will have to suffer from people walking up to her and saying, "I'm so confused!" for the rest of the year.
at 4:31 PM
DFW: Bus carrying North Central Texas College softball team members crashes, 4 killed http://t.co/6dII51Wk8v
— FOX 4 NEWS (@FOX4) September 27, 2014
Through twitter posts I was able to find this picture believed to be the #NCTCSoftball victims #PrayersForNCTC pic.twitter.com/FaEWeIscER
— Joangel Concepcion (@JOANGELFOX4) September 27, 2014
at 6:49 AM
- The father of Wise County Judge In Waiting J.D. Clark was killed yesterday in a wreck on FM 1810. Awful. Eerily, I already prepared a post of a 1970 Index front page -- scheduled to go up in a few minutes -- about another wreck back in the day. I had written, "That had to have rocked Chico."
- And it wants me to rethink my comment the other day that I felt sorry for the Update writer who had to lead off with "Trail Ride-" Maybe that's a good thing when that's the biggest news of the day.
- I don't want to hear your kid in a radio ad: Current violator is Gilley's which is advertising on The Ticket. If a ten year old tells me how great the food is on a menu, I'm not impressed.
- "BREAKING: Economy grew at 4.6 percent rate in April-June quarter, strongest pace since late 2011." We've come a long way since being on the brink of an economic disaster.
- Let's see, Iraq used to be ruled by Saddam Hussein who was a Sunni and consequently put other Sunnis in power underneath him. We invaded under false pretenses, captured him, allowed him to be tried in a farce of a trial where he didn't even get to see or know who was testifying against him, and then allowed him to immediately be hanged. Then new "elections" occurred under our watch and the Shiites took power. And we wonder why the Sunni based ISIS group is pissed off and invaded Iraq? (And recall that it is widely believed that George W. didn't even know the difference between the two sects at the time of the invasion.)
- Texas Tech: What's the deal with those helmets from last night? I still don't know what that imagine is on the side.
- Last night I looked up and The Sixth Grader In The House crawled by on her hands and knees with the normally spastic Family Cat riding on her back. (I started singing the old Jack In The Box commercial about tiny cowboys, but that reference was so obscure I only heard crickets chirping.)
- Questioned posed the other day on the radio: Do kids still play in a backyard "sand box"? I loved my sandbox (which was actually full of soft dirt instead of sand.)
- The lead prosecutor in the Black Widow trial in Fort Worth is Jack Strickland. Fascinating history that guy has. He was a prosecutor on one of the famous Cullen Davis cases back in the 1970s, was then a successful criminal defense lawyer (with an occasional trip to the Wise County Courthouse), and then returned to the prosecution side a few years ago.
- The number of executions originating by county in the entire United States since 1976: (1) Harris County (Houston) with 122, (2) Dallas County with 53, (3) NOT TEXAS!!!: Oklahoma County (Oklahoma City) with 40, (4) Tarrant County with 38, and (5) Bexar County (San Antonio) with: 37
- You can actually visit the prison where Shawshank Redemption was filmed
- I'm sick of hearing about Derek Jeter but even I appreciated a double in his first at bat and a walk off single on his last at bat in his final game in Yankee Stadium. But I was reminded of how boring baseball was when I watched his entire first at bat online. Get bat ready. Get glove ready. Step into batting box. Get feet right. Acknowledge to pitcher you're ready. Then Ball. Pause. Ball. Pause. Ball. Pause. Strike. Pause. Double.
There Was A Report That NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Was Going To Meet With UT Coach Charlie Strong
at 5:00 PM
JP courts and Municipal courts in Texas handle Class C offenses. Class C means no jail time is possible and the offense is punishable by fine only. Almost all of the offenses those judges handle carry with it a maximum of a $500 fine.
A judge is not a prosecutor. They should be "detached and neutral" which mean he/she should not know a single thing about any criminal case filed in the court other than there is an allegation. They should not advocate one position or another. If called upon, they will preside over a trial to keep it fair.
A prosecutor is the individual which should decide whether a case should be prosecuted. And he should decide what a plea bargain offer should be. In any Class C case, he has the right to offer a plea bargain of anywhere from a $0 fine to a $500 fine.
But in Texas, every JP or municipal court judge has a fine chart. You call the court, learn the standard fine, pay it, and you are done. That is clearly illegal under any number of theories. The judge has theoretically pre-judged the case, determined you are guilty, and offered a punishment as a resolution. That's not exactly due process. In essence, the judge is acting as a prosecutor and making a plea bargain offer. Now if the offer came from a prosecutor, that's fine. But a judge can't legally do it despite every JP or municipal judge doing it.
One of these days, the system will be declared illegal. (Unfortunately, there will be a simple work-around. A citation will be rewritten to read, "Please call the prosecutor's office at [number] if you are interested in a plea bargain." There will then be an employee in that office who will field the call, look at a fine chart, and make the offer. It's the same result, but at least it has the appearance of some semblance of fairness.)
at 3:10 PM
This is especially interesting because I've been (oddly) talking about the incident with Decatur lawyer Carol Ann Carson over the last month. She even just recently gave me the book, The Sniper In The Tower. And if you want chills, read the Texas Monthly excerpt from the recent book named, Monday, Monday.
at 11:30 AM
HP - A South Carolina state trooper was fired last week and arrested on Wednesday after a dashcam video showed him shooting an unarmed man during a routine traffic stop. Former officer Sean Groubert, 31, is seen in the newly released video pulling over Levar Edward Jones. The clip, which was recorded on Groubert’s dashcam on Sept. 4, shows Jones getting out of his vehicle at a gas station in Columbia. Groubert asks Jones for his driver’s license. As Jones reaches into his vehicle to retrieve it, Groubert shouts, “Get out of the car!” When Jones complies and starts to back away from the vehicle, Groubert opens fire. Three shots can be heard; Jones was hit at least once, in the hip. “I was just getting my license,” Jones says. He also apologizes repeatedly, and asks, “Sir, why was I shot? All I did was reach for my license. I’m coming from work.” “Well, you dove head-first back into your car,” Groubert says. “Then you jumped back out, I’m telling you to get out of your car.” Groubert was charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, a felony which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, according to a news release from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. The complaint states that Groubert “did without justification unlawfully shoot Levar Jones which produced great bodily injury or was likely to cause great bodily injury. Audio and visual recordings, as well as written statements, obtained are further evidence to indicate the shooting incident was without justification.”
I also don't think, "Sir, why was I shot?" would be my reaction.
at 10:13 AM
- Re: Black Widow trial in Fort Worth: She looks to be in trouble in this case. The only way she wins it, and it's a huge Hail Mary, is to take the stand and say she believed her husband killed himself, was distraught beyond belief immediately after the fact, and began making up any story possible to protect his reputation. (But I'm not sure even Drew Pearson would buy it.)
- But what an odd fact about the case from the Star-Telegram today: "Michele Williams’ husband earned $850,000 in the 10 months before his death, but the couple had only $1,000 in the bank." Although "in the bank" is kind of simplistic phrase.
- Anyone else think Cowboy Spare Mo Claiborne's statement is telling: “My apology went to nobody but those guys, those guys that’s in this locker room with me and it don’t go outside the locker room . . . ." Isn't he saying that he is not apologizing to the coaches or the owner.
- I've seen two cars in Decatur this week that had a non-factory antenna directly in the middle of the roof. They were tall (6' or more) and didn't move in the wind at all. What are those for?
- The "top prosecutor" under Dallas DA Craig Watkins has resigned saying, in essence, that he is unethical. That's huge. But Watkins Republican opponent Susan Hawk (who's kinda hot) doesn't seem to know how to run a campaign.
- Any assistant DA who doesn't think his boss is ethical should quit. Any DA who thinks an assistant DA is unethical should fire them.
- What ever happened to Atlantic hurricanes?
- A bugged-eyed Jerry Jones depicted on Southpark last night.
- Tony Stewart won't be charged for running over and killing that other driver on a dirt track from a couple of months back. That's probably the correct decision, but I was disturbed that the DA announced that the dead kid "was under the influence of marijuana". Hey, there's a HUGE difference between having marijuana in your blood stream and being under the influence of it. And, oddly, "He was not specific about how much marijuana Ward had in his system and said no toxicology report was presented to the grand jury." And, finally, what does the fact he had marijuana in his blood stream have to do with anything? Either Tony Stewart intentionally or knowingly or recklessly or negligently killed a guy standing on a track or it was an unavoidable accident.
- Someone asked me to explain the grand jury system on this here blog a couple of weeks ago. I will. And I know exactly where the problem is.
- Are we getting close to the day that quality movies are over? I mean the top ten are still making a fortune, but the top ten are crap. If you like drama, I think cable TV has cornered the market with a better product. (And did you know that this week is the 20th anniversary of the release of Shawshank Redemption? Would it even be made these days?)
- Wow: Minnesota Twins pitcher Phil Hughes' contact provided that he would get a half million dollar bonus if he pitched 210 innings this year. Yesterday, after completing the eighth inning, he had a total of 209 2/3rd innings. Then there was a rain delay. And then he wasn't sent out for the ninth inning. The manager now says he will not pitch out of the bullpen this weekend and is done for the year. Sorriness?
- I feel sorry for the Update writer whenever he has to lead off with "Trail Ride -"
- ESPN's Bill Simmons was suspended after calling Roger Goodell a liar on his podcast. The Washington Post has the perfect headline about it today: "Bill Simmons suspension highlights uneasy, $15-billion relationship between the NFL and ESPN." ESPN is a walking Conflict of Interest. (Sidenote: I'm a podcast fan in general, and I tried to listen to Simmons but his voice is like a spider crawling around in my brain. And can he write an article on Grantland.com that is less than 10,000 words?)
- If you have the time, look into the story of the recent death of former NFL kicker Rob Bironas. That is crazy.
at 8:38 AM
- Shootin' Blind is on a gun control rant. (Honestly, I had never heard of the case he wrote about. Here's the wikipedia version of it.)
- Bridgeport gets an airport. There were at least four incidents of planes making emergency landings around Runaway Bay in the 1960s up until this issue. I had thought the airport existed during that time and planes were just trying to get to it.
- Hay Competition.
- That's a list of every administrator and teacher at Bridgeport ISD.
at 3:52 PM
Hey, darlin', you just can't put your hands over your mouth and say, "I'm so sorry" and make everything right. And although you don't need to be arrested for assault*, you do need to be arrested for being stupid. Then again, the same goes for the guy in the water.
(Note: I had to look up "party foul". I could kind of guess, but that's not exactly a term I hear every day.)
*Assuming this was in Texas (it had to be, right?), Texas Penal Code 22.06 says,"CONSENT AS DEFENSE TO ASSAULTIVE CONDUCT. The victim's effective consent . . . is a defense to prosecution under Section 22.01 [Assault], [or] 22.02 [Aggravated Assault]"
at 2:52 PM
We all eventually end up where we are going.
(The only part of this that bugs me is the "I don't know". If I know I can't fix something, I'm good. If I know I can fix something, I also good. If I don't know, I might go crazy.)
at 1:34 PM
- I thought I saw a report of a serious injury at the always wheels off "Rednecks With Paychecks" event in Saint Jo over the weekend, but now I can't find anything on it.
- I'm hearing a rumor that a well know Decatur resident might be a cat hoarder which is making those in authority really uncomfortable. There's even a video.
- Want me to defend the President's coffee-in-hand salute? Uh, let me get back to you on that one.
- Some individual on the courthouse square working on remodeling an office yesterday needed some type of emergency medical care due to injury or health issues. Man, lots of emergency folks show up. I counted two ambulances, a fire truck, and a passenger truck.
- I'm not saying this girl arrested for DWI in Denton looks drunk, but she looks a little drunk. And what's up with the diamond tattoo?
- No one can surpass America in science and technology. What's that? India just put a satellite in the orbit of Mars? And that was on their first attempt?
- I don't think I've ever seen this picture of LBJ and Nixon in an elevator after the 1968 elections. Love LBJ's reflections in the mirrors.
- I learned that the felony assault case last week in Wise County involved the defendant turning down a plea bargain offer of "time served" with a reduction to a misdemeanor. He rejected the offer and successfully rolled the dice even though he could have been sentenced to 10 years in prison. That's a tense part of criminal defense law: The lawyer can only make a recommendation. It is the client who has absolute control over whether to accept a plea or take a case to trial.
- Me on March 24th: "The producer of the Mark Davis Show [radio] promotes her teenage daughter's singing career like its her only hope. I hope she throws in a 'Honey, this might not work out' every now and then." Well, last night the daughter appeared on The Voice and got rave reviews.
- Sports: (1) I had a hard time watching Florida/Alabama last Saturday. Sabin and Kiffin on one side, and Muschamp on the other. Jerks to the left me. Jokers to the right. (2) The Mavs introduced new special jerseys yesterday at a press conference which depicted the Dallas skyline. But they forgot to put Reunion Tower on it. Don't worry. Cuban's still a genius, right? (3). The Mavs also used the opportunity to introduce the new players -- you know, guys who are so loyal that they bounce around from team to team based upon the size of paychecks. Cuban, at the front table, when it came his time to speak simply said, “I just want to kick every one else's ass and win again." Always classy. I root for so much failure on him. (4) Mo Claiborne walked out of Valley Ranch yesterday after being demoted? That place is like Days Of Our Lives. (5) Hey, LSU Defender from yesterday: The tailgating was a fantastic atmosphere but inside the stadium was dead. The Wall Street Journal had an article last fall about how today's always-electronically-connected students across the nation are becoming disintered in actually attending games. We are slow to recognize changes like that. (6) The Rangers have won 10 of 11? That must be some type of mystical gift to my Baseball Nemesis from the first of the season. (7) I've never attended a Decatur volleyball game but it sounds more exciting than 99% of MLB or NBA games. They beat highly ranked Argyle last night.
- The Musers on The Ticket had a Breaking Bad discussion this morning where Junior said he hated Walt. I don't understand that. I loved Walt and rooted for him.
- I never, ever watch the late night variety talk shows. I have no interest whatsoever.
- Some Dallas private tour bus company has a "wrap" around the bus which includes JFK's photo with a caption alongside it that reads, "Big things happen here." Really.
- "For years?" (below). Sheesh. Conservative Ron Paul said in a 2007 presidential debate, "Have you ever read about the reasons they attacked us? They attack us because we've been over there. We've been bombing Iraq for 10 years."
DPS just released its official 2013 crime statistics for the state. They even provided a spreadsheet breaking down the number of a county by county basis. As a guy who has been a prosecutor and a defense lawyer in Wise County for the last 20 years, these numbers are comical. Maybe I'm missing something, but something ain't right. Edit: Maybe I am missing something. I went back and looked at their definition of "rape" and it does not include crimes against children. You kiddin' me? That's what 95% of the sex crimes are!
And why leave drugs out of the spreadsheet? And what about DWI? That's over 50% of all arrests.
The end result is that the spreadsheet provides no useful information.
Edit: Compare the above table to the official records from the judiciary. The above chart showed reported crimes even if there was no arrest or suspect. Below are cases which were filed against an individual during a 12 month period around the same time. It's night and day.
Misdemeanors added: 1,487
at 3:46 PM
WATCH: President Obama at @UN #2014Climate Summit – LIVE on C-SPAN2 http://t.co/EoB1bfvpVS #Climate2014 pic.twitter.com/HH3J4ZFDXC
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 23, 2014
President Obama. Check.
United Nations. Check.
Climate (Change) Summit. Check.
Put EMS on standby. They might not be able to take this.
at 12:32 PM
- We started dropping bombs on ISIS in Syria yesterday. Rightly or wrongly, it doesn't feel like America if we aren't dropping bombs.
- According to Grumpy TV Critic Ed Bark, Fox 4 went 19 minutes before finally getting around to mentioning the death of Max Morgan last night. I would have thought they would have at least led off with the news followed by a "more later" comment.
- When I lived on the lake, I was always concerned about the wind forecast because that determined whether I could take the boat out. As a jogger, I'm now concerned with the humidity forecast. By the way, this morning is fantastic and feels like the first full day of Fall. (Which it is.)
- We've still got new Family Pup #2 but, as someone on here warned us, we now have someone from Craigslist trying to convince us that it is their dog. Their story is simply unbelievable. After refusing to answer even the most basic of questions (uh, what street do they live on? -- not the actual address -- just the street. Any distinctive features on the dog?), they wrote, "If you are through with your investigation, can we have our dog back? Our child really misses her." Oh, the ol' pull on the heart string trick.
- You can see how people just roam Craigslist looking for "found" purebreds and then make contact trying to get the pooch for free.
- I was worried the Wise County deputy story would go viral. It is has now made the Huffington Post.
- "Of the $3.4 billion in traffic surcharges that have been assessed over the last decade, only $1.4 billion has been collected—an abysmal collection rate of 40 percent. Another telling stat: Nearly 1.3 million Texas drivers now have invalid driver’s licenses due to the program’s spiraling penalties." What a joke.
- Sports (some from over the weekend): (1) The Aggie Cadet throwing a block to protect Reveille at the SMU game has to be a campus hero by now. (2) I never stay up for late Pac 12 games but Arizona scoring 36 points in the fourth quarter and winning on a Hail Mary on the last play over California on Saturday night sounds fantastic, (3) That look on Jimbo Fisher's face as he turned away from the suspended Jameis Winston who showed up for pre-game warmups in full gear. There has to be some higher ups in the academic administration of FSU who want to kick him off the team. (4) Oft injured Ranger Jurickson Profar, who didn't play an inning this year, is hurt again. The best that never was? (5) Any chance Tech jumped the gun last month when it signed Coach Bro to a "contract extension through 2020 that will pay $3.1 million in 2015 with a $200,000 raise each year to $4.1 million in 2020"? (5A) With the Ray Rice incident fresh in our minds and considering OU banned highly touted freshman Joe Mixon for slugging a girl in a bar, what about Tech reinstating the freshman a couple of months ago after he slugged the female basketball star during a pick-up game? (6) Since Jean Jacques-Taylor is now in my cross-hairs, I thought I'd at least be one of the few people who reads what he writes. His recent post of "5 Plays That Shaped The Cowboys Win" is comical. It should be named "5 Obvious Plays That Even A Casual Sports Fan Would Know Caused The Cowboys to Win." Dallas stopping the Rams on fourth down in the fourth quarter was a significant play?!! Give me more insight like that!!! (7) Everyone talks about the electricity of an LSU game at night. I went to one two years ago and was completely disappointed. It wasn't even a sell-out against Washington in an early season game. (8) UT quarterback Tyrone Swoopes, apparently not realizing the team already has two losses, says he "expects" Texas to be in the national four team playoff
- Dallas police reported a major drop in crime yesterday. Yet, the taxpayers will still pay for the same number of cops and same number of prosecutors who will have to justify their jobs. And that is accomplished by arresting and prosecuting folks for alleged offenses that are so insignificant that they don't need to be in the system.
- That TCU student on trial for date rape was found not guilty yesterday. I wonder if he realizes that it's possible that a different jury would have locked him up. The Star-Telegram wouldn't identify the "victim" by name as part of its policy. But after someone is acquitted, should that policy remain intact?
- ABC has a new show about a criminal defense lawyer/professor called How To Get Away With Murder. It might end up being horrible, but I like the promo which has her saying, "People ask me how I can I represent someone who I know is guilty? The answer is 'I don't care.'"
- The fact that Highland Park ISD has suspended some books from being taught in high school due to "objectionable" material is mind-boggling. And the fact that one of them is named The Working Poor: Invisible in America proves the administration is tone deaf.
- There might not be a funnier picture than a guy in a polar bear suit being arrested at the Rally for Climate Change in NYC yesterday.
- A lawyer in Decatur wanted me to ask what you what you would think if he brought his dog to the office. Let's assume it is not a pit bull. What say you? Unprofessional? Funny bit? Understandable? Comforting?
- The great TV show Vice is after White Rose Women's Center in Dallas which misleads women by pretending to be an abortion provider, coaxes them in, and then hits them with anti-abortion material. Oh, and they are having a fund raiser at the Dallas Country Club in October with Rick Santorum being the speaker.
- I watched most of the Wendy Davis/Greg Abbott debate the other day. Wendy Davis is a horrible debater. It was like watching a Jason Garrett press conference.
- The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled last week that if you call your neighbor six times over a twelve month period because you are angry that you can lawfully be charged with the crime of Harassment. "Is this Russia, Danny?"
- On the other end of the spectrum, the Court granted relief for a guy who was wrongfully convicted, in part, because the State hid favorable evidence. Get this: “At the hearing, the lead prosecutor conceded, during this 2007 trial, that she was an alcoholic who was also taking prescription diet pills that affected her memory. She was later fired by the District Attorney . . . for unrelated ethical violations. During the … hearing, the prosecutor repeated seventy-two times that she did not recall or did not know the answers to questions concerning the investigation or trial of [the Defendant." Prosecutors often refer to themselves as "The guys who wear the white hats." Remember that.
- I deal with a lot of people who are under lots of stress and with a life that is in a free fall sometimes. After dealing with one of them last month (tears shed), I told my assistant, "Sometimes I feel more like a counselor than a lawyer." Then I paused. "I guess I am technically a counselor."
- Random Weekend Texas High School Football Score: Blum 116, Abbott 88.
- The inventor of the Slush Puppie died last week. I have only the very vaguest memory of the Slush Puppie.
- I'm mad at myself for not watching The Roosevelts.
- We lost TV access for a several hours over the weekend, and I ended up checking out HBO Go on the iPad. Let me tell you, watching a show on an iPad with headphones isn't a bad way to go.
- Saw a car turn into Decatur High School this morning which had two bumper stickers. One was "Come and Take It" (Tea Party) and the other was "Keep Calm and Chive On." (Chive.com). For some reason I found that confusing.
- I went to the Fellowship [Mega] Church in Grapevine yesterday morning to hear Mark Davis speech. Oh, man, do I have a lot of hot sports opinions to be forthcoming. But I do know this: If I had one wish, it would be to walk into that place with Jesus on the condition that he tell me everything he was thinking.
- It's amazing that a guy was able to jump the fence and make it into the White House on Friday. There's no question there was a security guy who was simply bored to death at the time it happened. The fence jumper was an Iraq vet diagnosed with PTSD and paranoia. Was that war even worth that single man's life which is now in a death spiral?
- From the Update: "State National Bank, which has a branch in Decatur, has announced that it will be acquired by east Texas-based Pilgrim Bank in the first quarter of next year. Lonnie 'Bo” Pilgrim'." Old Timers will remember that Bo Pilgrim once handed out $10,000 checks on the Texas Senate floor to try an influence legislation that would impact his chicken processing empire.
- I watched the first half of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty last night. I loved it in the beginning because it was about a beaten down guy who wildly daydreams of being somewhere else and doing other things. [Looking in mirror.] Then is seemed to get off track.
- Sports: (1) OU looks strong. (2) It is only fitting that the craziest season in Ranger history has them going 8 of 9. (3) I'm not worried about calling for Dallas to have less than 7.5 wins. They are horrible. Edit: My assistant just walked in and told me to be nice to the Cowboys. (4) Sixth Grader in The House while watching the play in the opener where Jameis Winston leaped over his own player on a touchdown run in a win over OSU: "Wow!!! Who was that???" Me (with defeated voice): "Jameis Winston. He's an idiot." (She looked at me with that "What-do-you-have-against-him look). (5). Am I in the minority if I say that I think Gus Johnson is a fantastic play by play guy? (6). In the past, when a team was punting there was just one up back for blocking. Now there are always three. (7). So why did that lineman shove the Rams' quarterback on the sideline yesterday? (8). The Johnny Football fake-fight-with-the-coach-play was fantastic. (9). That Roger Goodell press conference on Friday was a Hail Mary for his job. Get rid of him. (10). Ticket Fans: ESPN's Dallas Jean-Jacques Taylor tweeted yesterday that the Cowboys would be right back in it if they could score after being down 14-0. I decided to be a smart arse and replied that the statement was obvious. He replied that I should go somewhere else for my sports talk. I might have replied that I had to go shove some wings in my face. Man, I think that guy has a big bag of nothing.