Showing posts from July, 2013

Reviewing How We Select Judges

I had a moment to sit down with a cup of coffee and read the print edition of the Houston Chronicle  this morning when I came across this editorial , supporting Rep. Justin Rodriguez's bill that would change how Texas selects judges. I usually get my information on criminal law-related Senate and House bills from Grits , so I was surprised I hadn't heard about this one.  If Grits wrote about it, I totally missed it. Those of us who practice criminal law know that partisan politics have no place in the judiciary.  In addition to opening the doors to the influence of party hacks who have no understanding of how the criminal justice system works (i.e. Terry Lowry & Jared Woodfill), partisan elections for judges contradict the ideals of Separation of Powers. What good is a judge if he or she is more loyal to following party lines rather than interpreting the laws of Texas and the United States? I've said before that I don't believe that we will ever see our jud

Todd Keagle Departs

There is a going away party this afternoon at 5:00 p.m. at OKRA Charity Bar (924 Congress) for Vehicular Crimes Chief Todd Keagle. After nine years with the Harris County District Attorney's Office, Todd and his family are moving to San Antonio.  Todd's departure is a very big loss for the Office. I didn't know Todd very well during my time at the D.A.'s Office, but I've worked with him extensively on the defense side on an extremely complicated case that seemed like it went on forever.  He knew what he was doing when it came to the intoxication offenses that he investigated and he always seemed about three steps ahead of everyone else.  He was professional and no nonsense when it came to handling the facts of his case. However, Todd didn't let the strength of the State's case lead him to making unfair decisions on his recommendations.  He was fair and he was willing to hear out anything I brought to him on behalf of my client. He turned over every l

No Respect for the Elders

CLIENT:  That gun doesn't even work.  It was my grandfather's from World War II.  It's older than I am! ME:  Okay. CLIENT:  It's probably even older than you are. ME:   "Probably??"


A conversation between me and a client in the holdover today. HIM:  I need you to call my girl, man.  She's gone bucknoid. ME:  Bucknoid? HIM:  Yeah. ME:  You're saying "buck" and "noid"together? HIM:  Yeah. ME:  Like a combination between "buck wild" and "paranoid"? HIM:  Exactly. ME:  Alrighty then.

The Zimmerman Verdict

Unless you went to bed at sundown last night, I'm sure that by now you have heard or read that George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the Trayvon Martin murder case. If you are on Facebook, I'm sure that your computer screen is completely full of your friends expressing outrage over the verdict and declaring it to be racist.   To read these types of statements coming from the general public is completely understandable. To read them coming from criminal defense attorneys is completely inexcusable. The fundamental principle in criminal law is that before a person accused can be convicted of a crime, it must be proven, by the evidence, to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt -- public perception of said crime and any other factor outside  of that evidence be damned.  Criminal defense attorneys celebrate that principle and hold out Atticus Finch as our role model of the lawyer who stood and fought for an unpopular cause he believed in. The public will rant and rave against

Well . . . Crap

Yesterday, the Houston Chronicle reported in this story that the personal identification information of all county employees who were working in 2005 and 2007 was unlawfully misappropriated by an outside source.  Names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers were among the information taken. You can read the story by clicking the link, but I've heard that the information stolen was being tracked to locations as far away as Vietnam.  I've also heard that the County Attorney's Office has known for quite some time (possibly years) that all of our information had been accessed but was sitting on the info to avoid any legal unpleasantness. As of this writing, I've yet to be offically notified by any the County that my information has been stolen, and to my knowledge, none of my former co-workers have been either.

Docket Management

A few weeks ago, I had the distinct displeasure of having a flight home re-rerouted through Chicago's Midway Airport.  It had been raining all day in Chicago and most flights had been significantly delayed.  The airport was packed from end to end with people waiting on their delayed flights.  Finding a place to sit down was out of the question, and at one point, I texted my wife and told her, "I don't even have room to get out of the way!" Luckily, I was prepared for these type of conditions because of the daily training we all receive at the elevator banks of the Harris County Criminal Justice Center.  This Tuesday morning around 9:45 a.m., I was stuck at the elevator bank on the 10th floor for 30 minutes waiting on an elevator that wasn't already filled past maximum capacity and I found myself actually appreciating the spaciousness of Midway Airport. The CJC is (and always has been) ridiculously overcrowded and the poor design of the facility aggravates that

Catching Up

So, after about four months (off and on) on the road working as a consultant (not a producer) on Cold Justice , we're finally done with filming for Season One and I'm back home for good.  Working on the show was a lot of work with very long days, but I enjoyed the hell out of it.  I think the show is going to be awesome when it airs. I know the blog has been slacking badly in my absence.  I haven't been around to follow up on the latest news and gossip.  I would hear bits and pieces of news while I was out on the road, but I didn't have the time or resources to confirm what I was seeing until it was old news. What's funny is that most of the comments I got about my absence from the blawgosphere were from people who hate the blog in the first place.  I suppose it just fulfills some need of theirs to be angry and they missed me. I was in Arizona when I learned about Mike Anderson's cancer diagnosis.  As a friend of Mike's and as a father and husband myse

HCCLA's Annual Declaration of Independence Reading

Please join HCCLA tomorrow, July 3rd at 11:30 a.m. for the annual reading of the Declaration of Independence on the front door steps of the Harris County Criminal Justice Center. This tradition began in Harris County under the leadership of Robb Fickman and other members of HCCLA several years ago.  It has since expanded into approximately fifty counties around Texas as well as many other States around the country. HCCLA Board Member Tyler Flood even read the Declaration outside of British Parliament already this year.  (NOTE:  I think he did it early to avoid being bayonetted by people in powdered wigs.) It is a fantastic tradition that pays to tribute to the origins of what we all do every day at the CJC. I hope that everyone who can attend will be there.