Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  • Deep fake video example: The guy who was actually in the background of a Trump rally a couple of years ago shows up again this week in Kentucky. (This would be much better if I could find the video link.)
  • Trump Jr. revealed the name of the Whistleblower yesterday. The blow-back was intense and immediate. But some of it reminded me that we are living in strange days. 
  • Texas passed the constitutional amendment allowing the handlers of drug/bomb dogs to take possession of the animals after the dogs are "retired." So how can 6% of people be against that? I suspect they want the handler to have to pay for the fair market value of the dog instead of getting a freebie. 
  • If you want high entertainment concerning a lawyer lying to a federal judge, read this thread. And it has a cliffhanger ending.  It made me tense. 
  • In reading Goodbye to a River, the author briefly wrote that a lot of the Texas courthouse fires in the 1800s (and I think Wise County even had two) were the result of arson with the motive being to destroy records. Fights over land were commonplace and a person claiming title, when he really didn't have a valid claim, would find his position improved if deed records and judgments effecting title just happened to be destroyed. I had never heard that theory. Side note: It's a great book of a guy reflecting on this history of the Brazos river as he takes a canoe trip from below Possum Kingdom.
  • The Houston PD doesn't like the Harris County DA (and especially one assistant DA who might be Dick Cheney's doppelganger): 
  • Yesterday Texas' highest criminal court (finally) overturned a verdict of a Williamson County kid for sexual assault of a child. Two years ago, the DA and trial court had declared him actually innocent but needed Austin's approval. From the best I can tell this is what happened: (1) The original case was flimsy but unscrupulous prosecutors get convictions on flimsy evidence every day, (2) the county got outraged that a white high school football player was going to prison for a real 25 years without parole on flimsy evidence, (3) the county elected a new DA, (4) the new DA brought in in a Texas Ranger to "re-investigate" the case, and (5) Surprise! Surprise! When the government works as hard to clear a man as they do to convict him, they find all sorts of evidence to indicate he's not guilty after all.  (Here's a 100 page concurring opinion detailing the whole case if you've got some time.)
    Courtroom gallery when he was originally convicted

  • One of the weirdest aspects of the case was that the kid originally turned down a plea bargain because, to his credit, he said he was innocent. However, once he was found guilty, the jury was to next decide the  prison sentence using an incredibly harsh Texas range of punishment of no less than 25 years to life without the possibility of parole. Through his lawyers, he avoided the punishment phase by reaching a deal with prosecutors to accept the minimum 25 years if he waived his right to appeal.  His new lawyers, therefore, had some huge hurdles to clear to get the sentence overturned. And the absolute reality is that he would still be in prison had not the new DA agreed that the whole case was unjust. 
  • It's not news that Trump asked. The big news is that Barr wouldn't do it. 
  • A Dallas Cowboy you've never heard of is the the victim of a sensational headline. You're allowed to have a concealed gun in your vehicle while traveling. But there is an exception: You can't be also committing any crime other than a traffic violation. Texas Penal Code § 46.02(a-1) In his case, the penny-ante weed possession also bought him a gun charge. It normally goes down as something like (1) you're stopped for speeding, (2) cop finds weed and arrests you for weed, and (3) finds a gun during the search of the car and then decides to dogpile you with another charge. So he isn't exactly a drug dealer with an arsenal of weapons to protect his stash. 
  • The current Rodney Reed case in the news has a bizarre Wichita Falls connection. His prior acquittal there was used to later put him on death row.