Showing posts from May, 2013

Hell on Earth

If I were to ever write a book about any case I ever tried as a prosecutor, it would be about a murder that happened at the Roadrunner Inn around 2002 or 2003. It wasn't a headline grabbing case by any stretch of the imagination.  It wasn't particularly shocking or gruesome, either.  It just always fascinated me because of the people and circumstances involved in the case -- the victim, the defendants, and the witnesses were all so unique and the lifestyle that went on around the Roadrunner was like watching an episode of HBO's The Wire . The victim in the case was an unusual man named Lonnie, who went by the name of Bonsai.  He was a Jewish man from the Northeast.  His sister told me that he had worked for Motown Records back in the 1950s.  As he grew older, he disconnected from society and became virtually homeless.  He drifted from town to town and fleabag motel to fleabag motel.  He made money for rent and drugs by selling bonsai trees -- hence the nickname.  A few

Tonight's Reasonable Doubt (5/30/13)

Please join me and Todd Dupont as Reasonable Doubt  returns tonight for a live episode for the first time in a while.  Our guest tonight will be criminal defense attorney and HCCLA Vice-President Rand Mintzer . As always, the show starts at 8:00 p.m. and you can catch it live streaming by clicking here . Please call in with your comments and questions.

A Remembrance of Judge A.D. Azios

Judge Mary Lou Keel and the staff of the 232nd District Court are hosting a Celebration in Remembrance of the late Honorable A.D. Azios  on Friday, May 31, 2013. The event is at 12:15 p.m. in the Ceremonial Courtroom on the 20th floor of the Criminal Justice Center and all are invited to attend.

Stupid Is As Roger Does

Never let it be said that it is easy to keep Former Gang-Who-Couldn't-Shoot-Straight Team Leader Roger Bridgwater down. Despite having his tenure as Bureau Chief cut short by the un-electing of Pat Lykos last year and being passed over for an appointment to a judicial bench this year, Mr. Bridgwater has still found a way to interfere with the smooth administration of justice. Brian Rogers is reporting in this article tonight that a Capital Murder jury trial pending in the 339th District Court will have to start over from scratch due to advice given to a juror by Roger.  In his article, Brian reports that a selected juror was concerned about serving on such a serious case as a Capital Murder.  That juror decided to seek some wisdom from his friend -- former prosecutor and former judge Roger Bridgwater. This isn't an unusual phenomenon, actually.  Our friends outside the legal world routinely give criminal law practitioners a call whenever our worlds collide.  Family membe

Mike Anderson's Announcement

I'm sure by now that you have learned that Harris County District Attorney Mike Anderson announced today that he is battling cancer. I don't know any more than what is being reported in the newspaper or television.  No specifics have been released. My thoughts and prayers are with Mike, Devon and their family. We are all praying for you and wish you a speedy recovery.

Happy Birthday Mr. President

Today is HCCLA President Todd Dupont's birthday. In the past, I have been reminded that I forgot it, so I'm actually going proactive this time by wishing him a happy birthday in advance. He did have to remind me again this year, but at least I talked to him before mid-afternoon this time. So, if you see Todd today around the CJC wish him a happy birthday!

Trey Apffel for State Bar President

I don't normally pay a lot of attention to the State Bar Elections. In 2011, I asked for your support to vote for Buck Files for State Bar President because it was important to have a criminal law practitioner be the president for a change.  Mr. Files was elected and he's done a great job of making issues involving Criminal Law relevant to the State Bar. This year, the election for State Bar President has gone to a run-off between League City attorney Trey Apffel and an attorney named Steve Fischer . I voted for Apffel in the general election, and I just voted for him again in the run-off.  Although his credentials are certainly impressive, I don't know the man. But I am very concerned about his opponent's ability to lead the State Bar. Fisher is running on a promise to "shake up" the State Bar, which I'm all for.  However, when things get "shaken up" the general hope is that they are changed for the better.  Fischer's vision for t

Black Robe Disease

I normally don't write about local cases that didn't happen in Harris County, but I think that this story is an exception. If you are a local reader, I'm sure you've read by now about Margaret Young, the venire member held in contempt by Judge Kelly Case for failing to attend jury duty.   She opted to attend a celebration of a student being diagnosed as cancer-free, rather responding to a jury duty summons. Here's the irony behind the story -- every day, a large number of people completely disregard their jury summons.  They just toss it in the garbage. In the vast majority of those cases, absolutely nothing  happens to the person who failed to attend jury duty.  I mean, seriously, nothing . In the case of Ms. Young, it is my understanding that she called in and attempted to reschedule.  Due to the fact that she actually felt enough civic responsibility to call in, the Court was made aware of the fact that she did not plan on coming.  Since she had made he

Tara George Departs

Tonight was my friend Tara George's going-away party from the Harris County District Attorney's Office.  I would have posted about it earlier, but I didn't hear about the party until today. Before anybody starts spouting conspiracy theories about anything, Tara and her family are moving out of town.  She told me the town and she insists that it is in Texas, but I have my doubts. To put it mildly, Tara's departure from the D.A.'s Office is a tremendous loss. Tara was, without question, one of the Office's elite prosecutors.  She has a brilliant mind and a tenacious spirit that no defense attorney would ever want to be on the wrong side of. She was also very practical.  She would evaluate a case based on its legal merits and she had the guts to acknowledge that a case couldn't be proven, even if the facts were upsetting.  She trained the people that she worked with to operate under the ethic that they should do everything they could to prove the toughe