Showing posts from 2016

The Ogg Administration [Minor Edit]

After many (mostly accurate) rumors, incoming Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced the personnel for her upper administration today.  With some glaring exceptions, for the most part the choices are pretty good.   From the comments that are already coming in (before I had the opportunity to write this particular post), it is clear that there will be some criticisms, but the following are my personal opinions of the individual hires: Vivian King -- Chief of Staff   To begin with, Chief of Staff is a relatively  new position within the Harris County District Attorney's Office, but it makes sense to have one.  It wasn't there when I was there, but it has been brought to my attention that the position was created under the Anderson Administration.  Kathy Braddock has held the position since it was created, which also makes sense because Kathy is awesome.  The First Assistant position has traditionally been a de facto  Chief of Staff position, but given the logistical

One of My Odder Facebook Friend Requests . . .

I had this pop up in my Facebook feed a few days before Christmas, unexpectedly. It was Christmas Time, so I thought in the spirit of the season, I'd accept. Alas, he unfriended me a few days later. Such a tease, Jim.  Such a tease.

Chip Lewis's End of Year Party

Our friend, Chip Lewis, is hosting an End of Year Party for all Harris County District Attorney Alumni, as well as the survivors all present employees. The party is on Thursday, December 29th at 5:00 p.m. at Gloria's (2616 Louisiana) in Midtown.  Cocktails and appetizers will be provided. To quote Chip: Bring loved ones and friends.  Everyone deserves a better ending to 2016. Hope to see you all there.

Victims, Phone Calls and Press Conferences

This morning, I was out driving around with my wife doing a little Christmas shopping when all of a sudden my phone started blowing up with repeated text messages from people saying that Harris County District Attorney-Elect Kim Ogg was talking about this blog in a press conference. I wasn't able to watch the full conference until I got back home from running errands.  The gist of what was being reported was that Ogg was accusing prosecutors Justin Keiter, Nick Socias, and Gretchen Flader of contacting victims of crime in an attempt to create an atmosphere of distrust with the incoming administration.  Noting that all three prosecutors were not invited back under her administration,  Ogg stated that the actions were unprofessional, possibly criminal, and that she would be doing a full investigation when she took Office on January 1st. So, when I got home I had a chance to watch the press conference , and I found some things to be somewhat strange. The first instance that Ogg

The Buzbee Dismissal

Okay, so the CJC has been a pretty big hotbed of activity over the past 24 hours.  I will talk about Kim Ogg's press conference in a post after this one, but I wanted to begin with discussing the rather murky circumstances surrounding the dismissal of prominent attorney Tony Buzbee's DWI case yesterday. First off, in the interest of full disclosure, Buzbee's attorneys, Paul Doyle and Allen Tanner, are both good attorneys and good friends of mine.  I'm not going to talk about the facts behind Buzbee's arrest, because I don't know the facts. I will say, however,  that if you are a defense attorney who gets a dismissal for your client, then you've done a good job for your client.  Period. The second thing I will say is that Brian Rogers did a very good write up about the facts of the case.  Brian and I aren't friends, but he did do a nice job with a thorough article here that seems to cover the interesting aspects of politics and law on this case. So

Wayne Weighs In

In response to my post yesterday about Bloody Friday , Kim Ogg spokesperson Wayne Dolcefino took issue with me insinuating that the Ogg Administration had alerted the media that the mass firings were taking place at noon on Friday. He responded with a lengthy comment that clearly missed the conciliatory elements of my post and labeled the insinuation of the Ogg team alerting the media as a "Cheap Shot." As it turns out, he was telling the truth. Although not denying that the firings by e-mail had been announced with 24 hours notice, and that they were done without face-to-face interaction, the Ogg Administration did not, in fact, notify the media. I mean, they did totally give them 24 hours to figure out what was going to happen, but that's just semantics. Local media picked up on some Facebook chatter from different people at the CJC (including me) and figured out what was going on.  That's why they posted. So, Dolcefino was telling the truth when he sta

Bloody Friday

True confession time. I voted for Kim Ogg. It wasn't an easy decision.  I had a few reservations about some of Kim's portrayals to the media on things she knew weren't exactly accurate when it came to the law.  Kim is a former Chief Prosecutor under Johnny Holmes and she knew better.  She did a lot of spinning on things that were contrary to law in order to get some votes. I like Devon Anderson and I adored Mike.  Not voting for her bothered me tremendously.  It wasn't because I bought into the hype and spin of the Planned Parenthood or "Jailed Rape Victim" stories or that I thought she was a bad person. But at the end of the day, things Devon said on the campaign trail led me to believe that there was too much of an "Us versus Them" mentality that she fostered at the D.A.'s Office.  This culminated in her saying something to the effect of "We all know there is nothing a defense attorney won't say to get a case reversed" dur

Rick Johnson

I've been in trial for the past week, so I'm very late in posting about the passing of Rick Johnson.  As sad as I was to learn of Rick's passing, I'm glad that the Harris County legal community and the local media took the opportunity to let him know how much we all loved him. Despite the tremendous amount of media attention that Rick got in his last days, I wanted to share just a few words of remembrance about him. I don't remember exactly when Rick started showing up outside of the CJC.  It seems like it was shortly after the D.A.'s Office and the courts moved back into 1201 Franklin after being displaced in the wake of Tropical Storm Allison, which would have been around 2002 or 2003, I think.  The news reports about him said he had been a fixture outside of the CJC for ten years, but it seems like longer than that to me, for some reason. Courthouses tend to attract a lot of people asking for money (besides the lawyers).  Over the years, there have been

GUEST POST: Trepidation and Chronophobia …

Editor Note:  I got a request from a friend in law enforcement who asked to write a blog post focusing on changes at the HCSO.   I have many friends who walk the halls of the CJC, conducting their daily business.  Some always seem to have a smile on their face, and some have that eternal scowl.  However, recently, I noticed that people’s nonverbal cues have become disheartening.  I work for another part of the justice system, and have been a part of the justice system for over 20 years.  I have been a part of quite a few regime changes, and have been an onlooker to several regime changes at the CJC.   Murray has been quite eloquent, and has usually been on-point, in regards to the politics at the CJC.  However, even he realizes he is not an expert in the politics of the law enforcement side of the CJC.  So, I decided to step up to the computer and write some comments. When Adrian Garcia took office years ago, those two words from the beginning of my post were very prevalen

What Happens Now?

Walking through the halls of the CJC this morning brought a very unwelcome feeling of deja vu.  Eight years have passed since November 5, 2008, but there were many unpleasant similarities between that election's "morning after" and today. To be fair, there were some minor differences, too.  In 2008,  we prosecutors had known since May that someone from outside the D.A.'s Office would be taking over -- we just had to wait until November to find out exactly who  that person would be.  We had a politically neutral caretaker in the form of Ken Magidson, who was there to facilitate the incoming Pat Lykos Adminstration, and he had been a calming force in the transition.  We had been through so much turmoil earlier in the year that Lykos' victory seemed somewhat anti-climactic. And then the morning after arrived. The rumors started swirling immediately.  Rumors of who was getting fired.  Rumors of who was getting hired.  Rumors of demotions, promotions, and policy