Friday Night Football Taking You Into The Weekend

It ended last season once a kick was blocked and a kicker almost died.

But you must always hope for better days. (Just for fun, assume this girl is named Hope. That would make me very clever if  it were true.)

 And tonight at 6:00 it starts all over again. Some things never get old.

Edit (on Saturday Morning): Did Baylor win?  Let's check out the SMU student section for the result.

"Making America [Something]"

Woo Hoo! And tickets are free!

It's gettin' turnt up!  He's not doing a bit! We aren't being conned! He doesn't have ulterior motives! No!  He'll be the equivalent of a Violent Torpedo Of Truth at the AAC!

Wait, have I seen all of this before?

I'll be dang. April. 2011. In Dallas. At the AAC.

I think Trump shortened "defeat is not an option" to "he's a loser" or "I'm winning everywhere."

Fox 4 Had A Story On A Rhome PD Facebook Post


Yeah, the "War is declared" is a little over the top, but there's nothing crazy about the post.  The only thing that got my attention was that if you cooperate you will "most likely" be asked to return to your vehicle.  We would have a great horror movie trailer if the following line read:  "But there is a chance you will not be asked to return to your vehicle. Ever."

(Special note to Fox 4: Man, that web site is a disaster. It took a while to find the story even by searching for the very distinctive name of "Rhome" -- that got me nothing. When I finally found a link, I clicked on it and got nothing but a mess (and, yes, I know to click that goofy red box.) I promise you I couldn't get to the story despite the link to the story appearing in the URL box. The only way I got to it was to paste that link into a new tab.)

That's A Cover With Some Clever Political Comedy

Random Friday Morning Thughts

  • If I fire off a draft of a random thought that gets me thinking (and researching), I know what I'll end up writing something which may be for an audience of one: Me. You have been warned. 
  • Sports: (1) Despite the close final score of 23-17, TCU shouldn't be worried about last night's performance, (2) TCU should be worried that QB Trevone Boykin is going to get injured if they keep letting him get exposed, (3) Or Boykin needs to learn to get down. Given the choice of two more yards and getting killed or dropping like a rag doll, I'd tell my star QB to drop like a rag doll, (4) Two Baylor players were suspended for today's game so you don't have to tell me about it, (5) Michael Irvin's math at the the Cowboy's Opening Banquet as well as "closing" the preseason last night were golden. I'll try to find links for it. 
  • Someone always writes that I voted for Obama twice, favor gun control, and am pro-choice. Uh, buddy, spend the weekend trying to find where I have ever said that. Unlike saying that marijuana should be legalized (which I have), you may think I've said those things or even implied it, but I've never unequivocally stated it. 
  • Legal disclaimer: There is no cash prize for someone presenting evidence in the next 30 minutes which makes me wish I never wrote the above bullet point. 
  • Get ready, I'm going a little deep . . . 
  • A "revenge porn law" has gone into effect in Texas. (Very Over Simplified: It makes it a crime for Person Two to post a naked picture of Person One even if Person One sent Person Two the photo so long as Person One did so "with a reasonable expectation that it would remain private"). We aren't talking about Person One being able to sue Person Two for money. We are talking about the government making it a crime with possible jail time. Think about this: A guy posting that pic is engaging in "speech". (If he writes something, it is speech. The same is true if he paints a naked picture, or took and saved a photo of someone naked. Or has a photo of someone else and sends it to someone else. All of those examples are "speech" under the constitution. If you don't understand any of this, stop reading.) So does the Revenge Porn law violate his right to Free Speech? The photo in itself is not illegal -- just like Playboy is not illegal. So can the government make it a crime because the person photographed didn't "reasonably believe" it would go public?  Should that even matter? I'm not allowed to repeat your speech just because you thought I wouldn't? What if the law read that it was a crime to describe in words what the photo looked like? Remember, words and photos are both "speech". Let's go further: What if the law read that it was a crime for Person B to reveal to a written fantasy authored by Person A that she sent to Person B when Person A had a reasonable expectation that her writings would remain private?  Man, I love this stuff. 
  • Donald Trump has signed a pledge to not run as a third party candidate and support the GOP nominee regardless of who it is. At first I thought he was caving and acting like a true politician. However,South Carolina requires that type of pledge in order to get on the primary ballot. (Side note: How is that constitutional?) Even if he is doing a bit, he would want that bit to last past the South Carolina primary.
  • I've received the autopsy report of Alan Alverson in the case involving the Police Dog Pepper Shooting. No news in it that hasn't already been released. But I've learned that in addition to the Messenger who has tried to obtain information from Paige Williams, Montague DA, so has Barbara Green of the Bowie News.
  • Open Records abuse rant coming. I'm going in deep again  . . . 
  • I wrote the other day about the  552.108(a)(2) which is the exception law enforcement uses to dodge open records requests. They use it because it has been so wildly interpreted that it is now abused. That exception allows records to NOT be released if: "it is information that deals with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime only in relation to an investigation that did not result in conviction or deferred adjudication."  I promise you the following is true: Right now if your local police agency decided to follow you around, photograph you, interview friends and acquaintances, gather your DNA from a restaurant glass, pretend to be someone else on the Internet which caused you to engage in email exchanges, etc. and that "investigation" created 1,000 pages of information, you could never get those records from the police under the Open Records Act because (1) the agency could simply say "we heard there might be criminal activity going on so we were trying to detect it", and (2) you were not convicted or received deferred adjudication probation. 
  • There are criminal penalties for violating the Open Meetings Act, but I don't think there are any criminal penalties for violation of Texas Public Information Act. 
  • Wait? Don't we have dashcam videos and 911 calls typically released to the press within days after an incident and before a case goes to the grand jury? How is that possible?: The agency voluntary releases it and doesn't try to rely on some BS exception. 
  • This day's Random Thoughts are CLOSED.


Get Me This . . .

. . . hot chick who surfs with high heels while wearing a dress!  Uh, I just meant surfboard.*
*Really, honey. Promise. 

Breaking News On That County Clerk

I told you was coming.


Update. Shout out to all my Wise County deputy clerk friends who have to be thankful they weren't put in that situation):

Edit: What will the deputy clerks do? We now have our answer. I just wished they had collectively issued a press release that said, "We put up with a lot of crap and don't get paid enough as it is. Civil disobedience isn't exactly on our radar right now. But, while we have the public's attention, we do have a serious problem in this country with malfunctioning copying machines. For the sake of everything holy, is there a way to keep a MF7460 from jamming before we finish our coffee? Now that we would be willing to go to jail for."

Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  • There was a gas plant fire near Chico last night which caused an evacuation of all homes within a one mile radius. Within that radius were "10 to 15" homes. That's a lot of land with very few homes. Home many homes would be in a one mile radius of Frisco, north Fort Worth, of Plano?
  • One year ago I would have thought you were out of your mind if you had told me: "Next year, while Donald Trump is leading in the polls for the Republican presidential nomination, he will verbally attack Kareem Abdul-Jabbar."
  • I'll put a headset on and listen to a podcast almost every evening while I walk, do lawn work, or work on my curve ball. But I have been so obsessed on a particular case lately that I'll go 15 minutes before I realize I hadn't paid attention to a single word said in the podcast.  
  • How about this ad on the very conservative 660 The Answer: Medi-Share. It's "not insurance" but a program "to help Christians" by "members [sharing] each other's medical expenses". They promote that members know "their dollars will never be used for procedures that go against their conscience." Specifics? Every month, you are obligated to pay a fee but you pay that fee by paying another members medical bill that has been selected by Medi-Share to be published on the secure website. I don't know if I think that's a great idea (the financial concept actually is), or if I'm offended by Christians who only care about the health care of Christians. 
  • And, continuing on, I'm wondering about the type of bills which would not be selected as eligible to be paid by others on Medi-Share. AID bills? Certainly. Abortion? No way. Maybe lung cancer bills but that's a huge stretch. So what exactly are the other type of medical bills are not Christian-like? 
  • I had an old client come by yesterday who told me that a police officer told him he couldn't possess a shotgun outside of his home because of his criminal history. He received deferred adjudication for a tiny dope case over 10 years ago which, since he successfully completed it, has no impact on his right to possess firearms. (For Texas criminal law folks only: I bet we had a cop who heard dispatch say "Possession Controlled Substance. 1 and 1" and didn't know the many possible meanings of that second number.) I'm on it. 
  • The Ticket's Craig Miller did his own tour of the prisons in Huntsville a couple of days ago. I've always said a great documentary would be to film a handful of inmates from the moment they are released and then follow them for the next month to see how they adjust. Some may have only been there for a few months and have family and friends to welcome them back. The opposite end would be the inmate who has been locked up for years and is released to . . . emptiness.
  • Baylor has hired a Philadelphia law firm to investigate the recent "scandal". Unrelated but true story: In the 1990s I was in the Wal-Mart in Decatur wearing a suit when I was the DA. I'm standing around while another prosecutor was talking to the security manager in connection with a theft case (that's another story). Any way, an elderly lady walked up to me and, believing I must be associated with WalMart,  asked me where she could find a certain item. I told, "I'm sorry ma'am, I don't work here."  She wheeled around and yelled, "Then why are you standing around looking like a Philadelphia lawyer!?" I would pay for a photo of the expression of confusion on my face at that moment. 
  • Sports: (1) TCU better be careful tonight. First game. At Minnesota. Thursday night games are weird. (2) And Baylor better be careful tomorrow. At SMU. SMU has a new coach. Who knows what to expect. And Friday games are weirder. (3) I always remember stumbling upon the end of Appalachian State at Michigan in 2007 (my luckiest Sports Channel Surfing moment ever).  After that, I believe anything is possible. (4) A buddy showed me the Hudl app the other day which is used by most high school teams to review game film. Wow. 


Oh, My!

Language warning.

(Source) - Santa Clara County officials on Tuesday released a video of a worker being blasted from a manhole by a steam explosion a year ago at the Valley Medical Center earthquake retrofit project, where the county is accusing the contractor of safety lapses and costly delays. The worker was shaken but walked away unhurt.

A Message From Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (Who Cannot Possibly Be Pandering For Votes)

Also, he supports Buc-ee's and generic (and very odd) Texas t-shirts.

Cobra vs. Python: Who Ya Got?

Python in the dark trunks. Cobra in the light trunks. (Bronko Lubich will be your referee.*)

The winner at least knew to get while the gettin's good.

(The fights over about halfway through. But the Snake Removal Gang is pretty brave.)
*That's a joke for two people out there. Three, tops.

Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • It's Salma Hayek's birthday. I may watch her appearance in From Dusk Till Dawn on an endless loop to celebrate it. 
  • I'm mad at Fox 4's web site again.  How do web site designers not understand this?: Look at the Drudge Report. No layout could be more simple or boring. And it kills in page views. It's not the layout, it's the content. (And if I find any news site that auto-plays a video of an ad or a news story, I'm out. I'll come back only because of a specific necessity. Then I'm gone again.) 
  • Bridgeport ISD is lowering its tax rate.
  • "Beaumont solo [practitioner] John S. Morgan faces a disciplinary lawsuit after he pleaded no contest in a case that accused him of lying that people in the district attorney's office smoked pot and 'skimmed' it from drug cases." Two thoughts: (1) I would hope he does suffer consequences if he falsely accused prosecutors of a crime, but (2) Shouldn't there be consequences for anyone who makes an allegation of a crime which is not true. No one should simply get to walk away in the "interest of justice" when there is more to it than that. 
  • Sports: (1) In addition to the Baylor and TCU games, I'm also very interested in Texas at Notre Dame on Saturday. On my bucket list of stadiums I've been to (I need to post an updated list), I'll go to South Bend in the next few years. (2) Will it be Baylor or TCU who wins the Big 12? Hot sports prediction: It'll be a team from Oklahoma. (3) Baylor's Antwan Goodley and TCU's David Porter were cut by the Cowboys yesterday. Both were rookies. Both are now experiencing something they've never felt before: The realization that their tremendous athletic ability is no longer valued. 
  • Windows 95 was revolutionary when it was released 20 years ago.  I had no idea what all the fuss was about. I was just getting comfortable with DOS. Sheesh. So much has changed. Just think about those days and then look at your phone. (Edit: For old extreme computer geeks only: Over in a building in Bridgeport right now, there is a printout of a computer program comprised of over 1,000 lines of code that I wrote in COBOL over thirty years ago. And it worked perfectly.) 
  • I updated the Montague County DA / Open Records controversy below. It will bore most of you. However, I suspect the Messenger and various local government agencies and entities will read it with interest. If not, they should. 
  • My favorite characters on The Ticket: (1)  Ed Carter (2) Ribby (3) the long departed Coach Tom Foolery.
  • The other day I implied I had no sympathy for those who suffer from depression unless they also suffer from some type of self-medicating addiction. That was not my intention, and I expressed my views poorly. 
  • The Decatur Eagles will play in "Stuart B. Lumpkins Stadium" in Waxahachie this weekend. Very random memory: His son is a lawyer who once changed jobs which allowed me to take his place in a Fort Worth law firm many years ago. One of the first few times I saw him was from my third baseman position as he was a batter in a "Lawyer's Softball League". Of all the softball errors I made that season (and there were many), I avoided one as he hit a screaming line drive down the third base line, and I somehow instantaneously stuck out my glove and snagged it. Admittedly, it was more luck than skill. And to think I still remember that
  • Note to Kentucky County Clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses for same sex couples: I appreciate your commitment to your convictions (although you are a nut if you believe it is a "heaven or hell decision"), but you are going to end up in jail if you keep it up. I hope you know that and your plan is to be a martyr. But I have my doubts.


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


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 552.108(a)(2).

Edit: Wait a second. You want to know how that exception the DA is relying on reads: The information does not have to be released if "it is information that deals with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime only in relation to an investigation that did not result in conviction or deferred adjudication." Ok, that is the law. But the Attorney General is relying on the DA to honestly represent that the information requested falls within that exception.

There was a dead guy. And a dead dog. Any investigation was not done "for the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime." Those records were created for this: Let's document what happened on the part of law enforcement as to how we handled this. They weren't created to detect crime, investigate crime, or prosecute crime.

The Messenger needs to amend its request to the DA in this manner: "We request any and all documents in connection with [identify the date and describe the event broadly] that were not created for the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime but were created for any other purpose. If any document contains information which partially falls within and without section 552.108(a)(2) of the Texas Government Code, we request those documents in a form that redacts information protected by  the letter of the Texas Attorney General sent to you on June 24, 2015 regarding our previous request."

Then wait and see if the DA's office says there are no such documents. If they do, don't use the ridiculous remedies available by law under that open records act. Instead, do identical requests to the multiple agencies and offices which certainly possess the same records. (Hard copies, pdf or other computerized formats. Heck, the investigation was will be the focus of a seminar! It involved Montague County, Wise County, and DPS! Those records are everywhere!) I can think of a dozen entities/agencies off the top of my head who will have those records.  And if those records do exist within those entities I'm thinking about, the head of at least one of them will be honest and release them. Then the Messenger has the records AND a huge story of what it took to get them.

And if the head of those agencies and entities reading this know they have records that they would have to turn over, you might want to give the Montague County DA a courtesy call right now.

And here is a thought: Why doesn't the DA just release them?

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! . . . 


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?


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)