The Campaign For DA

11.20.2019

Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts



  • Butterfly Effect:
  • I can't tell you how ridiculous this is. There's no reason an assistant DA could represent the DA in the contempt proceeding (a visiting judge ruled so just last week), and the amount of $30,000 is robbery.  There's no way the DA is going to jail in this contempt proceeding -- a fine is the worst thing that will happen and even that's unlikely -- but the county is writing a check with taxpayer money like he's a family member accused of capital murder. And get this: The lawyer that the DA has chosen to represent him is the same one in the stalled Ken Paxton prosecution -- the one that is now in a black hole because the county doesn't want to pay him $300 an hour.   He's charging the DA in the contempt case $400 an hour!
  • Trump explained his trip to the hospital. So his wife didn't know about a planned physical and when she thought he was having a heart attack she had no way to get in contact with him? (The biggest lie is that she would ever refer to him as, "Darling.")
  • In District Court in Wise County, some of the inmate court appearances are handled by video conferencing. The gallery can't see the inmate but can hear him. Some of the most awkward moments occur when one of them is brave enough to go off on his court appointed attorney for not coming to see him. In related news:
  • Note to a Wise County trooper who during a traffic stop told a former marine that "You are a disgrace to your country!": That's a bad look. 
  • Impeachment Hearings: I don't understand the Republican strategy. Why not just admit the obvious, that Trump pressured Ukraine to make an announcement on CNN that the country was investigating a political opponent, but say it was no big deal.   That's where this is headed. Why spend all this energy bashing good people who everyone knows are telling the truth?
  • Heck, that proposed strategy is the one used in 99% of the DWI cases that result in an acquittal: Yes, the man was drinking and driving. Yes, that wasn't the best decision to make. But, no, he wasn't intoxicated so it wasn't a crime. And, yes, he's learned his lesson and won't put himself in that position again. So, by analogy: Yes, the man made the call and put a little pressure on the Ukraine. Yes, that wasn't the best decision to make. But, no, that's not a high crime or misdemeanor so it's not impeachable. (Forget the "learned his lesson" part. Trump will never learn.)
  • Big Edit: Based upon Gordon Sondland's testimony at this very moment, they better adopt that strategy now. Any other defense is now over. He's flipping. He says it's a quid pro quo, Trump ordered it, "everyone is in the loop" and, if I heard that right, he has brought documents and emails.  Opening statement here.
  • I ended up in a brief Twitter war yesterday over whether a "good guy with a gun" stopped the Duncan Walmart shooting. Recall, one guy shot two people in the parking lot and then killed himself. But USA Today was the only paper to have a quote from a guy. Aaron Helton, who said another man pulled his gun and pointed it at the shooter's head.   I thought that was suspicious and my patented Skepticism Radar went off. I finally found the on-the-scene interview with Helton. He said that the bystander put the gun to the shooter's head, he stopped shooting, and, at that moment, "there were three bodies on the ground beside the shooter." (At thirty seconds into the video.)  Nope. That didn't happen. The three bodies including the shooter. That's why no one ran with the story, and I'm at loss to understand why USA Today included it.
  • Here's the year-to-date number of cases filed in Justice of the Peace courts in Wise County. (They are punishable by fine only. Speeding tickets comprise 1,855 of those cases.)
  • Welcome to the neighborhood. I've been licensed for over thirty years, and I can't recall a single time I've played the I'm-A-Lawyer-Card outside of work. (And that guy is the worst writer in the history of ever.)
  • This last bullet point is being written as I'm listening to Sondland giving his opening statement. Holy cow. It's over. 


11.19.2019

Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts


  • Well, we've got us a Full Blown Christian Yardbird controversy on our hands! In a press release, Chick-fil-A announced it would no longer provide donations to the Salvation Army or the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (although the press release doesn't technically mention those organizations at all.) The company has the gall to want to focus on feeding the homeless! This, of course, creates a great deal of questions. 
    • How will the Texas Legislature react after protecting the company's religious freedom with a a specific Chick-fil-A Bill last session?  They didn't plan on that freedom being exercised like this.
    • Will Gov. Abbott receive blow-back for at one time supporting chicken tenders which were in reality deep fried by the devil? 
    • What's that nice lady over at the Messenger -- the one who always has a count of days Wise County has gone without Chik-fil-A -- going to do?  Will she be considered a Dirty Lib who supports a non-God-fearing fast food restaurant if she continues with that bit?  And what about that suspicious looking guy? Did he know all along? 
  • The law practice over in Denton went a little Wild West last week.
  • This is a crazy story out of Waco. These two women were arrested after a traffic stop and are now linked to a double murder of an elderly couple in Plano.  Get this: They were driving two separate cars both registered to one of the dead. So did cops just happen to stop both cars at the same time? Nope. "As deputies were dealing with the first driver, a second car pulled up on the shoulder and a woman . . .  who was covered in blood got out and told them she needed to get something from the woman who was driving the first car."
  • I thought last week that 10-1 Decatur having to travel to Childress to playoff game seemed unfair. Well, this week put it to shame. The Eagles travel to Odessa on Friday. That's 330 miles away!
  • North Dakota has unveiled an anti-meth campaign to much Internet scorn and mocking. I'll admit that I thought it was a joke at first, but it's real: OnMeth.com   Honestly, after about five minutes of being taken aback, I did a 180 degree turn on this. I think it's great. A campaign like this is to get attention, create awareness, and get people talking. It's a home run in that area. 

  • There were 90 indictments handed down in Wise County last Thursday. By my count, 56 of them were for drugs.
  • I'm not saying a family member is dating, but I heard she "had a DTR with him the other night."  Yes, that stopped me down in a state of confusion.  From the best I can tell, they talked about "defining the relationship." Sheesh. They better do that while they get off my lawn. 
  • Compare and contrast. Today's Impeachment witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman with a 1st Lieutenant Pardoned By Trump: 

     
  • A student photographer was knocked unconscious on the sideline at the Georgia/Auburn game on Saturday. She's fine and gives us this update. (Watch the event here.)
  • Well, certainly someone mentioned it over the last three years. No? Well then someone certainly took a picture. What? No?  In the world of lies, she gives Sarah Sanders a run for her money -- even if she is scared to hold press conferences.
    "Every office"
  • Does this happen more often than we know? There sure are a ton of "missing teen" posters in Walmart. 
  • Messenger: Above the Fold (I forgot yesterday)

11.18.2019

Random Monday Morning Thoughts



  • The Aggie Bonfire tragedy was twenty years ago this morning.  Twenty years. I've said it before: If you ever get a chance to visit the memorial site on campus you need it to do it. 
  • Remember that prostitution sting at the Radisson in Fort Worth of Meacham Boulevard? The  the Fort Worth PD implied that prostitutes were using the hotel as a base instead of clearly stating the sting involved cops at the hotel baiting prostitutes to come to them. The hotel was not pleased.  Fort Worth PD must be nervous because they issued a press release to clear it up. What's even more unusual is that the department admitted it "caused the hotel's reputation to be questioned and caused the hotel to lose a significant amount of revenue." Not "may have caused" but actually "caused." 
  • A 16 year old Allen High School student was shot dead at a "house party" on Saturday night. Yesterday in Fresno, four were shot dead and six were wounded at a "football watching party." 
  • Trump made an unplanned trip to the hospital over the weekend. He later claimed it was just part of a "physical", but we all know that's a lie. I wonder what happened? And for a guy who is all about optics, how in the world did anyone convince him that he needed to go to the hospital? And what was wrong that his on-site White House physician couldn't handle it? He was walking just fine when he left to go there.
  • I wouldn't rule out stress finally getting to Trump: 
    • (1) The impeachment hearings have him really bent out of shape. He's firing off a constant Twitter storm, 
    • (2) He was accused of witness intimidation on Friday -- even by Fox News, 
    • (3) He's mad at his Secretary of State for naming impeachment witness Bill Taylor a diplomat to Ukraine, 
    • (4) He just called another witness, one of Mike Pence's top aide's, a "never Trumper", 
    • (5) He got into some type of tiff with AG Barr in the Oval Office delaying a campaign trip to Louisiana by 30 minutes, and
    • (6) That trip to Louisiana (and three others) to support a Republican gubernatorial candidate resulted in a defeat on Saturday. Trump doesn't like being associated with a "loser."
  • Decatur's Police Chief Rex Hoskins is running for  constable in the Decatur-intensive Precinct 1. He has a genius platform: If he wins, he'll quit his 30+ year job as Decatur Police Chief.  If you like Rex (and I really do), you'll vote for him because you like him. But if you're a Decatur resident who wants him booted as chief of police, well, you'll vote for him, too.
  • From the corrupt Texas county that brought you the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton, we have another! If a child "victim" says she doesn't remember (because there might not be anything to remember), a prosecutor has to disclose that information.

  • Trump's buddy Roger Stone was convicted on Friday.  
    • Why was this guy so close to the White House? Who is he? (Video.)
    • Random observation: I didn't know that in federal court the jury informed the judge they had a verdict by sending a note. In every Texas state court I've seen the jury just opens the door and tells the bailiff they have a verdict or, in high tone counties, there is a light switch or buzzer the jury can push. 
  • That Baylor/OU game was the most insane thing I've ever watched. Yes, it was gut-wrenching. But to prove to you what a Sports Genius I am, look at my text with a family member when Baylor was up 28-3.
  • Mrs. LL and I watched that game in a bizarre way -- one I've just discovered. We chose ESPN's "Skycam" broadcast. It uses just the camera hovering over the field and none other, and you can only hear the sounds from the stadium. No play-by-play or color. It's as close to being there as you can get. (And there's less commercials, the camera hovers over the scoring bench during extra points, and, much to Mrs. LL's delight, it shows the band at halftime.)
    Chip and Joanne were the "guest pickers" on College Game Day in Waco.
  • Get ready for your annual fraudulent story involving a reporter standing in DFW Airport claiming it is the "busiest travel day of the year." The Dallas Morning News starts us off. 
  • Well, it actually happened. These two Biblical scholars got together this weekend. 
    "Closed on Sunday, you're my Chick-fil-A" 
  • Bud Kennedy celebrated 32 years as a columnist at the Star-Telegram by posting this picture. I have never forgotten that headline after I saw it in news racks in downtown Fort Worth at the time.  There's something just so insane about it. I don't if was the use of the word "Slain" (not "killed") or that fact it was a "Poodle" (not "dog"). And the fact it was an "Archer" really put it over the top. 
  • Nope. Tariffs are paid by the American taxpayer. And most people call giving cash from one taxpayer to another "socialism."
  • Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa is about to have hip surgery in Houston. It will truly do your heart good to hear him singing and playing a ukulele. Turn the sound on. That's a heck of a voice.

  • Trump just tweeted he is "strongly considering" testifying. Place your bets. 


11.15.2019

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











Random Friday Morning Thoughts



  • I bring you the greatest legal story of the year:
  • State Rep. Poncho Nevarez announced he wouldn't seek re-election last week and now we know why: He dropped a sealed envelope at an Austin airport which had four little bags of cocaine in it. It was found by a TxDOT worker on the ground who opened it. The press learned of this after DPS sought a search warrant to get the DNA off the seal of the envelope. Besides the issue of whether that should kill someone's political career, this case is a great factual scenario for Criminal Law exam:
    • Was it an illegal search for the TxDOT worker to open up a sealed envelope? Should the the government have obtained a warrant first? (If yes, the cocaine can't be used against Nevarez and there is no criminal case.)
    • Does it matter that that person who opened it was just a TxDOT agent who not part of law enforcement? Does it matter if he was on duty or off duty?
    • Does it matter that the sealed envelope was found on the ground?  Does the owner still have a privacy interest in it or is it considered "abandoned"?
    • Can you accidentally abandon property or must you intentionally discard it to lose your privacy interest?
    • Does it matter that it was sealed with his name and office address on it since it would  appear to be property that was lost and a person could easily determine where to return it?
    • Do any of the federal mail laws apply? What if there was a stamp and address on it? 
    • Do the cops actually need a search warrant to get the DNA off the envelope? They didn't get a warrant to open the envelope so why do they need one now? 
    • Does the seeking of a search warrant for the DNA by DPS constitute an admission by the agency that the envelope shouldn't have been opened without a warrant?
    • Nevarez admitted he was an "addict" yesterday and was seeking "help". Can he still challenge the opening of the envelope as an illegal search?  
    • Does Nevarez's statement qualify as an "admission" of knowingly possessing cocaine in this very incident or is it too vague or refers only to extraneous offenses which are generally inadmissible?
    • Nevarez had just gotten off a private plane. Is there any way he could be federally charged? Is there sufficient proof of crossing state lines? If not, does federal regulation of airport property enough to give federal jurisdiction?
  • Nevarez, amazingly, is facing a Third Degree Felony (2 to 10 years) although no one outside of law enforcement seems particularly excited about prosecution. All his colleagues are "saddened" and "glad to see he is seeking help." No one thinks he should be locked up. (And it makes you wonder how many other "normal" people routinely do cocaine but you just simply don't know about it and nothing about their conduct tips you off.)
  • A guy who should face a greater offense is the guy in San Francisco caught on video tearing off the face mask on the Joe Montana statute. I hope he at least sees some time inside the hoosegow. 
  • Nancy Pelosi spoke yesterday indicating that key word from here on out will be "bribery" instead of "quid pro quo." In more entertaining news, she turned to the camera and explained "exculpatory" to Trump.
  • The PAC Empower Texans has made a lot of news lately primarily by ambushing Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and causing his ouster. I've found its president is one strange guy. And factually and legally challenged as well as Exhibit A demonstrates: 
  • Fort Worth ISD is selling Farrington Field (by Casa Manana). It has lots of bathrooms, a big yard, but is kind of a fixer-upper. 
  • This was floating around yesterday regarding how UT's south end zone will look like once construction is complete. I have no idea if it is real. I hope it is.
  • In case you missed it, an aTm alum almost killed a quarterback last night by trying to crush his head with a helmet. Best quick loading videos are here and here if you haven't seen it. 
  • The Star-Telegram will no longer have a Saturday print edition beginning sometime in 2020.
  • The Federalist Society, which every conservative judge sucks up to in order to get federal appointments, had a big gala in D.C. last night. Brett Kavanaugh was there. Outside, protesters put up a huge video screen showing the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford (video), and others dressed up as from the Handmaid's Tale (pics).  I'm more interested in Kavanaugh talking to a young Mary Tyler Moore look-alike.
    "Ooooooooh, Brett!"
  • The first Watergate hearing in 1973 was described with terms of "dramatic laboriousness" and "tedious" in the New York Times
  • The alternative Fort Worth Weekly is already questioning how the Tarrant County DA's office will handle the prosecution of the police officer who shot and killed Atatiana Jefferson. On a related note, I was caught off guard by a line in the story that said "the judge" had issued a gag order in this case. I thought that was 100% wrong because the cop hasn't even been indicted. How can there be a gag order when there is no case which has been assigned to a judge? But, I'll be, there is one. Some of my criminal law knowing readers need to explain this to me. (I'm guessing the judge is the one who has jurisdiction over the grand jury, but why is there a cause number?) Regardless, I've never heard of a gag order pre-grand jury. 
  • There should be a better system than 10-0 Decatur having to travel all the way to Childress for a first round playoff game. (It's 181 miles away per The Google.)
  • Regarding the headline below, I'm not sure why he is "sought"? Give him a call and he'll turn himself in. What are we, Barbarians? (DPS obtained a warrant last night and let the press know about it.)