Random Friday Morning Thoughts

Ten years ago this week there was a multi-day civil lawsuit tried in Wise County which involved a mind-numbing number of lawyers. It concerned a motorcycle and FedEx collision. The jury, which included a criminal investigator from the Wise County Attorney's office, ruled in favor of Fed Ex.  (But I heard after the fact that there was some type of "high/low agreement" reached before the verdict which guaranteed the Plaintiff would at least receive something. (In exchange, he agreed to cap the verdict if the jury went wild in his favor.)   

  • Speaking of FedEx, morning in America means another mass shooting

  • The Texas House, on an 84-56 vote yesterday, approved open carry without the need for training or obtaining a license.  (Phil King - Yes. David Spiller - Yes.) 

    • There's almost no news coverage of it, but an amendment was made and passed, 145-0, which will allow the expungement of all former conviction of Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon. 
    • License to carry instructors were against the Constitutional Carry bill. Of course, it causes them loss of income since they won't be needed any longer.
  • I actually thought the releasing of the video of the shooting of 13 year old Adam Toledo yesterday would cause Chicago to erupt last night. I'm not real sure why it didn't. 

  • Meanwhile in Highland Park

  • I see an appellate problem in the Derek Chauvin trial. Yesterday, outside of the precense of the jury, he invoked his Fifth Amendment right to not testify. His lawyer asked him questions on the record about the decision to insure that it was knowingly, freely, and intelligently made.* Then the following happened.   Attorney: "You understand that if you were cross-examined by the State we could not attempt to limit the scope of your testimony. The State would be given broad latitude to ask you questions." Chauvin: "Yes." (Starts at 45 seconds here.)

    • Here's my problem. First, that's a blatant misstatement of the law. His cross-examination would be extremely limited by the Rules of Evidence if the defense lawyer did his job. For example, the prosecutor couldn't legally ask him about doing cocaine at a party 10 years ago. But it takes the defense lawyer to object to those kind of questions to prevent it from becoming a free for all. 
    • But the lawyer told him "he could not even attempt to limit" what the State could ask him about. You kidding me? And what makes it worse is that the judge and the prosecutor just stood around like stooges and didn't correct the misstatement. 
    • So what if later the Defendant alleges ineffectiveness of counsel? "I wanted desperately to testify," he says, "But I only chose not to because of the advice I got from my  lawyer, and he told me the prosecutor could ask me about anything, and there wouldn't be anything he could do about it. The judge was there and heard him tell me that.  That frightened me away from testifying." And he has absolutely proof on the record to back this claim up. 
    • (*The whole question and answer exchange about invoking the Fifth is a bit weird. The only purpose of it is to protect the lawyer from a claim on ineffective assistance. It has nothing to do with protecting the client. That's ironic here because the lawyer laid out a great claim for ineffective assistance for everyone to see. That wasn't some type of sinister plan.)
  • Random Pat Robertson image from yesterday. (He actually was going on a rampage against bad cops which makes me wonder what happened to Pat Robertson.)  

  • This was out of El Paso on Wednesday morning. It is wild. Video.

  • Sad to see the passing of Decatur attorney Jean Bishop. She was always incredibly kind to me.  She was a also the former elected Wise County Attorney but there's been hardly no mention of that.  
  • The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has some nutcase judges. Due to Supreme Court rulings, they were forced to commute the death sentence of a mentally ill man on Wednesday who had been in prison for over 40 years. But not without dissent. Three judges said that even if upon resentencing he receives a life sentence, he would automatically be eligible for parole because he has been in prison for so long. And so, the three said, he'd probably be better off in prison because TDC has so much to offer him! The judges are Michelle Slaughter, Bert Richardson, and Kevin Yeary. 

  • I haven't posted the Texas COVID Hospitalization chart in a while because it has been going consistently down for weeks. But now it has leveled off and even showing a slight uptick. 

  • Time which has passed since the Wise County Sheriff's Office has failed to solve the murder of Lauren Whitener in her home at Lake Bridgeport: 651 days.
  • Messenger: Above the Fold