Saturday, January 14, 2017

HCCLA and the Former Prosecutor

As I've always said (and truly believed), Harris County, Texas is home to some of the greatest criminal litigators in the Nation -- on both the prosecution and defense side of things.  Therefore, it stands to reason that Harris County would also be home to one of the best (and largest) criminal defense lawyers' association in the form of the aptly named Harris County Criminal Lawyers' Association (HCCLA for short).

Historically, HCCLA has been a highly respected organization with a Who's Who of distinguished and prominent criminal defense attorneys, as well as Lloyd Oliver, on the list of past presidents.  They sponsor numerous CLE seminars that are free to members, have a Strike Force to help attorneys who find themselves on the wrong side of a contempt charge, and a Christmas Party that is the social event of the Criminal Justice Season.

And then there is the Listserve.

In theory, the Listserve is a message board for attorneys to assist each other with legal issues or to ask for advice.  Oftentimes, that actually is what it is used for, and longtime defense attorney Troy McKinney serves as HCCLA's greatest asset when it comes to giving outstanding legal advice to those who seek it.  The Listserve is more often used for gossiping and complaining about prosecutors and judges, and although everyone on the Listserve is sworn to utter secrecy, information leaks out of it like water through the Titanic.

When I left the D.A.'s Office, Mark Bennett and Tyler Flood (who is, coincidentally now HCCLA's President) strongly encouraged me to join the Group.  I did, and I was glad that I did.  I became involved and after a year or so, I ran for the Board and won.  A year or so after that, incoming President Todd Dupont asked me to run for Secretary, which I did and also won.  Despite having a baby on the way and dealing with chemotherapy, I did the best I could with the position.  I co-hosted HCCLA's weekly television show, Reasonable Doubt.  I even planned a CLE from my hospital bed with my then-friend and President-Elect Carmen Roe sitting in the room, helping me.

But my position on the Board didn't sit well with some of the more senior members of HCCLA.  One in particular really didn't like me working as a legal consultant on Cold Justice.   When I ran for Vice President the following year, my good friend Carmen and some others made sure I had opposition.  Incoming President Roe wrote a mass email encouraging people to vote for Mark Bennett over me.  Somehow, I wasn't included on the e-mail and didn't find out about it until somebody else told me.  To this day, I've never felt more betrayed by a closer friend.  We haven't spoken since.

Mark won the election, and I was the first to congratulate him.  I then resigned from HCCLA over his encouragement not to.  I knew it looked like sour grapes, but I just couldn't bring myself to pay membership dues to an organization run by Carmen Roe and others who clearly didn't want me involved in it.

That was three years ago.  I didn't write about my reasons for leaving then.  I still thought that HCCLA was a good organization.  It just wasn't for me -- clearly.  Despite my personal experience, I still encouraged new criminal defense lawyers to join.

But I was reminded of my negative experience with HCCLA this week after the organization's treatment of recent HCDA alum, Nathan Hennigan.

Hennigan, who was one of the 38 prosecutors fired not offered positions under the Ogg Administration, was vocal in the wake of his termination.  He was a senior prosecutor and a District Court chief with a good reputation with the vast majority of the Defense Bar. Shortly after Nathan's termination, the hosts of Reasonable Doubt invited Hennigan to appear on the show and share his thoughts.

The next day, the hosts told him they had to rescind their invitation because someone high up in HCCLA didn't think he needed to be on the show.  The reason he was given at the time was that he wasn't an actual member of HCCLA and therefore their rules prohibited him from being on the show yet.

Of course, that whole thing about having to be a member of HCCLA to be a guest on their show is a bunch of crap.  I should know.  Not only was I one of the hosts on the show for a good chunk of time, I was also invited to be a guest on the show two weeks ago.  As noted above, I'm not a member, either.

Hennigan applied to become a member of HCCLA and his membership came up for a vote before the Board of Directors this week.

His membership was rejected.  When he shared the rejection on his Facebook page, the CJC community went nuts.  Several Board members posted that they had voted for him, although nobody gave any details as to what had happened.  Other members expressed outrage that Hennigan's membership hadn't been approved and encouraged him to reapply.

Obviously I wasn't there, but as I mentioned before, confidentiality within HCCLA is about as leak-proof as the Titanic.  There has been word that a senior defense attorney sent one of his lackeys to convey the message that if Hennigan were granted membership, the senior defense attorney would quit the organization (God forbid).  What happened after that is anybody's guess.

The thing that is interesting about this is that nowhere in HCCLA's Mission Statement does it mention that it only helps defense attorneys that are universally loved.


And apparently, in HCCLA, some members are most definitely more equal than others.

At the end of the day, there are plenty of us who are not members of HCCLA that are doing just fine on our own.  That doesn't mean it isn't a good organization, but it isn't critical to survival.  The Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers' Association offers outstanding support and help like HCCLA does, just without the petty backroom drama.  The Houston Bar Association also has a drama-free Criminal Law section.  As of this writing, my understanding is that President Flood is much more concerned about figuring out how the details of the Hennigan Vote got leaked rather than the larger issue of why one attorney gets to dictate membership.

Ultimately, I'm not sure why any former prosecutor would want to be a part of HCCLA if this is going to be the example the organization sets. 


49 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have the emails from Phil Gommels, Lori Bottelo, Damon Parish, and Tyler Flood. And I'm a prosecutor. The Titanic analogy is correct. And they're worried about Nathan's "loose lips." I have lost all respect for Carmen Roe as well.

Anonymous said...

These people should be publicly shamed. Post the emails.

Anonymous said...

I would. But the blog doesn't allow photos in the comments. Will try to post piece by piece.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure if you sent them to Murray he would find a way to publish them and still keep your anonymity.

Anonymous said...

And that's how the sausage is made, folks.

Anonymous said...

A major problem with the HCCLA has long been the middle school politics displayed by some of the more vocal players of the organization, enough of the hand wringing crowd in charge that consider anyone fresh out of the DA's office to be somehow tainted making it less valuable a resource than it could be. That there are some who throw their weight around is not surprising, consider for a micro second the size of the egos the defense community produces around here, but the fact that elected leaders kiss their backsides all too often is simply sad. The top twenty most prestigious members could walk out the door tomorrow over some petty matter and the organization would be better for it, but don't dare tell that to the board or you'll find all sorts of shitty little ways they engage in retaliation. Let's see those emails and feel free to offer some of these defects space to defend their childish actions.

Murray Newman said...

I received the email forwards that included Listserve emails from Lori Botello, Damon Parrish, Phil Gommels and Tyler Flood, but I'm not going to publish them. Suffice it to say that, as noted in this post, the organization is extremely leaky.

I will say that nothing in their emails contradicts anything in my post and I find it interesting that Tyler mentions that Kim Ogg is investigating Hennigan for ethical violations. Nathan wasn't mentioned in Kim's ill-advised press conference when she started blasting prosecutors who displeased her, so I'm curious as to just how that Ogg to HCCLA Information Pipeline is working. It certainly seems to be working enough to keep Hennigan out of HCCLA and off the air on Reasonable Doubt.

Once again, it is extremely obvious that HCCLA has stepped away from their Mission Statement when it comes to how the upper Admin is being run.

Anonymous said...

Since when does the DA get to "investigate ethical violations" of someone who no longer works for her?

Anonymous said...

@9:58, more accurately, "never worked for her", opening up a whole slew of additional concerns tied to the new administration.

Murray, in light of your new information, it sounds like Kim Ogg is not content with removing scores of people from the office but also wants to punish them further in any way possible. Consider how the working stiff might take the press conference abuses to heart, Ogg firmly planting the idea that those former ADAs were tainted and involved in criminal acts, now we find out that others are getting a dose of it too via the HCCLA pipeline she is using to discredit others, sabotaging professional affiliations while still wiping the egg off her face from the more public display of ego she undertook. It sounds worthy of a whole new article on the face of it even if you're not inclined to share the specifics of the messages.

Anonymous said...

Murray, you shouldn't be mad at Carmen because she couldn't come up with an original thought if it fell on her head. Everyone knows she's the hand puppet for many a criminal defense lawyer.

Nathan Hennigan said...

I have seen the emails. It seems Tyler and crew are putting a lot of importance into Kim Ogg's "investigation" into former prosecutors. Just so everyone understands, Kim held a press conference threatening to criminally investigate ex-ADAs (I wasn't mentioned, but she accused another ex-ADA of saying something that I had said) for TALKING to the families of murder victims WHILE they were ADAs. She was further upset that some of them may have said mean things about her. Even if all that was true, saying mean things about someone is a laughable reason for any criminal investigation.

But the truth is that as far as I am concerned, I am completely innocent of any malfeasance. I spoke with some families of murder victims after I was fired. I told them each 1) that I was fired, 2) that I didn't yet know who would replace me as the prosecutor on the case, and 3) that I was sorry I wouldn't be able to see the case through. That was it. Rather than disparage whoever was taking over the cases, I told them truthfully that there were many dedicated, outstanding prosecutors left at the Office that were capable of handling their cases. These were folks with which I had long-term relationships of trust. I know too well how painful the process is for the victims of serious crimes as I have spent the majority of my career working with them. I would never use them as political pawns like Kim Ogg did with "Jenny."

So Kim Ogg has cast the pall of suspicion on those of us that she fired. She has absolutely zero evidence of any malfeasance on my part. Because there isn't any. I don't know whether there really is an "investigation." Tyler Flood probably knows better than I do given his close relationship with her throughout the campaign. I have made this offer repeatedly and I will publicly do it again. If there is indeed an investigation, I will voluntarily come in and tell Kim who I talked to, what I said, and she can verify it with those people. I would ask that after doing that she publicly hold another press conference, in the same place she held the first one, declaring me and the rest of us free of any wrongdoing. Because her baseless accusations have now been used against me in denying me membership to a professional organization. I am not kidding. Kim Ogg: please call me and I will tell you exactly what I did so you can close your "investigation." If she won't call me, I will go on assuming that the "investigation" was nothing more than a talking point scrawled out by an delusional Wayne Dolcefino and that there isn't one.

Many of the people responsible for denying me entry into HCCLA have never met me. I have no ill will towards them because they were probably operating on false information about the "investigation." I invite any of them to talk to me and get to know me. I plan on being around the courthouse for a long time.

As for HCCLA, I have a little advice for the organization and its leaders. You might want to consider abandoning litmus tests about a prospective member's past speech, opinions they might have, and your personal opinions about them when deciding who to let in your club. As you have certainly learned in the last few days, the approach that was used in voting on my application will tear your organization apart because every potential member will have people who either like or don't like them. A better practice would be to welcome anyone engaged in the practice of criminal defense. Also, as criminal defense lawyers, they should certainly understand the unfairness of using various levels of hearsay and whispered gossip about a person to evaluate them without actually asking that person about their concerns and giving them an opportunity to address the issue. I am confident that had that been done in my case, this whole unfortunate mess could have been avoided.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see the listserv emails/witchunt to identify the leaks.

Jason Truitt said...

Nathan, you should be glad you have been spared the whiny, bitchy e-mails from various people on the listserve. While some of the CLEs are good, after a while you get tired of the off-topic rants of the same people giving the same presentations over and over again, and start looking to TDCLA for better venues and all-around presentations anyway.

The organization has potential. But it's execution leaves a lot to be desired.

Anonymous said...

NH has seemingly made a lot of enemies on his way to the unemployment line and hanging out his own shingle. He was a Sore Loser when he was an employed prosecutor, and he obviously hasn't changed now that he's an unemployed prosecutor.

Murray Newman said...

Anon 5:30 p.m.,

I don't know that he made "a lot" but he seemed to have made one or two. There are many in HCCLA that are pretty pissed off at the way he was treated. He always had a good reputation as far as I was aware of, and he was always a reasonable prosecutor when I dealt with him. If calling him a sore loser is the best insult you've got for him, it is small wonder you insulted him anonymously.

Anonymous said...

Google "Nathan Hennigan Sore Loser", and perhaps that will refresh your memory.

Anonymous said...

According to past president of the HCCLA Rob Fickman, the goal of the members is to be Winning Warriors in the war against evil prosecutors and corrupt judges

Anonymous said...


Tortious interference of a business relationship.

Damages:
Include mental distress, and punitive damages if malice on the part of the wrongdoer can be established.

I’m sure there is an email trail to prove all of the above.

Nathan, go sue that dumb a$$, mentally sick, idiot, George Soros loving communist into bankruptcy.

TopGun

Anonymous said...

It is just another mutual admiration society.

Anonymous said...

It might be time that some of the defense bar got together and formed a new organization Life is too short to be a member of an organization with so much hate and ill will. Face the truth, with a few unusual exceptions, they don't want former prosecutors as members.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Soros plans to bail Ogg out once all these lawsuits are filed.

Anonymous said...

@ 4:41, it depends on whether the communists need a certain “useful idiot” in the future.

Anonymous said...

To me, this is just another symptom on the decline in collegiality in our profession. I can recall a time when this type of rancor and ill will existed only among "civil" attorneys. For the longest, prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys seemed to get along reasonably well and shared what seemed to me to be a kind of mutual respect for each other. I'm not sure when this began to change and I'm sure there's probably some mutual blame to go around. My first real awareness of bitterness between the two sides of the bar seems to have coincided with rise of Brady and "prosecutor misconduct" claims as a tactical vehicle to obtain post-conviction relief. Without a doubt, those kinds of ethical claims are personal and go way beyond your typical justifications for appellate and habeas relief. The media hasn't helped that situation either. Now, instead of professional respect, there seems to be much more of an "us against them" atmosphere between the defense bar and prosecutors. I'm not saying that everyone acts that way--just that the overall tenor of things seems to be much more personal and confrontational. Perhaps that's part of what's going on here. To me, at the end of the day we're all lawyers and advocates for our respective clients. Just because one happened to be a prosecutor in a former life doesn't mean that he/she can't switch sides and be just as zealous of an advocate for a criminal defendant as for the state.

Jason Truitt said...

11:22, when I started doing some criminal work, I kept hearing about how cordial criminal lawyers were to each other, and how mean and nasty civil lawyers were to each other. Yet I kept getting invites to Christmas parties from civil lawyers, and had everything from my penis size to mental capacity challenged by lawyers on the listserv, and was even challenged to a fight tor two.

Wish I would have taken up one or two of the fight challenges, but this primarily civil lawyer is just too civil to have done so.


Anonymous said...

This kind of crap is why I never joined. If enough people stop paying dues, maybe things will change, but some people do like their private clubs.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:19,

Very well said. The media and culture of both the "new DA" as well as the "new defense atty" in the world of Brady and Morton is not the same. Prosecutors feel as though they have been slighted and forced to do what they feel they have been doing all along. Defense attorneys finally have a vehicle in a statute they can lean on - both at the expense of being cordial and professional to each other.

It's a Brave New World where cutting throats and making headlines is more important than your word, your reputation and your abiltiy to do the right thing because its "just the way we do it". So sad. I hope I'm around to see the tide turn back to the time when trust reigned supreme.

Holding out some hope...

Anonymous said...

Wasn't there a problem with his endorsement, which is required for membership?

Murray Newman said...

Yes, it seems to have arisen when it became clear the vote was going to be controversial.

Anonymous said...

God forbid the endorser to actually have a backbone to stand up to these people. What a puss.

Anonymous said...

Just had another nice ADA #2, who had no a idea what an MMA request was. First time he had ever heard that acronym. It apparently was a very low priority in the former administration. It is no wonder when then division Chiefs were teaching newbies and felony 2's alike that they had no duty to produce under a Michael Morton Act request until a judge ordered them to. Hopefully once the new administrations is in full swing without the 20 year career types a new culture will be instilled where we can trust that a request will do the trick instead of being ignored until the eve of trial or mid trial. Dick Degueren was right when he said his main job is to make sure the state given him everything they don't want him to see. Even during that golden age of trust and civility the trust on the part of the defense has been shown to have been unfounded and certainly not the good old days for defendants wrongly convictim by a process that has been shown to often include hiding Brady or going through mental gymnastics to argue that it isn't Brady because we do not believe it (since we believe we have the right guy already). Confirmation bias at its worst, by folks charged with seeking justice not convictions. I hope we really are on the verge of a new culture at HCDAO. However if trial wins and low dismissal rates continue to figure heavily into promotions we will still need to verify even with those we trust or the new culture will not take with those whose priority is self promotion over the safe guards of justice and due process. How many of these youngsters realize they have a duty to seek Brady from law enforcement who bring them their evidence? Most I wager have no clue. It is going to take both top down and across the table adversarial action to achieve culture that can be trusted and at the same time be verified without offense being taken.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I wouldn't say not knowing an acronym means that a prosecutor doesn't understand his or her duty under the law.

Secondly, what exactly were you asking for? A lot of Felony #2 case files include information and documents that fall under that "unless otherwise priveliged" portion of 39.14, so the prosecutor would be correct in having a judge order him or her to release that information. This includes things like CPS records.

Anonymous said...

Are they teaching defense attorneys at TCDLA seminars to title their 39.14 discovery requests or pleadings "Michael Morton Discovery Requests" or "Michael Morton Discovery Motion?" Although I recall the legislation titling the amendments to 39.14 the "Michael Morton Act," his name is not mentioned anywhere in the Code of Criminal Procedure. Does the defense bar feel like dropping Morton's name in their pleadings give them extra street cred with the judge or strike fear in the hearts of every prosecutor? They forget the the act also contained requirements that certain information in criminal discovery be redacted and not disclosed by the defense to third parties. In fact, the bill also included a provision allowing the judge to assess costs to the defense for discovery in certain instances. If I, as a prosecutor, want the judge to assess costs to the defense, do I title that pleading the "Michael Morton Motion for the Defense to Pay Discovery Costs?" While the circumstances of Morton's case were admittedly deplorable, the sanctimonious use of his name by the defense bar is approaching outright silliness. Unless you were one of the attorney's directly involved in Morton's exoneration, we're not impressed with your name dropping. Stop it. Just cite the statute. We'll get it.

Anonymous said...

MMA?

Mixed Martial Arts!

Anonymous said...

How about all statements of the Complaining Witness who is an adult? How about a statement which contradicts other recorded statements which is Brady and should be turned over as soon as practicable with or without a request, which was being hidden for months in a "work product" folder. I am talking about blatant violations done by people who for the most part are now looking for other work. I am encouraged that the culture is changing. Some of you are in serious denial of just how much the due process of accused persons has been being compromised. Kelly Siegler was in serious denial about her Brady issues. Others were pushing the same corrupt theories that there is no violation as long as the disclosure takes place before the trial is over. The correct standard for Brady progeny discovery is as soon as practicable whether requested or not. Adhering to that standard is necessary to avoid wrongful convictions. If someone wants a feels the need to turn over this stuff later rather than sooner the case probably should be reevaluated for trial worthiness instead of going forward just because a grand jury bought a biased presentation leaving out the big doubts in the case.

Anonymous said...

Where's the January 17th announcement of the new and improved transition team version 2.0? #morebrokenpromises #nopressconference

Anonymous said...

We have high hopes that now you will get it. Many have not been getting it even in rececent months. Sanctimonious is probably not an accurate discription of people who use the title Michael Morton Act in requests for discovery. If titling the legislation the Michael Morton Act was not itself sanctimonious I don't think people who refer to by that title are being self rightious when they use it. It is a stark reminder that people who are innocent lose big chunks of their life, freedom and family relationships when these basic functions of due process are ignore. These requests have been being ignored for a couple of years after its passage with impunity because the statute itself includes no prescribed sanction and former prosecutor judges have refused to use their inherent powers to inforce the statute. In civil courts when aN attorney ignores discovery requests and it requires addition settings or motions to gain compliance financial sanctions are frequently awarded to the abused party by the judge. I have yet to see that since passage of the MMA. It has led to former ADA'S in leadership positions training the first line court room prosecutors to stall and delay complying with these requests and the 39.14 statute itself and dictates of Brady progeny case law. Using the term Michael Morton Act is not sanctimonious. It is an effort to convey the real life consequences of denying due process which has continued through the end of the previous DA'S term. I am optimistic that those who continue to rationalize non compliance and stalling production to milk uninformed pleas, will continue to find themselves outside of the HCDAO as the new culture of disclosure takes hold. Siegler was high regarded in DA circles as someone who knew her duty to disclose. The CCA and District Court found her thoughts on those duties to be problematic and violations of due process. So excuse me if I don't trust everyone to just get it when presented with a 39.14 discovery request, but we are making progress.

Anonymous said...

Sanctions? So would you agree to sanctions both ways- like sanctions for ineffective assistance of counsel? Maybe you would have to give up your law practice for awhile since you caused your client to "lose big chunks of their life, freedom and family relationships"? Maybe that would slow down people (like a certain someone who now works for the HCDAO) from so readily and frequently signing their name on an affidavit stating they were ineffective. Does that State Bar sanction all these defense attorneys for being found ineffective and endangering lives? No- because we all can be rational and realize that mistakes happen. Often times these mistakes don't mean that a person's career and livelihood need to be destroyed because of it. So quit with this sanction nonsense unless you're ready for it to come down hard on your side too.

Anonymous said...

12:57, The sanctions I referred to occurring in similar civil non compliance in discovery issues are far from career ending, but would remind people that you cannot just flagrantly disregard 39.14 requests and turn over Brady when you get around to feeling like it. Typically in a civil court if you are forced to take an adversary to the judge on a motion to compel discovery and include a request for sanctions, the judge will have the offending attorney write you a check for your time spent to draft, file and have the motion heard ($1,000 is a nice round figure). This I assure you stops this tactic of not turning things over as soon as practicable or worse on the eve of or during trial.

If the offender can convince the judge it was a mistake rather than a tactic, the judge would probably not sanction it. But if you have been called on it often, the credibility to avoid a sanction may not be there. Also if you have a record showing the offender refused to sign acknowledging his receipt of a 39.14 request and emails calling him out on it he may have a hard time arguing that it was unintentional as opposed to a withholding and delay tactic to see if a plea and waiver of any pending discovery can be extracted prior to producing things like the precinct destroyed all the evidence against you as has occurred with people you apologize for. Ring a bell?

Again many of these offenders are gone and I am optimistic that this crap will become rarer as the culture changes from the top down at HCDAO. These sanctions could also be applied when law enforcement withholds items that are requested and are later turned over when they finally see that the defendant is not going to fold. Nothing career ending, but a nice sharp bite on the butt to stop the bullshit. MMA needs teeth and if the state keeps on the way have been in previous administrations and judges keep turning a blind eye to it, we are going to be getting some teeth for it at some point. I am optimistic regardless of the path the prosecution decides to take.

Anonymous said...

12:57, The sanctions I referred to occurring in similar civil non compliance in discovery issues are far from career ending, but would remind people that you cannot just flagrantly disregard 39.14 requests and turn over Brady when you get around to feeling like it. Typically in a civil court if you are forced to take an adversary to the judge on a motion to compel discovery and include a request for sanctions, the judge will have the offending attorney write you a check for your time spent to draft, file and have the motion heard ($1,000 is a nice round figure). This I assure you stops this tactic of not turning things over as soon as practicable or worse on the eve of or during trial.

If the offender can convince the judge it was a mistake rather than a tactic, the judge would probably not sanction it. But if you have been called on it often, the credibility to avoid a sanction may not be there. Also if you have a record showing the offender refused to sign acknowledging his receipt of a 39.14 request and emails calling him out on it he may have a hard time arguing that it was unintentional as opposed to a withholding and delay tactic to see if a plea and waiver of any pending discovery can be extracted prior to producing things like the precinct destroyed all the evidence against you as has occurred with people you apologize for. Ring a bell?

Again many of these offenders are gone and I am optimistic that this crap will become rarer as the culture changes from the top down at HCDAO. These sanctions could also be applied when law enforcement withholds items that are requested and are later turned over when they finally see that the defendant is not going to fold. Nothing career ending, but a nice sharp bite on the butt to stop the bullshit. MMA needs teeth and if the state keeps on the way have been in previous administrations and judges keep turning a blind eye to it, we are going to be getting some teeth for it at some point. I am optimistic regardless of the path the prosecution decides to take.

Attorney said...

Since you'd like some civil-style sanctions, I assume you'll also like civil-style discovery? You know, the reciprocal kind. It'd hardly be fair if only one side faced these sanctions.

And why do you think MMA needs teeth? That shit's already violent enough without biting.


Anonymous said...

Agreed! It is time for reciprocal discovery in criminal cases. It's a shame that it wasn't added to the MMA. I have faith that reciprocal discovery is coming though.

Murray Newman said...

Even Chuck Rosenthal was opposed to the idea of reciprocal discovery for the defense, and I think his logic was sound. If the defense attorney fails to provide it in a timely manner and it gets excluded, it merely opens a pretty good claim for ineffective assistance on appeal.

Anonymous said...

Texas is one of the last states that has not adopted reciprocal discovery, and we need to. It will benefit the innocent. Resolve cases quicker, particularly those that need dismissing.

Anonymous said...

No offense Murray, but if Rosenthal was against it then perhaps it is indeed time to have a state rule based on federal rule 16. There is nothing wrong with laying your cards on the table unless you have something to hide. And I have not heard of an inordinate number of federal cases getting reversed for ineffective assistance due to 16.

Anonymous said...

I usually lurk here because of the gossip, but (as a civil practitioner) have found the back and forth comments about the Michael Morton Act and its practical applications interesting.

Anonymous said...

I think reciprocal discovery is a terrible idea. If you have a great case and a clear alibi, you can already show your cards to the DA and see about a dismissal.

But like any lawyer in any type of case, if I learn what cards the other guy is holding, I spend my time trying to beat them, not saying "oh, well, I guess I was wrong."

Something tells me prosecutors will, more often than not, be the same way.

Anonymous said...

Murray, also another reason to join the TCDLA is that they have (or at least had back when I got mine in the '90's) a much spiffier certificate with a ribbon and everything to hang on your wall. This helps, for example, to balance out the fact you might have a Texas A&M diploma next to it. Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

1:05, the "violence" of 39.14 is a just and necessary responsive to the violence done to Michael Morton, who had his son ripped from him, had his reputation bismirched and was thrown in prison for a quarter century for a crime committed by another all because a prosecutor hid evidence and fought discovery of evidence instead of seeking justice. It is in response to the many other similar wrongful conviction achieved in the same way and often invloving intentional misconduct. In that regard 39.14 is not violent enough, because prosecutors still are not turning over MMA and Brady as soon as practicable.

Anonymous said...

1:05, the "violence" of 39.14 is a just and necessary response to the violence done to Michael Morton, who had his son ripped from him, had his reputation bismirched and was thrown in prison for a quarter century for a crime committed by another all because a prosecutor hid evidence and fought discovery of evidence instead of seeking justice. It is in response to the many other similar wrongful conviction achieved in the same way and often invloving intentional misconduct. In that regard 39.14 is not violent enough, because prosecutors still are not turning over MMA and Brady as soon as practicable.