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

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • I told you I had a hot and specific prediction on the outcome of the murder trial going in Wise County and the first part came true yesterday when the jury convicted the defendant after rejecting his self-defense claim. The punishment phase begins today. Remember this guy was certified to stand trial as an adult since he was 15 at the time of the incident. 
  • The range of punishment on the case is 5 to life. If the jury is asked if he committed the offense under "sudden passion" and they agree, the range becomes 2 to 20 years. (The Texas legislature for some reason eliminated the option of probation for the offense of murder in 2007 under any circumstances.) 
  • In monitoring Wise County speeding tickets filed in Wise County justice courts so far this year, I've got these fun facts:
    • I've noted 24 instances where someone was ticketed for going 100 miles per hour or more. 
    • The record holder is a guy who was clocked at 122. (You can look him up under cause number JP1-C-244163.) 
    • Shockingly, one guy got a ticket -- not a warning -- for going 42 in a 40 mph zone. (CR-19-00877-2)
    • Of the 1,528 speeding tickets written, only 26 were for speeds less than 10 mph over the speed limit.
  • Well Whistleblower-gate blew up last night. Here's what we've got: We've known for days that a "whistleblower" saw and/or heard Trump say something which disturbed him so much that he filed a report. Applicable government agencies have been fighting whether Congress and the public should see the report. It is now appears to be undisputed that the report is about: (1) Trump had multiple conversations with leader(s) of the Ukraine (2) where he said he would withhold military aid of $250 million of your taxpayer money -- your money -- not his, (3) Unless they worked to provide dirt on Joe Biden in order to help Trump's 2020 campaign.  Folks, that ain't good. And it is simple and understandable. 
  • And while all this was blowing up, Trump thought it was a good idea to send the worst lawyer in the world, Rudy Giuliani, onto CNN's Chris Cuomo's show to diffuse the breaking scandal. It did not go well as Rudy was a rambling madman from the start. And then it got worse . . . 
    • Rudy's has been traveling to the Ukraine over the last several months. 
    • "Of course" he said when asked if he requested the Ukraine to investigate Biden on behalf of the President. (What an idiot.) And that jaw-dropping admission occurred seconds after denying it.
    • I've never seen so many people immediately react by comparing him to Colonial Jessup on the witness stand in A Few Good Men admitting to ordering the Code Red.
    • CNN, realizing it had gold, kept the cameras rolling, ignored commercial breaks, and let Rudy go on for about 25 straight minutes
    • Rudy even resorted to the "so what if Trump did it?" defense.
    • A very funny(?) collection of reaction from Twitter of Giuliani's appearance is here.
    • Edit: If you don't want to watch the interview, here's a quality comedy re-creation
  • A $500 fine to someone homeless will certainly solve this problem. 
  • The Texas Rangers were not called into investigate the shooting and killing of a fleeing man by a Denton County deputy. Instead, the Denton police were called in. Why? Denton County Sheriff Tracy Murphree said, “The Denton Police Department is just as capable of conducting that review as the Rangers.”
  • My Cousin Vinny, which I really like, wouldn't have been quite the same if the defendants had been black. Wrongfully accused black men in the South with a white country prosecutor and a crotchety old white judge isn't exactly a funny premise. (Even if they are "yutes.") 


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  • That's a lot of rain going on around Beaumont. 
  • The Cowboys flat out released Taco Charlton yesterday. This was the inside of the Dallas Morning News sports section yesterday morning:
  • The subject of the story below is William Brewer III out of Dallas whose "small law firm billed $24 million in fees in 13 months — leading top NRA board members to demand early this year that the organization stop paying until they could review the bills." It's not a flattering article with some shots like this taken: "Ted Lyon, a personal injury lawyer in Dallas who has battled Brewer in the past, said he was shocked that Brewer had 'convinced the NRA that he was some type of star litigator.'"  
  • Just google his old Dallas firm of Bickel and Brewer for an avalanche of stories about it. They made their reputation on flamboyant bickering in every lawsuit. Right out of law school, I was just a spare lawyer amongst a bunch of lawyers where either Bickel or Brewer (I can't remember which) was taking a deposition in downtown Dallas. It quickly degenerated into insane and unnecessary yelling and screaming. I was brand new but walked out there thinking, "What's that guy's deal?"
    1988 article in New York Times
  • By my count: There have been 224 misdemeanor marijuana cases filed in Wise County Court #1 this year which constitutes 24% of all criminal cases filed. 
  • Also by my count: There have been 113 "Penalty Group 2" cases filed in the Wise County felony court which also (and amazingly) constitutes 24% of all criminal cases filed. When you see Penalty Group 2, it is almost certainly THC cases involving the active ingredient of marijuana in a form that can legally be purchased in Colorado. (Edibles, vape cartidges, drinks.)
  • If you wonder what's been going on with all the car searches along highway 287, now you know. And if you all think that's a wise use of taxpayer money, have at it. (The vast majority of those in all aspects of law enforcement think its stupid, too, but say, "Hey, it's the law. What are we supposed to do?") 
  • Here's my breakdown of Class C tickets (punishable by fine only) filed in Wise County Justice of the Peace courts this year:
  • I didn't even know there was a Paradise, Texas Historical Society but here's a picture from their home page. My grandfather had a grocery store in downtown Paradise in the 1930s so I'm kind of fascinated about that downtown area. 
  • When you forge your wife's signature that she agreed not to be formally served with the divorce papers, forge the notary's signature, and then tell the judge at the divorce prove up hearing that the documents are true and correct, you're probably going to get in trouble. (The headline gives you the impression he's facing a felony simply for not telling her about it.) 
  • Man, Justin Trudeau is taking it in the shorts for this blackface photo. (And the media has found a couple of more overnight.)


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • Dear Wise County IT guy who fixed the link after my bullet point yesterday: You are now in competition for the The Hardest Working Man in Show Business. But would I be the worst non-paying client in the world if I complained that it is no longer automatically updating every four hours? 
  • I've got a hot and specific prediction on the murder trial going on in Wise County even though I've watched very little of it. (I just wrote it down and took a screenshot with a time stamp.  I'll share it if it proves I'm a genius or if I'm ridiculously wrong.) 
  • Sean Spicer deleted his tweet blaming his low scores on Dancing With The Stars on the judges not loving Jesus. He's had a great 24 hours.  
  • Random baseball note on former Ranger Yu Darvish:
  • You probably didn't watch Corey Lewandowski testifying before a Congressional committee yesterday. He freely admitted that the Mueller Report was accurate when it said Trump asked him to tell AG Jeff Sessions that he should publicly announce that Mueller’s probe was unfair to Trump and to tell the public that he would meet with Mueller and direct him to refocus the probe on future elections. (Wisely to avoid Obstruction charges, he never did.) But what about giving an interview to MSNBC where he said, “I don’t ever remember the president ever asking me to get involved with [former Attorney General] Jeff Sessions or with the Department of Justice in any way, shape or form, ever”? After having the clip played for him in the hearing, he said: "I have no no obligation to be honest to the media." Translated: This Trump bag man thinks he had no obligation to be honest to you
  • I keep supporting new Messenger reporter Christian McPhate to continue placing nuggets of gold in his coverage of city council meetings. He didn't do it with his latest coverage of a Rhome meeting, but, in his opinion piece on Wise County growth, he did give us this tidbit about a New Fairview meeting he previously covered: 
  • A Decatur resident is running for Congress. Seriously, do you ever hear a single word about what Kay Granger does in Washington. Not that I'm a fan of elected official self promotion, but she seems to avoid radio and TV interviews.
  • Mommy and Daddy are fighting!  Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Empower Texans PAC CEO Michael Quinn Sullivan got into a Twitter war. Sullivan, who is somehow manages to be more weaselly than Patrick, went after Patrick for supporting background checks, and Patrick went after Sullivan for secretly recording House Speaker Dennis Bonnen.
  • Nationally renowned journalist Cokie Roberts died yesterday. Who reacted worse? Trump saying, "She never treated me nicely" or Al Sharpton misspelling her name and confusing her with Christiane Amanpour.
  • This blurb below is out of Waco, but it's a good chance to explain how the system works. Judges are rarely involved in sentencing. Normally, their job is just to approve plea bargains which they do 99.9% of the time.  I have clients ask me all the time what the judge "is like" thinking he will be the one who decides punishment. My response is normally, "I know, but it doesn't matter. It's the prosecutor we have to worry about."  But a judge does have the right to reject a plea bargain. So what happens when that occurs? Does he just impose his own sentence as the defendant and lawyers are caught in a "holy crap" moment? Nope. The defendant has an absolute right to withdraw his guilty plea and the case just goes back on the court's docket. In the Waco case below, the judge rejected a plea of reducing the case from Intoxication Manslaughter to Criminally Negligent Homicide with a disposition of a certain number of years (it doesn't say) of deferred adjudication probation. 
  • Imagine how good the Cowboys would be if they had hit on the #1 draft pick in 2017 instead of busting on Taco Charlton? In other news, prepare for the Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx?
  • If Trump loses in 2020, it will be wild. There is no way he'll graciously concede, he'll contend that the election results are fake, and I have no idea if he would attend the swearing in ceremony at Capitol Hill like every single losing president before him. Heck, I don't think he would have to be forcibly removed from the White House, but I wouldn't rule that out. 
  • Messenger: Above The Fold


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • A deputy with the Denton County Sheriff's Office shot and killed a man last night who was fleeing.  The Denton Record Chronicle's use of quotes seems to be an editorial comment. Maybe it's the combo of "allegedly" and quotes that got my attention. 
  • Dear Wise County IT guy: You're doing great with the county's website makeover. Big fan. But could you fix the link at the bottom of this page? (It'll save the jail a ton of phone calls.)
  • That's the University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley: 
  • "You can bring your own gun" is now a selling point for restaurants?
  • In case you missed it, Sean Spicer debuted on Dancing With The Stars last night. He didn't do well, but later blamed it on the fact that he loves Jesus. These are strange days. 
  • Random NFL note: Garrett Gilbert, who flamed out at UT and ended up with a mediocre stint at SMU, somehow made it to the NFL and is still there. He's the backup to Baker Mayfield in Cleveland. 
  • "After five years playing in the minors, in 1955, Mariano finally made it to the big leagues.” - Donald  Trump giving Yankee's great Mariano Rivera the Medal of Freedom yesterday. Rivera was born in 1969. 
  • Trump last night in New Mexico on Steve Cortes: “He happens to be Hispanic, but I’ve never quite figured it out, because he looks more like a WASP than I do. But I tell you what, there is nobody that loves his country more or is Hispanic more than Steve Cortes. . . . Nobody loves the Hispanics more. Who do you like more, the country or the Hispanics? [Pause] He says the country. I don’t know. I may have to go for the Hispanics, to be honest with you. We’ve got a lot of Hispanics. We love our Hispanics. Get out and vote.” Good lord. 
  • I'd be a bad business guy. Case in point: Chicken Express over in Bridgeport has been closed a couple of weeks for a major renovation of the building. Both exterior and interior -- including great stone work on the outside. The only thing I can think of is: If that upgrade costs, say, $150,000, how many chicken breasts do they have to sell before they pay for that and then start making money again? 
  • This Bret Kavanaugh news gives me Tired Head but at least it did cause the re-surfacing of the genius video edit mash-up of the confirmation hearings and Pulp Fiction. (Language warning.)
  • Georgia -- being Georgia -- makes it a crime to move or eliminate monuments to the fight for slavery. One county got creative. 
  • The Messenger's Joy Burgess-Carrico has a story on the history of the LBJ Grasslands (including a bizarre government sanctioned cow holocaust that I had no idea about) and it reminded me of something I've always thought: What's the purpose of that place? The answer seems, to me at least, is "not much." I'm a huge fan of state and national parks, but the grasslands doesn't seem to meet that criteria. (And I've always been confused in that the entire city of Alvord is in the Grasslands. Turns out the government only owns 37% of the land designated. It might be time to give it up.)
  • The shoeshine stand always makes me uncomfortable.


    Random Monday Morning Thoughts

    • The young girl who contracted the "brain eating amoeba" from the Brazos River near Waco died overnight. 
    • I saw a Wise County deputy's car all crushed up on 380 on Friday afternoon, but I didn't hear anything else about it. Some of those boys drive pretty fast these days. 
    • Eddie Money died on Monday, and the The Cars' Rick O'Cassic died yesterday. I could have sworn Eddie Money played the Runaway Bay Country Club about 15 years ago, but I can't find anything about it with the Google. 
    • Stay with me here. It's a Fourth Amendment violation if cops take your blood in such a manner that there's an "unjustified risk of infection and pain." This blurb below was published by the official County and District Attorney's Association on Friday discussing a court case about the issue. Look at the highlighted portion: They don't want constitutional violations to be recorded so they can still use the evidence since there's nothing to refute the defendant's claims. Think about that. It's a monkey with his hands over his eyes instead of the statue of justice.
    • If this isn't the exact same thing as money-changers in the temple, I don't know what is. His daughter is being interviewed and selling books at the worship service. 
    • Small problem at Tennessee game yesterday. Video here and here
    • So Yemen rebels bomb the oil refineries in Saudi Arabia with drones and take out half their oil production? I've said for years the next war is a drone war (and have questioned why we pouring so much money into conventional F-35s,)  One of the most interesting aspects is how far from the border the drones hit. 
    • For some reason we are "locked and loaded" and waiting on marching orders from Saudi Arabia. 
    • On September 10, Secretary of State specifically said of the possibility of Trump meeting with Iranian leaders that Trump "has made very clear he is prepared to meet with no preconditions." White House transcript here.
    • My allergies are killing me. I know it's a bad sign with the Yorkie In The House goes into a sneezing fit as well. 
    • High School Sports: (1) I don't have video of it, but I definitely want to see it: A running back for Sanger scored on a 79 yard pass against Bridgeport Friday night. It's noteworthy because the guy is 6'3" and 235 pounds. Bridgeport won. (2) Highland Park lost at home. It was the second loss at home since their coach arrived 21 years ago.  (3) Sure, it means nothing, but Decatur should be ranked sixth this week. 
    • The Jaguars quarterback loves bits. 
    • After claiming he wanted to ban all flavored e-cigs on Thursday, Trump back tracked the next day. I suppose Juul executives got to him. 
    • Felicity Huffman got 14 days in federal prison for bribing officials to get her daughter into college. Once I get passed why the feds would even care about a case that netted 14 days in the first place, do you want to spend 14 days in prison? We throw around years and months of a person's life in reference to prison sentences way too much. 
    • The Amber Guyger trial starts today one week from today I've said it before: I think she'll be acquitted. 
    • That's a hockey score:
    • "Liable." 
    • Messenger: Above the Fold