A Certain TCU Assistant Athletic Director Is About To Feel Aggie Wrath

He took it down.

Aggies not happy with him.

Feds Prosecuting Gay Haters In Springtown

I don't have the stats, but these prosecutions are rare.

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • I didn't watch any of the Canada/USA women's hockey match but that open-goal-shot-that-bounced-off-the-poll was breathtakingly heart-breaking.
  • You'll see Superbowl Rings or College National Championship Rings sold on E-bay, but do you ever see Olympic medals on there? 
  • Early hot sports opinion that is not an official prediction: The Rangers will not make the playoffs. Holland will miss half or most of the season, Harrison is having back problems, and who knows if Colby Lewis will come back. 
  • Judge Carlos Cortez of Dallas, who was no-billed by a grand jury yesterday, said he is stunned at how something like the potential prosecution could happen even if he's not guilty. Note that he is a civil, not a criminal judge. That explains that sentence.
  • Grand juries need to be public, no? Edit: I meant the proceedings, not the names. 
  • Postings may be sporadic today. I'm in a legal seminar, which from looking around right now, seems to be horribly attended. Edit: Except they guy who just sat down right beside me didn't seem to realize the open seats. Double edit: He just used the term "ergo" in casual conversation. I'm moving. 
  • I was on a Dallas and Irving tollway this morning. Wasn't there a time when tollways meant no traffic? And for those of us who don't worry about inconsistent traffic, they have computed their commute into work so that they arrive within a five minute window.
  • Mrs. LL and I are going to a play tonight in downtown Fort Worth at some local theater company's place. She loves plays.
  • An Alvord fire killed two yesterday, this morning the Messenger still hasn't released their names. Is the paper being more cautious?  
  • I saw some of that fighting in the Ukraine last night on the news on NBC and it was insane. I think I'm going to go back and find the name of the photo-journalist because he was putting his life on the line with insane risks being taken.  
  • Ted Nugent has always said nutty stuff. Greg Abbott just forgot that politicians rarely, if ever, appear with him. 
  • The Tea Party may be passionate, but it just doesn't have the numbers. Except in one scenario: A Republican runoff at the state level that charges the base to turn out when most people have lost interest. That's how Cruz beat Dewhurst. If Dan Patrick can get into a runoff this time with Dewhurst (I'd love those ads), I could see it happening again. 
  • But Dewhurst is not running the same idiotic Cruz-Represesented-The-Chinese type of campaign as he did last time. 


Stick Around Until The Cactus Makes An Appearance

"Oh my goodness, he fell into the Jumping Chollas!"

From This Morning's Mailbag - Literally


I'm getting tips the old school way these days.

(I suppose he wanted me to see this.)


Florida - Eric Ortiz wanted to face his fears.
So he tattooed a black widow spider on his face.
“Everybody fears spiders,” Ortiz said. “That’s why I got it. Just to, like, make me know, that that’s what I fear, but not to fear it. You know what I’m saying?”
Ortiz, 24, of Deltona, talked about his spider tattoo after appearing in court on a felony charge of driving while license revoked (habitual) at the Volusia County Courthouse in DeLand. More.
I just got distracted from the tattoo. Driving While License Revoked can turn into a felony in Florida?

Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  • I'm hearing tons of great things about HBO's True Detective. (And I learned this week that Mrs. LL had been watching it behind my back.)
  • Facebook is buying the messaging platform WhatsApp -- a company I'd never heard of -- for $16 billion.  Tech bubble?
  • "SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — A northeastern Pennsylvania couple have been cited for contempt of court for sending back a jury questionnaire filled with profanity, crude language and racial slurs." Hey, it's Scranton!! The comedy capitol of America!
  • In a crazy case in Houston, yesterday a jury found a guy not guilty of the capital murder of a DEA agent. The War on Drugs marches on. 
  • What a weird Chevy Tahoe commercial where the babysitter asks for $60 instead of her normal $40 after seeing the inside of the car of the woman who drove her home. 
  • I believe in hard work but I also believe in luck. You can put in 18 hour days but that won't get you anywhere if cancer, a serious car wreck, or a seriously sick kid enters your life. 
  • How hard is it to be a Texas Republican political consultant? Guns. Immigration. Religion. Make sure "conservative" is constantly on the screen. Put on some jeans. Have a photo-op with law enforcement. Boom! Where's my check? 
  • The "court cost talk" was a little dry yesterday but it was amazing that I posted a portion of a random case and by that afternoon I had the Houston attorney in the case contacting me to explain.
  • Olympic Thought #1: Is some of the clothing on the ice skaters getting a tad bit skimpy?
  • Olympic Thought #2: Bode Miller has gone from wild child to grumpy old man in record time. 
  • Very obscure thought: How can Google Docs use that "format painter" (including a paintbrush icon -- albeit a roller instead of a brush) that I thought was invited by Microsoft? 
  • Sports: To the guy who questioned my opinion yesterday about Baylor ex Josh Gordon might possibly become the best receiver in the NFL? He led the NFL in receiving yards last year and played only 3/4ths of a season. (You must not be familiar with my sports genius track record.)
  • There will be drones with HD cameras covering sporting events soon, right? 
  • We've made lots of progress in modern medicine, but it seem mental health treatment lags far behind. Then again, we don't exactly lobotomize people anymore à la One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest.
  • Arial photo of the construction of Baylor's new stadium on the Brazos River. Oh, my. (They made that harbor next to it within the last six months.) That's I-35 to the left.
  • "Denton's Mayor Bought a Condo at One Arts Plaza [In Dallas], Refuses to Return Seller's $175K Artwork." Loved one of the comments (paraphrased): "Uh, that $175,000 piece of artwork? Where is it? We took it with us when we sold the condo, right?"
  • And, if you have time, that article led me to this one about a Dallas socialite (who started out in Graham????) and, as I'm as I'm legally obligated to point out, has a "Hey, Now" picture included. To round out that time waste, the post includes comments at the bottom from Mark Cuban's very odd brother who, ironically, thinks the article is about someone who doesn't deserve press coverage.


High Level Comedy Taking You Into Wednesday Night

I Wonder If This Is Voluntary

I'd guess it is. But Dale Hansen took a paycut a couple of years ago to stay on.

Some Legal Expert Explain This To Me

Hearne v. State, 415 S.W.3d 365 (Tex.App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2013, pet. stricken)

I'm old school. I still subscribe to "advance sheets" which are published opinions by the Texas courts of appeals. Normally I just flip through them to find criminal cases that have been reversed. It's tedious, but I like to track stuff like that.

I was doing that this morning when I came across this case. Hey, you legal gurus out there: Why do you spend the time and effort to appeal court costs of $234 when your client has been sentenced to prison for 15 years?  No other errors were raised.

Edit: I got an email . . .

Hi Barry,

A reader of your blog called me today to ask about a case that I handled on appeal, Hearne v. State.  Your reader wanted some information on the case and so I talked him through what happened with it and why court costs were the sole issue that was raised.  I pulled up your blog and wanted to reach out to you to give you a fuller picture of the case.

For some background, I work in the appellate section of the Harris County Public Defender’s Office, where we have 10 attorneys who handle appeals.  Around the time that I was appointed to the Hearne case, another attorney in our office was advancing the idea that there was a systemic problem in Harris County with the assessment of court costs against defendants.  I’ll put you in touch with the attorney who is the leading thinker behind the idea to give you a more detailed explanation (I have CCed her on this e-mail, as well as my boss), but suffice it to say, there is a statutory requirement that clerk’s produce a receipt or itemized list detailing how the total court costs assessed against a defendant have been calculated.  In Harris County, there was no indication that this was being done.  On the judgment forms for defendants, the court costs section typically contains a handwritten number with no indication of how the total number was arrived at.  Without a receipt or list of costs, there is no way to know whether the total court cost amount is accurate or arbitrarily assigned.  Hearne was one of a number of cases where attorneys at the Public Defender’s Office argued that without this receipt or itemized list detailing the court costs, there is no evidence to support their assessment against the defendant.  Although $234 dollars in a single case isn’t much, in the aggregate in a large county such as Harris, we are potentially talking about millions of dollars being collected without regard to following the court’s statutory duties to provide a bill and to comply with due process notice requirements.

As you might know, the First and Fourteenth courts of appeals have concurrent jurisdiction over Harris County.  Cases that are appealed from Harris County could be assigned to either one.  On the issue of court costs, the First and Fourteenth courts of appeals simply do not agree.  That is, the Fourteenth has held that without a certified bill of costs contained in the record, there is no evidence to support the assessment of court costs.  The First disagrees with its sister court for reasons that are made clear in the Hearne opinion.  Currently, this issue is pending before the Court of Criminal Appeals in Manley Johnson v. State of Texas where the CCA will resolve the split between the courts.  If I recall correctly, the Amarillo Court of Appeals also has sided with the Fourteenth on this issue, so it’s something that extends beyond Harris County.

Specifically addressing Mr. Hearne’s case, there was not a lot I could do from an appellate perspective.  He had entered an open plea of guilty to the charge and received 15 years, with the sentence starting on February 24, 2012.  No Reporter’s Record was created of any part of his case, meaning all I had to go off of was the Clerk’s Record, the majority of which contained the complainant’s medical records.  Looking back, filing an Anders brief may have been the better decision.  However,  because the issue of court costs was still unresolved, Mr. Hearne may have been entitled to at least some relief, even if it was only $234 worth of relief.  When a defendant is entitled to any relief, no matter how small, then appealing that issue is not frivolous and may indeed result in the rejection of an Anders brief.  I truly do wish that there was something more substantive that I could have done for Mr. Hearne in his case.  Appealing from guilty pleas in general is a difficult prospect.  Compound that with the lack of a Reporter’s Record and any attorney on appeal is not left with much to work with.

I’m available to answer any other questions you might have. Jani Wood (né Maselli) might be able to offer a more details as to the technical aspects of the court costs issue as well. Feel free to contact me or to publish this e-mail if you’d like.

Russia Knocked Out Of Hockey With A Loss To Finland This Morning?

Oh, come on! What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on here?

Life is much better when you have a worthy enemy.  Remember The Cold War? The "We will bury you" threat? Shooting down passenger airliners for violation of air space? Dolph Lundgren?  Boris and Natasha?

The world is changing too much.

Dale Hansen Gets The Auto Tune Treatment

Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • Bridgeport ISD is purchasing 670 Macbook Airs for the high school per the Messenger. We've got some redistribution of wealth going on!!!
  • Mrs. LL gets involved in something called "geocaching". She emailed me yesterday morning to tell me she was looking for something in a tree when she fell out of it. Girl ain't right. 
  • TV and print media have to love election time. The ad revenue has to be insane. 
  • Ted Nugent has said some crazy stuff over the years but Greg Abbott must not be aware of it. He dodged the criticism of their joint appearance in Denton yesterday by saying, "I can't read everything."
  • The only part of the Olympics I watched last night was snowboarding -- five or six guys going down the mountain at the same time. It was carnage. It was fantastic.
  • The guy in the back of the two man bobsled has the worst job, right?
  • Two kinds of "Hot Pockets" are being recalled due to being made with "diseased and unhealthy animals." Good lord. 
  • A "constitutional conservative"? Not sure I've heard that one thrown out in campaign ads before. I guess it's the result of trying to out conservative the conservative.
  • I didn't follow Michael Dunn trial out of Florida. I don't know why. (But I do believe that people over emphasis the "stand your ground" instruction that jurors receive. In the end, I'm guessing, they "try to do the right thing" instead of literally reading and applying the legal instructions they receive before they deliberate.)
  • Frisco banned e-cigarettes yesterday. For a region that hates big government, we sure do have a lot of big government. 
  • Fox 4 kept showing a "Navy dad surprises daughter" video. Touching? Yes. A worn out bit that we no longer need to see? Absolutely.
  • A friend of The Sophomore in the House who was over yesterday had a "Keep Calm and Save Babies" t-shirt on. 
  • The Decatur Lady Eagles got bounced from the basketball playoffs last night after hitting one field goal in the second half. 
  • More TCU football problems: Their second leading receiver has been kicked off the team for pot possession.  I think that's too harsh. (Baylor kicked out Josh Gordon for two violations before he could even blossom -- and that guy, by they way, may be on his way to being the best receiver in the NFL.) Another football note: Former Baylor and current NFL players RG3, Terrance Williams, Kendall Wright, and Gordon would make a heck of a starting QB/WR group. 
  • WFAA says there is a "Fire Weather Watch" in effect for tomorrow. I think that's a weird phrase but I'm not sure why. 
  • When I hit the snooze button, I tend not to go back to sleep but instead tend to lie there waiting for the inevitable repeat of the buzzer. 
  • The Aggies are installing a video board at Kyle Field larger than the one UT has. Countdown to video board wars in three, two . . . 
  • The Cowboys and the Ravens flipped a coin this morning to see who gets the 16th and 17th pick in the draft this Spring. Really. (And people are saying it would cost a 4th rounder to move from 16 to 17?)

Above The Fold


I'm Not Sure Why More Politicians Haven't Distanced Themselves From That Guy


Sometimes I Get Emails That Simply Say, "Blogworthy?"

Get Me This White Chicken And Two Legged Chihuahua!! (What?)

Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • Verdict on the Eagle Mountain Park: Not bad considering we walked it in the middle of winter. Well maintained. Great views. Very relaxing. (It's on Boat Club Road and easily accessible to Wise County.)
  • We took The Family Pup who, out of no where, decided to run into the lake. It was insane. She just sprinted towards the water and didn't stop -- and then just sat there and looked back at us with this "I'm stuck in the mud" kind of look. . I still don't know what the heck that was about.
  • Edit: There is a sign that says "No Dogs." We're rebels. 
  • When we saw a bunch of beer cans on the shore, we started picking them up. For a moment, we were environmentalist hippies from the Sixties. Felt pretty good. 
  • We walked along the shore for a bit and came across a fisherman in a bass boat listening to Christian (loud) radio. I kind of wanted to know his story. 
  • Bode Miller, the wheels off skier turned family man, is married to a "Hey Now.
  • And that interview of Miller the other day was ridiculous. One question too much. 
  • The Fifth Grader in The House likes watching Jeopardy. But both Kids laugh at the expressions of the OU student who has been on the show for the last few days. 
  • I think my Favorite Candidate Who Is A Nut, based upon his ads, is Dan Patrick. He's like a Nazi who says everything other than, "I'm a Nazi, and I want your vote."
  • Mrs. LL and I watched This is 40 again. That's really, really funny.
  • I'm not sure I've intentionally watched Letterman, Conan, Kimel, or Leno  over the last 10 years.
  • "Ted Nugent, Greg Abbott's New Campaign Pal, Has a Thing for Underage Girls" -- Not sure there's any breaking news there, but I just like seeing those two names and "Underaged Girls" in the same headline. 
  • Mark Cuban bought a tract of land at Northwest Highway and Preston Road in 1988. Someone needs to check into his rags to riches story.
  • I put Mrs. LL in charge of moderating the comments yesterday. There's no telling what she let through. 
  • I didn't know Decatur High School had an "open campus" for lunch. That's crazy, isn't it? 
  • For Baylor Fans: What an insane weekend as two games were sent to overtime. One with Baylor scoring on their fourth shot in one possession, and last night where Baylor turned the ball over throwing the ball in with under three seconds left. 
  • The Family Unit played Name The Presidents last night. I've got some late 1800s history to brush up on. (And I apologize to the dead presidents by calling the "spare" simply because I didn't remember them.)
  • Edit: I just went back and read the comments about becoming a foster home. Chilling. Thank you. 


Not Sure Of The Back Story

Random afternoon pic

Random Ad in the Messenger

Those dang Azle Nazis.

Random Monday Morning Thoughts

  •  "Texans should be free to express their religious beliefs, including prayer, in public places." - A resolution on the Republican primary ballot. Really.
  • The Dallas Country Club has finally admitted its first black member. I don't know much about him other than he began caddying there around 1954, Let's say he was 15 at the time. That makes him 75 today. If he has been employed there all this time (I have no idea), this is nothing more than a pat on the head instead of a change in policy. We'll see.
  • A shooting in The Stockyards in Fort Worth last night left one women dead. (It happened around 9:00 p.m. which is way too early for a gun fight.)
  • I'm seven episodes into House of Cards. Good stuff so far. It's not Breaking Bad or The Wire, but pretty good. 
  • There's a weird story out there about a metroplex criminal defense lawyer sexually assaulting teenage girls who were his clients. Very weird.
  • Mrs. LL asked me what my favorite Beatles song is. I quickly said Eleanor Rigby. I'm still thinking about why I blurted that out so fast. 
  • Someone running for public office bought an ad running over the Messenger's masthead in the weekend edition. What did that cost? 
  • Dan Patrick's current ads for Lt. Governor have an eagle-fly-by sound at the end. As idiotic as it sounds, I could see him in a runoff with David Dewhurst. That would be high comedy. (And that scenario worked out well for Ted Cruz.)
  • The BagOfNothing guy is having a retaining wall put in his back yard. Hey, buddy, email me and tell me what that cost.
  • 16,579. The number of posts Google tells me I've done. 
  • The Family Unit had a discussion last night about becoming a Foster Child Family. It would have warmed you heart. TV off. Everyone contributing. 
  • The son of Jim Henson, the deceased creator of The Muppets, has died at age 48.
  • There's a remake of About Last Night in theaters. The original, with Rob Lowe and Demi Moore, my be my most favorite cheesy movie,
  • It's President's Day and I'm taking the day off. Mrs. LL and I are planning to walk a trail in something named Eagle Mountain Park. Will report. I'll decide.
  • Ice skater Meryl Davis looks, well, different. I think it's the wide space between the eyes.
  • "Republican candidate for [Weatherford] Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Greg Martin claims to hold a bachelor’s, MBA, law and doctorate degrees." It sounds like he's lying.