Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Episode Six: Return of the Jury -- A One-Act Sci-Fi Play

SCENE:  It is only minutes until midnight on December 31, 2020, and Droids are busily signing off on paperwork on STAR DESTROYER INTAKE under the supervision of CORPORAL LEITNER.  The space hatch doors open and in comes the ADVANCE TEAM led by a beleaguered CO-VICE-ADMIRAL MITCHAM.  LEITNER salutes MITCHAM.

CORPORAL LEITNER:  Vice-Admiral, you're . . . early.

CO-VICE-ADMIRAL MITCHAM:  I decided it would be wise to arrive prior to the Empress to make sure everything was running smoothly.  We cannot afford another embarrassment in front of her.  She's fired so many that we hardly have anyone left.

CORPORAL LEITNER:  Very good, sir.

CO-VICE-ADMIRAL MITCHAM:  What are all of these droids doing?

CORPORAL LEITNER:  They are signing Probable Cause complaints, sir.

CO-VICE-ADMIRAL MITCHAM:  What?!  Didn't the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals just rule that was illegal?

CORPORAL LEITNER:  Yes sir, but we've appealed it to the Louisiana Supreme Court.

CO-VICE-ADMIRAL MITCHAM: What?  Why?  Why would you ask one state to intervene in another state's business?

CORPORAL LEITNER:  Empress Ogg called it "the Ken Paxton Doctrine" and it should work fine.

CO-VICE-ADMIRAL MITCHAM:  I'm going to need the Intake Droids to stop signing those complaints until we have a ruling on that.

CORPORAL LEITNER:  You heard the Co-Vice-Admiral.  Stop signing.  You may go back to watching CNN on your computers.


COMPUTER:  Next, on CNN . . . he was once a respected member of law enforcement before he destroyed his own reputation by selling his integrity to a group of extremists and an authoritarian despot.  Now, he suddenly finds himself out of a job . . . 

CO-VICE-ADMIRAL MITCHAM:  Why is CNN doing a story on Steve Clappart?

COMPUTER:  . . . Coming up, our story on former Attorney General William Barr.



JAR JAR ROGERS:  Mooey mooey, it's the mostest bestest time of the year!  Empress Ogg is being sworn in for another four years!

CORPORAL LEITNER:  You don't get out much, do you, Jar Jar?

CAD DANE:  We need everyone working hard when Empress arrives.  There will be photo opportunities while the Empress is being sworn in.  Then, to show that she's an Empress of the People, she will answer some calls at intake and take some questions from the media.  

JAR JAR ROGERS:  Mooey mooey, I hope they send IG-88 Oberg!  He's mooey mooey tall!


EMPRESS OGG:  Greetings!  Greetings on this glorious day!  I hope you are all as happy to be here as I am!

CO-VICE ADMIRAL KING:  Happy New Year, Jim & New Tom Berg.

VICE-ADMIRAL MITCHAM:  Vivian, what brings you up here on New Year's Eve?

CO-VICE ADMIRAL KING:  I'm second in command now.  I've got to get sworn in.

CO-VICE ADMIRAL MITCHAM:  I believe the office flow chart makes us both second in command.

CO-VICE ADMIRAL KING:  That's the old flow chart, NTB.  I got an upgrade in title.  Now, I'm CO-Vice Admiral And Director King.

JAR JAR:  That's a mooey long title!

CO-VICE ADMIRAL AND DIRECTOR KING:  Yes, it is, Jar Jar.  That is why I will be shortening it to an acronym.  From now on, everyone will refer to me as COVAD King.

CO-VICE ADMIRAL MITCHAM:  Um, you sure you want to go with that acronym?

COVAD KING:  Shut up, New Tom Berg.  Nobody asked you.  You're just a vice principal.


COVAD KING:  You don't know me.  I'm Board Certified in Criminal Law.

CO-VICE ADMIRAL MITCHAM:  And I thought that I had heard you had put in an application to be the new U.S. Attorney for the Southern District.

COVAD KING:  So what?  So did the Empress.

EMPRESS OGG:  No I didn't!

CAD BANE:  Again, Empress, if you would please put your hand behind your back when crossing your fingers . . . 

CO-VICE ADMIRAL MITCHAM:  Well, this seems awkward.

EMPRESS OGG:  Enough!  Today is a celebration.  Let's not have petty infighting.  I have won a hard-fought battle against a strong opponent, but the electorate sent a clear message that they loved them some Kimbra!

CO-VICE ADMIRAL MITCHAM:  Well, to be fair, there was some pretty strong anti-Trump backlash that led to literally all Democratic candidates winning in Harris County elections.

EMPRESS OGG:  Silence!!!!  Not even you with your clinical accuracy will bring me down on this day, David.  Let's get down to business.  Somebody swear me in!

COVAD KING:  I'll do it.  Do you, Empress Kimbra Ogg, first of her name, hereby solemnly swear to uphold the Constitution and Laws of the United States, as well as the Constitution and Laws of the State of Texas, so help you God?

EMPRESS OGG:  You betcha.

CAD DANE:  Empress, could you please put your hand behind your back, I'm afraid your crossed fingers might be in the photos.

EMPRESS OGG:  My bad.  Now, do we have any questions from the media?


CAD DANE:  Um, I think all of the media is probably covering New Year's Eve festivities.

JAR JAR:  Meesa don't think so.  All deesa activities is closed because of da Covid.

CAD DANE:  Would you shut up, you idiot?  Empress, I will write up a summary for a press release for this glorious day!

EMPRESS OGG:  Oh, I would love that, Cad Dane.  I do love your publication that you send me!  It's so wonderful to read members of the press confirming what a great job I'm doing!  Tell me the name of it again!  The Onion?

CO-VICE ADMIRAL MITCHAM (TO DANE):  I thought it was called The Informal.  

CAD DANE:  The Informal has too much bad news about her.  I always send her The Onion.  She thinks it's real.  Keeps her happy.

EMPRESS OGG:  Are there any questions, Cad Dane?

CAD DANE: Um, sure.  Empress Ogg, you've done such an amazing job during your first term as you've been solving Houston's crime problem by indicting Gerald Goines 57 times, all the while working on your own version of the COVID vaccine.  What do you see as your biggest challenge for your second term?

EMPRESS OGG:  What a lovely question!  Well, Cad Dane, obviously the pandemic has had a tremendous effect on the criminal justice system in Harris County, and it has created a backlog of cases.  Backlogs lead to delays, and we ALL know how much defense attorneys love delays.  It gives them more time to tamper with and sometimes murder witnesses against their clients.

CORPORAL LEITNER:  Did she say "murder?"



EMPRESS OGG:  You've reached Empress Ogg's District Attorney's Office Intake, brought to you courtesy of Empress Ogg.  You're on the phone with Empress Ogg.

OFFICER ON PHONE:  Um, yeah.  I pulled over a vehicle for speeding, made contact with the driver.  There was an odor of alcohol so I ---

EMPRESS OGG:  Say no more, officer, I accept the charges.  And you may put "Ogg" as the accepting DA.  That's O-G, as in "that Kimbra is an O.G.," with an extra G at the end, because one just isn't enough.

OFFICER ON PHONE:  Did you want to hear the details of the field sobriety tests, ma'am?

EMPRESS OGG:  No need.  I'm 100% certain that it is an extremely strong case and I give you my word that no one in my office will never ever dismiss it under any circumstances.

EMPRESS OGG (TO CAD DANE):  Anyway, as I continue to work on a vaccine, that I like to call "A Little Shot of Kimbra," I have been in daily phone calls with Pfizer, because they want help with their vaccine as well.  In the meantime, the Death Star is becoming overcrowded with more and more prisoners.  Something needs to be done to alleviate the pressure and overcrowding.  We need to move more cases out, but these delay-loving defense attorneys just don't want to play ball.


OFFICER ON THE PHONE:  Yeah, this is Officer --

EMPRESS OGG:  No time to talk.  I accept charges.  The name is Ogg.  O.G. with another G at the end.  Bye, now.

EMPRESS OGG (TO CAD DANE):  As I was saying, there has to be something to stop the massive build-up of incarcerated prisoners in the Death Star, but the Defense Bar just doesn't want that.  This is all their fault.  I'm currently trying to encourage judges to hold trials where the jury can just take our prosecutors' word for what the witnesses would say if they were there.  This alleviates any concerns about social distancing and can speed up getting cases tried.

CO-VICE ADMIRAL MITCHAM:  Um, Empress Ogg, that would violate the Confrontation Clause.

EMPRESS OGG:  The what, now?

CO-VICE ADMIRAL MITCHAM:  Remember how you swore to uphold the Constitution a few minutes ago?

EMPRESS OGG:  Good God, David.  You act like you've never seen crossed fingers before.


EMPRESS OGG:  I accept charges.  Name's Ogg. O to the double G.  Bye, now.

CORPORAL LEITNER:  He didn't even tell you what he was calling about, Empress.

EMPRESS OGG:  Very funny, Jimbo.  I've seen the charges that have been coming out of intake this year.  Are you really trying to insinuate that YOU are doing much more than that?

CO-VICE ADMIRAL MITCHAM:  She does have a point . . . 

EMPRESS OGG:  So anyway, Cad Dane, I look forward to reading your write up.  I look forward to everyone knowing that I'm the most Progressive, Law & Order, Rehabilitative, Lock 'Em Up, anti-Police, pro-Police, Bond Reforming, Bond Revoking Prosecutor that this county has ever seen!  IG-88 Oberg will be sorry that he missed being here tonight!  These next four years are going to just fly by.


Episode One:  The Phantom Kimness

Episode Two:  Attack of the Clowns

Episode Three:  Revenge of the Fifth (Amendment)

Episode Four: A Glimmer of Hope

Episode Five: The Empress Strikes Out 


Anonymous said...

You should be spending less OCD time with the Ogg thing, and more time talking about x-prosecutors, who were adjudicated withholding excretory evidence - like recent developments in the Alfred Brown case, or more time discussing defense attorneys who withhold evidence of guilt, or evidence aggravating punishment.

Ogg was twice elected - the only person twice elected to full terms since Holmes, except Rosenthal who resigned in disgrace after improperly: using government property to tell racist jokes via government computers, having an issue with prescription medication - and his secretary, then mysteriously misplaced mucho e-mails. All this, while wearing a bracelet with the initials WWJD.

You may not like it that she got elected, but then you need to get over it. It’s not good for the soul. I didn’t vote for her either.

Or, you can start writing Shakespearean sonnets – Neil Simon you are not.

Murray Newman said...

Hmm. Maybe Shakespeare would appreciate the irony of somebody who brings up the history of the D.A.'s Office dating back to the 1970s while telling me that I need to focus on a new topic.

When Ogg stops screwing everything up, I'll stop writing about her screwing everything up.

Anonymous said...

The dude at 9:43 pm may have a point. There was some new development in the Brown case last week. https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/TX-Supreme-Court-orders-comptroller-to-pay-Alfred-15813936.php

Also, you are beginning to take it personal?

She doesn't dislike you. She dislikes all defense attorneys.

Murray Newman said...

Alfred Brown has been discussed on this blog multiple times over, as well as my feelings about Brown's prosecutor, Dan Rizzo. I think Brown deserved a new trial. I'm not so sure that I agree that he is factually innocent, however. I've made that point clear, as well.

Am I beginning to take "it" personally? What part? I guess I take it somewhat personally since I thought she would actually be a good D.A. when I endorsed her in 2016. I personally feel pretty dumb about that. I also take it personally when I think there is a crook running the D.A.'s Office. I find that troubling. I'm not surprised that she won again given all the factors in her favor, and to be honest, I'm not losing a tremendous amount of sleep about it.

But, I do take it personally when he says that this play was not solid gold, Pulitzer-worthy satire. That was just bullshit. Lol.

Anonymous said...

I think its fair to say that you can start levelling your criticism at topics which pose to you more personal hazard than the DA. Being your constant adversary, there is no additional bravery in your expected criticism.

Anonymous said...

"I think its fair to say that you can start levelling (sic) your criticism at topics which pose to you more personal hazard than the DA. Being your constant adversary, there is no additional bravery in your expected criticism." -someone posted anonymously

Anonymous said...

I misspelled a word and posted anonymously, so you dislike me. Do you want me to admit that if you knew who I am, it would not impress you? It wouldnt then. You have snipped at my person leaving my words whole. The judges who play their part in allowing the evils murray complains of are fair criticisms.

Murray Newman said...

Anon 8:07 p.m.,

I don't care if you sign your criticisms or not, but you've raised them before. You have your own ideas for what you feel I should be writing about. That's cool, but I'm going to write what I want to write and when I want to. Anon 7:49's point is valid. You criticize me for not writing something that (in your opinion) takes courage, yet you don't have the courage to sign your own name to your criticism. Kind of takes the wind out of the sails of your argument, doesn't it?

You can always start your own anonymous blog blasting judges if you want.

Anonymous said...

I have started that blog. Its not popular. Also I havent been in court a lot lately. If no one reads it anyways, why not piggy back off murray? I dont have access to all the information that murray has anyway, which is why i want to hear his opinion. If youll take a step back from taking this personally and think about how our system of elected judges who take contributions from lawyers is broken. And to open your mouth against this crooked system is to commit career suicide. Or to mention that this current crop of judges were swept in at the head of a mob and make servants of their betters.

Anonymous said...

I haven't lived in Houston for years, I am relieved but not at all surprised by the implication in your story that David Mitcham is recognized as an razor-sharp and ethical district attorney (if not a hero) during this debacle of Ogg. I know David; he literally saved my life back in the 90s when he fought the good fight; I took the opportunity to become a law-abiding citizen and am now a criminal defense lawyer in another state. If David sees this he will know who I am; I am both very grateful and proud of him. Also, glad to see the band is still together....

Anonymous said...

You people are killing me. Please check your grammar and spelling.

Anonymous said...

I concur with 1:38 which is why I'm surprised Ogg has not fired him yet. David deserves better than to spend his last years of public service working for Ogg. And he has much better judgment than Graham, or Stricklin who were both too close the police to keep things in proper prospective.

Anonymous said...

Did some DAO employee contracts not get renewed this year?

Anonymous said...

Who didn't get their contracts renewed the 1st of the year?

Anonymous said...

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.