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

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

I didn't expect it would take 10 years+ before they hooked up again.    

  • There is no Messenger Update, most people are in bed, but THWMISB©, a modern day farmer of yore if you will, is up before the sun. 
  • When I'm wrong I'm wrong, and I was definitely wrong with my prediction on the Arbery trial. I didn't think a jury in the Deep South had it in them, but they did. 
    • But the case will forever be a perfect example of how any suspect should never talk to the cops.  There are no deaf, dumb, and blind men in prison.

    • And without the video taken by Defendant Bryan "Roddie" Williams (pictured in the middle, above), there would have never been a prosecution. And even that prosecution didn't occur until that video was leaked to a local Georgia radio station who posted it on its website and public outrage ensued. It soon went viral. But get this: It was leaked to that radio station by Williams (!) because he "wanted to clear up some rumors circulating in the community." 

  • The Fort Worth Court of Appeals late Wednesday refused to reverse the conviction of the "Lottery" case out of Wichita Falls which I've been following for months.
    • Jason Carlile was charged with a sex offense. His mother just happened to win the lottery. 
    • Before the criminal trial, the mother testified at a divorce hearing in December, 2018 that she had "anted up $650,000 in legal costs for her son, Jason Wayne Carlile" and specifically "indicated she paid $400,000 to attorney Heather Barbieri of Plano to defend her 47-year-old son against sex-crime charges." That's when my radar went off. 

    • So what happened at trial? This is how the court of appeals described the attorneys' conduct: They "conducted no voir dire, exercised no peremptory strikes, made no opening statement, examined no witnesses, made no objections, presented no defense, made no closing argument and presented nothing on punishment.” He received a life sentence in prison. 
    • According to the court, the decision of his lawyers to do nothing was an intentional trial ploy with the hope of getting the case reversed on appeal for, well, doing nothing. That was a bold strategy. 
    • A different lawyer had to handle the appeal so he argued ineffective assistance of trial counsel, and used some blunt language saying, "Defense counsel did not even ‘fog a mirror’ during trial.” 

    • But since the plan to raise ineffective assistance was the plan all along once a Motion for Continuance was denied, the appellate court said it wasn't going to bail the defendant out now. 
    • The court wrote, “Carlile and his attorneys spread their joint motive all over the record.” Quoting one of its prior decisions, the court also said, “There is no room in our profession for the playing of games.” His conviction will stand. 
    • The guy will do life in prison. Maybe he deserved it, maybe he didn't. But it wasn't a fair fight at trial. 
    • I'm really appalled at all of this. And if that $400,000 figure as reported the the Wichita Falls Times Record News is correct, this case should receive wide publicity. (It's always possible that some of the fee was refunded, but I haven't seen any reports about it in the media if it was.)
  • Ok, this is wild
  • Remember the two teenagers who were murdered on the basketball court in Haltom City at Beach and 820? Well three arrests were made: One defendant is 17 and the other two are only listed as "juveniles" which means they are under 17. Remember me saying on Wednesday that there has been a lot of violent juvenile crime in the metroplex lately? 

  • There is an inordinate amount of buzz yesterday and this morning about a new variant of COVID (it will be called "Nu") which seems really potent. I don't know if it is legit or if it is over-hyped because of skeleton news crews looking for content on Thanksgiving. But in the last 24 hours Britain, and now Israel, have shut down travel from some southern African countries in response.

  • WFAA is flat out making this up.

  • Good grief. The victim (and future author) failed to pick the defendant out of a lineup but that didn't stop the prosecutor. He went forward with the trial anyway and convinced the victim they had the right guy so she identified him at trial. It wasn't him.  (The guy served 16 years in prison, and once released, had been on the sexual offender registration list which serves as a Scarlet Letter for jobs and relationships.)

  • The Cowboys game had an official time of 3 hours and 53 minutes. The teams had a combined 28 penalties for 267 yards. 
    • Of all college rules that need to be adopted by the NFL, it is the change to 15 yards and an automatic first down for pass interference instead of from the spot of the foul. 
  • I thought that 2 minute and 20 second Chipotle commercial during the Cowboy game was fantastic. It had everyone in our house locked in.  (And how much did that cost when you consider air time, production, and paying the music rights to Coldplay for the song and Kacey Musgrave to sing it?)

  • Anyone try to go to Fort Worth from Wise County late in the afternoon lately? You'll hit a rush hour traffic jam between Bonds Ranch and Blue Mound roads as the population around that area has exploded over the last few years. 
  • Since it is now officially Christmas time, we can all agree we hate this couple, right?

  • 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: 875 days.
  • Messenger: Above the Fold (there's not one.)


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  •  Ahmaud Arbery update:
    • In Georgia criminal trials, apparently the judge reads the "Court's Charge" to the jury after closing arguments. That makes absolutely no sense. 
    • A loyal reader, while agreeing that the defense lawyer's argument that Arbery had "long, dirty toenails" was over the line, pointed out that the autopsy report was the factual basis for the comment.  I've found news reports that say the autopsy photos showed long and dirty toenails, but I haven't found the actual autopsy report which used those exact words. 
    • I'm going out on a limb, but I bet we have a verdict today. The jury will want to get this thing over with before Thanksgiving.  And I'll think the jury will send the three men home before the holidays.
  • Add this to my decades old rant that medical examiners are always giving opinions that they absolutely cannot justify. If an ME wants to say Brian Laundrie died "due to a metal projectile penetrating the left occipital aspect of the skull" then knock yourself out. But to say it is suicide is nothing but a wild guess.  (Side note: Where's the gun?)

  • There seems to be a ton of crime committed by juveniles in the metroplex of late. This one which happened on Saturday afternoon is particularly disturbing.  He burglarized the place and then came back. 

  • A Tarrant County DA candidate was hanging out yesterday with former Bridgeport resident and Wise County Sheriff's Office deputy and current Lake Worth Police Chief J.T. Manoushagian:

  • Another former Bridgeport resident, a lawyer who I've often said that I wanted her press agent, appears to be heavily involved in this verdict:

  • But some verdicts can be hard to hang onto

  • This is a very recent photo of the new Tesla plant going up in Austin.  Look at how small the cars are to give you some idea how big that thing is. 

  • BagOfNothing put up a new post the other day. That's a tough year. 
  • I forgot to mention yesterday that we have new footage of the the Trump Insurrection. How all these people aren't hammered by the Justice Department for trying to overthrow the U.S. is a mystery to me. 

  • Oh, good lord. 

  • I mentioned Abraham Zapruder yesterday and should have included this great photo. I've got him circled in red standing on that concrete thingy. He can barely be seen in black, but there's also a person standing beside him who is taller and wearing tan. That would his 23 year old receptionist Marilyn Sitzman. 

  • The stock market is booming but look at the last 12 month performance of two particular stocks which benefited greatly from the COVID lockdown. 

  • Legal nerdy stuff: Yesterday a lawsuit was filed challenging all of the new lines drawn for Texas state representatives and senate districts. Man, this seems real simple and really clear: Lines can only be drawn at Regular Session -- that's in the Texas Constitution. But because of COVID, the Census was delayed this time causing the legislature to have to redraw the lines in a Special Session. Jut look at the opening of the lawsuit below. (Lawsuit pdf here.)

  • Fun time waste. It should enlarge if you click it, but here's an alternative link if that doesn't work. I even had to Google a couple of things at the bottom of the chart which were true. 

  • You wonder how people can believe stuff like that?  This video making the rounds yesterday doesn't help answer the question. It's amazing and amazingly entertaining. (And it's from the Jim Bakker Show -- the guy who was married to Tammy Faye.) 

  • Hey, Baylor fans, look what I did with 538's playoff generator. And, call me crazy, that's not that crazy at all. (Although I'm not sure I understand how a two-loss Baylor gets in over one-loss Notre Dame or even a two-loss Alabama, but I'm guessing the number crunchers would put great value on the wins over BYU, OU, and Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Championship. Alabama and Notre Dame don't get close to that. Heck even Georgia's best win right now is over #23 Clemson.): 

  • Messenger: Above the Fold


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

I first found that very simple page on the Internet about 20 years ago, and it is still up. Side note: One thing I've always thought was amazing was that WFAA had Abraham Zapruder on the air within two hours of the assassination. His film had not yet been developed, and the interview was very, very brief.

  • Ahmaud Arbery trial thoughts: 
    • The female prosecutor. Linda Dunikoski, isn't very good.  And she has an awful habit of, when reading a complicated definition from the court's charge, stopping and saying, "Don't you just love lawyers?" That inadvertent revealing of her belief of self-superiority (something she doesn't even realize she is doing) will not serve her well.  Don't call yourself a lawyer, call yourself a prosecutor! And in front of a jury she needs to distance herself from lawyers -- that she chose a different job: To represent the people.  

    • She also messed up an old idiom yesterday when she said to the jury, "Have you ever heard the old saying that you don't bring a gun to a knife fight?"  She didn't misspeak. She really thinks that's the way it is worded. It's actually "you don't bring a knife to a gunfight." 
    • And when the judge asked her late yesterday how much time she needed to finish her closing argument this morning, she told him, "I'll need two hours because I've got a lot to say." Trust me, you don't need two hours. Less is more. And you better strike gold in the first 20 minutes because after that the jury will tune you out. 
    • The female lawyer for Greg McMichael's  basically hasn't said anything all trial long but surprisingly delivered his closing argument. She did a fantastic job -- at least until she said, "Turning Ahmaud Arbery into a victim after the choices that he made does not reflect the reality of what brought Ahmaud Arbery to Satilla Shores in his khaki shorts with no socks to cover his long, dirty toenails." (Video.)  Say what? I've been trying to figure out if there could be some context that I'm missing, but there's not. I don't get it. 

    • This guy is only a tiny fraction as smart as he thinks he is. I think his client will walk despite of him.   

    • All the defense lawyers were smart enough to not call the defendants "my client" but instead referred to them by their first names. It humanizes the defendants. And you don't want to remind a jury that you are paid to stand in front of them. That's what you are doing when you say "my client."  
    • It's always a dicey proposition to predict a jury outcome, but I still think we've got lots of not guilty verdicts coming. 
  • Sherry Lemon announcing she is not running again for Wise County Clerk is a big deal. She's held it since 1991.
    • Does the Wise County Republican Party not keep active web site of those who have filed for election? That's badly needed. 
  • We've got another candidate for Tarrant County D.A. who will run as a Republican.  If I'm tracking this correctly, add him to the list that includes Phil Sorrells and Mollie Westfall. 

  • Yesterday evening, the dumbest man in East Texas announced that he is going after Ken Paxton's job. He decided to first reveal it on Newsmax which might be QAnon's favorite channel.  Edit: DA candidate Krause from the above bullet point has endorsed Gohmert for AG which tells you everything you need to know about Krause. 

  • Speaking of, they were out in force at Dealey Plaza for the anniversary of  11/22/63. There are eight Trump signs in this photo

  • I've always had lots of questions about the government's "strategic oil reserve."

  • Something happened west of Lake Bridgeport yesterday afternoon. (That's all I got on it.) 

  • Nerdy legal stuff outside of my area: I saw this story which made absolutely no sense to me. "In their lawsuit, the families accused the FBI of negligence. They say the bureau received tips about Cruz, including his amassing of weapons and his desire to shoot up a school, but agents failed to intervene and prevent the violence." 
    • So you can sue the federal government for failing to protect you from crime?
    • I found this thread on Twitter last night which was started by a legal scholar trying to understand it as well. Some people believe, and I'll buy into this conspiracy theory, that sometimes the government hands out free money in civil suits when they have no legal reason to depending on the politics of the subject. 

  • Here's the new marker in downtown Dallas which I referenced last week. That's a wild bit of history (which wasn't all that long ago in the grand scheme of things.) Click to enlarge. 

  • 48 Hours has a new show on DNA genealogy being used to solve crimes. It has a good title.  

  • A guy showed up at the Wise County Courthouse Annex* yesterday reeking of weed. But he was in a very good mood. (*not official name.)