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

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

I had forgotten about Jovan Belcher incident.

  • Strand:
    • It finally became a public record yesterday at 1:31 p.m.! The complete probable cause arrest affidavit (pdf) is uploaded here.  Let me tell you something - I've got internal alarm bells going off because those facts in the affidavit don't add up.    My hunch is that whatever happened out in Cottondale did not go down as described in the affidavit.  

    • The autopsy will provide more information and it, too, is a public record. Certainly the autopsy has occurred but the report might not be finalized yet. 
    • Orchestrated by a law firm, the mother of Athena Strand held a press conference yesterday at the courthouse complete with a prop of the package of Barbies delivered by the alleged killer in his capacity as a Fed Ex driver. But the event was not about the upcoming criminal case but instead about suing people.  I want to be delicate here, but I don't think that was a good look at all. 

    • But the event did work in getting a lot of press coverage. However, my favorite photo is from the Dallas Morning News where they tried to get the artsy shot below.  Little did they know the image captured the Wise County District Attorney -- the man who will exclusively decide whether to seek the death penalty -- in the crowd.
      D.A. James Stainton (far left)
  • Oh, my. Someone got cold feet after being selected for top education job in Boyd. 

  • The Democrats somewhat surprisingly lost a member in the Senate this morning. 

  • Video footage of the actual prisoner swap yesterday involving Brittney Griner.

  • Here is absolutely wild dashcam footage of a wreck two days ago in Lewisville. A 2016 Chevrolet Corvette and a 2020 Ford Mustang can be seen passing on the right before all chaos breaks out. They had to be doing over 100 mph because the dashcam stamp shows that driver to be doing 83 mph.

  • Did you ever want to know what the actual Alamo footprint looks like superimposed over a satellite image from today? Here ya go. I tried to find an image like this last year without success when I was reading Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth -- a fantastic book.

  • I understand people being put off by high football coaches salary, but I'm taking a contrarian view here. Consider TCU and Decatur ISD and their incredible seasons.  Both may have paid a premium for their coaches this year (Decatur's coach even made the front page of the Star-Telegram), but consider their return on investment in two areas: (1) Tangible - The equivalent in advertising dollars and (2) Intangible but equally valuable - The simple good feelings generated in the communities they serve.  
    • As for TCU, they could not afford the amount of national advertising they have received this year. What's an ad on national TV cost per minute? They've been on national TV, in a positive light, for hours upon hours
    • As for Decatur, the coach might be being paid a premium of $30,000+, but being on the verge of a state championship game would probably be worth it to the Chamber of Commerce. And most parents wouldn't mind chipping in a few bucks for the sheer fun of it all. 
  • Legal nerdy stuff couple with current events: It's Texas Criminal Law 101 that if a person is incarcerated in jail on a felony and he can't make bond, but the State fails to indict him within 90 days of when his incarceration begins, then he is entitled to a PR bond or a bond reduction to an amount that he can actually afford it. An appellate court  had to reluctantly point this out yesterday in a case where the prosecutors in Panola County failed to indict the alleged killer of a deputy sheriff until 10 months had passed. Amazing. Here's the original story from 2020.

    • The court pointed out (footnote 1) that the State failed to utilize a portion of the State Constitution allowing a capital murder defendant to be held without bail if the State had taken the effort to jump through a couple of hoops. See TEX. CONST. art. I, § 11.
    • Here's a wild paragraph from the State's brief that makes me wonder what the heck is going on in that East Texas county.

  • 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, 157 days.
  • Messenger - Above the Fold


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

Our now county judge had some singing gigs back in the day when he was also the mayor of Chico.

  • Athena Strand news.
    • This seems to be big: The Sheriff told WFAA that the State will seek the death penalty for Tanner Horner. I'm kind of surprise that he just casually made this statement because (1) that's one heck of an announcement, and (2) that decision is exclusively in the hands of the District Attorney's office so normally that would be entity to make that proclamation.

    • The probable cause affidavit has apparently been "sealed." I'm not sure about the propriety of this. You can seal search warrant affidavits for 31 days (art. 18.011) in certain circumstances, but I don't think you can seal probable cause affidavits (art. 15.26.) There is some information which might be able to be redacted in certain cases, but I didn't think you can seal the probable cause affidavit in its entirety. Heck, magistrates are even officially trained in Texas that those documents are public records (Example: Page 45 here.) Maybe I'm wrong. I suppose that it could have been a combo search and arrest warrant which would probably justify a 30 day waiting period. 

    • The mother of Athena Stand has hired a law firm based in Fort Worth, and they will address the press at 11:00 a.m. today on the Wise County courthouse steps. I know that firm is a great criminal defense firm, but I wasn't aware they did civil litigation. Full press release here.

  • Breaking: Britney Griner freed this morning.

    • Hey, I'm thrilled she's out, but it must be noted that Paul Whelan remains in a Russian prison. Fox News just got published this statement from his family:

    • Micah Parsons, of all people, coming in hot (Edit - now deleted):

  • That case did not seem to be particularly compelling. We'll see what happens. Hot opinion: The defense has to be thinking about resting and arguing the State failed to prove his case.  But if they decide to present a defense case, I would strongly urge having their client testify.  I think he'd be found not guilty if they do.  

  • We would probably be surprised how many government-issued-for-business-only phones have TikTok downloaded on them which taxpayer paid employees waste time with. 

  • You know how I'm always dogging Medical Examiner's for listing a cause of death which they couldn't possibly know by simply examining the body.  Well, there's a trial doing on right now In Denton where a deputy ME basically admits he changed his opinion because of influence from the cops. It's a front page story today in the Record-Chronicle. 

  • Hanging out with Nazi's on Thanksgiving, advocating that the Constitution be "terminated" the next week, and now he has moved on to QAnon/Pizzagate disciples. That's, Liz Crokin. Google her.  Keep it up, buddy. 

    • We've got one Texas Senator who is beginning to see the light yesterday.

  • Orders for the electric F-150 have exceeded the expected demand. As a result, a new plant is being built by Ford. Get ready. They're coming. 


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

Someone sent me a photo of the Google Streetview car roaming the streets of Decatur. 

  • Developing (and a little across the journalistic line) . . . 

  • The most unqualified Senate candidate of all time did not get elected last night in Georgia. 
    • In almost every race these days, people vote for their team regardless of the candidate. But a handful of Republican voters crossed over because they couldn't stomach Herschel Walker.  The Democratic win last night in Georgia was their only state-wide win they had in the Peach State.

    • This fiasco for the Republicans is 100% on Trump.

  • From Cottondale last night. Video.

    • Nope, no sign of the probable cause affidavit yet. I really didn't want to bug them, but I might start now. I figured one of the media outlets would have it by now. 
  • I'm not prepared to say the cop is going to be found not guilty by a Tarrant County jury, but that case isn't the most clear cut criminal case in the world. 

  • Not surprising -- in either the conviction or the response.

  • Texas DPS has taken a hit lately, but I don't think trying to get recruits from Florida of all places will help.

  • Congressional Gold Medals were awarded yesterday to the Capitol Police of January 6th although there was an awkward moment where some of the recipients refused to shake the hand of Mitch McConnell for not doing more to speak against the attack. (Video.)

    • These are the 20 Republicans who refused to vote to award the medals. Mind-blowing.  

  • I kept seeing the headlines of the Tampa Police Chief getting fired for flashing a badge during a simple traffic stop, so I watched the video.  I don't understand this at all. This is common conduct in Texas, and I'm not sure anyone here has a problem with it. 

  • I still have to look to see who is Time's Person of the Year every time. Just announced:

  • Breaking baseball news -- over 1/3 of a billion dollars. All guaranteed because the Player's Union knows what they are doing. Unlike in the NFL.

  • Here's some exclusive high school sports content. I've always wondered how accurate the Texas AP Top Ten lists were for Texas football. I mean, seriously, how they heck do we know the Top 10 football teams in each division with so many teams involved? Those AP writers aren't watching all of those games, right?
    • So here's what I did: We are now down to the final four for each division, so I went back and found the final Top Ten rankings after the final regular season games, and then I looked to see how many of those Top 10 teams are still alive in their respective Final Four.  Put another way, the AP had 10 chances to pick the final four teams for each division. Here's how they did - the teams highlighted in yellow are still alive (click to enlarge):

    • As you see, those polls did really well. The most they could get were four. 
    • In Class 2A Division I, they were perfect with teams ranked one through four still being alive.
    • The blue 5 I've got in 6A is because that level is tricked up. Although there is just one 6A Top Ten poll, those teams might end up in the "big bracket" or the "small bracket" in the playoffs. So there are eight, not just four, of those teams which could still be alive. However, there are only five still in contention. 
    • Notice that unranked Decatur plays #1 China Springs on Friday. 
    • Also notice that College Station, who Decatur's coach was in charge of last year before being hired away, is still alive in Class 5A, Division I.
  • It's the 26th anniversary of what I consider to be the gutsiest and greatest play call in college football history. And it was done by the Evil Empire. 
  • Messenger: Above the Fold


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

I still think about this.  It would be at the bottom of the Update and read something like "Admitted: Henry Potter, Mary Bailey, and John McClane. Released: Frank Erwin, Lisa Miller, Baby boy Miller." If you just happened to have the same name as someone on the list, you fielded calls all day from people making sure you were OK. This practice ended sometime in the 1990s, I think. 

  • Athena Strand random bullet points:
    • Still haven't seen the probable cause affidavit surface yet. (It's public record under art. 15.26 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure if you can find it.)
    • Quick twitter video from the remembrance at the courthouse last night. 

    • Messenger's story and their photo:

    • WFAA's coverage from last night of courthouse memorial with video. 

    • Fox 4 coverage of community response yesterday. (On Youtube.)

    • Courthouse square in Decatur.

    • Oklahoma news coverage. We'll let them claim her, too. 

  • If I have my facts correct, a trial will begin today in the District Court in Decatur which was indicted in March of 1996.
  • A former Rhome officer, and the subject of the story below in 2017 when he worked in Montague County, was recently booked into the Wise County jail. (You'll have to type in the booking number 108387.)

  • Kind of legal nerdy stuff. The case below involved the guy who assaulted the woman in Deep Ellum, and it was caught on video. The footage made me cringe. He landed some vicious blows.
    • The guy caught a big break yesterday because the jury found him guilty of misdemeanor assault instead of aggravated assault because they decided he didn't use or exhibit a deadly weapon -- even though he was holding a pistol
    • What is really unusual is the guy being indicted on, and being found guilty of, "Obstruction", a third degree felony. That charge in incredibly rare.  Heck, I had to look it up. A prosecutor can get there if a person commits an illegal act against a person and causes "harm" (the assault) if the actor knows the person intends to report the occurrence of a crime. She was trying to call 911 before the assault but he slapped the phone out of her hand, but I'm not sure what "crime" she was going to report. 

  • Electra woman going hard but at least she wore a hazmat uniform. 

  • Justice Alito proved he is a very weird guy yesterday at oral arguments. (Audio of below). He also joked about Justice Kagan being familiar with AshleyMadison.com - a dating site for married people seeking an affair. (Audio).

  • A new Texas Monthly article looks interesting. 

  • Not bad for a one shop operation opened up by the campus of TCU in 2001.

  • Another reason to hate lawyers. This is the Christmas bonus list fpr associates (not partners) ant the law firm of Baker Botts. "Deem date" is basically "hiring date."

  • College bowl lines.

  • I absolutely hate the transfer portal, but I think it is only fair to the players that it exists.