Showing posts from April, 2018

LaGrappe's Trial Socks

I ran into my friend and fellow defense attorney, John LaGrappe, on Friday in the basement of the parking garage.  If you don't know John, he's a big personality and also one hell of a trial lawyer. He was in trial on Friday, but had to take his boots off for the metal detector.  When he did, all of us in the vicinity got a look at John's lucky trial socks. Who in the hell goes barefoot with boots?

A 4-year-old's Views on Self-Defense

As a blogger on serious matters, I generally try to avoid writing funny stories about my kids.  Sometimes, I find that unavoidable. This afternoon, I picked my 4-year-old up from after-school care and his counselor told me that he had gotten into a fight with another 4-year-old.  She told me he wasn't in trouble, because he was defending a friend.  Naturally, I asked him what happened. ME:  Smith, what happened? SMITH:  [Other kid] hit me and pulled my hair. ME:  What did you do? SMITH:  I told him that was not acceptable. ME:  "Not acceptable?"  Who told you to say that? SMITH:  [My teacher.] ME:  That's very good, Smith.  What happened then? SMITH:  I punched him in the forehead.

Services for Mark Vinson

The services for our friend, Mark Vinson, have been released. There will be visitation on Tuesday, May 1, 2018  from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the American Heritage Funeral Home Chapel located at 10710 Veterans Memorial Drive, Houston, TX 77038. A Celebration of Life will be held at the same location on Wednesday, May 2, 2018  from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. with a Repass from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Mark Vinson

The CJC Community was shocked and saddened yesterday to learn of the unexpected passing of longtime former-prosecutor and defense attorney, Mark Vinson.   It is no exaggeration to say that Mark was an icon at the courthouse who was very loved and respected.  He was 79 years old. Mark was a Vietnam veteran who served in the United States Army, before retiring as a Major.  He then attended law school and joined the Harris County District Attorney's Office in 1983.  During his lengthy tenure at the D.A.'s Office, he served as a teacher and mentor to many prosecutors for several decades, and he was known for being a skilled trial lawyer.  Mark was also highly regarded as a fair, honorable and friendly prosecutor. After his retirement from the D.A.'s Office in 2005, he practiced criminal defense and was an adjunct professor at Texas Southern University's Thurgood Marshall School of Law.  Mark never stopped mentoring younger lawyers. I never had the pleasure of be

I'll Take Dumb Comments for $1000, Alex

Yesterday, the lawyers that practice in and around the Harris County Criminal Justice World were all abuzz about the attack on Danny Lacayo by one of his clients , Luciano Olivarez, during the felony male jail docket.  Danny is a very well-liked colleague who is highly respected by judges, prosecutors and his fellow defense attorneys.  We were all very relieved to know that his injuries were not serious and we hoped that the incident might lead to some changes in the way the jail dockets are handled. The focus of yesterday's incident shifted slightly in the afternoon when the Houston Chronicle  published an article by Keri Blakinger about the incident .  Although the PD's Office and Danny had not given a statement for the article, the president of the Harris County Deputies Organization Union, David Cuevas, was apparently more than happy to talk. In response to learning that the Harris County District Attorney's Office had filed felony charges of Assault on a Public Ser

The Powder Keg

Prior to the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, each court in the Harris County Criminal Justice Center held a docket every day of the work week.  These dockets were (obviously) held in normal courtrooms, where there were holdover cells for the incarcerated defendants.  Attorneys who were speaking with their "in custody" clients, did so through glass partitions.  If a defendant was brought out of the holdover into the courtroom, they were handcuffed.  If a defendant had acted with particular aggressiveness, they might find themselves in leg restraints before being allowed outside of the holdover. After Hurricane Harvey rendered the CJC unusable (yet again), one of the biggest challenges facing the Harris County Criminal Justice System was determining how to get incarcerated inmates their day in court.  There were rules and regulations that had to be followed.  Locations had to be secure and there had to be adequate personnel to guard the inmates.  The Civil Courthouse was f

Portrait Unveiling for Judge Poe

There will be a portrait unveiling for former Judge of the 228th District Court and Current United States Representative Ted Poe on Friday, April 20, 2018  at 11 a.m.  The event will be held on the 17th Floor of the Civil Courthouse in the ceremonial courtroom.  The address for the courthouse is 201 Caroline, Houston, TX 77002. Judge Poe is a legendary part of the Harris County Criminal Justice System both as a prosecutor and later as Judge of the 228th.  I am very proud to say that I tried my first murder case in front of Judge Poe and I still have the souvenir he gave me when the trial was over: a note from the jury requesting to hear the prosecutor's argument again. Even though I hadn't talked to Judge Poe in years, he was nice enough to get tickets for me and my son to tour the United States Capitol last Spring Break.  It was great to see him.  Whether you practiced in front of him or not, I highly encourage you to attend Friday's unveiling.  Judge Poe truly is