The Campaign For DA

9.22.2020

Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

 

  • Texas hospitalizations: 3,132 (+51). I've still got my eye on this.

  • Look at this spreadsheet showing how PAC Empower Texans (Wilks and Dunn) is trying to buy Shelley Luther a seat in our State Senate District 30. It's amazing. (Source: Texas Tribune.)

  • Speaking of Senate District 30, one of the candidates brought the COVID to Decatur. That ain't no way to campaign! "According to Springer, he and his wife Lydia went to a campaign event in Decatur on Sept.14. Lydia was taken to the hospital later that night for unrelated symptoms and was eventually tested and diagnosed with COVID-19." 
  • Did you guys see Dak's get-up on Sunday? Serious question: Is it now fashionable to have jeans that come to above the ankle when wearing cowboy boots? I've seen this on the TV box a couple of times in the last week. 

  • I keep hearing anecdotal evidence that young males really don't watch sports on TV and can't imagine, even when adults, of ever paying to watch them. (And to think I watched the network broadcast of Super Bowl XIII on Youtube over the weekend between the Cowboys and Steelers and was overcome with teenage nostalgia. I remember the friend's house I was in when I watched it, who all was there, and where I sat on the couch.)
  • Supreme Court thoughts:
    • Will the Senate never again approve a justice appointed by a President from a different party? That used to be routine. Thanks have changed so dramatically that I'm not sure it will happen now. 
    • Supreme Constitutional Amendment Proposal: Have Supreme Court justices limited to 20 year terms and have it so that every two years a judge's 20 year term expires. If a judge dies before his 20 years, the appointment would be only for the unexpired term.  I just don't know how to get it started from scratch. 
  • What would you have thought if you had seen this photo one year ago?: The Raiders celebrate a touchdown by mimicking using hand sanitizer all while in an empty NFL stadium during a real game.

  • I don't follow video game news but yesterday Microsoft paid $8.5 billion to buy a company which is in that business. This sentence got my attention about the purchase: "To put that in perspective, that’s almost as much as Disney paid for both Marvel and LucasFilm combined."
  • "I'd like to use this forum to spread the Gospel, but first I'd like to promote my lord and savior as well as the only personality left in the Fox family who will have me on TV." Man, I despise Jeffress so much. 

  • I can't tell you how many kind emails and messages I've received from both friends and complete strangers in response to my posts about the Aric Maxwell case. Many have made me tear up a little. Of special note was a fancy handwritten thank you card from a lawyer in little Hamilton, Texas who I have never met. And then yesterday I got this. No return address. Not signed. (Please don't do this. But I'm keeping all it and and framing it.) 

  • It's Tony Basil's birthday. Fun fact: She was 37 when she recorded the video to Mickey.

  • Fox, by itself, currently pay $1.08 billion a year for it's Sunday NFL package. The contract expires next year. Bloomberg reported last night that the new number will be around $2 billion a year.  It seems like a good time to remind you that the 32 team owners' cartel have for years agreed to a salary cap on players. 


9.21.2020

Random Monday Morning Thoughts

 




  • Texas hospitalizations: 3,081 (-165 since Friday)
  • Trump will now try to fill the Supreme Court seat of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. 
    • To ram it through before the election, he can't afford four Republican defections in the Senate. Two (Collins and Murkowski) have already done so and have said the next President should make the pick. Mitt Romney is a definite wild card. 
    • Lindsey Graham had previously committed that he would be one of the four, but we already knew he is a liar and hypocrite. He had said: "If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump's term we'll wait to the next election . . .  Hold the tape." And that was even after the Kavanaugh confirmation. He said he was just kidding about that over the weekend. 

    • Trump will want it done right away and won't gamble with a post-election confirmation because (1) If he's a lame duck, he won't care one iota, (2) We know that he'll lose at least one senator when one of Arizona's seat switches from McSally to Kelly and he'll be seated by Arizona law before November 30th. He can't risk that. 
    • This just hit me.  Why doesn't Trump refuse to nominate anyone and instead use it as election bait? "If I win, I will immediately give you another Supreme Court justice. But if I lose, you also lose that seat." Of course, no other president would ever do that because it would be an obvious and a blatant effort to put self over the importance of the court. But this is Trump. His base wouldn't care if he used that trick.
    • But, in the end, I bet he nominates someone right now and gets it confirmed before the election.
  • He keeps saying the quiet stuff out loud

  • Uh . . . 

  • Look out. Big West Texas oil money from Empower Texans is bankrolling Shelly Luther. They say it is, uh, a "loan." You know, I bet she makes the run-off and might win the dang thing. North Texans are suckers for people like her. 

  • Legal stuff. One technically boring but eye-opening. One about political incorrectness:
    • Hey, criminal law practitioners, look at this under-the-radar opinion out of Amarillo which came out last week where the court held that the lack of a trial due to COVID-19 entitles and incarcerated defendant to a PR bond. It's seems pretty broad and all-encompassing. (In-the-weeds stuff: (1) It is somehow designated "Do Not Publish", (2) The court didn't find a 17.151 violation but a constitutional speedy trial violation. If that's true, isn't the remedy dismissal instead of a PR bond?))
    • From the "Oh-My!" Department: Want to hear a lawyer last week during oral arguments before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals utter the words "technological retard" as he was referring to himself. Here you go. It sure be cued up at the right place at the 14:40 mark. 
  • Cowboys:
    • In trying to figure out what the special teams coach told the Atlanta players before the onside kick. I'm guessing it was something like, "They can't touch it before 10 yards and if they do, it is our ball. So don't worry about anything before 10 yards." That's all true but you might want to add a couple of things. 
    • Everyone was dogging Mike McCarthy for deciding to go for two when down nine points. I absolutely would go for it there. You're going to have to get it then or after the next touchdown. If you miss it now, at least you know what you have to do -- which is exactly what happened. 
    • Fun fact:

  • I watched Richard Jewell over the weekend. It is, of course, the story of the security guard who was wrongfully accused of planting the bomb at the Olympics in Atlanta. 

    • Its theme sounded very familiar to me. A solo-lawyer who some thought was in over his head representing an innocent and downtrodden guy against the government who jumped the gun by accusing him of a capital crime.
    • I thought it was a little over-the-top and had to be loose with facts (especially since it is a Clint Eastwood film), but once you read the fantastic Vanity Fair article upon which the movie is based, it's pretty spot on. 
    • The biggest cheap shot that Eastwood took was accusing an Atlanta Journal Constitution reporter of blatantly exchanging sex for an FBI tip. She's died a few years back. That was indeed a cheap shot.
    • Richard Jewell is also dead. (Side note: We are all here for just a blink of an eye, aren't we?) 
    • After I watched the movie, I was very confused why the Atlanta Journal ended up paying Jewel in his libel suit. What they wrote was technically true. He was the target of the FBI. When I looked it up I learned  refused to settle and the case against them was ultimately dismissed.
    • I would have named the film "The Profile of Richard Jewell."
  • Yes, I'm still all torqued up about you know what, but I thought I'd give it a rest today.



9.18.2020

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







Random Friday Morning Thoughts




  • Wise County active cases: 26 (+1) And it was announced yesterday that the county will only get numbers every Tuesday from now on. I guess I'll kill this daily bullet point and make it a weekly one.
  • Texas hospitalizations: 3,246 (-3) The flattening might be happening. But I've been wrong about that before.

  • Texas school numbers: This will be good stuff over the coming weeks. It's brand new and is only updated weekly for now. But on 9/23 they'll start releasing district level numbers in spreadsheet formatting. (I've got The Liberally Lean Number and Statistics Department on standby.)

  • So yesterday the governor opened up businesses from 50% to 75%? Did anyone truly think there was a limit of 50% or that it was being honored? 
  • If you want to see real Texas courts in action, go here and look at a ton of live feeds from Houston's county and justice courts.  Most of the judges are just conducting quick hearings and regular docket calls but they leave the feed open in between them. They are incredibly loose and relaxed. I watched for only about 30 minutes the other day and heard a judge say, "I need to make everyone dress up for holidays. On Columbus Day I could make everyone come dressed as a racist." It is truly like they sometimes forgot the cameras are rolling. It's incredible. (But as far as dockets are concerned, it is very, very efficient.)
  • The Aric Maxwell/Lauren Whitener Murder Case Fiasco -- Yep, I'm Still Ranting. 
    • So I've now been asked, "Why was he arrested in the first place?"  That's a great question. Sure, we now have the DNA evidence which completely exonerates him, but why was he arrested even before the results were known? I outlined yesterday what they didn't have and all the evidence that showed Aric didn't do it. So let's talk about what they did have and what was the tipping point. 
    • Here is a quote from Sheriff Lane Akin about the case in the Wise County Messenger which was published six days before Aric's arrest. At that point the case is unsolved. Akin, after saying he thinks about the case every day, tells us his investigators wake up at night trying to figure it out. 

    • So what happened to get Aric arrested six days later? What's the big break in the case? Here's what: A lab report from Pure Gold Forensics in California came in. That's the only development, and the development Akin said he was waiting for. That report said that Lauren's DNA had been found on a single blade of grass. Ok, that seems kind of important. Where was it found, you ask? I'll show you.
    • Here's the location described in the arrest warrant affidavit: It's at a "halfway point from the victim's back yard gate to the defendant's back yard gate."

    • Here's a map showing where Aric and his family lived and where Lauren Whitener lived. (There's an unlabeled duplex unit adjacent to Whitener's, too.) The back yards are fenced with gates. The white X is the half way point where the blade of grass was found.

    • That will qualify as at least "interesting", right? But the smoking gun? And what if I told you (1) the killer had to leave through Lauren's back gate (her front door was deadbolted and her back door was wide open when first responders arrived) and so he had to flee somewhere -- either left, right or straight,  (2) that crime scene investigators walked inside and through the gruesome crime scene without protective booties on the morning of murder/fire and then went outside and walked on that very spot (I've got a photo they took proving it), and (3) the "blade of grass" was found two weeks after the murder -- something that should cause all sorts of alarms to go off. There was an absolute gully washer of rain storm one day after the murder. 
    • So that single blade of grass somehow magically caused the case to go from "we can't solve it" to "let's arrest a man for capital murder." Incredible. 
    • Did I yell about all of this when I figured it out? You bet. You probably don't remember it but I got the Star-Telegram's attention about this very thing in February. (See below). Heck, even before the sperm cell DNA exonerated Aric, I was screaming about how this case was a big bag of nothing. I wasn't doing some lawyer shtick. I was trying to alert people to a travesty of justice that was unfolding right in front of my eyes. And I was right. The DNA from the sperm cells proved me right.:

    • But let's not lose sight of that DNA report on the sperm cells which exonerated Aric which directly led to the dismissal of the indictments. And no matter how the Sheriff tries to spin it -- and he still is -- this is not "new evidence." The WCSO was in possession of that lab report last September which told them there was a killer out there who was not Aric. And don't forget that their own private expert (that Pure Gold outfit who also analysed the blade of grass) told them in an email on December 20, 2019 exactly the same thing. Nor lose sight of my March 10, 2020 court pleading begging everyone to look at the DNA report and the email which was telling them they had the wrong guy.  
    • And I want to give the Messenger credit for a pseudo-editorial from their crime scene reporter about the case in today's paper. My only complaint is that this isn't on the front page and above the fold. It ended as follows. (Go buy a paper. Be a subscriber. Give them your money.) 

    • I'll end on a much lighter note.  Some wise guy posted on the Internet a screenshot from my CBS11 interview and did the following to it. In the words of the great lawyer, Jackie Chiles, "This is outrageous and preposterous!!"
  • The Johnny Armstrong murder case out of Wise County was affirmed yesterday on appeal. 
  • Messenger: Above the Fold
  • Anyone else notice the sign language guy behind Abbott? He seemed pretty wheels off. And I've got some serious questions about those guys . . . . 



9.17.2020

Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

 

  • Wise County active cases: 25 (-1 from yesterday)
  • Texas hospitalizations: -62 from yesterday.

  • It's hard to keep up with, but there looks to be about a dozen Texas high school games canceled for Friday. The number of schools who have just up and canceled their entire season rose to 12 yesterday.
  • Mask or no mask? It should be a no-brainer but it has become part of the culture war. Robert Redfeld, the director of the CDC, said it was an absolute must in front of Congress yesterday and then Trump reacted by saying he must have misunderstood the question because he was wrong. “As far as the mask is concerned, he made a mistake,” Trump said.

  • I understand why Trump would lie about a vaccine being developed in two months, but why does he take this stand on masks? What's in it for him?
  • Trump for some odd reason said (incorrectly, no less) that the number of COVID deaths in the U.S. wouldn't be that bad if you subtracted the blue states: "If you take the blue states out, we’re at a level that I don’t think anybody in the world would be at."  Look what someone dug up the The Atlantic from last May which now seems hauntingly true. 

  • I'm not sure how Gov. Abbott will reduce the COVID restrictions today in his noon press conference, but he will. The far-right in the state has been killing him. 
  • AG Bill Barr last night:  “You know, putting a national lock down, stay at home orders, is like house arrest. Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history.” Good lord. 1. Slavery. 1A. Stay at home orders.

  • I don't want to be a jerk here, but my reaction to this story is "So?!"  He's just a city judge (there are 1,278 of them in Texas) and 10 years isn't a long time. 

  • Aric Maxwell Wrongful Arrest and Prosecution Update:
    • I've now got a rough copy of the longer version of the CBS11 segment which I've put on youtube. You even get to see the Liberally Lean Headquarters.

    • Thanks so much to those yesterday who wanted to engage me about the facts of the case.
    • Everyone asks "What's this 'other evidence' against Aric the Sheriff keeps talking about?" That's a great question. There are no witnesses, there is no confession, there's no physical evidence,  and Lauren Whitener's blood and/or DNA was not found in Aric's house nor was Aric's DNA found on the removed smoke detectors/batteries from the victim's home. 
    • Many people seem to think the "other evidence" is blood being found on lighter fluid in Aric's home. Nope. That's not true. But they believe it because a of a falsehood in the affidavit used to obtain the arrest warrant.The following sworn statement from the affidavit is 100% not true (it was contradicted by the sheriff's office official report in the case which said the test was negative):

    • As always, there's more! A swab was collected from the floor by the lighter fluid, where a small particle of DNA was detected. It could have been from anything -- sweat, saliva, skin, or blood. However, Lauren Whitener was absolutely excluded by the lab as a donor to that DNA. This was memorialized in a lab report dated July 25, 2019 -- a date which is two weeks before Aric's arrest warrant was obtained. That critical fact was not mentioned in the affidavit to get the warrant. Instead, the above false statement was included to give the wrongful impression that Lauren's blood was found on the lighter fluid.
    • See why I'm so mad about all this?! Again, my full press release is here
  • Big Tex is now a dirty lib. He's wearing a mask . . . 


9.16.2020

Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

 
  • Wise County active cases: 26 (+14 from yesterday. Say what?) The Update is reporting that Decatur, Paradise, Chico and Slidell schools now have confirmed cases. Oh, my!
  • Texas hospitalizations: 3,311 (-14)

  • Big news in not-so-far-away schools. Keller Fossil Ridge has shut everything down and going exclusively to remote learning after there were over a dozen COVID confirmed cases. 
  • Does all football, from high school to college, just implode over the next three weeks?

  • Breaking seconds ago: The Big 10 is coming back beginning October 24th. What a mess. Edit: this update . . . 

  • Who thought it would be a good idea for Trump to do a town-hall last night on ABC with George Stephanopoulos? He doesn't do well outside the humble confines of Fox News or OANN. George stepped in when he started lying to a lady about wanting to keep protection for pre-existing conditions when he's at the Supreme Court right now trying to kill Obamacare's provision doing just that with no plan in place to fix it once it is gone.


  • This has a disturbing historical ring to it: Female immigrants being held in one specific detention center (Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia) are receiving possible unnecessary hysterectomies from one specific doctor (gynecologist Mahendra Amin.)  Yeah, in the United States.

  • The Tarrant County Sheriff is killing people because he doesn't know how to run a jail: Yesterday the Star-Telegram reported that the ninth inmate died this year over the weekend.
  • Someone needs to check on Kanye this morning.

  • Aric Maxwell DNA Fiasco notes/updates: 
    • I'm really confused about how CBS11 handled their television package. There was a longer version of it that aired (including a very stylish shot of me walking into my office past my Tank Man/Tiananmen Square print, but it is nowhere to be found on their website.) Why? Is web server storage space in short supply or something? They've now got a print story up about the whole case, but still no extended video. I don't get it.
    • But after I wrote yesterday about how I paid careful attention to what would appear in the background of my shot with the CBS11 camera, many faithful readers sent in screenshots of another backgrounds of the other participants.  Trust me, these guys know their constituents. (And I've always thought Lowery's T-shirt was funny. Not sure I'd put it on camera, but it is funny.)
Ronald Reagan T-Shirt caption: "I smell hippies"

    • Boyd's own Kelsey Pierce is a producer at CBS11.
    • Funny moment as I sat down with the CBS11 crew before they put the mic on me: I pulled down the back of my jacket and sat on it. The cameraman noticed and smiled. I looked at him and said, "I learned that from William Hurt in Broadcast News."  He laughed and said, "It really does work." 
    • In all seriousness, I've got a small window to publicize this whole fiasco. In case you missed it, my press release is here. Youtube links and a ton of other links are in the end notes. 
    • I've talked to the Dateline producer again, and please note it is them calling me. They will do a story on it. And I've got an extended family member who is a Dateline fanboy who says it might get two hours. Even apart from the massive arrest/DNA exoneration screw-up, the underlying facts of the case are insanely fascinating. It could be a best selling book or movie. And I might beg Skip Hollandsworth of Texas Monthly to take an interest in it. 
    • Beside the unknown killer, no one -- and I mean no one -- knows more about this case than I do. I dedicated the entire last year of my life to learning every tiny detail about it. And I'll talk to anyone about it. 
  • Messenger: Above the Fold


9.15.2020

Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

 


  • Wise County active cases: 12. Decatur had a high school kid test positive. 
  • Texas Hospitalizations: (+6)

  • This is pretty wild. (And it might explain how Houston Baptist almost beat them last weekend.)

  • Aric Maxwell Fiasco news coverage: Channel 11/CBS led with a story last night by reporter Jason Allen about it.  Our Sheriff, D.A., and I all made appearances. Two of three didn't sound crazy. I can't find it on the station's website despite it being the lead story. Edit: Got it. (Thanks to a faithful reader.)
  • If you ever see the clip, you'll notice a book intentionally placed behind me on my bookshelf. It is Who Killed These Girls? by Beverly Lowry about the Austin Yogurt Shop murders. I bought it right after I was court appointed to help Aric because I thought it would help me. I even teased it back then in a bullet point (see below). See some parallels between the Aric Maxwell case and the Yogurt Shop murders? I could feel it all coming back then. 

  • This is my favorite paragraph from Who Killed These Girls?  Both of the investigators, Huck and Jones, were eventually removed from the case when they didn't make a quick arrest. Their replacements did just that and the case turned into a disaster.  Huck and Jones are what you would call, "good police."

  • Bad deputy. (Allegedly).

  • So offensive you had to watch the whole thing, huh? 

  • I'm sure this story checks out. (Very random side note: I've never understood people who go to the trouble of putting on a suit and then allow their tie and collar area to look like a train wreck.) 

  • Tiger King's Carol Baskin was on Dancing with the Stars but the family of her dead ex-husband bought air time to run this commercial in Tampa and Jacksonville. (It wasn't a national commercial.) 

  • This weekend I was up on the roof trying to adjust a high def antenna as I communicated with Mrs. LL via phone who was watching the TV inside to advise about the picture quality. The key is to lock onto a station where there is no digitization in the picture. Me: "Can you get Fox?" Mrs. LL: "Yeah, but it's cutting out a little bit." Me: "Ugh. What about NBC?" Mrs. LL: "Yeah! There's a soccer game on." Me: "How is it?" Mrs. LL: "I don't know but there aren't many people in the stands."  (It was literally like the scene out of Green Acres where Mr. Douglas asked: "How's the picture?" and Eb answered, "It's pretty good but I've seen this one before." )
  • This one made me really stop down. Trump lap dog Lindsey Graham demanded his opponent release his tax returns (sounds familiar) and decided the best place to make that demand was, for some reason, a gun shop.  The South is gonna South. 

  • BagOfNothing saw the CBS11 piece on the Aric Maxwell fiasco and noticed I would look away from the interviewer and glance at the camera from time to time. That was intentional on my part because that's what I see people do who are accustomed to being interviewed. You know, a "let the audience know you know they are there" kind of thing.  But he noticed it so now I think I didn't pull it off quite like I thought I did.