9.01.2015

Hey, More State Officials Supporting Blue Bell: It's The Twittering Supreme Court Judge


Tweet.

I'd love this on a law school test regarding campaign ethics laws: "Assuming the facts depicted in the above tweet are true, what are the potential legal issues?"  I think I could write for a long time.

Hey, the guy is no fool.  He's doing a staged bit. And he's smart enough not to do it during work or use a government phone to do nothing more than promote himself as an elected official.


The Reason Montague County DA Gets To Withhold Records About Shooting

From the AG's office: 


So if there is no prosecution at all, they don't have to release the records? Even when the guy was dead and there could never be a prosecution. There was never an "investigation" which was intended for prosecution and, therefore, there was never an intent to even seek conviction or deferred.

You experts out there: Help the media out. Is there a way to refine the request? Make it to a different agency?  I basically want a request that takes it out of 55

Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts



  • As I was walking to the office this morning on the courthouse square, I heard gun blasts in the distance. What the heck? Ahhh . . . the first day of Dove Season. 
  • I mentioned how I like the new signs in Decatur directing people to the football stadium, downtown, police, etc. But I've noticed many of them are in peoples' yards. And not on the corner like a stop sign. I mean at the center of the front property line and recessed about three feet back. That's weird, isn't it? Does a city have an easement? Is there some state law? If not, shouldn't they have to pay for the taking of property under eminent domain rules
  • What?! The legislature passed, and Gov. Abbott signed, a bill which now allows Texas "felons convicted of drug" crimes to receive food stamps. You guys gonna put up with that? 
  • I had four different meetings yesterday where I witnessed three people cry in three of them. I won't tell you if the tears were the result of gratitude, sadness, or relief. But I will tell you I have intense, emotional meetings all the time.  I guess that explains why someone seems to ask me every day, "Are you OK?" 
  • Just thought about Dan Fogelberg's Same Old Lang Syne: "But in those eyes I wasn't sure if I saw doubt or gratitude."
  • I've learned that Attorney General Ken Paxton (sheesh) has given an opinion allowing the Montague DA to not disclose certain information to the Wise County Messenger regarding the shooting I mentioned yesterday I'll post the relevant portion of the opinion later. There's something not right. I'll need you Open Records experts out there to provide some guidance. 
  • Get ready for my annual Medical Examiner rant . . . 
  • I've yelled about the "rulings" of medical examiners for years. How about this one yesterday: "The death of an Arlington man [at the hands of jailers] in the Dallas County Jail lobby was a homicide that was compounded by drugs, heart disease and stress, according to the Dallas County medical examiner’s office . . . . He died from homicide with 'combined effects of cocaine and methamphetamine, compounded by hypertensive cardiovascular disease and physiologic stress associated with struggle and restraint,' the medical examiner’s office said." Ummmmkay. 
  • My beef this time is with their definition of "homicide" (and this comes up time and time again). Look at the Harris County ME's site where they define it. They say it includes "a death from . . . an act of another person to cause fear, harm or death" but does not necessarily mean intent to kill. That is a crazy definition. And, if the Dallas ME uses that same standard, do they believe the jailers wanted to cause fear, harm, or death?
  • My normal beef with ME's is that they offer opinions they aren't qualified to offer. They are doctors. If they have a body in front of them, they can give an expert opinion that the cause of death was due to strangulation (his throat was collapsed and he lost the capacity to breath). I'll even let them say the throat collapsed because of an outside force (i.e "something" like a rope). But they can't tell me it was a homicide (caused by another), suicide (hung himself), or accident (i.e. David Carradine). And don't give me this crap about they have "other information". Why do we have cops and crime scene investigators to make that conclusion if the great ME gets to trump them with his "expert" opinion. 
  • Blue Bell . . . AGAIN! . . . 




8.31.2015

I Give Up


You know what's scary? Assuming this is free publicity (and I assume at least this one from the governor is legit), there is some company out there realizing you can kill three people and, if you play your cards right, you can get millions of dollars more in free publicity than it will ever cost you from lawsuits.

The Most Anti-Climatic Video In The History Of Ever



A video posted this week shows the former president of a Baptist college in South Carolina caught during a rendezvous with a woman who is not his wife, the Greenvile News reported.
The footage shows a man identified as Paul Epting telling his father, Jimmy Epting, “It’s over dad. This is done” after pushing past him and filming the woman. It was shot last October, three months before the elder Epting announced that he would be taking a sabbatical for the Spring 2015 semester. He officially retired in May after 24 years leading the school. (More)
Man, how much does this guy hate his dad?  
And let this be a lesson to all you guys out there: Never be alone with a fully clothed woman while wearing a shirt and tie. 

Random Monday Morning Thoughts



  • On Friday evening when I got home, I saw on CNN that Trump was about to speak at a private home which he said was not a fundraiser. This despite signs outside instructing those attending the $100 a head rally should make their checks payable to Trump. CNN was really dogging him about it. Trump, being smart enough to know what was being said, walked out and began his speech with, "This is not a fundraiser. I don't need your money." He then immediately went into a rant about the treatment of veterans.  I'll give him this: The guy is a modern day political genius --- at least for 25% of all voters.
  • I forgot to mention this last week: I was driving down I-35 going towards downtown Fort Worth when a black BMW passed me and then almost clipped me as it cut in front of me. In the middle of the back of his car was a bumper sticker that read, "TRUMP". I went from anger to laughter in record speed.
  • On Friday I said I had become aware of the greatest travesty of criminal justice in Wise County history regarding a particular aspect of the process. I finally was able to get a hold of additional documents. It just got worse. 
  • I had no idea Decatur's private Christian Academy had a varsity football team. How long has this been going on? I'm interested simply because they play schools named Inspired Vision and Faustina.
  • Horror master Wes Craven has died. Did you know that the original Nightmare on Elm Street is not in the top ten of his all time grossing ($$$) films? The first four are the Scream movies and #5 is Red Eye (which I've actually seen and found pretty boring.) My source for this is Wikipedia, and I question the accuracy of it. 
  • The Senior In The House took a stand at school about an issue and succeeded in her quest. As I was walking out of the room that evening I told her I was proud of her (which, sadly, is something I don't say enough.) But I loved hearing her reply in a contemplative voice, "So am I." 
  • I didn't watch the MTV Video Music Awards but it sounds like Kanye announced a run for President and Miley "accidentally" bared one breast. I suspect one of the two had carefully thought out their plan of action.
  • BagOfNothing turns 40 today and went all Dr. Phil on us. Pretty good stuff. It really bothered me when I turned 40. A little over 10 years later, I'm thankful if I wake up in the morning. 
  • TCU at Minnesota on Thursday. Baylor at SMU on Friday.  Delicious. 
  • For the last four Saturdays in a row, during my four mile walk, I've run into a lady in her 60s with a Yorkie who is the spitting image of The Family Pet. Uncharacteristically of me, I stop every time and talk to her for a minute. I've learned the dog is named Holly, is a rescue dog, and goes absolutely out of control at the sight of strangers or other dogs. But Holly will let me pet her. 
  • The murder of the Harris County Deputy as he was returning to his car after filling it up at a convenience story is shocking.  
  • Legal stuff: When I saw the the suspect was charged with "capital murder", it got me wondering if the killing of a peace officer had any other qualifications in order to make it a potential death penalty case. It does: The officer must be "acting in the lawful discharge of an official duty" at the time of the murder. Without researching it, filling up a patrol car would probably qualify. But what if he was off duty and on his way home but still filling up the patrol car?


8.30.2015

Oh, Those Expressions


Rescue workers carry an injured fan from the stands at Turner Field during a baseball game between Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015, in Atlanta. The fan fell from the upper deck into the lower-level stands and was given emergency medical treatment before being taken to a hospital. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

8.29.2015

Random Flashback: Were The Records Ever Released?


It got my attention in April why all records requested by the Messenger regarding the shooting of the man in Montague County by police (it's the shooting which gave rise to a memorial service for a Wise County Drug Dog) had not been released. Here's my post. There was no reason then why they should not be released. There is no reason now. Police reports. Autopsy. Video. Everything. Have they been turned over yet?

Is there anyone, whether liberal, conservative, moderate, or even apathetic who does not believe that government records no longer relevant to any litigation should not be turned over to the public? Come on, we love transparency in Texas. And we love the rule of law, right? It applies to law enforcement and prosecutors, right?  Under Texas law, all public records must be disclosed unless there is a specific exception. I can't think of an exception that would be applicable in this case.

Heck, for the first time in my life I feel like saying, "If you have nothing to hide then . . . . " But I shouldn't, and don't, have to justify the Messenger's open records request.

If all the records were turned over, I apologize, If not, they will be. Have you ever seen a respected newspaper and a a crazy lawyer blogger who has become obsessed with keeping government accountable team up? I haven't asked them, but I think they'll be willing to let me ride in the sidecar.

Edit: Thanks to a comment, I was reminded of this: There was an in depth review of the incident at a training seminar which was not open to the public. And the Montague D.A. was a speaker.  So where are the records? And is there anyone who attended that meeting who would be willing to confidentially tell me if anything remotely disturbing was revealed?




And To Think I Thought Baseball Was Boring



That's comedy gold.

8.28.2015

It's The Weekend: Last Man Out Works Saturday and Sunday


What The National Weather Service Said About Approaching Katrina: Wow


They See Me Rollin'



Here's a chase with a twist. Wait for the dancing. Yep. Dancing.

(Somewhere out there a person is scrambling making a video loop with music of that dancing part.)

Girl Trick Shot




Yeah, I know it's four days old. But there's a gal up at the courthouse who will continue to hound me until I post it.

And, besides, that is impressive.

Random Friday Morning Thoughts



  • President Obama going to New Orleans on the 10th anniversary of Katrina has to be a none too subtle jab at President Bush's "fly over" ten years ago. 
  • I'm not sure I understand why "Sheriff Clark" always appears on Hannity (although I have a pretty good idea why), but I have no idea what this comment from him last night means: "I am done asking people in my community to outsource their personal safety to the government." Are we just on our own? 
  • I almost had a heart attack yesterday when I discovered what might be the most shocking criminal injustice ever to occur in Wise County -- at least in a particular stage of a criminal proceeding. I will disclose it, but I've got to calm down first. To their credit, everyone over at the courthouse immediately scrambled to make it right the moment the issue was discovered. 
  • Fox 4 News has appeared to have fixed its updated website. Looks good.
  • How long before drones hover around every school for security purposes? 
  • I saw an elderly lady gingerly taking a walk in my neighborhood after sunset last night but was walking in the street instead of using the sidewalk She began to drift further into the center of the road, it was dark, and we have idiot drivers coming down the road all the time. When I saw headlights in the distance, I took off sprinting to get to her and to get the driver's attention. Speaking of heart attacks, I almost gave her one. (She seemed Ok mentally, but could only explain that she didn't use the sidewalk because she didn't like "narrow places". I warned her about crazy drivers, she seemed thankful, and then I watched her to make sure she made it safely home. She still used the street but stayed off to the side.) 
  • I kept seeing this headline everywhere yesterday: "Fatal shot in San Francisco pier shooting was ricochet." That shooting by an undocumented immigrant created a firestorm within the immigration debate. But if you read any story about this news,  the ricochet is the defense's contention which the police dispute. 
  • Texas AG Paxton was scheduled for a simple arraignment yesterday in Tarrant County but, at the proceeding which was blanketed by the media, lawyer Joe Kendall presented a Motion to Withdraw. You kidding me? I don't blame any lawyer and client deciding  to go their separate ways if the relationship has broken down to the equivalent of War Of The Roses, but why withdraw then and there?  You wait a couple of weeks, make sure there is another lawyer ready to take over that the client has chosen and approved, get with the prosecutor and tell him/her what is going on, you both walk over to the judge and tell him that you will file a Motion to Withdraw and that the prosecutor will not oppose it, you file the Motion and the judge signs an order. In a high profile case, the withdrawal may never even get noticed. But by presenting the Motion at that highly publicized routine hearing caused The Dallas Morning News to fire off a blog post within hours entitled, "Ken Paxton’s rough day in court shows his legal, political teams aren’t ready for fight ahead."
  • WBAP's Brian Estridge, after a report that the vast, vast majority of the female profiles on AshleyMadison.com were fake, said that meant the guys on the site hadn't had affairs but just were having a "fantasy." Is that the right word? If you sit at your desk and dream of an affair, that's a "fantasy". If you have the affair, that's "adultery". But what if you have that fantasy and engaged in an act in furtherance of completing that fantasy. Isn't there a word other than "fantasy" that best describes that person's mindset? 
  • Warning. Ad Rant: I would say that all this coverage of Blue Bell coming back, at least what I saw on Fox News last night -- which mentioned flavors by name, is an ad. But Blue Bell wouldn't have the money for that, right?  They have to be financially devastated  Wait. What was that story from last month? Oh, yeah: Fort Worth's Sid Bass agreeing to lend Blue Bell up to $125 million in exchange for the right to own up to 33% of the company. I'm sure that's just a coincidence.


8.27.2015

August + Day Game + After School Has Started = This


I Have No Idea What This Means



But I like it.

Getting To The Bottom Of The Virginia Shootings: I'm Confused

Are guns the problem?
Ok. Not guns. It's about mental illness. Fair enough. 

Check that. It's not about mental illness, it's just about "Evil".

Problem solved.

Fastest Legs In World Almost Destroyed




A Segway cameraman?



Man, the folks recording this sure got a kick out of it.