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

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • Well, after 20 minutes of jury deliberations, the defendant in the Lottery Sexual Assault case received life in prison yesterday.  Final thoughts:
    • The case had some bad, bad facts with evidence of abuse of other victims. It had Life in Prison potential written all over it regardless of the defense strategy. 
    • "According to court documents, [the defense team] pursued a no-defense defense in hopes of winning on appeal." I'm still confused by this.  I want to see those documents.
    • Edit: I found this in a different story: "Barbieri claimed a 'last-minute document dump' from prosecutors meant they couldn't give Carlile the effective defense he is constitutionally entitled to, according to court records. Barbieri and Nimz even filed a motion to withdraw as Carlile's attorneys Dec. 3, saying they were unprepared for trial. Fudge denied it."
    • I don't think I've ever written, deleted and revised so many bullet points about one subject like I did about this case yesterday. If I knew 100% the reason behind the "no- defense defense,"  I'd probably have some hot opinions. But I've got to reserve judgment because I don't know exactly what is going on. 
    • Rightly or wrongly, this story has the absolute potential to go national. The headline, "Lawyers Charge $600,000 And Do Nothing As Client Receives Life In Prison," while perhaps misleading, is the the type of thing that goes viral.
    • Folks out of Austin were already taking notice last night. Below is a tweet from TDCAA (prosecutor's organization). But TCDLA (the defense organization) quickly fired back in the thread  pointing out that TDCAA "knows nothing about the procedural posture of the case" and "two of the best defense lawyers in the state [received] a rousing small-town experience."
    • TCDLA also referred to the defense lawyers as "Ken Paxton's lawyers." I didn't know that. 
  • Trump set a record with 248 tweets and retweets yesterday. Anyone else gets fired for jacking around that much of his work day, right? Here's his tweet numbers by month (not including this month.) 
  • Hey, moms and dads who have kids with difficulties, he decided to mock a 16 year old girl on the autism spectrum. That is not normal from an adult. Any adult. #BeBest
  • Her quick response shows she's smarter than he is:
  • My staple of "And Another" bullet points have slowed down because they don't seem to be making the news as much. But we had one out of Oklahoma worthy of note because of the regular photo vs. book-in photo contrast. 

  • Wise County had an interesting case filed in JP2 yesterday (CR-19-02221-2) for "THREATENED SPECIES UNLAWFULLY TAKEN (TIMBER RATTLE SNAKE)."
  • That reminded me of one of the weirdest moments in Wise County Criminal Justice history. I was at the DA's house for a fantasy football draft and innocently posted a picture of him killing a snake which had come slithered up near the house (where kids were around.)  The Game Warden saw it online, decided that it was an endangered snake, and wrote him a citation. And he paid it!
  • People make errors in judgment. We've all done things we regret. And it's very common for very, very good people to get arrested for DWI -- I've met thousands of them. But I don't know a single one of them who would accuse someone else in a public forum -- much less mock them -- for having a substance abuse problem. Yesterday, Florida Man Congressman Matt Gaetz did it as Trump nears impeachment. He was quickly slapped down. 

  • The Aggies are treating the Baylor mascot who has been diagnosed with a benign tumor. Really.
  • The impeachment process is certainly weird when the jury foreman is already working with the defendant's lawyers before the trial begins. He really could shoot a man on Fifth Avenue and the result would be the same. They don't care. 
  • Did I mention Zeke's new contact of $50 million guaranteed yesterday? Worth it? 
  • The firing of Star's coach Jim Montgomery is still a mystery. If I heard Tyler Seguin on The Ticket correctly, everything was fine at a Christmas Party the night before the firing -- a firing which he thinks went down at around 6:00 a.m.  So what "unprofessional conduct" happened during the short window of time? (And I get the feeling that a lot of the people in the media know but, for whatever reason, aren't saying.)


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  • The Sexual Assault Lottery Trial in Wichita Falls ended with a guilty verdict yesterday. His lawyers, reportedly paid $600,000, intentionally did nothing. They didn't ask a question, didn't object, and made no opening statement or closing argument.  As reported, his lawyers "have remained silent for most of the trial, pursuing a no-defense defense in hopes of winning on appeal." Today he faces life in prison. I'm struggling to figure out what is going on. 
    Defendant in foreground. Not sure who that is in the background.
    • This doesn't seem to be a case where the lawyers strategy is: "We don't have to ask any questions or call any witnesses, because even if you believe everything the State brings you, you're still going to have a reasonable doubt about the defendant's guilt."  If that's the case, you use voir dire, opening statements, and closing arguments to pound that strategy home. (And you still ask questions on cross even if you think you don't need to.)  Here, according to the story, they didn't do anything
    • So what's going to be the basis of appeal? Cases can be reversed on appeal for "ineffective assistance of counsel." It happens pretty frequently, relatively speaking, as far as reasons for a reversal are concerned.
    • However, it's normally because a lawyer unintentionally screwed up -- big time. Examples include telling a client he's eligible for probation from a jury when he's not, letting an avalanche of inadmissible evidence in without objection, failing to request certain jury instructions, etc. (Heck, I've been tracking cases reversed on appeal in Texas for over twenty years, and I've got a huge collection of ineffective assistance counsel cases here.)
    • But this case is weird because it is the lawyers choosing to provide ineffective assistance. (Disclaimer: This is based upon the newspaper reporting and my best guess. Maybe there's something going on that hasn't been revealed. I'm not the one being paid the big bucks.) 
    • Will this guy's conviction and punishment be reversed on appeal for ineffective assistance? I think so. We can't hold the decision of his lawyers against him, right? And it shouldn't matter if he consented to the strategy -- he's not the expert. He's hired people for this. (But he will experience some immediate consequences. His bond will no longer be in effect and he'll be incarcerated during the appeal.)
    • Have I ever heard of this happening before? That is, intentionally not providing effective assistance as a strategy? That's really been bugging me. I think I remember a case in the news over a decade ago like this. And it seems like it was in Collin County, but I could be wrong. Yet I remember back then completely understanding what the lawyer was doing.
    • In that other case, it seems like it was something like the State disclosing jaw-dropping evidence to the lawyer on the first day of trial when the prosecutors were supposed to provide it months earlier. The defense lawyer moved for a continuance so he could prepare a decent defense, but the judge, amazingly, denied the request. So the lawyer, who was royally pissed off because there was no way he could adequately defend his client in light of the surprise evidence, decided to provide no defense at at all. It was an "If I you won't let me adequately defend him by granting a continuance, then I'm not going to defend him at all." He caught a lot of heat  about whether that was the ethical thing to do, but most of the defense bar wholeheartedly supported him. I think it worked out for him. 
    • (I acknowledge my contradiction in not remembering that case but somehow providing lots of details about it.)
    • But back to the Wichita Falls case. The lawyers tried to get the DA's office disqualified at the last minute but, after a 48 hour brief victory, failed.  But once they lost, they just stopped providing a defense. Did they feel, "We are 100% right that the DA's office should have been recused, and we will ultimately prevail on that issue so why provide a defense when the case will be reversed? And, if were wrong, the case will still get reversed for ineffective assistance."  I guess that's possible, but "That's a bold strategy, Cotton." 
    • Once again, maybe there's is something I'm missing. (If any of my lawyer buddies have any ideas, email me and I'll talk about them tomorrow. I'm always open to learning something.)
  • This might only interest the lawyers or those interested in bizarre lawyer things, but yesterday there was probably the most Wheels Off three minute and thirty-seven second oral argument before a federal appellate court ever. Listen here. People discussing it on Twitter here
  • Bad deputy. (Allegedly.) It's in Bexar County.
  • I'll admit that I absolutely hate Junior.  A sheep. The guy is hunting sheep in Mongolia. 
  • Everyone still comfortable with this? 
  • That case was in the news the last few days because the defense lawyer claimed the state's investigator, A.P. Merillat, provided false testimony.  That name rang a bell with me and then I remembered he used to post on the TDCAA message board (which was one of the first message boards I remember on the Internet.)  I wonder if any of his 751 posts (still archived here and dating back to 2001) provided any help to the defense? I wonder if they knew about them?
  • Weird memory I had yesterday: The song, "Butterfly Kisses" that Kidd Kraddick played about a million times but I had never heard, or thought about, in over two decades.
  • Sometimes a murder occurs and we just don't know who did it. Responsible police don't arrest who they think is the best possible suspect.


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • Just announced: Time's "Person of the Year." Man, this will trigger the far right-wingers. (Back when she was making headlines a few months back, I overheard the Seventeen Year Old In The House refer to her simply as "Greta." I hadn't said a word about her. She and her friends had been talking about her at school.) 
  • Also triggering the right wingers is something that happened yesterday for only the fourth time in our nation's history:
  • Bridgeport is looking for football games next Fall.  Wichita Falls Hirschi, Brock, and Sweetwater have responded. (Matt Stepp works for Dave Campbell's Texas Football and is the unofficial game broker in Texas.)
  • Well, this is a shocking development in the Lottery/Sex Abuse case out of Wichita Falls with the very, very high priced lawyers out of Plano:
  • Teach your kids how to pitch. Gerrit Cole just signed with the Yankees for nine years and $324 million.  My Bridgeport math skills tell me that is $36 million a year. And it's guaranteed. (The quirky part is that he can opt out after year six if he thinks he could make even more money on the open market.)  In comparison, Zeke Elliott's contract was for $50 million guaranteed and he'll probably be done after three more years and then will have trouble walking the rest of his life.
  • One of my internal personal games is the go-back-in-time-and-make-a-bet game. I've got a new one: If I would have been told on Monday that the coach of one of the big four (Cowboys, Mavs, Rangers, or Stars) would be fired on Tuesday, how much would I have bet in real money that it would be Jason Garrett? Answer: A fortune.
  • I'll never understand how there are 40% of the people in America who aren't horrified by this. I liked this quote from yesterday: "This is Russia, on U.S. television, inside the White House, lying to the American public about its attempts to destroy our elections and our democracy, with the permission and endorsement of the President of the United States."
  • And it is a true endorsement of Russia by Trump. (By the way, not only did Lavrov deny Russian meddling, he denied even discussing it with Trump despite what Trump says.):
  • Nine Dairy Queens in the metroplex suddenly closed over the weekend. They were located in Fort Worth, Euless, Hurst, Keller, Grand Prairie and Roanoke. They had to all have been owned by the same guy, right? 
  • I was going to post a pretty funny Tweet from a high ranking law enforcement officer in Wise County today, but the account has suddenly disappeared. 
  • Wow. Another Houston-area officer killed. 
  • A wrong way driver on I-30 in Fort Worth was killed near the Montgomery exit early this morning. 
  • The shootout in Jersey City was wild yesterday. Here's a couple of quick loading videos herehere and here.
    (These are the cops. I think.)
  • Wilt Chamberlin once scored 100 points in an NBA game in Hershey, PA. Last night Trump gave one of his rambling speeches in Hershey, PA. Also last night, a player from Wayland Baptist scored 100 points. 
  • Whatever happened to the investigation of the Denton County Sheriff's Deputy who shot a man in the back and killed him?
  • Someone asked this morning on the radio if the partially domed old Texas Stadium had air-conditioning. Everyone said "no" which, of course, makes sense. But I've got this crazy memory of big a/c vents around the top of it to at least provide some relief to the crowd in the upper deck. Yet, I don't trust myself on this one. 
  • By my count, 16 people have been arrested in Wise County since yesterday morning. That may not seem like a lot, but that's a lot. 
  • Messenger: Above the Fold


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • Did Steve Castor have a financial side deal in this weird move in the Impeachment Hearing yesterday? Are we to believe he just happened to use a Fresh Market bag instead of a brief case and that Fresh Market just happened to promote it after the fact? Do we have the ultimate ad disguised as a news story?
  • The Richard Jewell movie looks good, but there's no way it will be: Clint Eastwood is directing it. A horrible script and especially horrible dialogue is a guaranteed. See, e.g., Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino, The 15:17 to Paris.
  • And the movie is already knee deep in controversy for depicted a now deceased female reporter sleeping with a source when there's no evidence she ever did. 
  • Oh, my
  • Well, what did we learn from the report by the Justice Department’s inspector general charged with "investigating the investigators"?  There was no Deep State, there was no "Witch Hunt", Trump's penthouse wasn't bugged, the investigation began before the Steele Dossier, and, as a bonus, Ivanka Trump is a long time friend of Christopher Steele. (Side note: Would you really bet against the existence of a compromising tape of Trump actually being in the hands of the Russians?)
  • Look out. Trump is not happy this morning. Is he about to fire another FBI Director who doesn't kiss his ring?:
  • I bet he does fire Wray: The FBI Director is also out there telling the truth that Ukraine didn't interfere in the 2016 election despite Trump's promotion of this conspiracy theory. (Ted Cruz amazingly peddled that lie this weekend on Meet the Press.)
  • The Democrats need her back in the debates for entertainment.
  • It's time to admit it: I am better at weather predicting than Delkus. I'll probably get an Honorary Doctorate from some weather school after yesterday.
  • This was before noon. 
  • Let's check on Trump's schedule today. 
  • Political info: Some Texas Republicans running for office next year had to file with the state and others file with their county. The last day to do so was yesterday. The State list is here. The Tarrant County filings are  here. Wise County isn't listed online. (By my count, 39 people at the state level waited until the very last day.)
  • This was quite the Everyone-Needs-To-Know-This "statement" released by Judge Sotomayor in a case the Supreme Court decided yesterday not to here. Wow. (Note: She's talking about the "Fifth Circuit" in the Louisiana state system and not the federal Fifth Circuit.) Crazy fact: Louisiana has more people sentenced to life without parole than Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee combined.
  • The NFC East is 10-28 against teams not in the division. 
  • Major League Baseball has removed marijuana from the list of banned substances even in the minor leagues. The stuffiest league in America no longer cares about players smoking weed. (Texas will arrest you.)
  • I've preached for years that prosecutors have no idea how high the standard is for "criminal negligence" or "reckless" because they prosecute for simple accidents all the time. That being said, the El Paso DA not criminally prosecuting this horrible accident used a completely inapplicable standard of "criminal intent." 
  • After the Fort Worth Court of Appeals stopped the jury selection in the Lottery Winner's Son Sexual Assault trial in Wichita Falls last Wednesday, the court ordered it to go forward on Friday.
  • A Houston police officer was killed in the line of duty two days ago. Then the Chief of Police took a shot at politicians: "I don't want to see their little smug faces about how much they care about law enforcement when I'm burying a sergeant because they don't want to piss off the NRA."


Random Monday Morning Thoughts

  • When are we going to admit that Saudi Arabia is a problem?
  • The Baylor/OU game was almost as insane as the first one. I'm not sure how Baylor wasn't behind 50-0 at halftime. But I'm also not sure Baylor wouldn't have won by two scores if the third string quarterback hadn't been put in "sooner." (Rock me.) In any event, the Bears go to the Sugar Bowl to face Georgia (who beat Texas last year according to ESPN.)
  • There was some kind of Pentecostal rally in the White House on Friday. (Video). I suppose everyone is fine with that room being used this week for a Muslim afternoon prayer, right? Trump's new questionable faith adviser, Paula White, can be seen helping lead it. (There was no word if she again asked everyone to give her $229 pursuant to 1 Chronicles 22:9 or if they were "invited to instead pay $31, a number reached by adding the numbers of the verse in the Bible—22 and 9.")
  • It's now heading into winter time, so it is also time for the worst weatherman in the metroplex to start with his his Boy Who Cried Wolf routine. He's already at it:
  • Unlike that fraud on our profession, I, the most Trusted Name In Weather, predict today's cold front hits Wise County at 1:25 p.m.  There will be rain later becoming heavy around 10:00 p.m. and peaking after midnight. No snow. No sleet. No ice. 
  • Lane Kiffin has been named coach at Ole Miss. He was fired by the Oakland Raiders after one year by the late Al Davis going full scorched Earth on him at a press conference that wouldn't stop, he almost caused a riot at Tennessee after he left the school after one year to go coach USC, and USC fired him mid-season at an airport (really).  
  • Yolanda Waters, the chairwoman for Galveston County's Republican party, is facing pressure from top Republicans to step the heck down after this racial slur.
  • A church in California is throwing down some hot opinions.
  • It got buried in the news, but Trump had some insane thoughts about new showers and toilets on Friday. Did you know people have to flush toilets 10 or 15 times for success? (It's even better when you watch it.)
  • Netflix has a new docu-series called The Confession Killer about Henry Lee Lucas.  Wise County's own Phil Ryan is on camera and interviewed a lot.  It looks like Phil did a good job on the first two legitimate cases out of Montague County.  After that, others took over and probably created one of the biggest hoaxes in criminal justice history.
  • Lucas got all the hysteria rolling after his first appearance in the Montague County District Court where, after being asked if he was competent to stand trial for murder (weird) said, "There is about a hundred women out there that says different." What's crazy is that the moment was caught on film and shown in the documentary. The judge is shown leaning down to the clerk and asking, "What'd he say?" What cameras were doing in the courtroom in 1983 -- especially up there -- is a mystery to me. (Here's the UPI story after that happened which opened the flood gates.)
  • This is real. The FBI wants you to volunteer to give them your fingerprints. 
  • Trump's Medicare chief thinks her government employer is an insurer of her ridiculous travel items. 
  • Elsa Alcala was a former judge on Texas' highest criminal court until she voluntarily chose not to seek re-election. She's now active on social media. I wish she had been as bold in scolding the State in her opinions.
  • Fort Worth resident Larry Myers was also a judge on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals until, for some reason, he switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic party and lost. Now he's taking a run as a Democrat in hopes of catching a Blue Wave in Tarrant County. (Remember: Beto beat Cruz there two years ago.) I tried to figure out his age without success. He's been around a long time.
  • Messenger: Above the Fold