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

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

The Obama rage was pretty high back in the day.

  • I watched the two minutes video and, yes, it is bad. And although she didn't need to be arrested for using offensive words (she has a right to be offensive), she can't be hitting people.  But there feels like there is untold back story here. The video seemed edited so we don't see everything, and there just seems to be something not-quite-right with the lady.  It might be irrelevant, but others have noted her husband of nearly 20 years died in a bike accident about two years ago.

  • The redacted search warrant affidavit which led to the raid on Mar-a-largo will be released this morning. Based upon what the judge ordered to be sealed yesterday, I don't expect the redacted version will reveal much at all.

  • Mansfield ISD has been hit with a ransomware attack which has even shut down its phone system. They'll end up paying. 

  • I guess he learned every fake life is also precious. It was a sting operation by cops where an officer was pretending to be a minor. 

  • This is bad. And I think kids who inflict hazing are always the biggest meatheads of the bunch. 

  • The first sentence in this story in the Denton Record-Chronicle got my attention: "A trial of the century happened in Gainesville this week, involving a Denton protester and two Gainesville protesters." There was no qualification. No "an attorney said sarcastically" or "the prosecutor said with a smirk." Nope. It was a sentence of fact. But the prosecution of Confederate monument protestors does seem like overkill. The boys in the background in the photo below with the confederate flag and brandishing rifles were not the guys who were prosecuted. It was the other side.

  • Yesterday a Trump federal district judge sitting in Fort Worth struck down the Texas handgun carrying ban for those under 21 yet over 18 or over. In doing so he obviously cited the Second Amendment and a recent Supreme Court opinion. But this fine judge's attempted scholarly work also cited and quoted Frederick Douglass -- while also misspelling his name on the very first page. 

  • This is such an eye-opening story. It got a ton of time on MSNBC last night. The four districts are Southlake, Keller, Grapevine and Mansfield. 

  • Submit the sign in Arabic? What a great idea. The dumb law requires that if a sign is donated to a school which says "In God We Trust", the school must display it.   And if a sign in Arabic doesn't work, what if someone submits a sign with massive English letters with the exception that the word "God" is in tiny print? Would they have to display that? And what if a million of them, all 6' x 6', were submitted? I don't see a limit in the number of signs in the law.

    • Here's the actual statute. You just have to comply with the highlighted portion. That's it.

  • Very legal nerdy stuff: What a weird new appellate opinion out of Corpus Christi. A misdemeanor judge wanted the State to dismiss a bunch a penny-ante cases because the defendant was already in the federal pen doing federal time. The prosecutors wouldn't do it. So the judge, pissed off, tells them that if they were so excited about their cases they need to go to the trouble and expense of bench warranting the defendant back to the local jail. And he ordered a bench trial in 18 days. When the defendant wasn't there because the State didn't get him back, the judge dismissed the cases. The State, which has way too much time, too many prosecutors, and too much money, appealed. They won because the judge can never just "dismiss" a case without the State's consent (unless it's based on a defense Speedy Trial request which wasn't the case here.) So much taxpayer waste.
  • Shout out to Judge Don Pierson of the Tarrant County Court at Law No. 1 and his staff who I found out were faithful readers. 
  • Random crime story out of Galveston. 

  • Time which has passed since the Wise County Sheriff's Office, despite having a full male DNA profile, has failed to solve the murder of Lauren Whitener in her home at Lake Bridgeport: 3 years, 52 days.
  • Messenger: Above the Fold


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

That question* seems silly now. (*And I admit that wasn't technically in the form of a question.)

  • The Star-Telegram has a story on the salaries Texas high school football coaches with a particular focus on Decatur. After his hiring was announced, I remember asking someone in-the-know at the courthouse "How'd they pull that off?"  The response: "Wait until you see how much they are paying him."

  • This would appear to be a significant loss.

  • Lots of gnashing of teeth in conservative circles about the loan forgiveness news yesterday.  I really don't care if someone, who tried to better themselves, is getting a little help regardless of the "that ain't fair!" argument. However, I think there is a substantial chance the Trump federal courts knock this down as an overreach of presidential powers. 

  • A lot of people defending the loan forgiveness point to the massive PPP bailout to businesses over the last couple of years because of COVID. Did you know there's a database run by SBA which will list every business and the amount of PPP loans? You can even narrow your search down to zip code and more. (In glancing through the list from some local towns, I can see some outright fraud going on.)

  • It took forever, but the school board finally fired him as its chief of police last night. 

    • Arredendo finally released a long statement from his lawyer, but probably shouldn't have. He makes himself out as the victim by claiming he is going through a "public lynching". He also claims he wasn't the commander on scene and didn't  know there were children in with shooter. It also contains typos. 

  • I'm not trying to be harsh here, but $16 million for "emotional distress" over photos that she never saw and were never released online? And how exactly does a jury arrive at that figure? How about $100 million? How about $50,000? Nope. They thought it was exactly $16 million. And none of that figure is about punishing the defendants. It was all just to compensate her. "Ms. Bryant . . . sought damages for emotional distress brought on by worrying that the photos could surface publicly on the internet at any time."

  • "Hindering apprehension" is an odd charge out of Wichita Falls for a bondsman. Normally, they want someone to be apprehended so they can limit their financial responsibility.

  • Pete Delkus holds grudges. 

  • The University of Texas is partnering with Wrangler and the Longhorn's new starting QB, Quinn Ewers, is front and center of the campaign. Here's a promotional photo:

  • Very legal nerdy stuff: A few months back I pointed out a  new DWI appellate opinion which held that there was no probable cause to arrest someone who was asleep in their car in a school pick-up line. I also said I doubted it would stand up. Yesterday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals decided to hear the case. They'll reverse it in no time. The State always wins there. 


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

This guy, with his talk of civil war, was just ahead of his time. By the way, the voters of Lubbock County  re-elected him two years later.

  • The funeral homes in Uvalde wouldn't take him, but a funeral home in Crystal City, about 30 miles away, finally handled the burial. In the defense of Uvalde funeral homes, they kind of had their hands full.

  • Something weird is going on with the prosecution of the mass shooting in El Paso. The two lead prosecutors are suddenly gone.   One of the assistant DA's was "let go on Monday." The only explanation was a statement by the DA which simply read, "Following recent events, a change was necessary. We wish Mr. Briggs the best." The other prosecutor "had just started her position July 11 under the grant funding provided to secure special prosecutors on the case." Her only comment was that it "had been a pleasure to work on behalf of the citizens of El Paso." 

  • Here's a hot prediction: I bet the jury finds him not guilty. But I'm at a disadvantage because I don't know the lawyers. Prosecutors are Tim Rodgers and Sam Williams. Defense lawyers are Kathy Lowthorp and Rafael Sierra.
  • I kept seeing this headline everywhere yesterday and it's incredibly misleading. He'll also have to do three years probation which is a relatively harsh sentence. In Texas, the probation term for a misdemeanor DWI can't exceed two years. 

  • The Colleyville Grapevine ISD school board has now been taken over by Trump Republicans.  And because of this, they are passing very Trumpy policies and having meetings which have turned into circuses. If you watch any public speaker from Monday's meeting, check out this guy who, I'm pretty sure, doesn't support any trans-friendly rules. He was there to celebrate.

  • Being a part of a union, or at least the equivalent of a union, is very helpful.

  • Trump's lawyers are always morons, but they were incredibly smart drafting the "motion" they filed in connection with the Mar-a-lago search.  File a motion which serves as a press release and the media will eat it up. It always works, and most lawyers never use this technique when there are basically no rules against it. (But the judge did issue an order yesterday which can only be interpreted to mean, "Why don't you try again before I dismiss this.")
    This guy is a great 4th Amendment follow
    Federal judge's Order 

  • $11.7 million a year. And that doesn't even include the amount side gigs he has which brings in a fortune. 

  • Legal nerdy stuff: A new case out of Houston says that if the trial judge incorrectly gives the defendant more jail time credit against his sentence than he actually had, there's nothing the State can do about it. The misdemeanor assault case actually arises out of incident where a fan slugged a New Orleans Pelicans coach at a Houston Rockets' game. Side note: The defendant won that battle but lost the war. Because of the same incident, he had a probation revoked in a separate case and received four years in prison. 
  • Messenger: Above the Fold


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

There had been a rash of teen deaths in Alvord which prompted a story in the Star-Telegram.

  • Final rain totals from yesterday. I'm just as amazed that McKinney airport measured only a trace as I am that the White Rock lake area of Dallas got 10.4".  I don't think I've ever seen anything like that before. They are about 20 miles apart.

  • Lake Bridgeport, which is seven feet low, didn't even rise six inches. Most of the rain just missed the watershed. 
  • A buddy from down south who is a big time insurance defense lawyer told me yesterday that whenever there is flooding in Houston there will be a rash of fraudulent car insurance claims. Folks who are about to get their cars repossessed just happen to drive them into high water and abandon them.

  • SMU's turf is not doing well. I'm guessing that's an air bubble. 

  • At the Keller school board meeting last night. Clever.

  • From Friday Night Light's fame. Fun fact: He was head coach at Odessa for only four years. And when he took over in 1986, he inherited a team that had gone to the state finals two years in a row.

  • In Aledo, a kid who is a Senior and a big Dolly Parton fan proved why we can't have nice things after he painted his parking spot in her honor.
    • Before.

    • After.

  • Regarding the Wise County criminal case last week (the Rex Richie shooting case where the defendant got a life sentence), I finally got to see the the video which was played for the jury.  I'm not saying it was a slam dunk case for the State, but it was pretty close. Throw in the fact that the password for the defendant's Facebook account was eff-the-police, a life sentence was almost a guarantee. Oh, and when arrested over a week later, the defendant still had the gun on him with a reloaded magazine. He didn't give his defense team anything to work with.  
  • The Fox News graphics department really is horrible:
    • The big story from last night:

    • Fox News this morning ("300K+"): 

  • Trump filed a press release as a motion yesterday in connection with the search of Mar-a-Lago.  And in it, for a reason that isn't clear, Trump confirmed the message below to the Justice Department. This bugs me. What exactly is he asking for here? 

  • Dueling Texas criminal justice stories:
  • Maybe the biggest COVID story in the last few months is the story that the recent wave suddenly petered out.   This is the hospitalizations graph is below. COVID might finally officially be under control:

  • Dak Prescott is hawking cryptocurrency this morning. Shameful.