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

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

It must have been a very cool morning 10 years ago. What are those like again?

  • Breaking: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the oldest U.S. Senator, passed away overnight. It was only two months ago she made headlines when she appeared confused at a hearing when she was told to simply vote. (Side note: She cast a vote yesterday morning.)

  • This could have been worse. A recently fired employee went back to Vandergriff Chevrolet in South Arlington late yesterday afternoon and opened fire at the building from the parking lot. The building is closed today because it ended up being flooded when the security system activated.

  • The normal Republicans have to get control of the Ultra-MAGA extremists. That group demanded and caused the "impeachment inquiry" to take place at a congressional hearing yesterday as the government shutdown looms, and it was a disaster. None of the witnesses knew anything, And they all said they didn't think there were enough facts in existence to justify an impeachment. As said on Fox News, "I don't know what was achieved over these last 6+ hours." 

    • But the funniest moment (video) of the hearing gave us this screenshot:

  • Speaking of Ultra-MAGA, it looks like they are going to shut down the federal government this weekend, and then attempt to throw out the Speaker of the House. What a cluster

  • "The county ordinance also prohibits traveling through the county or driving on its roads to obtain an abortion." So dumb. So backwoods.  

  • Elon Musk decided to be a "reporter" at the border late yesterday. 

    • Compare and contrast: 

  • Aggieland is preparing its students for a future in politics. .

  • That Grandpa Bachelor show sure is getting lots of buzz. I would give a review, but I didn't  watch it. Yet I can say that I don't think I'd pick a gal who decided to wear a track suit. 

  • So former pitching great (and nutcase) Kurt Schilling decided to tell the world that Tim Wakefield is battling brain cancer when it wasn't public information? “This is not a message that Tim has shared and I don’t even know if he wants it shared. But as a Christian and a man of faith, I have seen prayer work and so I’m going to talk about it,” Schilling said. “Recently, Tim was diagnosed with a very serious, very aggressive form of brain cancer.” The Red Sox quickly slapped him down:

  • Law school sure has changed. Read this post by a guest lecturer. It's real and it stopped me down. Link (with interesting comments.)

  • Legal nerdy stuff:  How would you like to have your 99 year jury-imposed Texas prison sentence as a habitual offender reduced to no more than 1 year in the local county jail on appeal? It happened this week. Stay with me here.

    • A DWI is normally a misdemeanor. Even a DWI-Second is a misdemeanor. But it can be upgraded to a Third Degree Felony (2 to 10 years in prison) if you have two prior "final" convictions for DWI. 
    • But that Third Degree Felony DWI can be upgraded even further to a First Degree Felony (ergo the 99 year sentence that happened here) if you have been in and out of the pen for any unrelated felony convictions at least two times before. 
    • But that Third Degree DWI felony law has a weird quirk: A DWI conviction before 1985 is not a "final" conviction and can't be used for enhancement if you received probation that was not revoked. Not many people know that any more.
    • In this guy's case, one of the two prior DWI convictions the prosecutor used was a 1979 DWI conviction which, the court held, wasn't "final" because he successfully completed his probation back then.  So that killed the Felony DWI conviction and made him guilty of only a misdemeanor DWI-Second. And, boom, domino-effect: Since it was now a misdemeanor DWI-Second, the fact that he was a habitual offender because of the two other unrelated felony pen trips doesn't matter. He's only subject to one year in jail for a misdemeanor. A lucky guy for a guy who hasn't been very lucky. 
  • 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: 4 years and 85 days.


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

I had forgotten this. The District Attorney who hid evidence in the Michael Morton case, and who was  subsequently elected district judge, was still on the bench after Morton had been exonerated and released from prison in 2011. He didn't resign in disgrace until two years later. He would later be sentenced to a whopping 10 days in jail -- of which he served 5 days.

  • Ok, what's this alleged murder about? The booking into jail occurred yesterday by the Wise County Sheriff's Office shortly before noon.  Pure speculation: It's a juvenile that might have been transferred from juvenile court to adult court.  There was a shooting in Cottondale in 2021 which might be it. But I'm just guessing. (The last name is missing a letter if that is it, however.)

  • A Texas Criminal Justice Play In Two Acts:
    • Act I from January of this year: "The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to reconsider its decision to let a death row inmate be executed even though prosecutors now agree his conviction should be thrown out because it relied on potentially faulty DNA evidence."

    • Act II, yesterday, performed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals: "We don't care. Kill him anyway." The vote was 6-3.

    • Encore: I've not seen one single news story about this which seems to be a pretty big deal.
  • Dateline: Houston. This is kind of a reverse Amber Guyger situation.  It sounds like a guy got confused as to which apartment was his and ended up getting shot by the trooper/resident who was inside.

  • Dark headline of the day. 

  • Debate highlights and lowlights:
    • The best three second sound bite from last night's debate came from Nikki Haley.  Here it is. It's funny.
    • The absolutely worst joke of all time came from this guy. Watch

    • Second place for worst joke goes to Mike Pence. 
  • Can we all stop down for a second and think about how insane this is? The current Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States of America is asked for his reaction to the leading contender for the Republican Party suggesting that he should be executed.  Have we lost our minds? How did this become normal? 

  • I follow a Twitter account for the statewide police union, CLEAT, which gives real time missives whenever it dispatches one of its lawyers to go to the scene of an officer involved shooting. This morning: 

  • New and Relevant: From the group that did the podcast series on Southlake, there is a new one on how the Ultra-MAGA extremists took over the Grapevine ISD school board.  

  • Last night we learned we have a Secretary of State who can play the guitar and sing very well. Video.

  • Assistant District Attorney's get in trouble and get arrested all the time. You don't see many assistant United States Attorneys, even former ones, get picked up

  • Random sports fact about a guy who drives me nuts. (I just came across this video of the punt return for #3 on 9/28/93. They got that graphic up really quickly.)

  • Messenger - Above the Fold


Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

A Bridgeport man paid $943,000 to lease land which gave him the right to make the jump. Alas, it never happened. But some other guy did it

  • In a civil penalty case brought by the New York Attorney General against the Trump Organization, a judge has found that Trump fraudulently overvalued his Trump Tower condo and Mar-a-Lago and that a trial wasn't necessary on that issue. My gut reaction was that was a bad look, and that a jury needs to decide it regardless of the merits of the judge's ruling. But for a reason I don't understand, the case was set for a trial next week before that judge and not a jury. So the judge was going to decide the case anyway. Why no jury? Regardless, this will all just play into Trump's campaign of, "They are all out to get me."

  • Oh, my.

  • President Biden supported the autoworkers in their strike yesterday in Michigan.  When I was growing up, unions had a bad reputation in general.  But with the realization, especially by young people, that most workers everywhere are getting screwed, unions now have a popularity rating of 63%.

  • Unlike the crazy Amarillo judge last week, an 84 year old Reagan appointee knows that guys dressing as girls is protected speech and any law prohibiting it better be strictly and constitutionally worded. But now we wait for the crazy Fifth Circuit to get ahold of it. 

  • The Official Liberally Lean Girl dancing with knives has me a tad bit concerned.

  • The cover of The New Yorker is getting lots of attention this week. 

  • This dog knows he's the one dog in America that cops can't shoot, and he is going to take full advantage of it.

  • I can't believe Fox News aired this. Video. I don't think it played out like "Judge Jeanine" thinks it played out. 

  • The Business Second™. A new CarMax will go in right by Alliance Town Center.  How much do you think they paid for a tract of land at I-35 and Heritage Trace (northwest corner)?

  • Ticket Fans: After the Washington Post article about the case, and after the transcript of the TRO hearing was released online yesterday, The Ticket has settled its case against Dan and Jake.  We don't know the terms, but certainly they can continue their podcast, but we don't know if their non-compete preventing them from going to another radio station for few months is still in effect. But, regardless, this has been a PR disaster for the little Ticket. 

  • Extremely very legal nerdy civil stuff: You hardly ever see an opinion out of a Texas appellate court where a writ of mandamus is actually issued instead of a judge just complying with the ruling on his own. But it happened this week to a Houston district court judge. Opinion.


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

This recording-a-coach-in-a-locker room case involved Argyle ISD. Story. Man, I ended up being right about the prosecutor screwing up by not getting a waiver of appeal. She appealed to the appellate court (and won - conviction reversed) which caused the State to have to appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (where she lost and conviction reinstated, 6-3) and then she appealed to the U.S. Court (which refused to hear the case). Sheesh. That's a lot of work. 

  • Wise County Judge J.D. Clark posted this fantastic picture of the district courtroom's current state of restoration. There will eventually be balconies on both sides. By the way, that's a wide angle lens which makes the room look smaller than it is. From front to back, I'm guessing it is 40 to 50 feet deep.

  • New this morning. I probably wouldn't have done that it I were him.  

  • From the campaign trail:
    • During a campaign stop to appeal to gun-lovers, Trump said on camera yesterday that he wanted to purchase this gun. The problem is, as an indicted felon, he can't legally buy a gun. The law applies to anyone under state or federal indictment for any felony. See 18 U.S.C. § 922(n).

      • But he would have had a defense based upon a Trump appointed federal judge's opinion. Flashback:

    • Trump talking about windmills and whales was far more bizarre than I expected. (37 second video). Close your eyes and you would think it's a comedian doing an impersonation. 

  • Now that the Ken Paxton's impeachment trial is over, everyone still wants their money.

  • The near future will be very weird. 

  • Let me tell you, I find something mysteriously attractive about this lady.

  • Extremely nerdy legal stuff: There's a typo in a recent Court of Criminal Appeals opinion. It's "canons" not "cannons." It's authored by Presiding Judge Keller. 

  • Very random sports fact I missed: The Cowboy's cut QB Will Grier, even after a fantastic last pre-season game, to make room for Trey Lance. Last week, the New England Patriots, who play the Cowboys this week, signed Grier to the practice squad.