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

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • James Leavelle, who was handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald when he was shot by Jack Ruby and who was a center piece of one of the most famous photographs in American history, has died at the age of 99. The suit he wore that day is on display at the Sixth Floor Museum.
  • Trivia: Ira Jefferson "Jack" Beers Jr. of the the Dallas Morning News was sure he had taken a Pulitzer Prize winning photo of Oswald's shooting only to learn that Robert H. "Bob" Jackson, then a 29-year-old photographer for the Dallas Times Herald, took a better photo 6/10ths of a second later. Jackson would win the Pulitzer. (Ticket fans: I double dog swear that I prepared this bullet point before the Musers discussed it at 7:20 a.m. ) 

  • There was a hung jury in the The Library Bar sexual assault case in Fort Worth. The case had some problems which is really a way of saying it is understandable that a rational juror could have a reasonable doubt  about the guy's guilt. 
    • The State has the right to try the case again. I always thought that was bizarre under our Double Jeopardy protections, but it is the law.  
    • But a practical and ethical problem seems to exist now which always seems to be ignored: If they didn't know it before (and they should have) the prosecutors now know for a fact that at least one juror had a reasonable doubt about the guy's guilt. To try him again is simply just a gamble (on an ethically challenged hope and a prayer) that the next jury doesn't include someone who will also have a reasonable doubt. It's just like hoping for a better hand of cards from the dealer. And it's a card game the defendant would be forced to play with his life while the prosecutor risks nothing. That's justice? 
    • And how does any prosecutor in that situation now sit back and not think, "That juror or jurors knows as much about the case as I do. Maybe it is me who should have a reasonable doubt."
    • Changing subjects, while the jury was still struggling to reach a verdict, the bailiff told the judge that he had overheard one juror tell the others "that they would reach a decision Thursday because she had to go to work on Friday." That caused everyone to question whether that is jury misconduct. (Legally, it's not.) Question: Should the bailiff had said anything at all? He wasn't a witness to juror tampering. He just overhead a discussion. It wouldn't be proper for him to say, "Judge, it sounded like there's only one holdout. If you force them to deliberate further I think he'll cave."
  • There's a better and quick loading video of the "Botox Bandit" from earlier this week.
  • Hurricane Dorian completely missed Puerto Rico and is now headed for The King of Israel's  Mar-a-Lago resort. Instead of mocking the people of Puerto Rico as he was doing earlier this week, Trump has now cancelled his trip to Poland since the stakes have changed for him.
  • The Florida State/Boise State has been moved at the last minute from a neutral site to the FSU campus because of the hurricane.  Students of both schools will get in free, and everyone else gets in at a dirt cheap price. And it's all general admission seating. That might be a crazy scene.
  • The "greatest country in the world" sure has a lot of "dumbest people in the world", to-wit:  Craig Barr vs. Popeye's.
  • In general, all the guys playing in last night's NFL preseason games were the greatest athlete in the history of their high school and one of the best ever from their college.  The vast, vast majority will be cut by Sunday. They are in their early 20s and now need a job. Any job. 
  • Trump's personal assistant, Madeleine Westerhout, abruptly quit yesterday as rumors broke that she might be a leaker. I don't think I had ever heard about her. (That's her below. I have no idea why Rick Perry is getting handsy.)
  • Jerry Jones on Zeke's missing games last night: "He can't and won't miss them all." This goes back to the most important part of the holdout: He has to report by game 10 or his contract tolls. If he comes back before game 10, he makes $9 million next year and then becomes a free agent. If he holds out the whole year he would then be under contract for $3 million in 2020 and $9 million in 2021.
  • Don Jr., who is even a more miserable person that his daddy, spoke on behave of for the reelection of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin in Kentucky yesterday. I see a man who is just killin' it.
  • Random DPS office 20 minutes before it opened in Austin this morning:
  • "Mistakes were made" - Greg Abbott yesterday on his racially charged flier going out one day before the El Paso Massacre. Unless he tells us exactly why it was a mistake, that "apology" is worthless. He wont' do that.


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  •  "Look at all these people . . . . They are probably going all across the country to beautiful places." No, it's not a busy weekend at airports because it is Labor Day. And, no, they aren't going on vacation. It's just a normal Thursday morning at Love Field. (And WFAA is the worst at making their employees post on social media and, for some reason, demand frightening close ups.)
  • When I'm wrong, I'm wrong. Despite my prediction, the Tarrant County DA's office was able to get a conviction of two defendants who were tried together in one misdemeanor trial. Normally, that would be a cluster.
  • Here's an email I received from a trusted source: "Melinda Westmoreland, chief prosecutor of the Tarrant County DA’s Special Victims Unit (formerly CACU) turned in her notice today. She is quitting in order to become yoga instructor for the Dallas Cowboys.  I’m not joking." She's been pretty successful and recently prosecuted Danita Tutt who was accused to almost causing the death of  her son by faking illnesses and making him undergo needless surgeries. Hey, if Andrew Luck can walk away, so can everyone else. More power to her. 
  • Random silliness:
  • "The wife, child, and mother-in-law of a pitcher in the Tampa Bay Rays organization were killed in a southern Virginia town Tuesday, and police arrested the brother-in-law of minor league baseball player Blake Bivens." And his apprehension was almost as bizarre as the crime. (Quick loading video in the link.)
  • Uh, oh. He's mad at State TV because it's not State TV enough. (Three years ago we would have thought even a city councilman was unfit for office for believing that a news organization owed him loyalty like an employee. Now it's just another day from the highest office in the land.)
  • The Bexar County DA had a case indicted and then reviewed the file with one of his assistants. He then lost his re-election bid and thought it would be OK to then be the defense lawyer for the guy.  Amazingly, it took a court of appeals yesterday to tell him that's moronic. (They didn't expressly say "moronic" but should have.)
  • The Dallas Morning News unveiled a new website design this morning and it's great. They claim it loads three times faster and I believe them. Now I'm looking at you Star-Telegram. Let's start by not having a video unrelated to the story (and I didn't want or or ask for)  autoplay when I click on a story causing the whole page to act like I'm downloading a DVD. Heck, I don't even want any video at all. 
  • A guy from Willis, Texas met a pretty hot gal online and quickly married her. His son then started snooping around about her background and found that she was currently married to "several" other guys. She then got indicted for bigamy. The guy filed for divorce. Now a judge has ordered him to pay $73,000 in temporary spousal support. I've got a lot of questions. 
  • I have no reason to doubt the medicinal effects of marijuana. I have a ton of reasons to doubt the effectiveness of the current wave of CBD products being hawked on every corner. (But, unlike conventional wisdom, I support the "placebo effect." If that phenomenon causes you to believe the pain has gone away, why isn't it just a powerful as an actual drug?)
  • Texas DWI law changes dramatically for those arrested on Sunday: They will be able to receive deferred adjudication (a probation without a conviction) if the prosecutor is reasonable enough to offer it. In order to get deferred, an ignition interlock must be a condition of the probation. That's a fair trade off. (One of the weirdest changes in the DWI law was a mandatory fine of $3,000. But it was written in such a way that it only applies to a "final conviction" which means there was no type of probation and a person simply did jail time. So you can avoid the outrageous new fine with a probation. But, at the same time, if you receive  deferred adjudication it is considered a "conviction" for enhancement purposes if you get charged with DWI in the future. You think it's fun trying to explain all this?)


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • Remember the Wichita Falls sexual assault case where the defendant's mother won the Texas Lottery and said she had spent $600,000 to hire defense attorneys Heather Barbieri and Katherine Devlin of Plano? Well, there was a hearing yesterday on a defense motion for continuance. With the defendant showing up for the hearing in a t-shirt, the elected DA at one point moved from a spectator in the gallery to go consult with the assistant DAs at counsel table. Katherine Delvin looked at him and asked, "Who are you?" Professional tip: You should know. 
  • I think I've posted a video before from a couple of Waco attorneys, but they've got a new one about the confusion regarding marijuana laws in Texas. Not only is it legally sound, it's a catchy tune. I support this bit. Everyone together now!: "Nobody knows if it's pot or if it's hemp. They've got to show the THC content."
  • I didn't even notice this storm damage yesterday on the square. 
  • There's a Tarrant County trial going on where the former owner of The Library bar in downtown Fort Worth is alleged to have sexually assaulted a passed out customer. The act was supposedly caught on surveillance camera which was played for the jury yesterday. One of the weird things from the story: The assault allegedly happened at around 6:00 a.m. She had been at the bar about two hours. The bar closes at 2:00. 
  • There has been an ongoing appellate war between some guy named Pixler and the City of Newark in Wise County. I haven't followed it very closely but late Monday the Fort Worth Court of Appeals ruled against him. You knew things were going bad for him when it began like this: 
  • I had a couple of people send me this national article on municipalities whose traffic fine collections are high based upon either (1) percentage of total city budget, or (2) average fine per adult population. Runaway Bay, Rhome and Decatur made the list, but I really don't understand Decatur especially since it is on a major highway. Its numbers were low based upon percentage of revenues (8.5%) compared to Runaway Bay (19.1%) and especially Rhome (37.8%). 
  • This really is fascinating. Many of the viral videos that inflame racial tension only become viral because of online Russian trolls spreading them. One Russian account was even responsible for the naming of a DFW lady, "Taco Truck Tammy." (WFAA had the story yesterday, but NBC reported it three weeks ago.)

  • Back in the late 1990s, I was a Technical Pioneer as I went to local high school football games, videoed them, and put them on the Internet. It was a huge pain involving converting massive video files into a format that could be played. Even then a few seconds of video were massive files.  Compare that to a Star-Telegram reporter showing up at the Decatur Volleyball game last night and instantaneously sending up easily viewable clips of high definition quality. (His feed from it is here.) He also was impressed with Decatur's facilities. 
  • Trump was mad yesterday at brown people being in the path of a storm. (The $92 billion figure is a lie, by the way.) 
  • Greg Abbott had to fill a Texas Supreme Court vacancy so he chose a Republican who lost her most recent election. That's a pattern. 
  • The Messenger has hired a reporter with street cred: Christian McPhate. He wrote for the Dallas Observer and has penned articles I've linked to and focused on before. For example:
  • I won't even mention the Washington Post story that Trump is advising officials to "take the land" even by illegal means (he'll pardon them) to get started on the building of The Wall (the one that Mexico was going to pay for.)
  • Messenger: Above the Fold.


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • This is judge showboating. The criminal cases are as dead as Epstein. Any "hearing" of any type is just for the press. 
  • I noticed on the Tarrant County trial board that two defendants are being tried jointly in front of one jury in a misdemeanor case of "Interference with Public Duties." Without knowing a single fact, I feel comfortable in saying that's a recipe for disaster for the prosecution. 
  • Interesting Andrew Luck gambling tidbits: (1) Before his retirement was announced, the over/under on Colts season wins was  9.5. It then plummeted to 6.5.  That had to be a mad, mad scramble by sports books to change those odds when the news broke - I read somewhere that most were able to do it within 10 minutes.  (2) At least one guy in July thought it would be worth betting on Luck to be the NFL's MVP.
  • By the way, you need to know that, as a Sports Expert, I'm working on a very hot prediction on the Dallas Cowboys over/under. I've just got to run a few more numbers through my IBM Mainframe.  (May I remind you that when the rest of you thought the Rangers were great before the All Star break, I told you it was a "mirage").
  • We finally found out who the troopers were who were involved in the fatal shooting in South Dallas. They weren't from Wise County but pretty close. 
  • I've caught the first two episodes of HBO's new show, The Righteous Gemstones, and it's pretty, pretty funny. (It helps that I picture Joel Osteen while watching it.)
  • Hot Sports Opinion: Other than the opening credits and the ending, ESPN's College Game Day is boring. (And Lee Corso's deterioration is making the ending difficult to watch.)
  • I don't know who writes these "tips" for the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, but they are "invariably" awful.  I've never had a client ask for money back once a case was over and cannot envision a situation where they would want money back after an "awesome result." But it happens to the author of the post below "invariably" (which means "in every case or on every occasion.") And he says give the money back even though you delivered?
  • Some people steal baby food out of desperation, others drive a Mercedes to a spa in order to steal Botox using a Mikata. 
  • Whether it be a school superintendent, police chief, city councilman, or mayor, Dallas always has the most clueless and wheels off leaders. Yesterday, the new mayor thought it would be a good idea to announce that he has a new side gig as a partner in a major Dallas law firm in their public financing division. These are the sort of things that are envisioned when you think of "appearance of impropriety." (One of his excuses was that he wanted to keep his law license active. Sheesh. Pay $250 a year and watch some continuing legal education online and you're good to go.)
  • The Longhorns will honor Cedric Benson with a "32" sticker on their helmets. Here's a suggestion: Clean that mess up. We know you play in the U.S. We know where Austin is. We know you're in the Big 12. And you number is in big letters on your jersey. For arguably the best uniform in all of college football, the back of the helmet is a disaster. 
  • A conservative Super PAC has set up a tents outside of  DPS driver's license"megacenters" in Hurst and Fort Worth and asking people to sign a petition. I honestly have no idea if they need permission to be on what is obviously public property. 
  • Who would have though Alabama coach Nick Saban has a better perspective on criminal justice than most prosecutors?


Random Monday Morning Thoughts

  • We had yet another shooting last night in Wise County that resulted in a death. The Messenger says it arose out of a rooster fighting incident (?!) but then revised it to a card game after the cockfighting. This is the only arrest and charges associated with it the incident and murder isn't one of them. (And I'm not sure how only one person gets arrested for engaging in organized crime since it requires an agreement with one or more other people.)
  • The Dallas PD released a propaganda video this morning as they just "happened" to be filming when the Chief of Police came back to work. She just casually stopped down to say a few words. (Uh, she has a driver?)
  • The photo of Melania, the Canadian Prime Minister and Trump could replace that old and popular meme. 

  • But this may be my favorite pic. 
    Step Brothers (2008)
  • The boys in the oil patch make a lot of money, but they are going to earn it today. 
  • I have to issue one correction on my Zeke/Cowboys negotiation rules. The Cowboys could void this year's contract (the final year of his mandated first four year contract) of $3 million and renegotiate it if they wanted to. The first three years were set in stone, but not this year. That's buried in the collective bargaining contract. 
  • Jesse Watters of Fox News finally became engaged to his mistress. He left the mother of his twin girls last year after having an affair with this then 25-year-old junior employee on his show (who had to be transferred to another show due to Fox News’ sexual harassment policies.)
  • This story of the 26 pound cat was going around last week. Let me tell you something. I own a 22 pound cat. A 22 pound cat is a friend of mine. You, sir, are no 26 pound cat. (You might be pushing 35 pounds or more.) 
  • Everyone had hot sports opinions about Colts' Andrew Luck walking away from the NFL in the prime of his career with many thinking it is the "biggest story" in at least the last 10 years. This was a pretty funny retort. (Yep, it happened.)
  • I hope there's more to this story, but the story doesn't say if there is more to this story. (And it was just a municipal judge.)
  • There was never more proof that if a big news story happens on Friday evening we won't learn anything about it at all because there are only skeleton news crews on duty for the next two days. We know this story out of Waxahachie has lots of questions -- it's answers we want:
  • Quick loading video time: (1) Lightening striking a tree and injuring several at the PGA event this weekend, (2) The end of the Arizona/Hawaii game where Arizona needed to get 31 yards to tie and got 30, (3) Andrew Luck being booed as he walked off the field after his retirement news broke, (4) Defendant slugs his own lawyer in the courtroom. 
  • This morning's traffic report on three problem areas:
  • Time to remind you that DPS has enough money to have gun boats on the Rio Grande with twin 250 horse power engines. 
  • Why don't you Google "Elected leaders, because of their reckless rhetoric, enable nutcases with AR-15s to murder brown people "?
  • Here's a little constitutional fun fact for you. Not only was that less than 100 years ago, it only applied to white women. 
  • Messenger: Above the Fold
  • Those are two big stories in the Houston Chronicle: (1) DPS Troopers are buying weapons from the Department and unloading them on the open market, and (2) an alleged mass murderer goes to trial in a case that has gone basically unnoticed in the metroplex.