Showing posts from 2021

Boss Ogg's Slate

  In a meeting with the judges a year or so ago, Harris County District Attorney's Office First Assistant David Mitcham expressed his frustration with the judges and bond reform, giving them a warning that those who didn't share District Attorney Kim Ogg's "vision" would face "consequences."   Those who were present for the meeting (at least the ones that I spoke with) indicated that the implication was that the Office intended to field candidates to run against those judges who weren't bending to the District Attorney's will.  At least, that's how they interpreted Mitcham's words. Now that the filing deadline has passed, it is abundantly clear that Mitcham's veiled threat was not an empty one as a significant number  almost every  of judicial races now has a prosecutorial candidate running as either a Democrat or Republican.  Some are great candidates.  Others . . . not so much.  A few are royal disasters, but we will talk about that

If Being a Football Coach was Like Being a Defense Attorney-Part 2: Talking to the Ref

REF:  Okay, so it is my understanding that one of your players wanted to talk to me, Coach? COACH (Sighing Heavily):  Yes, Ref.   Against my advice. REF:  Okay.  To avoid the appearance of impropriety, I've asked Chiefs' Coach Reid to join us. PLAYER:  Good!  I want to talk to him, too. COACH:  No, you don't. PLAYER:  See what I'm dealing with here, Ref? REF:  What seems to be the problem? PLAYER:  So, basically, I want to win the game. REF:  That's good.  Everyone should want to win their game. PLAYER:  Yeah, but it's like Coach isn't even trying to help us. REF:  What's going on? PLAYER:  Well, he's saying that we're playing the Chiefs and that Chiefs are really good. REF:  Well, obviously, as Referee, I don't know anything about how the game will turn out, but I do know that the Chiefs usually do play pretty well at home. COACH:  That's what I was trying to tell him, Ref. PLAYER:  I keep trying to tell him that I want to win and all he

If Being a Football Coach Was Like Being a Defense Attorney

COACH:  Alright team, this week, we are playing the Chiefs . . .  PLAYER:  So, you're trying to tell us that we just need to give up. COACH:  Um, no.  I'm just trying to start a conversation about what to expect as we head into this weekend.  So, anyway, their quarterback is obviously Patrick Mahomes and he's a very talented . . .  PLAYER:  So, you're trying to say that we don't have a quarterback?! COACH:  I, uh, don't believe I said that.  All I'm saying is that we all need to be aware that there are certain strengths to their team that need to be considered.  I know that we are the Houston Texans and we have a terrible record but . . . PLAYER:  We have a terrible record because no one ever thought about letting us win.   COACH:  Let you  win? PLAYER:  Man, we've had eight games and not one time did the other team offer to let us win. COACH:  I mean, that's not really how it works . . .  PLAYER:  The Ravens beat them.  I don't see why we don

Scapegoating the Judges

When I was growing up in Bryan (which was a far smaller town in the 1970s than it is now), I was brought up under the belief that judges were the closest thing to nobility that a small Texas town had to offer.  We only had one District Court Judge in Brazos County back then (compared to the whopping three, count 'em, THREE that Brazos has now), and he was a family friend.  When our families socialized, Judge McDonald was treated with a little more reverence by us kids because of the fact that he was a judge. [On a personal side note, Judge W.T. "Tommy" McDonald passed away this past year.  He was a dear, sweet man who was always very kind to me growing up and he kept up with my legal career from law school on forward.  He meant a lot to our family and he is very missed.  He deserved all of the love and respect that he received.] After 22 years of being a lawyer, I recognize that judges are a little more fallible than I was raised to believe.  As any practicing lawyer can

The Delta Walkback

 It's been a little over a month now since the CJC started to slowly move its way back to some level of normalcy in the wake of the Covid Crisis.  Lawyers are regularly appearing in court in person.  Defendants are showing up with increased frequency (although the vast majority of courts have mercifully reduced the requirement for in-person appearances).  Prosecutors are back in the courtroom and I'll even give Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg credit for sending senior prosecutors from specialized divisions into the trial courts to help work out the docket -- that is helping quite a bit, actually.  Cases set for trial come with an admonishment from the judge that the trial date is real, as opposed to the aspirational dates we've been getting for the past year or so. Zoom started to fade out in many courts.  In some courts, it is still trickling out.  In others, it's already completely gone.  Apparently maintaining the hybrid of Zoom and in-person lawyer appearanc

The "Genius and Miraculous" District Attorneys' Office

Oh man.   Kimbra.   Just when I think she can't be a more shamelessly self-aggrandizing politician, she pulls something new out of her little white Boss Ogg hat. Today, she released a pre-recorded message to her Assistant District Attorneys that was chock full of pure political awesomeness as she laid out her plans for solving the backlog of criminal cases in Harris County, Texas.  At one point, she literally applauds the work of her office as "nothing short of genius and miracles." Seriously. If you would like to watch it in its entirety, here it is. NOTE:  If you are reading this on an iPhone, the video may not play, but you can get to it by clicking here . If you don't have thirty minutes to enjoy Kim Ogg celebrating herself, here are some of the highlights: Highlight # 1 --   Even a Pre-Recorded Kim Ogg keeps the Commoners Waiting Even though everyone is back in the building after receiving their vaccinations, Kimbra decided that she would best reach the members o

The New Normal and the Days of DISCO?

I think that it's fair to say that those of us who practice criminal law down at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center on a regular basis are starting to sense a movement towards a return to normalcy these days.  There's an underlying feeling that's similar to riding on an airplane as it begins its initial descent towards the destination or seeing the rain starting to lighten up at the end of a long thunderstorm.   As more and more people get their vaccines and the number of Covid cases continues to drop, we all have a sense that it is time to get back to business as usual, or at least some semblance of it.  Those of us who have been sitting at our desks and couches, fighting the good fight from the comfort of our homes or offices, will seen be trying to squeeze back into our pre-pandemic courtroom attire and actually traveling down to the CJC again on a routine basis.  For many of us, our in-person appearances are already rising in frequency, and appearing in the ricke

Kim Ogg and the Backlog Blame Game

Kim Ogg had jury duty Wednesday. How do we know this? Because like any good self-promoting and self-aggrandizing politician like Kim Ogg, she made sure that the world knew it through multiple Twitter posts that let a breathless audience know that even super important people like her Royal Oggness will take time amongst the unwashed masses to serve  on jury duty.   And like most jurors, she, of course, brought a photographer and called Channel 13 to take pictures of her during her appearance.  I mean, the rules say you can't bring your children  to jury duty, but it doesn't say anything about not bringing your photographer! I heard from multiple, credible sources that once Ogg was assigned to a court for the actual voir dire process that she approached the judge and asked to be excused before having to sit through something so tedious.  That request was reportedly granted, so one might make the distinction that although Ogg showed up  for jury duty, she did not, in fact, serve