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

(As to the last one, the driver is OK.)

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

The scandal of the so-called Mineola Swingers Club is just another sad chapter in the history of the Texas criminal justice system falsely accusing people. (The pleas were to simply get out of jail and get away from the justice-be-damned sorry excuse for a D.A.'s office and the judges in Smith County.)  Texas Monthly was indeed all over the injustice. Its collection of articles about the cases, including later pieces interviewing "victims" who recanted, are here. The facts are wild. 

  • If you live in Frisco next to a member of the offense of the Dallas Cowboys who just happens to have a dog, be careful. 

    From 2019

    • Zeke has a tattoo of one of those dogs. (Did you know there's a website which breaks down 14 of his tattoos, but I know there are more than that?)

    • Zeke lives in the "Starwood neighborhood" in Frisco. You know it's exclusive when Google Streetview can't get to it because of the locked gates. 

  • After watching the video of the attempted abduction and how quickly it began and ended, I doubt that this update to the story is true at all. And who plays with "blue dye" that doesn't easily wash off? The story is sensational enough without tricking up the facts. 

  • Los Angeles deputies are unhappy:

  • Ransomware wouldn't be successful but for Bitcoin. 
  • This guy has filled in as host of the Mark Davis radio show, and he's as dumb as a box of rocks. While on the Farmer's Branch city council, he lead the charge to adopt an ordinance preventing private apartment companies from renting to undocumented aliens -- an ordinance which was struck down by the courts and cost the city $6.6 million in legal fees (with a lot of it paid to scam artist and failed politician Kris Kobach). More recently, O'Hare also "founded the Southlake Families PAC, an organization formed to counter the Critical Race Theory in Southlake schools." With Tarrant County already border-line Blue, his love of Jim Crow might be the final straw if he leads the GOP.

  • I stumbled upon a random murder case affirmed on appeal on Wednesday arising out of an incident in a Burleson hotel.  It sounds pretty salacious factually and pretty interestingly legally. Part of the dissent is reproduced below. A Facebook page dedicated to the victim is here.  News story when the defendant testified is here

  • Legal nerd stuff: Yesterday the Fort Worth Court of Appeals affirmed a Wise County conviction of 35 years for sexual assault of a child occurring in Rhome. There's nothing "unusual" about it, and the Defendant's brief is really good without much to work with. For some reason the State's brief isn't available online -- the Fort Worth court is really bad about not posting briefs when they should. 
  • I just finished this book about a man taking a former Indian hostage back home -- a journey which begins in Wichita Falls and then moves through Montague County and on to San Antonio. Verdict: I love the author's style but, honestly, not a whole lot happens. 

  • 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: 686 days.
  • Messenger: Above the Fold


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

I had forgotten about this one (and the mean deputies.) The original post is here which includes links that are still good.   

  • We learned that Colonial Pipeline paid $4.4 million in response to the ransomware. I've seen some reports which said the hack didn't stop the gas from flowing but only prevented the company from being able to track the amount of the flow and, thus, prevented them from being able to accurately bill for it. That makes sense. 

  • The House voted to approve the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the causes of and government response to the January 6th Insurrection. The investigative committee would be fair in that it would be made up of five Democrats and five Republicans. What's wrong with that? Amazingly, only 35 Republicans voted for it.

  • The unconstitutional (for now) heartbeat bill was signed by Gov. Abbott yesterday with a crowd around him. No media was allowed but the event was broadcast on Facebook. 

  • The State of Texas executed a man last night but failed to let the media witness it due to a "miscommunication." Incredible. 

  • Our Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is often called an embarrassment and they helped prove it yesterday.  
    • First, the good news: The finally cleared Lydell Grant of murder.  The trial court and prosecutors had asked the Court to clear him earlier last year because of DNA testing, but on July 1, 2020, the Court booted the case back to the trial court saying it needed more evidence. Sheesh. That led to Texas Monthly outlining the case and blasting the Court in this great article. And even though the Court finally cleared the man yesterday, four of the judges got all defensive and  wrote separately to blame the lawyers and clerk below for the delay. That's obviously a response to Texas Monthly. 

    • In another case, the Court still refused to clear a man for ineffective assistance of counsel even though the case had been reversed by the United States Supreme Court who had sent it back to them. But it gets crazier: Even those who dissented didn't do so because they agreed with the ineffective assistance claim. Oh, no. They dissented because they think the Supreme Court is going slap them down again when they don't deserve it. This, from the dissent, is really incredible: 

    • For Texas criminal practitioners only: The Court was also became a bully yesterday.  A couple of months ago, the appellate court out of Eastland reversed two guilty pleas after the defendants objected to entering the plea via Zoom and instead demanded they do it in person. The Court of Criminal Appeal agreed to review that decision yesterday and said they want the case briefed immediately by the State and within 10 days. The wild part is that the Court, in a separate order, told the Eastland Court to change the designation of their opinions back from "do not publish" to "publish" because the Eastland court had changed that designations, in their opinion, too late. 
  • Legal fun fact: You can't get a felony case in a courtroom without a grand jury indictment, and in most states you can't get in front of the grand jury without the permission of the District Attorney. In the story below, I learned that in Kansas anyone can present a matter for criminal consideration to grand jury if they can get a petition "bearing the signatures of a number of electors equal to 100 plus 2% of the total number of votes cast for governor in the county in the last preceding election."

  • For those familiar with the great Dr. Death podcast, here's the trailer for the film version of it which will appear on NBC's Peacock streaming service.  The story of the Metroplex doctor was first told in this D Magazine article

  • Rare baseball bullet points from me, and I've got three:
    • So Corey Kluber pitched a no-hitter against the Rangers last night? For those who don't recall, the Rangers acquired him for the 2020 season, but he was placed on injured reserve, never to pitch again for Texas, after he threw only 18 pitches in his first start. (Someone can help me out but I don't think it cost the Rangers anything for 2020 to have him on the roster -- I believe Cleveland, whom they acquired Kluber from, paid his $17.5 million salary for 2020 in exchange for two players.)
    • The Rangers have been no hit twice this year. No team in the history of baseball has been no-hit three times in one year. Place your bets.  (Side note: I think it is bizarrely childish to call a no-hitter a "no-no.")
    • Long time readers know I pronounced Chris Davis the Official Liberally Lean Major League Baseball Player way back when he struggled as a Texas Ranger. He then went on to Baltimore to become a sensation and signed a monstrous contract in 2016 ($23 million for six years) only to almost immediately flame out. Yesterday, it was announced he'll miss the rest of this season due to injury (which probably doesn't upset Baltimore too much because they didn't want to put him in the lineup no matter how much they have to pay him.) Look at these numbers:

  • New York thought it was a big deal . . . 


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

And Dallas ISD hired him back in 2015. He currently has a contract through 2024 at $351,750  a year (in addition to the retirement which is actually paying him $200,000 a year.)

  • Greg Abbott knows he's in political trouble so he's overcompensating now by issuing an "order" telling all levels of government in Texas that they can't require a mask. That would include everything from a high school class, to an Aggie football game, to a district courtroom. 
  • Abbott's order is really a strange legal twist. In essence, he is claiming he has emergency powers ("Executive Order 36") because of a pandemic to mandate that all Texas governmental entities can no longer do anything to fight the pandemic. 
  • Decatur drug bust update: Brooke Melton finally bonded out of jail yesterday according to Sheriff Office records.

  • I've always liked Dale Hansen, but all of the evening sports anchors have lost their significance over the years. We all used to watch them because it was the only place where, for example, you could see an Aggie or TCU highlight. There was literally no where else to go. 

  • Deputies won't face charges in the death of Andrew Brown Jr. in North Carolina after they attempted to arrest him on (surprise!) a drug warrant. "The deputies fired 14 shots that day, nine from a pair of Glock 17 pistols and five from an AR-15 rifle . . . .  Deputies were seeking to arrest Brown for allegedly selling cocaine and fentanyl-laced heroin to an undercover detective." I have serious doubts about whether they needed to unload on him as he was driving away, but what got my attention was how militarized the cops were as they approached his house to make an arrest for a penny-ante drug deal. If you go looking for a war, you'll find one. 

  • We have another arrest in the metroplex of a Trump Insurrectionist. This time it is a 41 year old guy out of Trophy Club. 

  • The controversial lawyer for the "QAnon Shaman" gave quite the interview. His defense is that all the insurrectionists are "short bus" people. Oh, my. 

  • Wild legal stuff: "A man died by suicide inside a federal courtroom in North Dakota after he was found guilty, officials say. [T]he man was on trial at the Fargo courthouse and the jury had returned a guilty verdict when he 'produced an edge weapon and cut his throat' in front of the judge, courtroom staff and others. The jury had already left the room."

  • I was going to do a post about how the incredibly progressive DA in Philadelphia,  Larry Krasner, won re-election in a landslide last night, but I got sidetracked when I stumbled across the story of how a girl was once found dead in his opponent's bathtub. That's a double "Oh, my."

    • It's such a skeleton in his closet, that the opponent, Charles Peruto, had to try to address the issue on his campaign website. (Uh, a 0.45 alcohol concentration is off-the-charts high, but it doesn't mean what he says it means.)

    • By the way, PBS had a great multi-part documentary on "liberal DA Krasner". Part 1 is on YouTube, and it is great. 
  • Luka Doncic gave a rare interview on The Ticket yesterday. He was blasted afterwards for being disinterested and aloof. It truly was a PR disaster. 

  • Legal stuff I missed: The following drugs were found in the vehicle of an Austin attorney during a Live PD episode. The charges were dismissed

  • I would never invest in any crypto currency. Bitcoin over the last week: 

  • Messenger: Above the Fold


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

The video is still up on youtube. By today's standards, I no longer think it is "over produced."  

  • That case of the murdered four year old in the Mountain Creek area of Dallas is still weird. I was skeptical about whether there actually was home surveillance video from inside the house showing the child abducted, but police have confirmed it in a search warrant affidavit according to the Morning News. But there's a lot of sorriness in this case:
    • The kid wasn't even staying with his parents. He was with the "girlfriend" of the child's father -- a father who hadn't been seen since March.
    • The child's biological mother didn't know where he was and had been "looking for him." 

  • This story out of Arlington was confusing as well. "[T]he man was parking in front of a home in the 1400 Comanche Court when he had a 'medical episode' and drove through a fence, then into the pool." Here's the street and satellite views. How exactly does this happen on the short street?
    Just two pools on that dead end
    Looking into the cul-de-sac

  • Remember Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Georgia) who said that those involved in the January 6th Insurrection looked like they were engaged in a "normal tourist visit"? Well, some have reminded him of these photos where his image was captured. 

  • Lumber prices are finally tumbling but still very high. 

  • 60 Minutes had a segment on UFOs last Sunday which has everyone talking. Here's a local radio hosts take on the subject. Point #4 is, uh, interesting. Aliens are "scripturally proscribed."

  • President Biden released his tax return. It's the 23rd year he has done so. 

  • The Onion pulled no punches after Israel bombed the AP offices in the Gaza Strip because it said Hamas had an office there. 

  • Supreme Court observations from yesterday:
    • The big news was that the Court decided to hear an abortion case when there was no apparent reason to. The lower courts had struck down a Mississippi abortion law that clearly violated Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood so why do they want to hear it?  This guy might be right: 

    • Last term the Supreme Court said in Ramos that it's unconstitutional for a person to be convicted by a jury unless the verdict is unanimous. Makes sense. But what about all those people serving prison sentences right now because that's exactly what happened to them? All their appeals had been exhausted, but can they get a new trial too? Nope. The Supreme Court said the rule is not retroactive. Too bad. So sad. 

    • But, wait! The Supreme Court had said in the past that said "watershed" constitutional cases involving criminal procedure should be applied retroactively.  That's the Teague Rule! What about that? Justice Gorsuch explained: Criminal defendants should know they shouldn't trust us when we say stuff like that:

    • And in a case that got almost no notice because it was just a decision denying the review of a Texas case, look at what the prosecutor got away with:

  • Baylor is using the actual NCAA Basketball Championship Trophy in promotional materials. I had never really looked at it before. That design is extremely spare. 

  • Our County Judge has found another postcard of the courthouse. That's looking east. Notice the old movie theater on the right in the background. And that building to the left  in the foreground now has a second floor on it. I'm guessing this is around 1965.

  • Callisburg, Texas high school Klan video? (Dallas Observer story.)
  • As seen below, the New York Post just crucifies Gov. Cuomo every single day.  But Cuomo subscribes to the new modern day theory about every political firestorm: No matter how bad it is, just ride it out and you'll survive.