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

(One year anniversay of this one.)

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

The drive-through at Whataburger in Decatur got the attention of a faithful reader. 

  • We knew the drop was coming, but it's still amazing to see.

  • Oh, my.

  • We had a nice 100 in criminal filings yesterday in Wise County: 66 felonies were indicted and 44 misdemeanors (Class A and B) were filed.  Edit: Yep, that was the actual math in my head. 
  • Say what? I completely missed this from two days ago. 

  • Trump had a Trifecta.
    • Taking "clearly marked" classified documents to Mar-a-Lago after he lost the election. 

    • Gaps in the call logs for January 6th.

    • Getting rid of documents by flushing them down White House toilets. 

  • I still don't understand what happened with Hispanic voters in the Valley in the last election when compared to the last two presidential election years. (Chart's source.)

  • Sarah Palin's lawsuit for libel against the New York Times may go to the jury today. (She sued them over an editorial linking her to the shooting of Rep. Gabby Gifford in Tucson, Ariz. in 2011. The Times had issued a retraction.)  Assuming she can get past the threshold of proving the Times had a reckless disregard for the truth, she has other problems. The first one is damages since she testified she had some "sleepless nights" over the editorial, but that's it. The other problem came to fruition yesterday when the judge ruled that the jury would not be asked about punitive damages because there was no proof of "ill will." From trial watchers: 

  • We had a pretty good instance of Republican on Republican violence yesterday.
    • It started it when Rep. Jeff Leach called out the Republican opponents of other Republican incumbents over being too pro-life.

    • Then one of the opponents came back and pointed out that Leach had actually sponsored the failed death-penalty-for-women bill that he was complaining about. 

  • There was an assault last night at Clemson. Video.
  • Aggie payday. 
  • Hot sports opinion: I never for one single second thought Ware was a Hall-of-Famer while he was with Dallas. 

  • Over-the-top legal nerdy stuff: Hey Texas criminal justice practitioners, you want to see a case where that "Judicial Confession" your client signs in a Pre-Trial Diversion agreement was later actually used against a defendant, but the State still lost because of the way it was worded? Here ya go
  • I love this quote from an investigator in this Houston cold case: “Once we find that DNA, it used to be a showstopper if they weren’t found in  CODIS [the criminal database]. That’s not even an issue anymore. So what, they’re not in CODIS? We get a good DNA profile, the next step is to begin that genetic genealogy and start building family trees on these cases and find our suspects."

  • 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: 952 days.
  • MessengerAbove the Fold


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

They were selling small amounts of weed and pills to friends. This skirmish in the War on Drugs led to some of the cases being dismissed and others receiving a short deferred adjudication probation. What wasn't known at the time was that cops abused the civil forfeiture law and took $46,243 in cash; 15 vehicles worth more than a quarter of a million dollars; nine weapons; and nearly $20,000 worth of iPhones, iPads, MacBooks and cellphones. Some of that was returned.

  • Bob Sagat's family said in a statement: “The authorities have determined that Bob passed from head trauma. They concluded that he accidentally hit the back of his head on something, thought nothing of it and went to sleep. No drugs or alcohol were involved.”  Add this to my long list of beefs with the office of the Medical Examiner.  Medically, they can certainly tell us that it was a head injury which caused "brain bleed" (a subdural hematoma), but they cannot say it was an accident. Maybe it was -- heck, it probably was -- but you can't determine that from an autopsy.  

  • Breaking economic news. This is President Biden's biggest problem right now.  Nothing else will matter if this doesn't stop.

  • It's a heck of a project, but how exactly are they going to pay for it? Answer: "It will be paid for with a 2% increase in hotel taxes and a new state designation that allows Dallas to keep all of that tax money." I tried to find that "new state law", and who snuck it through, but couldn't readily do so. 

  • That's quite the involvement in the criminal justice system for this guy. He was once falsely accused of a quadruple murder in McKinney that has its own Wikipedia entry, and now the DA agrees to overturn a sexual assault conviction because the witness recanted. 

  • I had been warning about this for years, and now they publicize it.

  • Man I wish they had chosen Decatur to film this series. And it's going to be a "series" and not just a movie! I'm so on board with this.  

    • I've mentioned it many times before, but it may be the greatest courtroom drama/true crime story in Texas history.  "Candy Montgomery, who was charged with murder after being accused of hitting Betty Gore 41 times with an ax in 1980 after having an affair with Gore's husband. The women were friends and attended the same church." She was found not guilty.

  • Texas Monthly just released it's newest long-form story, and it's about a Texas lawyer I've never heard of -- but am now interested in. 

  • The prosecutors in the Harris County DA's are getting ambitious. "In 2020 not a single Harris County prosecutor ran in any of the nine local criminal court races; in 2018, which featured 31 races, just one prosecutor ran." But today . . . 

  • Someone needed to tell George P. Bush that riding a 4-wheeler isn't the look he was hoping for. 
    And what's the AG have to do with "tougher criminal penalties" anyway?

  • Anyone know what this is? Is it routine or is something weird going on? It's a filing in the Denton County records by the District Attorney styled "In Re: Ballotting [sic] Materials to be Used by the Denton County Elections Department in the Special Election to Take Place on January 29, 2022 and In the Primary Election of March 1, 2022." It's cause no. 22-0069-393 if you want to look it up

  • It was funny to hear her the QAnon/Jewish Space Laser lady confuse "Gestapo" with "gazpacho." Video

  • Axios reporter using open records for a public university:

  • The Ticket's Bob Sturm, who is in LA with the station for the Super Bowl, told a story yesterday of trying to buy tickets from scalpers outside of a Clippers game the night before. He couldn't believe that the sellers wouldn't even cut their prices by halftime and chose instead to eat the tickets rather than sell them at a discount. It's not news to me. Way back in 2007, I wrote a blog post about the exact same thing happening to me years before.   


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

You think gas prices are high today? We have short memories. It was $3.40 a gallon this week ten years ago. And it had been $3.40 all the way back in 2008 before peaking at $4.12. Then the financial crisis hit and Obama was elected. Gas prices have always been a wild ride.  

  • In little Alto, Texas (near Nacogdoches) last night

  • The guru of high school football news from Dave Campbell's Texas Football has posted a Decatur coaching update.

  • Five years in prison for a probation officer in Wichita Falls who coerced sex from a person on probation by threatening to take action to have her probation revoked if she didn't comply.  According the story, lots of probation officers in Wichita County have been charged with a variety of crimes. 

  • This story about the feds seizing over $3.6 billion in bitcoin and arresting a thirty-something couple who allegedly stole it by hacking is pretty crazy. But . . . 

    • . . . it gets weirder once you see this:  Video. Someone who made that should not be capable of hacking billions of dollars. (Language warning.)

  • As astute federal court watcher noticed a pleading filed about a week ago in California by the U.S. Attorney's Office against someone in the "boogaloo" domestic terrorist movement. It's relevant to us around here because, in giving the history of the boogaloos, it stated that the guy who famously fired shots in downtown Dallas near the federal courthouse was himself a member of that group. That had never been made public before. 

  • You can tell the moment she realized she just said the silent part out loud. Video.

  • West Texas oil money is at it again. (Side note: That PAC has also given Shelley Luther $85,000. That's 74% of all the money she has raised.)

  • Austin American Statesman reporter

  • Random Fox News graphic: 

  • Random OAN graphic: 

  • There were a whopping 23 deaths listed in the Update yesterday. That might be a record. 
  • Random fun(?) fact. It wasn't that long ago:

  • Legal nerdy stuff I stumbled across: I guy gets arrested for DWI after an accident and blows 0.00 on the Intoxilyzer. Cop won't relent and accuses him of being on drugs. The guy agrees to also submit to blood test because he proclaimed he hadn't taken any drugs either. But he can't bond out of jail (because he can't afford it), and the DA actually indicts him for DWI - Causing Serious Bodily Injury.  The defense lawyer begs to see the lab report and the prosecutor won't give it to him. After three months, the case is suddenly dismissed for "insufficient evidence." The defense lawyer still wants the lab report, but the DA still won't give it to him claiming he has no obligation to do so since the case was no longer pending. Undeterred, the defense lawyer goes to the county judge and "administration" who manage (somehow) to get the DA to release the results. The lab showed absolutely no drugs and no alcohol. Here is the lawsuit

  • Messenger: Above the Fold