Showing posts from February, 2013

Loretta Smith's Last Day

Big congratulations to legendary HCDA Administrative Assistant Loretta Smith of the 209th District Court on her retirement today after 17 and a half years. I first met Loretta after my second year of law school, when I did an Academic Internship in Judge Michael McSpadden's court back in 1998.  She and Investigator Suzanne Jones helped me figure out what in the hell I was doing back then.  The next year, they helped me get hired by the Office as an Assistant District Attorney. Loretta, Me & Suzanne Loretta is a legend and a fixture in the D.A.'s Office.  Everyone who worked in the court became a family member to her.  She remembered every last detail of your personal life and she was never shy about giving you advice -- whether you asked for it or not.  Her sarcastic wit and sense of humor made her a perfect fit for that office and the place won't be the same without her  and her monthly notices on the 25th of how many months away from Christmas we are.    Co

Tonight's Reasonable Doubt (2/28/13) - UPDATED

UPDATE:  Due to a previously unscheduled opportunity to spend the evening with my son, Robb Fickman will be handling the co-hosting duties this evening.  I apologize in advance for my legion of fans who had planned to bask in the light coming off of my scalp. Please join me and our host Todd Dupont for tonight's Reasonable Doubt  where our guest will be defense attorney extraordinaire Troy McKinney. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. and you can catch it live streaming by clicking here .

Judge Ryan Patrick's Investiture

The Investiture Ceremony for Judge Ryan Patrick of the 177th District Court will be held this Friday, March 1st at 12:00 p.m. in the Ceremonial Courtroom on the 20th Floor of the CJC. A reception will follow in the 177th Courtroom. All are invited to attend!

The Bunker Mentality

As you may or may not be aware by now, the mandatory ethics training hosted by the Harris County District Attorney's Office on January 31st has recently come under attack by political pundit and die-hard Pat Lykos fan, David "Big Jolly" Jennings .   Big Jolly says: "Immediately after the conclusion of newly elected Harris County District Attorney Mike Anderson's first training session for Assistant District Attorneys several  [emphasis added]  people that were appalled by the "training" asked me to look into it." Gee, I wonder who those "several" people were. Now (after I get this image of "Super Jolly to the rescue!" out of my head) let me point out a couple of things that I think are relevant before we break down his interpretation. First off, David Jennings isn't a lawyer.  I'm not saying that makes him less intelligent -- Dave is very intelligent -- however, he often misses finer points of law.  At the early p

The Inheritance - UPDATED

UPDATE:  Since the writing of this post, I have been informed that the District Attorney's Office has recused themselves from the Chiofalo cases. Grits for Breakfast  recently reported that when newly-elected Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty took over her new position from outgoing D.A. John Bradley, she found  a welcoming gift in her desk drawer of a headless corral snake .  This idea of a joke  was clearly unprofessional, juvenile and mean-spirited; however, when considering the welcoming gifts provided during the Harris County District Attorney transition, it may pale in comparison. When Mike Anderson took over for Pat Lykos on January 1st, he knew that he had a long road ahead of him.  The prosecutors' morale was down after four years of working under Lykos, Jim Leitner and Roger Bridgwater.  The Office's relationship with county-wide law enforcement agencies was strained.  The budget and the Office's Asset Forfeiture fund had been radically deplete

REMINDER: Judge Kristin Guiney's Investiture Thursday

Just a quick reminder that the Investiture for Judge Kristin Guiney will be on Thursday, February 21st at 12:00 in the Ceremonial Courtroom on the 20th Floor. There will be a reception following the ceremony in the 179th District Courtroom. All are invited to attend!

The DAO vs. Defense Bar Softball Game

When Mike Anderson came on Reasonable Doubt  shortly after winning the election in November, one of the things he stated he would like to do was to boost the spirit of collegiality between the prosecutors of his Office and the Defense Bar.  One of his ideas was to get a softball game going between prosecutors and defense attorneys. HCCLA has responded to the challenge and a DA vs. Defense Attorney softball game is now being planned under the supervision of Rick Detoto . The time and place of the game has yet to be determined, but Rick is starting to get a roster together.  All interested members of the Defense Bar should contact him at . I haven't heard who is handling the recruiting on the D.A. side, but I will let you know as soon as I hear.

Mark Your Calendars

There are a couple of upcoming social events coming up from within the D.A.'s Office that I've been asked to make you guys aware of. On Thursday, February, February 21st   at 5:01 p.m.,   there will be a D.A. Office Reunion Happy Hour for current and former Harris County Prosecutors on the second floor of Treebeard's on Market Square. The following week, on Thursday, February 28th   at 5:01 p.m., there will be a Retirement/Going-Away Party for the legendary Loretta Smith.  Momma Lo' is retiring after 17.5 years at the District Attorney's Office, where she has been the Administrative Assistant for the 209th District Court prosecutors ever since I can remember.  I'll be writing more about her later! Loretta's party will be at Gloria's (formerly Ruby Tequila's) located at 2616 Louisiana, Houston, TX 77006.  Those interested in making a donation/contribution to party expenses can contact Tammy Ratley.

Katherine Cabaniss named 248th District Court Judge

I was excited to hear yesterday afternoon that my friend and former chief Katherine Cabaniss has been named by Governor Perry to replace Joan Campbell as the new Judge of the 248th District Court. I had the opportunity to work for Katherine when she was my chief in the 174th District Court under Judge George Godwin.  Those were some of my favorite days of my career at the D.A.'s Office.  Of all the chiefs I worked for, she was one of my favorites (if not THE favorite). Katherine was always the picture of poise and professionalism as a prosecutor.  She fought fiercely for her cases, but would look into any claim a defense attorney brought to her attention.  She was compassionate and kind when the case called for it, but could be tougher than nails when that was called for as well.  Regardless of the case she was handling, she treated everyone that she talked to with respect. On a personal note, Katherine was my chief when I was expecting the birth of my son.  She was like havi

Signs Your Old Division Chief Doesn't Want to Be Seen with You

I decided this week to invite my old Division Chief to lunch.  I've mentioned him on the blog before but to protect his identity, I've given him the codename of Greg Couldhart.  I referenced him here back in 2008 as the "Play It Off Guy" in an addendum to my all-time favorite post: Stupid Elevator People . So, I shoot him a text message, inviting him to lunch.  He accepts and we decide on a place to meet the following day after I get out of court.  NOTE:  If it isn't already apparent, my writing is in blue and  Goodhart's  Couldhart's is in white. Please note the meeting point that he suggests. The following morning, I confirm lunch plans with him. To which he replies: I'm starting to think he doesn't want me to swing by his office.   I decide to firm up the time, and he replies with: At this point, I've begun to develop a complex, so I decide to mess with him.  This attempt goes right over his head.

Back in the Saddle Again

I got a phone call from a friend of mine last night who asked me if the FCC had shut down my blog yet for being too boring.  I can't say that I fault him much for his question. I was in trial for the better part of last week, and we had picked a jury the Thursday before that.  I'm not saying that being in trial monopolizes all of my time, but it does seem to quash any desire that I have to write anything on the blog. As it always seems, whenever I don't have the ability to write something, a ton of stories that I want to write about pop up. I was in the middle of jury selection when I was informed about the murder of Kaufman County prosecutor Mark Hasse.   I got several text messages and e-mails asking me why I hadn't posted anything on him.  Please know that it wasn't indifference.  I honestly don't know what to say.   Obviously any time a public servant is killed in the line of duty -- whether it be a police officer, a fireman, a prosecutor or a teache

Tonight's Reasonable Doubt (2/7/13)

Please join me and our host Todd Dupont for tonight's Reasonable Doubt  with special guest Carmen Roe .  Carmen was scheduled to be on a few weeks ago but we had a last minute change of plans, so please tune in tonight at 8:00 p.m. As always, you can catch us live streaming by clicking here .

Memorial Plaque Ceremony

Tomorrow (Thursday, Ferbruary 7th) there will be a ceremony at 11:00 a.m. on the 7th Floor Trial Ready Room of the CJC honoring those members of the Harris County Defense Bar who have passed away over the past year. Those who will be remembered with a ceremonial plaque are Michael Barrow, Rayford Carter, Suzie Chambliss,  Fred Heacock, Claude Hippard, Bennie House, Travis Johnson, Jim Lindeman, Michael Mapes, Ray Montgomery, John V. O'Sullivan, Charlie Portz,  Thomas Preston and Jim Steele. HCCLA President Chris Tritico and President-Elect Todd Dupont will be speaking, along Robb Fickman and the Honorable Jay Karahan.  Refreshments will be served afterwards and all are invited to attend.

Robb Fickman on Reasonable Doubt

Reasonable Doubt- January 17th, 2013 Episode featuring Rob Fickman from Attorney Tech Service on Vimeo .

Eric Devlin on Reasonable Doubt (Second Try)

Reasonable Doubt- January 10th, 2013- Eric Devlin from Attorney Tech Service of Houston from Attorney Tech Service on Vimeo .