I don’t have any thoughts about how this is going to play out. I’m out of town, WiFi is catch as catch can, and I’m blogging from the Kindle. Check in tomorrow or Tuesday.
Archive for the ‘HCDA’ Category
For example, former Harris County DA Pat Lykos, who escaped grand jury indictment once again.
The Harris County grand jury’s decision to end its term without action ends a yearlong probe. It was initiated when the Texas Rangers asked for a special prosecutor to look into allegations that members of the Lykos administration had investigated members of another grand jury who spent six months looking into evidence collected by the Houston Police Department’s troubled breath alcohol testing vehicles.
More background is available by clicking the “HCDA” category. Also, Murray Newman has a few words to say.
Remember Pat Lykos, former Harris County DA, unceremoniously tossed from office in this past election cycle? Remember the whole BAT Van scandal? (If you don’t, the “HCDA” category” will provide you with a historical overview.)
Anyway, Amanda Culbertson and Jorge Wong, two of the people who brought up the problems with the BAT Vans, are suing Ms. Lykos, Rachel Palmer (another prosecutor in the DA’s office) and Harris County itself.
Among several allegations, the lawsuit says that officials with the DA’s office retaliated against Culbertson and Wong by lobbying the Harris County Commissioner’s Court to cancel a contract with a local private laboratory, where the two found jobs after leaving HPD.
The NYT informs us that there hasn’t been a big hit book this holiday season. (Apparently, last year’s big hit was Steve Jobs, which surprises me; I would have thought the appeal of that was limited outside of Apple fanatics, and it was not well reviewed by several prominent personalities in that community. But I digress.) However, bookstores are still doing…okay.
Steve Bercu, an owner of BookPeople in Austin, Tex., said sales were up 10 percent over last year. He said that shoppers were buying coffee-table books but were also snapping up Kobo devices. “I was a naysayer,” he said, “but they are buying the actual devices, which surprised me.”
Obit watch: Senator Daniel K. Inouye.
Maurice Herzog, noted French climber.
A dramatic photograph of Herzog waving a French tricolor atop 26,545-foot Annapurna on June 3, 1950, thrilled his countrymen and appeared on front pages around the world. It captured a triumphant moment before a brutal descent, during which Herzog endured frostbite that led to the amputation of all his fingers and toes. (His climbing partner, Louis Lachenal, also lost toes in the climb.)
Herzog died of natural causes at the age of 93.
- The condoms for porno measure in LA County passed.
- The cities of El Monte and Richmond (in California) were considering ballot measures to tax “sugary drinks.” Those measures failed overwhelmingly.
- Colorado and Washington state have legalized marijuana. I’m looking forward to the first armed standoff between the DEA and the state police.
- Going back to Cali, voters also rejected an initiative that would have required labeling “genetically engineered foods”.
- I can’t find a link, but California voters also rejected abolition of the death penalty. They did, however, approve relaxing the “three strikes” law.
- Mike Anderson is the new Harris County DA, which makes Murray Newman happy.
- Ted…Cruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuz! (Hattip.)
Edited to add: Left out one significant result:
Louisiana voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a proposed constitutional amendment that gives the state the strongest gun laws in the nation, according to nearly complete state elections office returns.
I thought I’d start a thread covering results of last night’s primaries. Specifically, the ones that amuse me.
(If you don’t remember Ms. Lykos and her antics, the “HCDA” tag will provide you with a summary.)
I am getting a slow start to the morning, so watch this space for possible updates as I wade through the coverage.
Edited to add: I did not know this, but the winner of the Democratic primary election for HCDA was “once indicted for illegal lawyering”. To which I say: Huh?
I learned of the HouChron article by way of The Hon. Murray Newman, who points out this is the fourth special prosecutor appointed to investigate the HCDA’s office since October.
Also, just to make things a little easier, I added a “HCDA” sub-category to the law category, and edited posts appropriately. Now everything I’ve posted (AFAIK) related to the Harris County District Attorney’s office is in one place, for easy review. Just part of the full-service blogging experience here at WCD, no need to thank me.
DA Lykos says she asked the Rangers to investigate, and promised full cooperation.
More on this when we know more. Don’t hold your breath; you’ll just turn an unattractive shade of blue.
Obit watch: noted British SF author John Christopher.
Here’s the latest I’ve been able to find in the HouChron on the Rangers/FBI/Harris County DA. It doesn’t add a whole lot to what was reported yesterday, alas.
Paul Farhi in the WP writes about press coverage of the Lance Armstrong probe, including his own paper’s coverage.
There isn’t a whole lot known at this point, but various news sources are reporting that the Texas Rangers and FBI are questioning staff members at the Harris County DA’s office.
Both the HouChron and KTRK are reporting that the questioning allegedly involves the DA’s investigation into the grand jury, and not the BAT vans that the grand jury was investigating.
More on this when we know more.
More 185th Grand Jury stuff:
Lykos and her defenders were claiming they didn’t do anything out of the ordinary; they were just Googling folks, which, after all, anyone can do.
Not quite. It seems that the Harris County DA’s investigator also used something called Accurint. Accurint is not a publicly accessible system; it is a service that the county pays for, and which requires that you certify a “permissible use” before obtaining information. Defense attorney Mark Bennett has more about Accurint over at his blog, “Defending People”, which I commend to your attention.
And, of course, The Hon. Murray Newman is on the case as well.
Obit watch: Angelo Dundee, Muhammad Ali’s corner man.
Mike Kelley, L.A. based visual artist. There’s also a well-done appreciation of his work at the A/V Club website.
And I’m a little late on this, but wanted to note it anyway: Ian Abercrombie.
In other news, the fun never stops with the Harris County District Attorney’s office. I missed the actual report (I can’t get Houston’s Channel 13 in Austin), but BlogHouston and The Hon. Murray Newman have links. In brief, DA Lykos basically admitted that, yes, she ordered investigators in her office to “research” (as she puts it; other people use the word “investigate”) members of the 185th Grand Jury, as well as the special prosecutors and the judges involved with the grand jury.
I don’t think I am overstating things to suggest that the HCDA’s office is starting to look positively Nixonian.
No indictments. But the grand jury is not pleased with the DA’s office:
[Grand jury foreman Trisha] Pollard signed off on a one-page report blasting the DA’s office for “unexpected resistance” and accusing the office of launching an investigation into the grand jurors, the special prosecutors and judges.
The grand jury also harshly criticized Rachel Palmer, a prosecutor who invoked her fifth amendment right to refuse to testify.
“The stain upon the HCDAO will remain regardless of any media statements issued or press conferences issued by anyone,” according to the statement.
The current Chron article is a bit short; I expect a longer version later today. Murray Newman had a good piece up this morning with his predictions; I would expect commentary from him once he’s had a chance to read and digest the grand jury report.
Edited to add: The Hon. Mr. Newman has the statement, and his thoughts, up over at his blog.
Edited to add 2/1: Longer story from the HouChron. Note the fine copy editing (which I hope will be fixed when you see it):