Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

Still true.

  • What's the first thing the new Republican DA in Tarrant County wants to do? Increase the budget by creating four new higher up positions at a whopping price. "The total personnel cost of the proposal is $847,414 a year." The current county commissioners told him no. For now. 
    • And it's interesting tp guess who he wants to bring in: "I have people wanting to come back to this DA’s office to work these cases." 

  • The jury gets this case today. The most important thing I want to know is what's going to be in the Court's jury instructions.  I'll try to capture them this morning.

    • Think about how different this case is from the Amber Guyger case - but the key difference might not be obvious. What got her convicted was not that she went to the wrong apartment. Nope. It was that even if we believe she thought she was in her own apartment (she did), the jury found there was no need to use deadly force against an unarmed Botham Jean.
    • And there's the big difference!
    • Aaron Dean testified he saw Atatiana Jefferson with a gun (she undisputedly did, in fact, have one) and mistakenly took her for the intruder. Unless the State can disprove beyond a reasonable doubt that the last sentence is not true, the jury has to cut him loose. 
    • And he's in much better shape because we don't have the factual messiness of the Guyger case. He was on duty. He was responding to a burglary in progress call. He was where he was supposed to be. He was acting in good faith. Unlike Guyger, that backdrop sets him up to get a huge pass for making mistakes -- especially mistakes in the line of duty.
    • All the testimony of "experts" yesterday about "proper police procedure" was really irrelevant. It boils down to whether Dean was reasonably in fear for his life and, more importantly, whether the State can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not believe that. That's a hell of a burden of proof.
    • This should be a not guilty verdict. Ten years ago it wouldn't have even been indicted. 
  • Two thoughts about this story: (1) The recommendation needs the  approval of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, and I'm not 100% sure that's going to happen. (2) What's up with the glamor shot of one of the Texas Seven?

  • The federal law guaranteeing that every state must recognize same sex and interracial marriage lawfully conducted in any other state was signed into law yesterday. The Supreme Court can no longer take that right away. The White House last night:

  • New Chief of Staff Mark Meadows' texts related to the Trump Coup are being released this week. The one below might be my favorite so far. Once the audio was released of Trump trying to strong arm the Georgia Secretary of State ("I just want to find 11,780 votes,") in order to steal the election (still freaking amazing), Congressman Fred Keller came up with a plan to lie about what Trump's crime. Yes, Trump was really just a secret double agent. It was a Confederacy of Dunces.

  • News began to circulate last night that death row inmates in Texas now have access to iPads and email, with some limitations. 

    • This was confirmed by the author of a book I just read who is a former drug-related inmate and now a criminal justice reporter.

    • I suspect not everyone is as thrilled as those two ladies. 
  • One faithful reader pointed out to me that I shouldn't have been surprised that Don Huffines would have been Kari Lake's chief of staff in Arizona. Huffines arranged for her to fund raise in Colleyville of all places in September:

  • Thinking about the old Texas Monthly cover.

  • Messenger: Above the Fold