Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Top Dallas public defender fired

Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price took some cheap shots at head public defender Brad Lollar as the latter man resigned today. According to the Dallas News, "The Public Defender's Office is not a retirement home for lawyers who don't want to work," Mr. Price said. "You can't treat it as if it's a part-time job."

Hmmmm. Price had better have the goods to back up those charges because he's running out a pretty widely respected PD chief in Brad Lollar.

Besides a general complaint that PD's don't work hard enough, Price had few other suggestions for the office except to hire Lynn Richardson as Lollar's replacement. Price had championed Richardson earlier for Lollar's post but she didn't get it. Now he's strong-armed her into the top slot.

The main reason PDs have been underused in Dallas according to prior media reports is that some judges haven't been assigning them cases as often. That's hardly evidence that they're all lazy. Some of the things Lollar has done don't show up in the statistics as far as processing cases more rapidly, including improving services for mentally ill clients and taking more cases to trial than in the past, the News reports.


One wonders if Price is scrutinizing the budget of the District Attorney as closely as the PD? It seems unlikely that his allegations are singularly true only of one side of the bar. This seems like an instance where there's a backstory that explains most of what's going on that we just don't know right now.
Maybe Price is just on a crusade against lazy bureaucrats, or perhaps there's a less obvious agenda at play that I can't identify at the moment.

MORE: Dallas public defender saves county money compared to neighbors.

33 comments:

Michael said...

It makes you wonder how plausible more PD offices will be if the commissioners courts and county judges are pulling the strings. Seems like PD offices would almost have to be run by some real bureaucratic operators to keep these people happy. I hope the media stays on this situation, I don't think we're getting the full story. Something about it stinks.

Anonymous said...

Having worked in this particular office under 4 different chiefs, I'd have to say that Lollar went to bat for us in a way that had not been done before. The obvious solution to this problem, which is in place in most other jurisdictions, is to make the Chief Public Defender slot an elected position. Then the Chief, much like the elected DA, could do what they need to do to run the office efficiently. BTW, to add to the rumor mill, my understanding is that Price had access to certain employees' personnel files---definitely a no-no.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

You know Michael, I just learned over the weekend that your homies in Arkansas have statewide public defender system, which surprised me. Don't know much about it or how it's funded, but I may try to learn more about their model. The person describing it said it'd been in place a while, and was pretty well accepted.

Soowee!

Anon, if a county commissioner tried to dictate policy in a DA's office using their purse strings, you'd hear a hew and cry as though a crowd of banshees were unleashed.

It really does seem like Price crossed the line here and there's some backstory explaining things that we don't know about yet. It doesn't appear on its face to pass the "smell test," though.

Anonymous said...

The worst thing that could happen now to the PD office would be if the political allies of Lollar set about to undermine the new chief...


Why isn't the funding for the PD tied directly to the funding of the DA? Shouldn't it be at least a 1:1 ratio. I say "at least" because the justice system was designed to favor the defendant and assume innocence.

Anonymous said...

The problem with public defender's offices is clearly demonstrated by the "All Ignorant" Dallas County Commissioners. The commissioners want the public defenders and all court appointed attorneys to plead out the cases quickly and cheaply. If you take to many cases to trial, they claim that you are cheating the county or if you plead everything you are not representing your clients. They basically want to have their cake and eat it to. The problem isn't the Public Defender's Office or its Chief. The problem is the Loud Mouth Grand Standing Jackasses who call themselves County Commissioners. They couldn't find their way around the Criminal Court House with a tour guide and a map.

Anonymous said...

There is plenty here that hasn't come to light. And to add further to the rumor mill, there are apparently going to be more firings, apparently connected with the same personnel files JWP had access to.

And who gave the files to Price? Are the commissioners exempt from all privacy laws? Who can legally have access to personnel files?

Anonymous said...

It wouldn't surprise me that it would be a violation of the law for JWP to have access to those files. But then again, JWP has proven over the years that he doesn't mind breaking the law.

Anonymous said...

Anyone remember a year or so ago when all the PDs had to submit resumes to JWP like they were reapplying for their jobs?

Anonymous said...

I hate to play the race card, but it seems that the downfall of the office came when Lollar promoted two whites to supervisor positions rather than one African-American. I find it interesting that the only two supervisors Lollar promoted just happen to be the only supervisors who are Board Certified in Criminal Law. It was only days after the appointment that resumes were asked for and weekly statistics demanded. Ridiculous? Yes. Implausible? Not with JWP's track record.

Anonymous said...

I understand that an African American female was promoted after that, but only at the urging of JWP and instead of another white woman who had seniority AND is also Board Certified.That's a thing which makes you go hmmmm.

Anonymous said...

Lollar has political allies who could undermine the new chief? C'mon, if he had those kind of allies, he'd still have a job.

Anonymous said...

sure makes me go hmmmmm.

Anonymous said...

With all the rumors and spectulation going on with why Brad was fired and JWP's role in all of this, I think that there is still a major issue not being discussed. The Commissioners have been trying to find a way to wrestle control of court appointments from the actual judges and make the appointments themselves. This is battle is the back drop that everything currenlty going on in the Public Defender's office is attached to. The quota's the commissioners are imposing upon the public defenders is a way of forcing the Judges to give more cases to the Public Defender. The hammer is to dissolve the position in the individual court if the Judge doesn't comply. Firing Brad was the means to demonstrate the commissioners were willing to take drastic and even stupid measures to get their way. If all of the pressure on the public defenders office suddenly subsides and no additional firings occur, then I will be proven wrong. Those who believe that this is a more sinister scheme by JWP. However, if the major outcome of this is that the caseload of each public defender is dramatically increased, then I believe that is the proof that this was a measure to increase the public defender's caseload.

Anonymous said...

The firings have begun. Assistant Public Defender Mike Lemon, husband of family court Judge Lynn Cherry. was fired today by Acting Chief Lynn Richardson, on the grounds that he "just wasn't working out."

Anonymous said...

Wonder if she's going to do this in one fell swoop or spread out the joy over a period of time...

Anonymous said...

Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 6/17 7:50 p.m.- Funny, she said the same thing to me this afternoon.

Anonymous said...

...but only after she made me sit through a staff meeting. Shoot, I coulda got a head start on cleaning out my desk.

Anonymous said...

I see JWP's hand in all of this and it should make the public sick --- and anyone else who cares about legal defense. He's just picking off PD's one by one with impunity, and putting his "homies" into key positions. I thought this was Dallas County, not JWP's personal playground of manipulation. Why isn't the press looking into the way all of this is happening in the PD's office? This goes way beyond "mere" sacking of public defenders. Word is that Price has been a very, bad little commissioner and abused the power of his office. Gasp......what a shock.....That the county bully has no scruples and chooses to roll over anyone and everyone as he pursues his personal vendettas, yet poses as "a man of the people." Well, the "man of the people" is in the process of denying the people legal defense, and destroying a model department.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, and JWP's little minion LPR has been workin it too. You only have to watch who benefits in all this drama to know who's holding the knife in Lollar's back and the backs of the other PD's who are being kicked out the door under the convenient guise of a "balanced budget." Wonder if she and JWP will be able to retain any credibility at all when the truths are revealed. Maybe she needs a wakeup call and think back to what JWP does to women once he's thru with them. You can bet LPR will have a job as long as she retains the key to the closet, and stays on his good side.

Anonymous said...

GRITS -- This definitely doesn't pass the smell test. Price doesn't have the goods to back up any of the charges he leveled at Lollar or any of the other PD's he's got in his sights. He simply wanted Lynn Richardson in the job. And, I hear another PD got sacked by Lynn Pride Richardson today. Price is executing a thinly veiled cover up in an attempt to save himself further scrutiny after committing numerous missteps and misdeeds that several had the audacity to question. Apparently, there's an epidemic of "you're just not working out" in the PD's office. Wonder how long it will take for Dallas County to say that to JWP? He'll be a commissioner forever if no one has the stones to confront these abuses.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 6/11 8:16:
My understanding is that the personnel files of six employees were either copied or handed directly over to Price. Someone needs to research the law on this. Maybe I will since I seem to have a little more time on my hands these days.

Anonymous said...

Here's a tidbit from the Dallas County Code:


Sec. 86-673. Outside request to access files.
Any request for access to an employee's file not made by the employee requires the following:
(1) Submission of a written request; and
(2) Review of the written request by the civil section of the district attorney's office prior to release.
The written request must be immediately forwarded to the civil section of the district attorney's office for review due to strict time constraints for objecting to such requests for information.
(Ord. No. 2000-173, § 17.02, 1-25-2000)

But then I guess that doesn't apply to JWP, does it? Wanna bet there wasn't a written request or a DA review of it?

Anonymous said...

So...anyone keeping up with the casualty count at the PDs office? I count one director, one supervisor, one staff attorney and one investigator. Any more visits from the grim reaper this week?

Anonymous said...

Or how about Texas Local Government Code § 151.004.

COMMISSIONERS COURT MAY NOT INFLUENCE
APPOINTMENT.

The commissioners court or a member of the court may not attempt to influence the appointment of any person to an employee position authorized by the court under this subchapter.

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.

Everybody having a good laugh now?

Anonymous said...

Wow. Reading over many of these comments would be a sad occasion if not for the fact that they were so biased and misguided making them hilarious.

First, I had the pleasure of working under Brad Lollar in the PD's office as well. Personally, he was...IS...a very, very kind man. He tried to come into an office that had undergone so many Chief changes in the few years preceding him and made the most of it. He had the option of relinquishing Lynn Richardson of her job duties but for reasons of his own chose not to that. Brad has shared that he trusted Lynn and her experience and wanted her to remain on board. Of course, Lynn had the option to resign but out of mutual respect for not just Brad, but for the PDs office stayed on board. Those of you that are writing...be honest. How many of you asked her to stay as well? How many of you THOUGHT that you would have personally benefitted from her promotion to Chief. Oh, I don't know let's say suppose you were a Misdemeanor Supervisor...hoping that one promotion would beget another. Or if you were a former PD who left the office because you didn't see "eye to eye" with Chiefs Roden or Green and thought well if Richardson is promoted then maybe I'll get a fair shake. Or are there any bloggers on here that every turned your back on a fellow PD because they received a promotion you felt you deserved. I mean really...stop pointing that finger at the Commissioners Court...it's called LIFE people.
And let's talk about the "personnel files" that have been mentioned. Don't be a coward. I would hope that as an honorable and dedicated Public Defender you would defend your own rights and bring such an ethical issue to the table. I mean you do not this as a fact, right? But I guess having a "job" is more important than your ethics, right? Here's a fact that I know. Many PDs were lazy. That's just want it is...how many of you share or shared courts with them. And complaint after complaint...not a thing done because well "they were well-liked in the office". Let's poll the judges and just ask them flat out. How many of you made requests to have "new PDs" in your court due to performance issues? Let's poll the clients on the same topic? Brad had a tendency to just try to see the good in folks and had a hard time focusing on performance. Now, whomever referred to the African American being promoted to supervisor has omitted another fact. Right before the Commissioners accepted Brad's resignation....he had fired that PD. And prior to that had other disciplinary issues to address with that PD. Maybe she was disgruntled about his decision but it reflected on the office as a whole. And honestly, I know that several PDs "along executive" row felt that certain 'senior PDs' needed to "go". I recall their early departures, extended lunches, lack of contact and/or follow up with clients and why has no one mentioned how they would go out in the middle of the day to grab a drink? Not so funny now, huh? Respect is something you earn not assume the position to receive. Brad brought in the appellate division which is great but let's not over look the contributions of Mrs. Richardson who has held down the titles of 1st Assistant, Felony Supervisor, Mental Health Public Defender Supervisor, Mental Health Jail Diversion Program PD, and various community mental health board members titles simultaneously. She's the one that should be worried about the backstabbing. I mean...any "supervisor" that requests PDs to assist in collecting information on their co-worker because they are "lazy" should be the last one to speak out on this blog. I'm sure there are several codes, laws, and rights being violated there. And the Commissioners Court doesn't have to worry about scrutinizing the DA's office...there are plenty of other people jumping on board to do that...hopefully they'll find something better than the acting DA's driving record in the near future. I worked with all of the "dearly departed"...it's about 50/50 now right-two Caucasians and two African Americans? I wonder why it took that staff attorney so long to be promoted from the Misd. courts to the Felony courts? Was it his performance or a personal vendetta? Surely not. I mean aside from Brad, these other staff members had immediate supervisors...no one felt it worthy to go to bat for them? Or is it that they agreed with the release. Stop being BITTER and work on getting BETTER to save the PD's office that Dallas County so crucially needs.

"Michael"...people in glass houses should not toss stones, right? I wonder if your freelance writings even put your boss in the hot seat with those "bureaucratic operators". Just wondering....

Anonymous said...

My, my, my, but this last post was truly entertaining. He/she claims to have worked at the office and yet, obviously has abolutely no idea about the inner-politics of it. Where shall we begin?

When Brad was appointed by the Commissioners, it was a package deal. He had to keep LPR. Knowing that she was one of the persons responsible for gathering the goods on Green and handing her over to the CC, do you really think he trusted her? Or, was he doing what he had to do to keep the peace? Think about it.

You are abolutely incorrect about the black woman promoted to supervisor. She was never fired, nor reprimanded or anything like that prior to her promotion. The fact of the matter was that the two that were promoted ahead of her were more qualified, board certified and white. This last quality was unacceptable to JWP. He made everyone turn in their resumes so that he could see if the qualifications were comparable. Knowing both of those people quite well, I would say they are a cut above the subsequent appointee.

The gentleman that was fired, was done so at the urging of JWP. It was not until JWP discovered htat he was a black man, was the termination reversed. This is sad, because the attorney involved is a good lawyer, dedicated worker and a hell of a nice guy. I feel bad for him that he was caught up in the middle of this.

I have been practicing in Dallas for about 15 years and have close friends in and out of the PD's office. I have never known any "senior PD" to sneak out in the afternoon to grab a drink. I have, however, seen some of the younger one's having beer or cocktails at lunch.

Yes, LPR brought the mental health division to the office, but let's really take a ggod look at it. It is so inefficiently run that they cannot keep a PD there long enough to do the job. LPR is micro-managing them to death and allowing her cronies to walk all over those who are trying to do their best. It is a great concept, it is just not run well.

The bottom line is, Brad was beloved and now he is gone under curious circumstances. LPR is not trusted because of what she did to Green and the perception that she did the same thing to Brad with the help of JWP. Is it fair? Probably not. But, after all, perception often becomes reality.

Anonymous said...

I'll keep it brief:

There are "politics" in every office but it's usually not labeled "politics" until an office favorite is ousted. Until then it is excused as "just doing the job".

Fact: It was not a package deal and in saying so implies that Brad was cowardly bullied into accepting his new role as Chief PD. That's disrespectful to him. And even if he did have to keep her, he surely didn't have to give her as much trust and control as he did...to the disliking of several PDs that had hoped to get perks from the "new sherrif" in town. Ask Brad--don't insult him.

As for running J.G. out of the PD office. Ummm, how many PDs that were there when J.G. was at the helms and wanted her out AND contributed to her demise. You can lie on this blog all you want but you know the truth, the PDs that supported her departure knows the truth, and J.G. knows it. Trust ME! She has not wanted a thing to do with most of the people left in that office and there's a whole clique of them. That same click managed to get rid of most of her allies in there but there's still one or two lingering. You people are PHONIES!

I agree that felony PD that was being fired but later given the opportunity to stay is a great guy and to my knowledge never rubbed anyone the wrong. Except for maybe one supervisor who held him back for months and months without just cause(according to the writers on this blog)while promoting new PDs. A personal dislike held him and so many others like him back for way too long but that's not politicing right?

Let me be clear. The African American supervisor that I referred to did not get fired/rehired. I was talking about the other PD that someone suggested was more qualified. The one that sent the message out to people outside of the PD office suggesting that Brad was breaking codes and policies by not posting job vacancies but rather hiring personal friends or hand picking PDs he wanted to promote. You know, that "more qualified" board certified PD.

If LR had been micro-managing the mental health team it is because it was demanded. How many of you had this to say about the first attorney in that job (S):"sweet girl but not organized"; then (L):"organized but terrible attitude";(M): "organized but overwhelmed with bad attitude"; (C): "where the hell is he?". Brad and Lynn both received complaint after complaint about these PDs and many of you probably made some of them. How many complaints have gone toward LR directly from any of the other mental health programs she is involved with. And for the record, LR does not get the credit for starting the mental health team...that goes to JG. At least give her that credit she so rightly deserves.

If you have been practicing law for 15 years then I am certain that you do know many of the "senior PDs" and judging by your ignorance--lack of knowledge--to their pasttime one would wonder how many shots you have tossed back with them. People post what you will on this blog but it is SO funny because you know this is true. The fact that one of them is a supervisor--promoted by Brad--that can not even type or attach a file to an email document or complete his stats without assistance is ridiculous. But he is "more qualified" according to you. I do not want to throw out too many names here because I would hate to see anyone else lose their job but then again at least TG would have his lunch buddies again.

When it is all said and done if you are currently working in the PDs office under the leadership of LR, then ask yourself "why"? If you are not happy or feel that you can not trust your boss then leave. But you won't because most of you posting here have been there far too long and realize that you probably won't make it in law outside of the safehaven of that office. Chief after chief you have stayed and always found fault. But why stay just go. It has been easy money and now that you all are being held accountable (in all of the PD offices) it is racial.

Now that's entertaining...

Anonymous said...

I'm sure glad you kept it brief...

Anonymous said...

Hi. My name is E. A. Srere.

"The one that sent the message out to people outside of the PD office suggesting that Brad was breaking codes and policies by not posting job vacancies but rather hiring personal friends or hand picking PDs he wanted to promote. You know, that "more qualified" board certified PD."

I am the PD you referred to, 11:57 (anonymous). Brad WAS breaking county code by not posting jobs, by announcing people had been hired to a position that had NOT been posted. I did not send that notice to anyone but those that were sent the e-mail precipitating my reply, the one where he was announcing to the entire office staff that someone had been promoted to a NEW position that had not been posted. As far as I knew, that was the staff of the PD's office. So, the only person who shared this info with outsiders would be you, anonymous. My e-mail was appropriate, and I had every right to complain that someone had been promoted when the job wasn't posted. This is the county. The code says you have to post a job.


""Right before the Commissioners accepted Brad's resignation....he had fired that PD. And prior to that had other disciplinary issues to address with that PD. Maybe she was disgruntled about his decision but it reflected on the office as a whole.""

I was never reprimanded by Brad Lollar for anything. He never officially "fired" me. He was frustrated and under the gun at the time, and I made an ill-advised joke about the fact that the Commissioner's Court was wanting us to fill out paysheets for each case we handle. This was the day before he went before the Court and resigned. He was angry at me, I understand why, but he never filed any papers to even start the process. He "fired" me by posting to a listserve. I saw the post when I came in the following morning, took it at face value, and cleared my office out in 3 hours. I took all my belongings home, where I immediately had calls from two different people telling me to come back to the office, Brad said I wasn't fired, and he was announcing his resignation. As I was backing out of my driveway, Brad was pulling up to my house to ask me back. When we got back to the office, Brad apologized to me, I apologized for my thoughtlessness of my post to the listserve. We both then walked down the hall, where Brad FIRST apologized to me, then announced his resignation. The only times I have been "called out" by my supervisors in the 11 years I have been here: once when I was interrupting a speaker at a meeting with too many questions, and once when Jane Roden spoke to me to tell me my wardrobe was too casual for the courtroom.


I've been working at the PD's office for 11 years. Other people have been posting some things about me that are not true. I was trained how to be a PD by King Solomon. I was licensed in May of 1994, and was "hired" as an unpaid intern at the PD's office in August of that year. I worked unpaid with King for a year and a half. I was officially hired by Jane Roden in 1997. I have been certified as a criminal law specialist for several years. This is what I do. I used to enjoy it a lot more, when I could devote the time I needed to devote TO MY CLIENTS to do the best possible job for them. As for the comments pertaining to the missed promotion, I did NOT have seniority to PM, who is an excellent lawyer, and I consider her a friend. We both were licensed the same year. She was promoted, I was not, she's ABSOLUTELY qualified to be in the position she is in, and, besides, a lot of others weren't promoted, either.

I try to get along with everyone. I liked Brad, I have been a Lynn supporter for years. I was pulling for her to get the job when Brad was hired. I get along with the judges whose courts I am assigned to, my clients like me because I care for them and give them zealous representation. I (try) to get along with DAs, succeeding sometimes, and failing others. But I TRY to never treat anyone with disrespect.

That being said, anonymous "keep it brief", you got the guts to come to me in person and air your dissatisfaction with me? I wish you would. Perhaps we could mend fences, if I've offended or disrespected you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, E.A, for setting the record straight on that portion of the saga.

Anonymous said...

E.A. Thank you for setting the record straight. My intentions were to be brief but my frustrations with this "MESS" prevailed. I offer my apology to you because my intent was not to attack you--I know you and have never taken any personal issues with you--but rather to discredit the person suggesting that all of this was about race. To point out that non-African Americans have disagreed with the way that the office was ran from time to time. That is why I did not list your name or initials. I know that you consider PM to be a friend and I know that she feels the same towards you. I am really just disgusted and frustrated by the number of PDs getting involved in this ongoing drama by lashing out and defaming their peers. I have not been attacked yet so I guess that is a good thing. I do realize that some writers are not a part of the PD office and may simply be playing devil's advocate but enough is enough. I wish if they were not happy at the office they would leave. On that note, this will be my final post or reply because I do not want to add to the saga or hurt anyone else and trust me it is for those reasons alone. I appreciate your candor.

Anonymous said...

I like angels gold very much because it is very useful. In fact at first sight I have fallen in love with angels online gold. So no matter how much I have spent to buy angels gold, I never regret. Because of cheap angels online gold, I meet a lot of friends.