Showing posts from January, 2015

An Unworkable Drug Policy

Yesterday, the Harris County District Attorney's Office made a radical change to their Operations Manual addressing how prosecutors will deal with Controlled Substances cases. The change, which takes effect immediately, prohibits prosecutors from making a recommendation (or agreeing to go to a judge without a recommendation) on any controlled substance case, unless there is a lab report confirming that controlled substance.  The only possible exception to this rule would be if a prosecutor were to recommend that "a defendant housed in jail receive a term of community supervision with no additional jail confinement as a condition of the community supervision." The idea behind this change in policy was doubtlessly a noble one.  Too many defendants were entering into plea bargain agreements on drug cases only to later find out that the drugs in question were not controlled substances after all.  In situations where a lab report revealed a substance not to be a controlled

When the Ax Falls

Harris County Criminal Justice Center regulars were shocked over the past several days as the District Attorney's Office conducted a mass firing of prosecutors and other personnel.  The Office firing so many employees at one time hasn't been seen since . . . well, since the incoming Lykos Administration decided to fire me and several other prosecutors, investigators and secretaries at the end of 2008. As I can attest, getting fired isn't much fun.  In addition to being embarrassing, it also fills your life with a level of uncertainty that you weren't expecting to address at this stage of the game.  (I'm not going to post the name of anyone who got fired here, nor will I publish the names in the comments.) Some of those who lost their jobs were already at the Office when I started back in 1999.  Others started while I was still there and some started after I was gone.  I think I knew almost all of them. And for the life of me, I'm not real sure why they wer

If Your Doctor was Your Lawyer

Back in 2013, when I was going through a round of chemotherapy for leukemia, my wife remarked, "You know, one thing I will give you credit for is that you do listen to your doctors." She meant that when the doctors prescribed a regimen for me, I followed their instructions to the most minute detail.   "Why wouldn't I?"  I asked.  "They are professionals.  I went to them with a problem and they told me the best way to handle it.  Why would I disregard that advice?" I went on to tell her that sometimes, by analogy, lawyers have a similar job to doctors.  They go to school and train so that they can help others.  (NOTE: Yes, I know that is a very sterilized and idyllic way of viewing the job of the lawyer, but go with it for the sake of the blog post.)  I told her that despite my legal advice, some  clients often think they know better.  If they heard some news or advice from me that they didn't want to hear, they immediately cited somethin

Hey, I Won Something!

Shortly after I wrote my post this morning about my goal of writing more in 2015, I got an e-mail from my Uncle John congratulating me on winning Scott Greenfield's 2014 Jdog Memorial Best Blog Post Award . I didn't even know that I had been nominated, much less that I had won anything. To say that I'm happy about the award is an understatement.  Scott is a friend that I met through blogging.  He's an amazing writer with a mind that works overtime.  To win a blogging award coming from somebody who writes like he does means quite a bit to me. I was also very flattered to learn that I had been nominated by Harris County Public Defender Alex Bunin, which is also an honor.  Alex is also a friend that I have a tremendous amount of respect for. You guys made my day and I can't thank you enough.  It was a great way to start out the New Year. P.S.  I also have to thank my wife who edits my posts and catches the vast majority of my grammatical train wrecks.

Happy 2015!

At the end of 2013, I found myself looking very forward to the idea of 2014 being a much less eventful  year.  Having fought a small battle with a very curable strain of leukemia and then rolling straight into the birth of my youngest son, I was a little exhausted this time last year. Luckily, 2014 was a much less eventful year.  My family and I moved into a new house, but compared to the events of the preceding year, that was a walk in the park. I did stay pretty busy all year -- both at work and on the home front.  That aforementioned youngest son didn't start sleeping through the night until after he celebrated his first birthday in October.  Sleep around the house was a precious commodity. I'm writing all of that as a lame way of explaining why I haven't been writing much at all lately.  For the few remaining readers of this blog, I'm going to try to step it up a notch.  I like writing and I miss it. My goal for 2015 is to write at least a post a day a week