Showing posts from May, 2018

Judge Marc Carter wins 2018 Jesse Brown Distinguished Leadership Award

Congratulations are in order (yet again) for 228th District Court Judge Marc Carter, who has been named the recipient of the 2018 Jesse Brown Distinguished Leadership Award by the NAACP Veterans Task Force.  The Award is awarded to an American who works diligently to ensure that all veterans are provided the benefits and service they have earned through the honorable service to their country. As noted in the Harris County District Courts' press release, Judge Carter voluntarily presides over the first Veterans Treatment Court Program established in the State of Texas.  It was created for veterans in need of mental health and drug treatment by diverting veterans with felony and misdemeanor offenses directly into treatment courts, reducing jail time costs and recidivism.  He has run the Veterans Court since its creation in 2009. For those of us who have the opportunity to practice in front of Judge Carter, the award comes as no surprise.  He consistently proves himself t

Judge Frank Price

Judge Frank Price passed away today after a hard-fought battle with cancer.  He was a wonderful man and judge.  I had the honor of trying cases in front of him and appearing before him on many occasions.  He was 79-years-old at the time of his passing, but I would venture to say that Judge Price had more street cred than probably any lawyer appearing before him.   He knew the law, but more importantly, he knew people.  He knew how to treat people and he did so with kindness and fairness.  Judge Price's legal career spanned decades although those of us in our mid-40s or younger knew him mainly through his time as a visiting judge.  His obituary tells of an amazing and storied life. Frank started his legal career as a prosecutor, serving 5 years as a Harris County assistant district attorney, followed by private practice as a criminal defense lawyer. Frank's exhaustive attention to every case and his strong commitment to justice did not go unnoticed. In 1974, Frank beca

Services for James Dyer

From the family of James Dyer: There will be a Viewing Service at Cypress-Fairbanks Funeral Home (9926 Jones Rd, Houston, TX 77065) on Sunday May 20, 2018 from 5-7pm. A Memorial Service at St. Stephen's United Methodist Church (2003 W. 43rd Street, Houston, TX 77018) on Monday May 21, 2018 at 2pm, reception to follow.

No Jacket Required

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT If you haven't heard the news already, the Criminal County Courts of Harris County yesterday relaxed the dress code for the summer in light of our current conditions: We suspend the requirement for male attorneys to wear coat and tie, instead requesting a collared shirt and slacks, with comparable attire for the female attorneys, when they attend our bond docket courrooms in the Family Law Center.  This rule shall take efect May 21, 2018 and remain in effect until October 1, 2018, and shall apply to the bond docket courtrooms of all the undersigned judges. And, yes, it is signed by ALL of the County Court Judges. It is still advised that, given the concerns of the Fire Marshals at the Old Family Law building,  all occupants of the building dress accordingly.

James Dyer

I was very saddened to learn yesterday of the passing of my friend and longtime criminal defense attorney, James Dyer.  I knew that he had suffered through some health issues fairly recently, but he was still up and covering dockets as recently as last week.  He was a kind man, and I probably learned one of the most valuable lessons I ever learned from him during my time as a young prosecutor. I wrote about it in this post .  It's a long post, and I think I was having (yet another) blog spat with my friend, Mark Bennett, as well as arguing with that Rage Judicata guy that used to be around the blog (wonder whatever happened to that  guy). Anyway, I was lamenting the lack of collegiality within the criminal law profession, and I cited a moment from early on in my prosecutorial career. Of course on both sides of the Bar, there are always going to be examples of those who have somehow abandoned the idea of collegiality and replaced it with bravado, arrogance, and often, r

Lisa Falkenberg's Alfred Brown Double Down

Lisa Falkenberg and I have always had a bit of an up and down friendship. To be fair, I may have been a little bit antagonistic during the heated 2008 D.A. Election when I referred to her as Pippi Longstocking .  To her credit, when I actually met Lisa a year or so later, she was very gracious despite some of the potshots I took at her on the blog.  Although we didn't agree on many issues, we shared the common interest of the Harris County Criminal Courthouse.  Despite the opposing views, I like her and consider her a friend. When she first began writing about the Alfred Dewayne Brown case, she asked me a couple of questions here and there about the Grand Jury process for background information.  I was more than happy to share my thoughts, and I thought she was on the right track.  I was happy for her when s he won the Pulitzer .  Even though I didn't know enough about Brown's case back then to form an opinion on his guilt or innocence, I agreed with Lisa that the Grand

Leave the Money and Run

Remember that time I pointed out that I thought Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg's words about the Alfred Dewayne Brown case seemed to be a little cagey for her? I believe I said something to the effect of: Ogg leaving the door open to the idea of re-prosecuting Brown is shocking to me. There's no chance in hell that Ogg doesn't know the facts of the case.  She may not have the time to delve into it as deeply as she feels necessary, but I guarantee you that she has more than a passing familiarity with it. I have no doubt that she has formed an opinion on what needs to be done. Houston Chronicle reporter Keri Blakinger just published this bombshell of an article , which details that the notorious phone call that is the heart of Brown's alibi may actually not be quite as exculpatory as Brown's legal team would like the general public to believe. To recap (extremely) briefly, Brown claimed he couldn't have committed the Capital Murder that he was sent

Actual Innocence and Alfred Brown

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced yesterday that she was asking attorney John Raley to lead an independent investigation into the "actual innocence" of former-Death Row prisoner Alfred Dewayne Brown .  It was a wise move for a couple of reasons. For starters, Raley is a highly respected attorney who has dealt with claims of factual innocence on previous occasions, most notably, the case of Michael Morton , who was wrongfully convicted for the murder of his wife, Christine. As most of you know, Raley's work on that case led to the exoneration of Mr. Morton, which, in turn, brought Christine Morton's actual killer to justice. More importantly, it keeps the Ogg Administration from potentially being boxed into a decision that would not be well received by the Harris County Defense Bar.  As I've noted before, Ogg is in a tight spot with this .  If Ogg declines to declare Brown factually innocent, it isn't going to sit well with the Defense Bar