Friday, November 20, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
First of all, the city goes to the state legislature to make running a red light a civil infraction rather than a criminal one. The purpose of this is to reduce the level of proof in order to issue citations to generate revenue. The plan gets enacted and the citations are practically flying through the mail. Also ticketed are emergency workers (i.e. police, firefighters, and EMTs). I'm not talking about the emergency vehicle operators who ran red lights with no cause. I'm referring to the instances where emergency vehicles were cited for running the red lights while running priority calls. The citation would arrive at the agency owning the vehicle and more often than not the operator would have to pay the citation or challenge it on their own time. This was annoying to emergency workers who said in frustration they would quit running emergency traffic to life threatening calls out of fear of getting a red light citation from the city of Houston. This year the state legislature slapped Houston by passing legislation that forbade red light citations to the owners of emergency vehicles (however they can still send notice to the agency and let them deal with the matter internally).
For the past couple of years, the city of Houston has been trying to work a deal with Harris County to block the registration of vehicles with outstanding red light violations. What many people probably didn't know until this article came out was that there are outstanding toll road violations due to city owned vehicles. The city tried to say that the individual operators alone were responsible for the violations. The exact same procedure other agencies used when they got the red light citations. Just like the red light citations, toll violations come into the mail to the registered owner (the city). Sounds like they just passed it off and let the matter lie. How many registered car owners had to appear in municipal court saying they no longer had the vehicle, or let someone else drive it and the judge said no? With this embarrassing little piece the city is now stating they will handle the outstanding fines and better monitor their people. Does this mean they will be more sympathetic to registered vehicle owners who appear in municipal court? Doubt it!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
It was two years ago today I got a phone call about Deputy Jason Norling being struck by a careless driver while on a traffic stop. That was a terrible day for many people. I will never forget his fascination with the Vampire Chroincles and the long discussion we had about it. Rest in Peace Jason!
ODMP tribute here
"So we went in there about 3am one morning. There were prostitutes and they propositioned us. So it was real straight forward. There was no secrecy behind it. It was pretty clear what was going on. We bought beer at 3:30am in the morning like the TABC requested that we do," said Josh Judd."
Don't depend on TABC.
"There is no prostitution, there is no drugs, nothing," said Martin Arguta (owner)."
He is lying!
"If this place had prostitution, it would be closed already, because we have visits from TABC, the police very often. They checked, everything is OK," said Aguta."
Again he is lying and I will tell you why. For years there was a cantina that we tried to get closed. We busted people coming out drunk at 7 in the morning! Half of them had cocaine. Many of them had no identification and were not old enough to enter a bar legally! Despite the number of arrests made, the number of complaints made with TABC little was ever done. Eventually the cantina closed, but is no open under a new name. So pardon me if I don't have a lot of faith in TABC to shut down a cantina.
Monday, September 28, 2009
First, HPOU President Gary Blankenship cited the end of the city's paid overtime program. He also cites rising unemployment due to the state of the economy as of late. I can understand that. However, maybe I'm being naive but not everyone who is out of a job is out committing a crime. We're hearing that excuse from people however it's from the people who were out screwing up when the economy was good.
Next we have our very own media appointed community activist (I still have yet to see what community he has made a difference in) Quanell X. Of course he won't change. He wants to see more officers charged regardless of the facts. He still makes his living jumping in front of a camera although he is more careful since the Joe Horn incident.
Next was a shock. Spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office Donna Hawkins blames permissive gun laws!!!! What???? No disrespect to Ms. Hawkins, but what planet is she living on? Or was she reading a bad script? She was quoted as "if more people have the access and it becomes easier to carry them, there tends to be more shooting and more situations involving police officers." I really hate to repeat myself. Remember when Texas first enacted the concealed handgun laws? Everyone was screaming that Texas would be the wild west and guess what? It didn't happen! When the legislature changed the gun laws to essentially make carrying a handgun in one's car legal that changed nothing. I wonder if anyone at the DA's office realize that criminals will always carry weapons illegally. Criminals break the law, that's what they do. The law abiding citizen, even armed, will not present a threat to a police officer. Does the DA's office realize it is already illegal for felons, gang members, illegal immigrants to have guns? Apparently not because I know of an incident in which a stolen car with six illegal immigrants was stopped. A ski mask, a pistol, and a shotgun were found and the DA's office only charged one person with a weapon charge and let the rest go! Maybe if the DA's office would quit declining good cases for ridiculous reasons that could help the police a little bit.
Next comes a Sam Houston State University researcher who comments about the numbers. Out of respect for my alma mater all I'm going to say is do a few ride-a-longs and see what the streets are like instead of looking at numbers and coming up with theories.
Next we hear from JoAnne Musick, President of the Harris County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. She is a former public integrity prosecutor (and a very good attorney). She said she wondered if the shootings are a "lingering effect from police confrontations with criminals mixed with the wave of Hurricane Katrina refugees.." The Katrina people aren't as numerous as they were in 2006, but some of them are still here and occasionally they still make the news as getting in trouble with the law, or involved in crimes. Ms. Musick has a better understanding of officer-involved shooting than the District Attorney's office apparently. She also cited the stress of limited back up and single man patrols. I would agree that limited back up can be stressful. However single man patrols are the norm around here. Remember this incident where the officer was ambushed? With people like these running around naturally police are going to be more cautious. She quotes the old proverb perception is reality. When an officer perceives a threat he/she will react accordingly and that reaction will have to be documented and reviewed. One thing people need to understand the best way not to elicit a reaction from a police officer is not to do anything threatening, or that maybe perceived as so. However many people feel they can challenge the police without any consequence (and sometimes they are right thanks to the District Attorney's office refusal to prosecute many cases of officers being assaulted).
The article concludes with the HPOU President citing that many people shot are under the influence of some substance and/or mentally ill. Sadly this is true to an extent. People under the influence are emboldened to act out against their families and the police. People with mental issues can act out presenting a danger to themselves and others and the police have to deal with them. However, contrary to the wishes of some in the mental health community and the media police are not going to lay down and get injured or killed because the intent is not there.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Read the article and of course the whole ad is painted as nonsense. However the dirty little secret is that there is some truth to this. Let's review some facts shall we?
It was the democratic party who attempted to filibuster the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
In cities with a large black population that live in poverty and crime, which political party rules it? That's right! Democratic!
Sunday, June 21, 2009
14-year old gets kidnapped in San Antonio and brought to Corpus Christi. Said, teen girl is forced to work at a strip club with a fake ID.
A club manager is arrested and charged with employment harmful to a minor.
Now, the club is suing the kidnapper, the teenage girl, and her parents!
The club (The Cheetah Club) wants "The suit seeks unspecified damages from Campbell (the kidnapper), the girl and her parents, as well as a declaration from a judge that it did not intend to hire a minor."
“We’re the victims here,” Alan Yaffe, attorney for the club said.
Obviously the club is grasping at straws here. I have to wonder did the attorney or his clients consider for a moment there might be a negative backlash to this?
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Will the District Attorney be trying some of these cases herself since she has no experience trying cases?
I agree with Defense Attorney Mark Bennett.
"The loudest voice against the plan came from Mark Bennett, president of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers association, who said the District Attorney’s Office was treating people’s fates like a game or a law school mock trial exercise.
“It’s unethical,” Bennett said. “A prosecutor’s job is to seek justice, not win easy cases.”
He noted that defendants who want to plead guilty but are forced to trial may have to pay more in attorney’s fees."
Amen! Not only does the DA's Office plan play games with the fates of defendants, it also plays games with other witnesses and police officers who have to put their lives on hold at the whim of some DA and judge who still schedule several cases for trial then huddle together and pick one.
I wonder if the real reason behind this is because since Lykos has run off almost all of the good, experienced prosecutors that they are swamped by inexperienced rookies who need quick experience.
Race must now be considered in jury selection.
Go here for a better explination than the Houston Chronicle will give you.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
Today is the 173 anniversary of the birthplace of an independent Texas. A group of Texans declared they were going to break away from Mexico and become an independent nation.
The Houston Chronicle has a story of a lost document to commemorate today.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
"Elizabeth Anane-Sekyere works 13-hour shifts, six days a week. Her husband pastors a small church for modest pay. Together, they’re paying for a mortgage, three college tuitions and a growing 16-year-old."
Okay, those are long hours and that's admirable. However I'm not sure what the Chronicle means by small church. See, she and her husband work for the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. According to their website they have churches and schools all over the world. Now, I looked up the Houston address on the Harris County Appraisal District website. It is classified as a religious institution so it is tax exempt. A look from above shows it to be a fair sized establishment. Now, to be fair I have no idea what the church pays, but these facts make the harp strings a little hard to tug.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
"I think about it every day," the woman said. "I just want women to know that it was random, it was for ransom and, in this economy, it could happen to anybody."
Uh, ma'am. These guys are criminals! They didn't plan this because they fell on hard times and needed money to feed their families and clothe their children. They did it because they are predators and they targeted you because you live in River Oaks!!!! I don't think you're going to see a spike in kidnappings like in Mexico.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Now, the third chapter of the Shelton family mess. The accident reconstruction "expert" hired by the defense hasn't been paid for his services. So he is suing defense attorney George Secrest who in turn is saying little Elizabeth's daddy Judge Shelton is responsible for the $25,000 (or more) bill. Of course the judge's lawyer is saying the bill is exaggerated. Don't lawyers and experts work out a price before the service is delivered? Oh well, in a way who can blame the Shelton party for not paying. After all, they hired Joseph Hinton to tell a jury that little drunk Elizabeth isn't responsible for the crash or the death of the young man. How much should it really cost to pay someone to tell others what you want them to hear?
Sunday, February 8, 2009
"Linda Dorman, a great-grandmother from Akron, Ohio, had $4,000 in cash taken from her by local authorities when she was stopped while driving through town after visiting Houston in April 2007. Court records make no mention that anything illegal was found in her van and show no criminal charges filed in the case. She is still waiting for the return of what she calls “her life savings.”
Okay, it's not against the law to carry $4,000 in cash, but why is she carrying $4,000 in cash? Take a look at the map here. How is Tenaha, TX, a direct route from Ohio to Houston, TX? Could it be she likes the back roads for the scenery? Or could she be avoiding the main highways for some reason? I like how they point out how Ms. Dorman is a great-grandmother but don't mention her actual age. This woman can be a great-grandmother and she's wanted by the federal government. The writer wants you to picture some centurion in a walker being hassled by the police. The article says no charges were filed but her cash was seized. What does the report say? Was a drug dog brought in? Did it hit on the car? Did the drug dog hit on the cash? Sometimes when drug residue is found on cash, it is seized. Plus she was stopped in 2007, is the case still pending?
Attorney David Guillory "is suing officials in Tenaha and Shelby County on behalf of Dorman and nine other clients who were stripped of their property. All were African-Americans driving either rentals or vehicles with out-of-state plates."
The photo caption says that between 2006 and 2008 "roughly" 140 people were subject to property seizure. Yet, only 10 people are suing the city of Tenaha and Shelby County. If these officers are indeed robbing people as the lawyer claims, why are only 10 out of 140 people suing? Plus the article points out the race of the people suing. What is the race of the other 130 people?
"In Shelby County, the district attorney made legal agreements with some individuals that her office would not file criminal charges so long as the property owner waived all rights to the valuables."
Then why sign it to start with? Make them prove their criminal case.
“In exchange for (respondent) signing the agreed order of forfeiture, the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office agrees to reject charges of money laundering pending at this time,” read one waiver, dated April 10, 2007."
Details of the case?
"The property owners named in the waiver had just signed over $7,342 in cash, their 1994 Chevrolet Suburban, a cell phone, a BlackBerry and a stone necklace."
I'm not saying Shelby County is not doing the right thing. I'm not defending them. In fact, Shelby County has made poor decisions in the past. I'm only questioning the reporter's angle and wanting more information before I make judgment. Let the lawsuit go forward and make all the cards come down on the table.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
First, they find people jealous of the Fort Bend deputy sheriffs who got a bonus from a mysterious donor.
“I just think it is weird. Why are they giving them money?” said Dianna Batres, 21, as she finished getting her hair done at Royal Styles beauty salon. “My boyfriend was like, ‘What if it is a drug dealer?’ ”
Does this brat stop and think about what she says before she says it? If I were her boyfriend I'd be embarrassed.
Second, they go find some Harris County deputy sheriffs who expect new Sheriff Garcia to part the waves with his hands. In other words, they need to learn patience.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
The Fort Bend Deputies can keep their bonuses. Now all the naysayers can shut the hell up and life go on.
The Houston Police Officers are suing Marvin Driver and Quanell X. Awesome! Quanell must have seen this coming because he has police-hating, ACLU attorney Randall Kallinen representing him. I'm sure I mentioned in the past the ACLU have argued that false complaints against police officers should be 'protected speech.'
"Randall Kallinen, attorney for Quanell X on the defamation case, said the lawsuit is simply retaliation. ''This is another attempt by the police who use whatever means necessary to silence a police critic,'' Kallinen said."
I honestly think Randall Kallinen is mentally ill. How can he argue with a straight face that police should have none of the protections afforded civilians? In Randall's twisted mind police should be falsely accused, and abused because they deserve it. I bet Randall has a very high opinion of himself and looks down on public servants. I would love to remind Randall that police officers are human beings with feelings and don't deserve to have their lives ruined by false allegations. However he would disagree citing his contempt for police officers.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
(a) A public servant in an agency performing regulatory functions or conducting inspections or investigations commits an offense if he solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept any benefit from a person the public servant knows to be subject to regulation, inspection, or investigation by the public servant or his agency.
(b) A public servant in an agency having custody of prisoners commits an offense if he solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept any benefit from a person the public servant knows to be in his custody or the custody of his agency.
(c) A public servant in an agency carrying on civil or criminal litigation on behalf of government commits an offense if he solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept any benefit from a person against whom the public servant knows litigation is pending or contemplated by the public servant or his agency.
(d) A public servant who exercises discretion in connection with contracts, purchases, payments, claims, or other pecuniary transactions of government commits an offense if he solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept any benefit from a person the public servant knows is interested in or likely to become interested in any contract, purchase, payment, claim, or transaction involving the exercise of his discretion.
(e) A public servant who has judicial or administrative authority, who is employed by or in a tribunal having judicial or administrative authority, or who participates in the enforcement of the tribunal's decision, commits an offense if he solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept any benefit from a person the public servant knows is interested in or likely to become interested in any matter before the public servant or tribunal.
(f) A member of the legislature, the governor, the lieutenant governor, or a person employed by a member of the legislature, the governor, the lieutenant governor, or an agency of the legislature commits an offense if he solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept any benefit from any person.
(g) A public servant who is a hearing examiner employed by an agency performing regulatory functions and who conducts hearings in contested cases commits an offense if the public servant solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept any benefit from any person who is appearing before the agency in a contested case, who is doing business with the agency, or who the public servant knows is interested in any matter before the public servant. The exception provided by Sec. 36.10(b) does not apply to a benefit under this subsection.
(h) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
(i) A public servant who receives an unsolicited benefit that the public servant is prohibited from accepting under this section may donate the benefit to a governmental entity that has the authority to accept the gift or may donate the benefit to a recognized tax-exempt charitable organization formed for educational, religious, or scientific purposes.
Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 915, ch. 342, Sec. 11, eff. Sept. 1, 1975; Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3238, ch. 558, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1983; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 304, Sec. 4.04, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.
Sheriff Wright appears to have done this well. First, nobody except the sheriff knows who the donor is. Second, the donor doesn't reside in Fort Bend County. Third, the extra money was taxable income meaning some of it went to Uncle Sam. This doesn't happen very often so I say let it be. Fort Bend doesn't pay much anyhow.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Read the letter from the HPOU to DA Lykos.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Read the story here:
Watch the interview here: