Above The Fold

Readable PDF.

It's Friday Afternoon. Let's Get Out Of Here.

Gunfire At Love Field! Video!

The Government Do Take A Bite Out

So how does this work?

Example: Cops make traffic stop of you in your $25,000 paid off car. They find a minuscule amount of dope after illegally searching the vehicle without probable cause or consent. Cops arrest you and refer case to prosecutor. Prosecutor notices the illegal search but files a lawsuit to take the car.

Criminal case = Thrown out since dope cannot be used against you.  You're free.
Forfeiture case = Government takes your car despite the illegal search.

(I'll give credit to the tweeting judge Willett who concurred in the opinion but dropped a huge hint in a footnote suggesting that the Court needs to be presented with a "clean constitutional challenge" to the Texas forfeiture system. It's technical, but he's saying "Don't argue whether the exclusionary rule applies to civil forfeiture cases. Instead, attack the whole system on Due Process grounds.")

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • Mark Cuban was on CNN last night and Fox News this morning giving his opinions about the Presidential campaign. Why not have Jerry Jones on? They are equally qualified.
  • A name of a person who attended Ali's memorial service yesterday which I had not heard of in quite some time: Louis Farrakhan.
  • I had to swerve to miss hitting a huge feral hog this morning on 380.
  • Heck of a fire yesterday in a high tone Dallas neighborhood:

  • I wrote about this yesterday: "On Wednesday, a Tarrant County grand jury declined to indict McIver on the attempted capital murder and drug possession charges. Prosecutors quickly refiled the same two charges against McIver." One thing I didn't mention is the odd statement that prosecutors had "refiled" the charges.  True, they can get the case before a grand jury again but there is no "refiling" to be done.  To get a case initially started, 99 times out of 100 law enforcement just hands their report over to the DA. It becomes nothing more than a physical file in the DA's office and not available to the public and no "charges" are filed with any clerk at that time. It can be presented to the grand jury, but it doesn't have to be "filed" anywhere first. If a grand jury indicts the case, it is then "filed" with the district clerk and the case receives a public cause number. So if a case is no-billed, how exactly is the case "re-filed" by the DA? (The guy is still in jail by the way even thought the grand jury said the evidence was insufficient.)
  • Texas man says he was choked because he smiled during a book in photo. Ok, buddy. You got any proof? . . . 
  • OK.
  • With all this talk about Ali, I recalled an equally famous boxer during his day: Galveston's own Jack Johnson. Ken Burns did a fantastic documentary on him once called "Unforgivable Blackness." He was married three times -- all to white women, and was sentenced to prison for a trumped up violation of the Mann Act (" The Mann Act prohibited the transfer of women across state lines for immoral purposes" which I presume means more than taking a girlfriend to Vegas.) And look at this crowd at a match in 1908 -- in Australia.
  • Last night I watched the first 40 minutes of Episode 1, Season 1 of Game of Thrones. Pretty, pretty good.
  • Disturbing: A 42 year old guy at a Shell Station near DFW Airport sees some guys trying to steal his rent car, he tries to stop them, and ends up kidnapped and murdered. Intriguing: He was followed to the gas station.
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off was released thirty years ago tomorrow. (Other big films of 1986: Top Gun, Stand By Me, Platoon, Pretty In Pink, Peggy Sue Got Married, 9 1/2 Weeks, The Money Pit, and Three Amigos. Notice the lack of super heroes and explosions.)
  • Idiocracy: The fact the WFAA has a cop in full uniform named "Sgt. Nick" doing the traffic in the mornings.
  • Arlington PD seized 72,000 pills of Xanax.  They wanted to know "what you could do" with them. 
  • Big story yesterday: "Officials within the Obama administration believe that at least a dozen former detainees from Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba are responsible for attacks that killed roughly six Americans in Afghanistan." Buried within the story: "[A]ll the former detainees involved were released during the George W. Bush administration."


Presidential Twitter Wars!

Gun News

So what's the bottom line? If that decision were to apply to the whole country then the States have all the power. A State wants to ban all concealed carry? Fine. A State wants to put extreme limits on concealed carry? Fine. A State wants to let everyone conceal carry without any regulation? Fine.

This is a perfect example of a court case which will get groups like the Tea Party up in arms when it really supports their basic philosophical tenet: State's rights.

A Chain Is Only As Strong As . . .

Blurred Lines Indeed

The former Stanford student, 20, was "convicted on three counts of sexual assault last week and Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky sentenced him to just six months in county jail and probation, saying that a longer sentence in prison would 'severely impact' the college swimmer’s life.

  • Ok, this post has nothing to do with the sentence. This has to do with how you, the public, are being pandered to by a Congressman. 
  • First, the Congressman is Ted Poe from Texas and a former prosecutor and district judge. He isn't dumb.
  • Or is he? The case he is arguing about is a California state prosecution.  It was not a federal case. Congress has nothing to do with state prosecutions. It's high school Civics 101.
  • And even if it were a federal case, he's out of order to even have an official opinion on a criminal judgment and sentence. He only makes laws. He has nothing to do with how they are enforced or interpreted or applied.  He would lose on "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?" if the question concerned Separation of Powers.
  • The defendant idiotically appealed (unless he is seeking an acquittal instead of a retrial) the case. But Poe shows a complete misunderstanding for the basic framework of criminal law: "Poe also said he is 'glad this arrogant defendant has appealed his case,' adding that this appeal will give the court an opportunity to give the former Stanford swimmer a harsher sentence." That's just flat wrong. An appellate court can reverse a case but Poe seems to think they can just change a sentence and make it higher on appeal. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. 
  • He is grandstanding about an issue he has nothing to do with. And he knows it.

From The Rangers Game The Other Day

One of the most hypnotic things I have ever seen.

Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  • If you ever wanted proof that a grand jury serves no purpose read this story: "A Tarrant County grand jury on Wednesday rebuffed prosecutors and declined to indict a 21-year-old Parker County man accused of participating in the shooting of Fort Worth police officer Matt Pearce in March. Prosecutors quickly refiled charges of attempted capital murder and possession of a controlled substance against Ed Russell McIver Jr. of Weatherford." There is no double jeopardy issues. The prosecutor will simply just wait until there's a new grand jury and keep trying until they get an indictment. Fair?
  • If you can't get passed your own grand jury, how do you expect to get past an impartial jury who must be convinced of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt? 
  • I heard they had released a few tickets to Muhammad Ali's funeral to the public. Members of the public then turned around and tried to sell them online.
  • Anyone think the NBA playoffs are fixed to get as many games in as possible?
  • Disturbing pic of the morning: One car fatality accident shuts down I-35 in Dallas.
  • Whatever happened to my nemesis Ann Curry?
  • Heard in the Wise County district courtroom yesterday morning: "The only thing I listen to are the imaginary voices in my wife's head." 
  • Random football program cover: The TCU vs. SMU cover from 1970 was very flamboyant.
  • I got a replacement credit card the other day. New for me: No raised numbers on the front. In fact, the numbers are just printed on the back. And it also has a chip which I think means "You'll be confused as to whether the merchant wants you to slide it on the scanner or insert it underneath, and it will take 30 seconds to approve once you've figured that part out." 
  • There has been an ongoing debate on The Ticket about whether the "Chewbacca Mom" was faking the laugh. After hours of deliberation, my verdict is: Absolutely guilty.
  • In the newest "no body" murder case, a judge has been hearing pre-trial motions in the Enrique Arochi prosecution in Collin County. Watch for this: The defense filed for a change of venue with supporting affidavits (a requirement). The State, I believe, didn't file controverting affidavits (which, unbeknownst to them, is also a requirement). If the judge doesn't move the trial, it is automatic error. (Or at least it used to be.)
  • The valedictorian of Boyd High School (in McKinney, not Boyd) is an undocumented alien. She has a full scholarship to Yale. Would Trump send her back?
  • Oh, and an honors graduate from an Austin high school, who is also an undocumented alien, has received a full ride to the University of Texas.


Video Released - Officer Received Four Years In Prison


This Is A New One For Me

If placed on probation, there is often some type of "class" to take. It might be alcohol education, a drug class, batterer's intervention, or even a theft class. Now one county (not Wise) is sometimes mandating a "Moral Reconation Therapy" class.

I had to look up "Reconation". That didn't help. I don't think it's a word. But the therapy, according to the Internet, "is a cognitive-behavioral counseling program that combines education, group and individual counseling, and structured exercises designed to foster moral development in treatment-resistant clients."  I'm still not sure what that means.

Side note: I wonder how much the class costs.

Above The Fold

Full readable pdf.

Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • Well, we officially have a female on the presidential ballot this Fall.
  • Go back in time less than 100 years: Many states didn't even allow women to vote. It was only in 1920 that the U.S. Constitution was finally amended and ratified to force all states to get with the program. 1920 wasn't that long ago.
  • If you drive over the "old dam" at Lake Bridgeport, you'll see about 15 small whirlpool-like movements in the water. What are they?
  • The Messenger lists 60 new indictments. My quick count revealed 39 of them being for drugs.
  • Ever think softball is boring? In the college world series last night, Auburn came back from a 7-0 deficit to tie it, robbed OU of a game winning home run in one of the most fantastic catches you'll ever see (photos below), and then won it with a grand slam walk off home run in extra innings. A winner take all game is tonight.
  • "Video captured a mother wrestling her daughter from the arms of a would-be kidnapper." Ok, that's weird. It was in the middle of a store. 
  • This seems to be the most volatile time for Trump. Up until now, he's been able to say things that would destroy any conventional candidate. But now he's finally catching some very strong blow back with his "Mexican judge" comments. First crack in the armor or is this a rallying point? (Side note: Angering Hispanics is no way to win an election.)
  • I'm not sure I have ever talked to a single person who watches Game of Thrones.
  • The NBA first game of the season was on October 27, 2015. The season is still going on. For comparison, the Cowboys were only six games into their season on October 27th - a season that ended over five months ago.
  • Conversation in the courthouse yesterday: Doesn't being a long haul trucker sound like a pretty interesting job? You don't have to jack with people, could listen to audiobooks or anything in the world you find interesting, and you get to see the country. 
  • “When Sting died, Sting, according to them, had no will and was worth 300 million dollars or 280 million dollars or something, and had over 1,000 songs that he had not released that he had written. He had all this music to be released!” - New York talk show host Mike Francesa yesterday.


Update on Random Thought Bulletpoint of Alleged Maui Murder Via Car/Cliff Launch

We have photos . . . .

What Happens When NFL Twitter Account Gets Hacked

But He Wants You To Vote For Him?

Flashback to February:

Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • I always cock an eyebrow when I hear about a "GoFundMe" page.
  • A while back I mentioned Breitling Energy and its jack-of-all-trades leader Chris Faulkner so I googled the company last night. I found this recent tidbit: "Breitling Energy Corp (OTCMKTS:BECC) has declined 90.00% since October 28, 2015 and is downtrending." (You can get a share of stock for 1.4 cents. And this lede from The New York Post from late last year: "A Texas fracking magnate stuck his personal concierge with $240,000 in unreimbursed expenses for luxury items such as his wife’s Louboutins, all while getting high and drunk at high-end clubs and restaurants, according to a new lawsuit."
  • I told you there wouldn't be any charges filed against the parents in the Gorilla Shooting Case.
  • I told you OU would win the NCAA softball championship. (They are one game away.)
  • Electronic filing of court paperwork in Texas has slowly moved to electronic transmissions instead of paper.  IBut if you were one of the handful of lucky companies to get the government contract to handle the process, you are making a fortune on fees that you get to pocket with every transaction. It actually costs more to file electronically than it did by formerly filing paper.
  • I'm convinced that the way to get rich in this country these days is to be a private company with a government contract.
  • "HONOLULU — A woman who was driving a vehicle when it plunged off a Maui cliff has been charged with murder in the death of her twin, who was in the passenger's seat."  Dear Prosecutor: Good luck with all of that.
  • Kimbo Slice was one of the first viral video sensations I ever saw and he turned it into a MMA career. He died yesterday.
  • Legendary local wrestler Fritz Von Erich started his career portraying a Nazi? (Ticket reference this morning.)
  • Funny: This Houston Astros fan at the Ranger game last night was none to pleased when Knoxie got the crowd fired up around him.
  • Strange bedfellows: When Trump makes a fundraising tour in Texas next week, he will be a guest of big time Plaintiff's lawyer Tony Buzbee (who once hired Miley Cyrus to perform at one of his parties.)   When is the last time you saw a Plaintiff's lawyer saddle up next to a conservative Republican?
  • MADD has a lot of Donald Trump in it. The organization currently has a petition online to encourage a judge to revoke a guy's probation for "alleged" failed drug tests. Who cares if he really failed the tests, right? Sheesh. 
  • Prosecution in Williamson County has been a mess. The guy who was DA and wrongfully pursued Michael Morton was sent (briefly) to jail. DA John Bradley lost an election for fighting the team who were trying to show Michael Morton was innocent (he was per DNA). And now the gal who beat Bradley lost her re-election bid and was just placed on 18 months probation by the State Bar for prosecutorial misconduct.
  • I have said this a million times: If you care one iota about criminal justice in Texas and how an unethical prosecutor can destroy lives, read the Texas Monthly award winning article on Morton.  
  • What exactly does Devon's sale of $1 billion in oil and gas resources really mean?
  • Remember the pool party in McKinney which ended up causing an overzealous responding cop to get fired? "The Texas Rangers have completed their investigation into . . .  [his] controversial handling of a raucous pool party last summer and forwarded the findings to Collin County prosecutors."  Good grief. No one was hurt. The officer got hammered by being fired. We don't need the Rangers wasting a year (and how on God's green Earth did it take a year?). We don't need prosecutors wasting their time, a grand jury's time, or a trial jury's time with it. 


Japan's "Throwing Out The First Pitch" Isn't Like Ours


Playlist Compiled By The Ultimate Statistics Gurus

Seriously. Those boys do a ton of number crunching.

Texas Congressman Not Happy With Trump

Random Ad In Texas Monthly That Makes No Sense

I don't know how much it costs to advertise in Texas Monthly, but it is not uncommon to see ads in the back for ranches or huge acreage which will always be for millions of dollars. Here's an example:

So someone explain to me how you can pay for even a 1/4 page ad for a place that lists for $70,000? It probably cost $3,000 - $4,000 which is a chunk of change for one real estate ad.

Random Monday Morning Thoughts

  • Ken Starr continues to make news: (1) He had an incredibly awkward interview where his PR person (who is being paid way too much even if she is working for free) interrupted and told him how to answer. It was followed by Starr acting like he had never been in front of a camera before as he turned to her after answering the question again and asking if that was "better", (2) Some goofballs took out a full page ad out in the Austin American Statesman thanking him for his time at Baylor.
  • I'm very interested in this 30 for 30 mini series on O.J.  that is debuting this Saturday.
  • My probable award winning photo of the Lake Bridgeport spillway from yesterday is here.
  • Donald Trump sent the GOP into a panic this weekend as he continued to make racist comments against the judge in his seedy Trump University lawsuit, and he referred to a guy in one of his crowds as "my African-America".
  • I saw a headline that Miss California USA "flubbed" a question during last night's pageant but it wasn't even close to the famously funny "because they don't have maps".  I was more interested to learn that the "20-year-old model is the daughter of 1990s one-hit-wonder singer Gerardo, known for 'Rico Suave.'"
  • Texas Monthly has another story of over-zealous prosecutors and the prosecution of an innocent man. This time it is about Kerry Max Cook who has been fighting the good-old-boy system in Tyler for decades. (The magazine single-handedly caused the change in Texas law where we defense lawyers can now actually get a copy of the prosecutors file because of their story on Michael Morton a few years back.)
  • There an NFL player who was shot in the leg at a strip club in Dallas over the weekend. I liked one of the reviews of the place on Yelp: $40 parking, $40 cover, 30 minute wait when there was no line, and drinks only by the bottle for around $150. 
  • I'm not sure I've seen any case which impacts what police officers can do during traffic stops more than the Supreme Court's decision of Rodriguez vs. United States from last year. I read it again this weekend and even listened to the oral arguments (with the worst defense lawyer ever). Nevertheless, he won the case. Police are now on shaky ground if they prolong a traffic stop because they are snooping around and asking unrelated questions simply because of a hunch. 
  • The story behind the photo below (including who the guy is who can be seen between Ali's legs and how he ended up there.)
  • But I don't know anything about an almost identical photo taken from a slightly different angle: