The Campaign For DA


Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • Boyd resident Peter "Chewbaca" Mayhew has died. An intrepid Messenger reporter tried to get an interview with him once but was unsuccessful.  Also, I never heard about him being seen out in the wild in Wise County save once or twice.
  • No injuries yesterday in Garland (but a heck of a camera shot.) 
  • The Houston couple with no criminal history who were killed by police during a raid of their home based upon a false allegation they were heroin dealers also did not not have heroin in their system. 
  • Grand Praire police killed a man last night. (At least put "allegedly" before "showed" next time. #IAmReporter)
  • Rare baseball feat yesterday: A pitcher threw a complete game shutout and scored the only run via a home run as the Mets beat the Reds, 1-0.  People stupidly get excited about things like a guy "hitting for the cycle", but this is crazily bizarre and impressive -- as well as the hair. 
  • I just saw an old Wise County Sheriff's Office t-shirt this morning: "In God We Trust. All Others Are Suspects."
  • In an unusual move, a "federal judge in Sherman on Thursday granted a new trial for the former mayor of Richardson and her developer husband [convicted of bribery]  due to a court security officer's inappropriate comments to a distraught juror." I'm trying to read between the lines here so here we go:
    • It looks like there was one holdout juror who the judge actually met in chambers with during deliberations with the agreement of the parties (that's odd in its own right). The judge told her to "stay firm to [her] convictions" which is also odd since it basically tells her to quite listening to the other jurors. But that's not what this is about. 
    • This is about a "court official", who the judge wouldn't even name, speaking with the the juror a short time later when he saw her "in tears." He told her "to put her emotions aside, not worry about the sentences the Jordans might face, and decide the case solely on whether she believed they were guilty or not." The juror then told the officer she would cast her vote "with reservation", but the officer told her she "could not vote that way" meaning voting "with reservation." 
    • Casting a vote "with reservation" meant she was casting a guilty vote with reservation, because she quickly voted to convict. 
    • The judge yesterday set the verdict aside blaming the court official and stressing that the juror shouldn't have been informed she could convict based upon what "she believed" about their guilt but instead her verdict should have been on what she "believed beyond a reasonable doubt" about their guilt based upon the law and the evidence. 
    • That's pretty nit-picky. Sure the officer shouldn't have said anything to the juror, but that communication probably didn't deserve a new trial. If anything, there's a great argument that the communication actually helped the defendants. By telling her she couldn't vote "with reservation" actually improperly defines what a "reasonable doubt" is. That is, telling a juror she couldn't vote "with reservation" is a different way of saying she couldn't have any reservation about the defendants' guilt. That's not what the law says. She actually could have a "reservation" or a "doubt" about their guilt so long as it's not a reasonable reservation or doubt. However, every defense lawyer would love for a court official to tell a juror that she could not vote for guilt if she had any reservation and every prosecutor would go nuts if he heard it happened. Here the court official, if anything, probably helped the defendants almost get a hung jury but without success.
    • My guess: The judge either thought the couple shouldn't have been convicted or believed there was no way that juror was going to vote for guilty based upon her representations once she spoke with him and caved when she shouldn't have.
  • Why do simple bullet points like the one above turn into a treatise? Here's why: I know smart criminal defense lawyers and prosecutors read this silly blog, and I can just see them dissecting anything I give a legal opinion about in the criminal arena. So once I try to explain what I'm saying, I end up explaining myself in detail because I'm writing with them in mind. (But someone will still tell me I'm wrong.)
  • Eighteen hours after saying he's "all in", Trump's nominee for the Federal Reserve Board, Stephen Moore, has withdrawn from consideration. Along with Herman Cain, that's two nominations in a row for the Fed that didn't get out of the starting gate because of a controversial pasts. #BestPeople
  • This probably should have been the ending newspaper shot yesterday.
  • I said good things about the Democrats handling of AG William Barr no-showing yesterday, but the chicken prop was stupid. 
  • I still despise psuedo-intellectual Dennis Prager, but I still tune in every now and then as he tries to bluff people into believing he is some modern day philosopher. If there is any doubt that he is a right wing scam artist, look no further than the fact he is the spokesman for this "collector's item" that you can have for a "limited time only" for $239!!! "THIS OFFICIALLY APPROVED COIN IS MINTED AND STRUCK IN THE UNITED STATES AND WILL BECOME A VALUABLE HEIRLOOM." Approved by whom? What's "officially approved" mean? And that's "minted" in the U.S., not printed by the "U.S. Mint", and it will become a "valuable heirloom" as opposed to "valuable."
  • There's "big water" around the county. Be careful. Remember: "Turn around unless you think you can make it."