The Campaign For DA


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

The link to the story in the Star-Telegram is dead, and I can't find this old story anywhere. 

  • The was crazy flooding in West Fort Worth last night while other parts of Tarrant County didn't see a drop.

  • The Texas legal machinery of death was back in business last night. 

    • Hot opinion about it:

    • Last words:

  • There's no way the actually affidavit is released. It will be at some point, but not at this stage. 

  • These headlines are so misleading. This would make you think a mass of kids were found and rescued from some big room somewhere. In actuality, it involved 391 different state and federal investigations involving over 200 different agencies across the entire country with the numbers being the totals from a two week period. 

  • Rudy in a wheelchair last night at the Atlanta airport after his testimony before a grand jury investigating his election interference. 

  • If I had to bet right now who the Republican nominee for president will be, I'd bet on Ron DeSantis. But it's early. And I wouldn't bet a lot. 
    • But I don't know what this guy is thinking. He doesn't stand a chance, but he was in New Hampshire yesterday in an obvious campaign feeler move. 

  • I agree. Those deputies that run security at the Denton County Courthouse come across as soulless jerks. 

  • Random NBA news from yesterday.  With the new contract's guaranteed money, LeBron will have earned a total of $532 million in the league from salary alone during his career.

  • Random poster from boyhood. I can't remember if this was just an ad in a magazine, or if it was a full poster I got from dad's store in Bridgeport.

  • Nerdy legal stuff. A judge on the federal 2nd Circuit lambasted the prosecutors yesterday. That last line is fire. 

  • Extremely nerdy legal stuff for practitioners only: 
    • It's always a point of contention as to whether past bad conduct of cop is admissible by the defense in a case the officer worked on if his past bad act didn't rise to the level of a criminal conviction (which everyone agrees is admissible.) 
    • There was a Texas case which was reversed on appeal yesterday because the State only disclosed after the trial that an officer had improperly accessed a government database to get dirt on his wife and lover so he could use it in his divorce proceeding. 
    • The court held that the defendant was entitled to a new trial because that evidence could have been used to impeach the officer because it was relevant. Specifically, there had been a search and seizure issue submitted to the jury under 38.23 which would turn on the officer's truthfulness. It looks like the question involved whether images on the defendant's phone had been located "inadvertently" while the officer was handling the phone (with limited consent to see if was capable of "making a call") or whether he was intentionally rooting around on it. Since the past bad act was relevant to show the officer had done some illegal rooting around on computer devices without authorization in the past, it's relevant.
    • Bottom line: Not all bad acts are admissible, but they will be if you can nicely tie it to an issue in the case. 
    • The defense lawyer on trial and appeal was Jake Spiegelhauer out of Bryan, Texas. Good job. 
  • I'm into the second season of The Morning Show. It's very good, but I can't believe I went into thinking it was going to be some feel good comedy. 


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

That's a New York Times' headline. There were 200 cases and 10 deaths in the metroplex.

  • As expected, Liz Cheney lost her election in crazy Wyoming because she defied Trump and refused to be an election denier. For her work on the January 6th Committee alone, she deserves to be 2022's Time Person of the Year. 

    • Let's see how Junior handled it. 

  • A woman was killed and two Decatur people were sent to the hospital last night because of a wreck in Bridgeport. It happened at 380 and FM 1658 (the road that takes you to the Lake Bridgeport dam) when the woman supposedly ran the red light.

    • The Bridgeport Chief of Police described it this way: 

    • It sounds very much like this wreck about a year ago at the same exact location.

  • Keller ISD pulls the Bible from the shelves of all school libraries. They'll end up putting them back, but it's a eye-catching headline. (Although I've always thought that once a school board reads about Lot and his daughters, things will get interesting.)

  • So this is Greg Abbott's plan after Uvalde (2022 - 21 dead) , El Paso (2019 - 23 dead), Sutherland Springs church (2017 - 27 dead) , and Santa Fe High School (2018 - 10 dead)?  Chuck Norris is 82 years old, and Walker, Texas Ranger went of the air in 1999.

  • Rudy Giuliani arriving at the Atlanta courthouse moments ago to testify in front of a grand jury is a scene right out of the movies: A mass of reporters following him up majestic courthouse steps. (Video up close / Video from elevation across the street.) 

  • Oh, my.

  • I've heard of assistant district attorneys in smaller counties doing a little civil work on the side, but look at what the elected district attorney of New Orleans is doing. His salary for his government job, which he is keeping as well, is $185,000.

  • I'm not exactly sure what this is, but I think Decatur High will light up the emblem is they win. I could be wrong. 

  • Golfer Patrick Reed hired a crackpot lawyer to file a defamation suit against the Golf Channel and fellow golfer Brandel Chamblee. It's going nowhere. And Reed was dumb enough to put his home address in the caption so we can now take a look at his home. (I bet that's a heck of an electricity bill.)

  • Messenger: Above the Fold


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

A man would be convicted in 2013 but the motive was unclear. "Prosecutors believe [he] became obsessed with Desta. But they said he apparently didn’t know her aside from eating at the couple’s restaurant."

  • Starting out with an unintentional legal nerd alert warning.

    • The excerpt below was in the Denton Record Chronicle as a follow-up to the story of the defendant who committed suicide last week by drinking a liquid seconds after the jury returned a guilty verdict.

    • I was going to be flippant and make a simple bullet point that read, "I can tell you exactly what the 'next steps in his client's case' are: Nothing. It's over. The death of defendant brings a criminal case to a screeching halt and nothing transpires after that." 
    • But as soon as I wrote that, I began to back off and the mind racing/rabbit trail began. 
    • Certainly, the criminal case against the defendant is over. You can't imprison a dead guy. But I'm not 100% sure of the next technical steps.  Should a mistrial be declared because the jury hadn't sentenced the defendant by accessing a punishment? Or can the trial still go forward because the defendant's absence was "wilful or voluntary" on his part? There is a statute that governs a defendant just hitting the road after being convicted . . .

    • But since the defendant is simply dead, does that statute not apply? Can the defense lawyer convince the judge to declare a mistrial and then force the State to dismiss the case? Can the State instead convince the trial court to at least go ahead and enter a written judgment of guilty based on the verdict for official record purposes even though there was never a punishment? I don't know. 
    • I do know that if a defendant dies after a conviction but while the case is on appeal, the appellate court would simply forever "abate" the appeal. (Rule 7.1)  But this case wasn't on appeal. And there is no similar law dictating what's to happen when a defendant dies in the middle of a trial. 

  • Before moving on to other news, that Denton case made me think of a Wise County case where a defendant was convicted but didn't appear at the punishment phase. But he didn't flee, he severely cut himself in the Wise County jail because he didn't want to come back to court and ended up in the local hospital.  You want to know how long ago it was? I was the D.A. and our Sheriff was the lead investigator when he was a Texas Ranger. (Here's the case on appeal.)
    • That case was wild because it was a robbery of a hair salon in Decatur. No one was hurt, but the defendant came with an even wilder history. He had previously been convicted of first degree murder of a Disney World employee, but was released from prison outright when that case was reversed on appeal because of insufficient evidence. 
  • This case out of McKinney really freaked the metroplex out when it happened. The victim was a real estate agent who was alone at an open house when she was killed in 2006.   (Honestly, I don't like that he was convicted using evidence obtained from hypnotizing an "eyewitness" and with DNA evidence under her fingernails -- which didn't conclusively identify him but was only "consistent with" his DNA. It makes me feel a little better that there was a confession, but we've been down this road in other cases before.)
  • Side note: All of the above has been very murder intensive (and very depressing) so far.
  • The far right has been attacking public education and teachers, but they are fixing the problem in Southlake with "In God We Trust" signs: "During Monday night’s Carroll school board meeting, the company made a presentation related to a new state law, which passed last year, that requires public schools to display the national motto if a poster or framed copy is donated to the school." (Emphasis added.)
  • Two big things I learned about the case seen in the viral video of the Texas nurse who blew through the intersection in LA and killed six.
    • The prior driving . . .

    • What may have been going on . . . 

  • Oh, good grief.
  • I saw this video last week, and it's bugged me ever since. Anne Heche was on a stretcher and completely covered up when she was taken out of the home she crashed into. Then, as she neared the ambulance, she suddenly violently popped up. The reporter in a helicopter, who was broadcasting live, was really shocked: "Oh, my god!"

  • AP top 25:
  • As a young boy, UT running back Steve Worster was the first name I ever learned. The way all the adults were talking, I thought he must be the greatest of all time: 


Random Monday Morning Thoughts

The trial and conviction of a Kennedale teacher was exactly one decade ago. It was a wild one

  • In case you missed it, the FBI did in fact find secret documents at Mara-a-Lago.  We are just waiting to see what they were exactly about -- nuclear secrets or worse. Here's an actual copy of the official "Return" which lists the items retrieved.

    • The warrant was also released by the court on Friday but it redacted the FBI agent's name who signed the official Return.  But somehow Breitbart got a copy of it from someone (Trump) and printed it without the redaction. They outed the agent.  Remember that one day earlier a Trump Worshiper died after he threated FBI agents at its Cincinnati headquarters. 

    • Weeks ago, the Justice Department tried to get the documents back with a subpoena and Trump actually had some of the papers handed over. In fact, Trump's lawyer signed a statement "asserting that asserting that all material marked as classified" were returned. That was a lie.  

    • So what's Trump's defense now? Let's break it down
      • It went from "It's all hoax - the documents don't exist" . . .  

      • . . . to "they do exist but the FBI planted them" . .  

      • . . . to "they didn't plant them, but I didn't do anything wrong because I declassified them in my head beforehand" . . .  

      • . . . to having to rely upon Nixon as your only way out. 

  • I had more than one person remind me on Friday of the Trump/Nuke Info/Saudi Arabia connection and scandal from 2019. It's all in plain sight.  And here's an explainer thread on it.  It all has to do with people trying to get a piece of Saudi Arabia's plan to construct 16 nuclear reactors over next 20-25 years at a cost of more than $80 billion. 
  • On to other news . . . .
  • This  fender bender around 2:30 p.m. last night on University drive in Fort Worth around I-30 left one man dead. That's all we know

  •  How does this not happen more often? And I don't think we fully realize how drones will be used to deliver illegal items in the future. Heck, how could you stop it at the border right now? 
  • The facts surrounding the shooting of a youth football coach, and former UNT running back, during a youth football game in Lancaster are murky. He was killed in front of his son who was one of the players. The video, where only the shots can be heard is here. And I'm not sure he was coaching the game when the shooting happened but, in any event, the brother of a former NFL cornerback is the suspect.

    It's a minor detail in all of this, but "owner"?

  • Oh, my. This was last night on I-35 in downtown Fort Worth. You can easily trace the flight of the boat even if you aren't an accident reconstructionist. 

  • When it comes to book banning in Texas, Boyd ISD made the Top 10 list in the state according to the Houston Chronicle. (Paywalled link.)
  • In an effort to entice teachers, I think Chico ISD was one of the very first districts to announce classes would be held for only four days a week. But now there are 41 Texas school districts  doing the same thing. 
  • This story was in the Star-Telegram over weekend, but it was the New York Post which first reported the indictments out of Travis County. It happened in 2019, and they aren't charged with killing the guy but with other charges related to the investigation.

  • The Tax Assessor-Collector of Clay County (which is quickly becoming my favorite wheels off county) was arrested on "a charge of misapplication of fiduciary funds over $300,000."

  • I wonder how many people knew of Salman Rushdie, who was attacked and stabbed on Friday. I remember the news from 1989 well because back then I was suddenly very confused about Islam, and everyone was trying to read The Satanic Verses although no one could get through it. (His name was even a big part of a Seinfeld episode years later, "Look you idiot, it's Salman not salmon!" I'm not sure many people even understood the reference then.) 

  • Look what news got completely buried. That even sounds like a scam. I've always said he's got a lot of Trump in him.  

  • Decatur's Bryce Elder got to start for the Atlanta Braves yesterday and did a bang-up job. 
  • Bridgeport football is teaming up with some group called Varsity Films to produce a Hard Knocks type video series about this year's team. It's pretty tame obviously, and I expected it to be awful. But, I've got to say, that first episode isn't bad. And from a production standpoint, it's very well done. 
  • Random business thought: Peleton is going to go out of business by the time everything is said and done.
  • UT suffered two season ending injuries to starters in the same practice on Saturday. That's awful. I truly hate that. I want every team at full strength.