, Pat Lykos was a savvy politician and she knew that you just couldn't go wro

Tonight's Reasonable Doubt (1/17/13)

Please join me and our host Todd Dupont for tonight's Reasonable Doubt  where our guest will be former-HCCLA president, Defense Attorney extraordinaire, self-proclaimed Czar of Provocation, and now Blogger Robb Fickman .  Robb is a frequent guest of the show but hasn't been on in several months.  I am certain that he will have quite a bit to say and he is always quite entertaining. As always, you can tune in to watch it live streaming at 8:00 p.m. by clicking here .

Judging the Moves

Last Friday, the District Attorney's Office released the first office roster under Mike Anderson, thus completing the first major wave of personnel assignments of his administration. The process began with naming his First Assistant and Bureau Chiefs in December and was completed with naming the new Felony Chiefs and Felony Twos last week. As with every time the Office makes a lot of moves and promotions, there are compliments and criticisms of what was done and why.  In my personal opinion, the moves and promotions run from outstanding and inspired to ill-advised and poor -- and everywhere in between.  I'm not going to specify my thoughts on individual moves. The three words that seem to encapsulate the theory behind the promotions are: Seniority Seniority Seniority. As with all transitions between two administrations, there were some people who did not have their contracts renewed.  In this case, there were six prosecutors who were not renewed.  I'm not naming them

Eric Devlin on Reasonable Doubt [Updated]

UPDATE:  The disk given to Eric for uploading was damaged which is why the upload did not work.  We are hoping to get a new one and update this post. I used to be much more diligent about posting Reasonable Doubt episodes on the blog.  However, the long-haired hippie that I used to download the DVDs to VIMEO so that I could put them on the blog has gotten a little lax in recent months. Luckily, Eric Devlin knows how to do it and hopefully will help me out in the future with it. This is a great episode with Eric.  Every parent should watch it. Reasonable Doubt by HCCLA- January 10, 2013 from Attorney Tech Service on Vimeo .

Tonight's Reasonable Doubt (1/10/13)

Please join me and our host Todd Dupont on tonight's Reasonable Doubt  at 8:00 p.m., where our special guest will be my friend, former-prosecutor, defense attorney and cyber-crimes expert Eric Devlin . There are a ton of interesting topics that fall under the heading of Cyber-Crimes and Eric is an authority.  It will be a very interesting show, so please tune in and call in with your questions. As always, you can watch us live streaming by clicking here.

1000 Posts

I just sat down to write a quick blurb about tonight's Reasonable Doubt  and I saw on my blogger home page that I had reached my 1,000th post on this blog. I wish I could say that it seems just like yesterday when I wrote my first post, but quite frankly it seems like another lifetime ago when this blog started. From the first post to this current one, I never would have imagined how much I have enjoyed writing and talking about what we all do every day.  Some posts have been interesting and well-written, I hope.  The majority have probably fallen way short of that description.  The comments have always been, in my opinion, the most entertaining aspect of it. Thanks to everybody who has participated in reading and commenting on the blog.  Obviously, without you guys, I probably wouldn't have written for more than a week.  Thanks for the insights and the corrections and the laughs. Most importantly thanks for helping me illustrate the jobs that we all do at the Harris Co

Brad Hart's Swearing In

Brad Hart will be sworn in tomorrow as Judge of the 230th District Court by Judge Marc Brown.  He asked me to let everyone know that his formal swearing in will take place at his ceremonial Investiture in the near future. Tomorrow's event will be so he can begin his duties as judge immediately and the Investiture will be when the friends and supporters are all invited to attend. Brad is very touched and honored by the support and well wishes he has gotten this week and didn't want anyone to think that they missed out on his Investiture when they see him on the Bench tomorrow morning. I'll be posting the details on his Investiture (as well as for all the new judges) as they become available to me.

Brad Hart appointed to the 230th Bench

I was beyond ecstatic to hear this afternoon that my good friend and 1st Chief at the D.A.'s Office Brad Hart was appointed by Governor Rick Perry to the 230th District Court Bench .  Brad will be replacing Judge Belinda Hill who is going to the Harris County District Attorney's Office to be 1st Assistant under Mike Anderson. I think we may have a new definition of a win-win situation here. As I noted in my earlier post about Judge Hill, I think she was an amazing jurist and I'm sorry to see her go.  However, the leadership that she will provide to the District Attorney's Office make that loss worthwhile.  Having Brad take her place on the bench will help ease that transition, as well. Brad was the best choice for the bench, in my humble opinion.  He is regarded by his fellow prosecutors as well the Defense Bar for having the highest integrity, intelligence and compassion.  I don't say it lightly when I predict that in the future he will be considered one of t

Anita Magidson

I was sad to hear yesterday of the passing of Anita Magidson , wife of U.S. Attorney and former-District Attorney Ken Magidson.  My sympathy and condolences go out to Ken and their family. I did not know Mrs. Magidson, but had heard many wonderful things about her from people who worked with her at the Office.  Whenever someone talked about Ken's time as a prosecutor at the Office, they always talked about how he fell head over heels in love with his wife there.  I remember when Ken took over as the interim District Attorney in 2008.  Once of the first things he pointed out about why he loved the Office so much was because he had met his wife there. Brian Rogers wrote a very nice article about Anita Magidson that you can read by clicking here . Please keep her family in your prayers.

Major Pain?

I'm getting a lot of messages tonight about a rumor that former District Attorney Pat Lykos is being hired by the Harris County Sheriff's Office as a Major overseeing the Courts Division.  If it weren't for the fact that I'm hearing this rumor from so many different sources, I would have dismissed it as silly.  However, my most credible sources are saying that they've heard it from their most credible sources. If Adrian Garcia really did hire Lykos, it is remarkably stupid of him. First off, to hold the rank of Major, wouldn't Lykos have to be TCLEOSE certified?  She hasn't been certified in 35 years.  Is there a physical component to getting re-certified?  If so, I can't wait to see her on the obstacle course.  She's 70 years old now and still seems intent on forcing herself on the public. More importantly, Lykos has a history of acrimonious relationships with almost everyone she has dealt with professionally -- especially her former employees

The Anderson Era Begins

On the morning of January 1st, I got up around 9:00, put on a suit and tie and headed to the South Texas College of Law to watch Mike Anderson be sworn in as Harris County District Attorney. I wasn't getting sworn in myself -- contrary to popular speculation I wasn't seeking my job back as a prosecutor.  I just wanted to see an Office that had meant so much to me in my life put into the hands of a Leader who would do a good job of running it.  Obviously, this blog has pretty much been devoted to that goal for the past four years or so. January 1, 2013 was a day that I have been waiting for since about May of 2008. I wasn't the only member of the Defense Bar who got up early in the morning on New Year's Day to see Mike Anderson sworn in.  In addition to the Harris County prosecutors, investigators, and support staff there to be sworn in, there were plenty of District Attorney Alumni as well.  I saw Mike Hinton, Brad Means, Chip Lewis, and Todd Leffler there.  Judge