The Campaign For DA

9.23.2019

Random Monday Morning Thoughts




  • The verdict came back in the murder case in Wise County, and he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The range was five to life.
    • My prediction was a guilty verdict with a sentence of 20 years. (I thought there would be a finding of "sudden passion" which would take the range of punishment to two to twenty years, and then, after doing him this "favor", they would max him out.) They didn't find "sudden passion" but that's really a meaningless and moot point since they came back under 20 years anyway. 
    • I'm not saying I thought he deserved 20 years, that's just what I thought the jury would do.  I saw him testify, and I'm not sure he endeared himself to the jury. Maybe I expected too much of the kid. If I'm on trial for my life, I'm not sure how I'd come across either. 
    • I never thought that was much of a self-defense case, and the jury quickly rejected it. But it wasn't so hopeless that the defense could just concede it and plead guilty to murder and focus on punishment. The defense team had to take a shot. 
    • The defense has to be happy with the sentence. They pretty much said so Friday evening. 
    • I didn't want to mention it while the trial was going on but the lead lawyer was the attorney involved in the Affluenza case -- a case which has taken on a life of its own versus what really happened.  More interesting, I thought, was that he was a young lawyer on a case which was eerily similar -- a high school student at Carter-Riverside who killed his allegedly abusive dad with a firearm in his home. It became a Texas Monthly story
    • The case epitomized criminal law: There are no winners. It is not fun. 
  • From the I-Have-No-Confidence-In-This-Case-At-All department:
  • This story calls it the construction of a new "swanky" luxury apartment complex at Alliance Town Center, but the address given is 9600 Blue Mound Road. That would be right by that Williamson-Dickie building on highway 287. 
  • I always considered Wise County to be home base of sand and gravel plants (or "rock crushers" to you and me.) Fun fact: There were 52 aggregate processing plants in Texas in 2012 but that numbers had soared to 934 in 2018.
  • I wondered if this thing would be back. It won't.
  • Along with a couple of federal judges, the White House announced on Friday the appointment of a new federal marshal who is currently the "Sheriff of the Police Department of Victoria County, Texas." I've never heard of a sheriff of a police department. 
  • When we drove up through the Panhandle this summer, I got to see where all those massive windmill blades traveling up 287 all the time ended up. It was quite the sight. The coolest thing, however, was on the way back and seeing them at night where a red caution light on each of them flashed on and off in perfect -- and I do mean perfect -- synchronization.  But the Panhandle isn't where most of them are:
  • Random history thought #1: I came across of map of railroads in Texas in 1927 (when that was the form of long distance transportation) and was surprised to see there was a spur off the Rock Island line that ran from Bridgeport to Jacksboro. I talked to my dad who confirmed it existed maybe as late as the 1950s. It ran pretty much along 380 before there was a 380 but there are no remnants of it today. 
  • Random history thought #2: I'm making my way though the 1000+ page book Texas by James Michner (it is "fictional history") and was interested to find an appearance of the real architect James Riely Gordon who designed the Wise County Courthouse. In the book, he was brought in to design a courthouse for a fictional poor county west of Jacksboro after (really) building the one in Waxahachie. Here's what he "said" to those at the county seat: 
  • Other than that "criminal" should be "person accused", that's pretty spot on.  I've long believed our courthouse should be restored to the way it was and turned into a museum. To call it amazing -- especially having been built in the 1890s -- is an understatement.  And it will "grow better" with time. (For those who, like I did, had no idea who Hammurabi was, there's the wiki page. Every time I think I'm smart, I'm reminded of how little I know.) 
  • Two photos related to the UNT/UTEP game below. One was an actual UNT cap that slipped past quality control. (A faithful reader bought it and sent me the picture of when he first saw it.) And the other is a UTEP fan photo which is almost hypnotic once you enlarge it and examine the subjects.

  • Former UT quarterback Jevan Snead has died with no signs of "foul play. Some were saying it was suicide, but I haven't seen anything to confirm it. He was a five star recruit who went to UT only to be quickly beat out by Colt McCoy. He then transferred to Ole Miss and did relatively well, and then gave up his senior year to enter the NFL draft. He wasn't drafted but signed by Tampa Bay as a free agent who then cut him before training camp. 
  • Speaking of suicide, I've often wondered why it's the policy of most media outlets not to report that cause of death. It's an epidemic and we just all pretend it doesn't happen. And if you want to know how much an epidemic it is, do this morbid exercise: Go to the Tarrant County Medical site and pull up the autopsies done over the last month. Then hit Ctrl+F and see how many are suicides. It's shocking. 
  • Messenger: Above the Fold