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

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

Ten years ago I was down at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and, once done, walked around the Capitol.  I saw this hanging in a window. I still don't know what that symbol is. Edit: I just got an answer from a faithful reader.

  •  You might remember the case of a 14 year old girl from Bedford who went missing and then her body was found in an Arlington landfill. Yesterday, another teenager, who had to be certified as an adult in the criminal case, pled guilty but only received 10 years in prison. 

    • So why only 10 years? I think I found the answer in paragraph within a press release by the Tarrant County DA's office about the plea. 

  • The Wise County Grand Jury met yesterday. Indictment list here.
  • And the hiding by government officials in the Self Induced Abortion Indictment case begins. 

    • I haven't thought about it, but this article is exactly right.

    • And I keep looking for news for someone to corner the DA in Starr County to make him explain exactly what happened in that case, but he is still in hiding the best I can tell. But I did notice that the County Attorney down there, who is responsible for misdemeanor prosecutions, abruptly resigned effective immediately after 15 years on the job. He didn't say why. That's very weird. 

  • Twelve years in prison seems a little harsh.  By definition, a hit and run case has nothing to do with being at fault in the accident. From my reading of the story, there was no allegation of reckless driving or intoxication being involved. Sure, you should stop. But 12 years? The accident was at 6:00 in the morning at I-20 and Beltline Road in Grand Prairie.

  • Two scammers who duped the most gullible among us to donate to a private "Build the Wall" fund, and who promised to not take a penny but later stole hundreds of thousands of dollars, pled guilty to doing exactly that yesterday. They will be sentenced later. But the real news is that this is the same case where the third ring leader in the scam, Steve Bannon, won't receive any punishment because Trump issued him a pardon. Grifters stick together. 

  • The Wise County Messenger today has printed the school and city candidates answers to a three part questionnaire. I'm proud to announce not a single candidate mentioned the silliness of CRT or book banning. 
    • I'm surprised by the number of candidates who ignored the Messenger's request. I counted 14 of them who didn't reply at all.  It's free advertising! Why ignore that? 
    • I've also heard that a local political group is trying to bait the candidates on those straw man issues in its online questionnaire by directly asking them:

  • Weatherford College pitcher, Owen Woodward, who attacked the batter during a home run trot, is "no longer with the team" according to the school.

  • So news broke yesterday afternoon that a new book is to be released which will claim that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told colleagues on January 10th that he was fed up with Trump and would urged him to resign the presidency in light of the January 6th Insurrection.  The report also said there was an audio tape. So what was McCarthy's response? His office released a press statement saying the report was "totally false and wrong."  So then the authors released the tape

  • For years I've asked questions about the Crime Stoppers fund in Wise County. Every single person who has been placed on probation for at least the last 20 years has been forced to donate $50 to the fund, but I never really hear about any payments. Now the fund in Houston is finally getting scrutiny and it has been revealed they are donating to political causes and actually paying its "Chief Executive" the amount of $238,000. It also has a $10 million building!

  • This will interest some of you: Marjorie Taylor Green will be testifying live in a case about her role in January 6th beginning at 8:30 a.m.  (CSPAN should have it here.) The case is pending and brought by a group who says she is disqualified from holding office because the 14th Amendment which says a person cannot serve if they "engaged in insurrection" against the United States or "given aid or comfort" to its "enemies." 

  • Hot sports prediction: Luka comes back for Game 4 but the Mavericks lose
  • 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: 1,022 days.
  • Messenger: Above the Fold


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

Ten years ago Wise County Attorney Thomas Aaberg ran the Boston Marathon (above).  He would be so disappointed with his time that he went back and ran it again next year. He was faster in 2013, and it's a good thing: After he finished and left the area the bombing took place. 

  • The vehicle and body of the missing pharmacist from Lewisville, Robert Moulds, was found yesterday off of 380 between Bridgeport and Decatur.  On the Facebook page dedicated to finding him, one his family members posted the screenshot below a couple of days ago with the note, "Can we get walkers to check for phone in these areas?" If I understand it correctly, it was a map of the GPS tracking of his phone based upon Allstate app that he had. It pretty much pegged the location of where the man was found: 

  • I don't understand this. The only thing the lawsuit asked for was to establish parentage -- she never asked for money (which she couldn't because she wasn't entitled to any regardless.) So now she drops the lawsuit but still says wants to establish parentage. Huh? I don't get it.   This was all a publicity stunt. She currently works for Wise County's much-aligned Congressman Ronny Jackson.  

  • I'm sure you've seen it, but here's the video of the pitcher for Weatherford College tackling the batter who just went yard on him. The pitcher's name is Owen Woodward, and he graduated from Breckenridge High School.

  • I honestly don't understand how a drop of 200,000 in subscriptions in one quarter was enough to tank the Netflix stock yesterday. First, the decision to pull out of Russia cost 700,000 subscribers alone but, more importantly, the company still has 221 million subscribers. 

  • I know I've dogged DPS Director Steve McCraw a lot lately, but I thought of him again yesterday when I saw the tweet below from Gov. Abbott. Then I thought more about him even when I learned he said in an interview in January, when Abbott wasn't around, that he didn't have much faith in the Mexican governors:  “If you believe the government of Mexico is helping, then you're sadly mistaken, The Mexican cartels not only have operational control of the border, they really have operational control of Mexico through corruption, intimidation and bribery.”

  • According to the dismissal motion, prosecutors said they thought they would find the body "well before" the trial was to begin.  Little premature on getting that indictment in the first place there, fellas? (But they can still refile the case.)

  • This case seems really wonky.  

    • There was an American citizen living in Mexico named Herrera who would traffic drugs from Mexico to the U.S. through Texas.  
    • But, as I understand it, he was just a middle man who would collect a fee for getting the drugs from a supplier in Mexico to an end distributor in the U.S.
    • But Herrera came up with a plan: He would steal the drugs so he could resell them himself and get in on the action. 
    • But the suppliers wouldn't be happy with the dope never getting to the end distributor, right? Well he came up with a scheme. He would steal the drugs and then replace them with cheap, low quality stuff. He would then, and this is the genius part, tip off border agents when the low quality stuff was coming through the border. The replacement drugs were then seized and people were arrested.  So Herrera could then tell his suppliers, "Sorry, the drugs you sent me got caught." Herrera could then sell the real drugs he stole. 
    • So how does a Texas attorney end up in federal prison over all of this? Well, Herrera needed proof for his suppliers that their drugs (in reality, his low quality drugs) were seized. So he had the attorney search the public accessible PACER federal database for the documents which were filed related to the seizures.  The attorney would then send the public documents to Herrera who would then send those documents to the suppliers as "proof" their drugs were stolen. The attorney paid 10 cents per page to PACER and sold the same documents for $1,000 each time.  He did that "at least eight times."  But that's the lawyer's full involvement. 
    • The attorney seemed less than excited about entering a guilty plea yesterday. “So are you pleading guilty to this or are you not pleading guilty to this?” The judge asked. “What are you doing?”
    • So the case is wonky. Was the attorney just accessing a public database? Or was he part of a criminal drug conspiracy? The Feds said the latter. 
    • Here's the story link. Here is the U.S. Attorney's press release
  • This was kind of a weird route. She graduated from SMU law school with honors in 2017, took the Oklahoma bar, and hired by Oklahoma's largest law firm. Now four years later she got around to taking the Texas bar and became the top scorer. That's impressive. 

  • Out of Clifton, Texas. Those photos really got people worked up.


  • Don't we have a whole civil lawsuit system already in place that actually would allow for much more than just child support?

  • This was a funny and bold move by SMU.   
    • The great scandal of paying recruits that caused SMU to get the death penalty occurred in the 1980s. One part of the story is that prized recruit Eric Dickerson showed up on campus in a new gold Trans Am.  Here's Dickerson making fun of the incident back in 2013: 

    • Anyway, SMU made a promotional social media post this week to tease something (I don't know what), but as part of it they snuck in a picture of a gold Trans Am. With players legally being paid left and right these days with NIL deals, it's now OK to joke about it I suppose. 

  • The Masked Singer is the dumbest show on Earth. Accordingly, it had coup-conspirator Rudy Giuliani on it last night. Video.


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

A man who was training for an iron man competition. Tony Weathers, died in the Trinity River during a "Mud Run" near downtown Fort Worth. Oddly, they didn't find his body in the river until the next day. 

  •  I've got questions about a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a deputy in the Denton County Sheriff's Office. (PDF of lawsuit here.)

  • It's becoming very Black Mirror when murders are live-streamed

  • I'll admit I wasn't aware of this money based incentive:  "By state law, 90% of criminal cases in a five-year period must be cleared or the county can face losing as much as $50 million in criminal justice grants from the state. The county's current disposition rate stands at 87%." To meet that mark, Dallas County "must dispose of 556 cases a week to meet the Aug. 1, 2022."  I wonder what they definition of "cleared" is because it could be very easy to meet that goal.

  • So let me get this right: Disney uses its free speech right to come out against Florida's "Don't Say Gay" law, and now the Florida state government wants to punish them by eliminating a favorable taxing district that was created in 1968?  This is the party of limited government? 

  • Junior Miller on The Ticket this morning said it is a crime to witness  someone shooting another person and not report it to the police "although it is only a misdemeanor." That's 100% not true*. You can't tamper with evidence, but it's not a crime to just keep your mouth shut in the United States. And there is no catch-all "obstruction of justice" law in Texas.  I can think of only two exceptions:
    • There is a duty for some people in a child's life to report suspected abuse of that child. See Texas Family Code §291.101
    •  And Texas has a weird law about having a duty to report a "corpse" that you find under circumstances you "reasonably should know that a law enforcement agency is not aware of the existence of". See Texas Penal Code §37.09(d)(2).  As far as I know, no one has ever been prosecuted under that law, and there would seem to be a serious question about it requiring unconstitutionally compelled speech.
    • *Edit: Ok. I'll admit being slightly wrong. There is a statute, which appears in no reported appellate cases, that makes it a crime: (1) if you witness a felony, (2) you believe someone has died or was seriously injured, and (3) you don't immediately report it unless you believe someone else reported it and, even if you don't believe that, you are still off the hook if you believe reporting it would "place" yourself in "danger of suffering serious bodily injury or death." Those exceptions to the third prong pretty much guts the statute since they provide a built in excuse. (And the same constitutional issue of forced speech hasn't been hashed out yet.)  Nevertheless, I'll call that being somewhat wrong. 
  • Someone told me that Johnny Depp was instructed by the judge at the end of the day yesterday that he was not allowed to consult with his own attorney before he resumes his testimony in his defamation case.  I had never heard of that, but apparently that is the law in some jurisdictions and, honestly, it kind of makes some sense to me. 

  • Bill O'Reilly hasn't changed. Video. Do it live! 

  • More headlines about Wise County Congressman Ronny Jackson ties to Oath Keepers yesterday. 

  • Calling someone who disagrees with you a pedophile or a groomer is an old blood-libel fascist trick which has been adopted by QAnon (see Pizzagate) and now frighteningly moving into the mainstream.  This lady was having nothing of it yesterday. It was a 5 minute glorious angry rant. 

  • Random photo I saw yesterday which I think is both funny and a piece of art.

  • Very Legal nerdy stuff: This opinion from yesterday has to have a misstatement in it, right? Link

  • Only 152 games to go.

  • Messenger: Above the Fold