Monday, December 22, 2008

Lawyers for polygamist Moms top Texas Lawyer's "Impact Players"

Texas Lawyer magazine has given its annual "Impact Player of the Year" moniker to attorneys they've dubbed "The Mom Squad" who represented the fundamentalist Mormon parents in the Great Eldorado Polygamist Roundup this spring, particularly highlighting the work of Julie Balovich and Amanda Chisholm from Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid. These are well-deserved kudos, properly also shared with the many other attorneys who traveled to San Angelo from all over the state to represent FLDS parents in emergency removal hearings.

I find it fascinating that opinion leaders' views have now shifted so mightily about whether the state was correct to take the kids. Reports TL:
Jack Sampson, a University of Texas School of Law professor who founded the law school's Children's Rights Clinic, says the Supreme Court's opinion drove home a point paramount in all parents' rights cases that will be remembered for a long time in Texas family courts: The state needs evidence of a threat to remove children from their homes on an emergency basis.
The irony: That's a message that was lost on Sampson himself when the event actually took place. During the entire mess, he positioned himself firmly in CPS' and Judge Walther's cheering section and made himself widely available to be quoted in media accounts as an expert on the subject. Balovich, Chisholm, many other lawyers, and also the Third Court of Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court all distinguished themselves in that process, we can now see with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. But the same cannot be said for folks like Prof. Sampson who crowed to the press about unproven abuse and spun justifications in the media to cover for what was essentially an illegal kidnapping at gunpoint by the state based on false allegations.

Texas Lawyer also published nice features on its runner-up list of "Impact Players" for 2008, which includes:
  • Andrea Marsh of the Texas Fair Defense Project, whose first case as an attorney was Rothgery v. Gillespie County which was decided in her favor this year by the US Supreme Court and is presently transforming how Texas counties handle indigent defense.
  • Lloyd Kelley, a Houston attorney whose civil suit revealed emails to and from then-District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal that ultimately brought down the powerful DA's administration, only to see his former law partner, C.O. Bradford, narrowly lose the election to succeed his nemesis to Republican Pat Lykos.
  • Robert Ryan and Jeffrey Dorrell, two Harris County grand jurors who bucked the DA's office to insist on indicting Texas Supreme Court Justice David Medina for arson.
  • Gerry Birnberg, chair of the Harris County Democratic Party whose candidates nearly swept Harris County judicial races and won their first countywide seats - including Sheriff - in many years.
  • The prosecution team in the Holy Land Foundation case (more on this in an upcoming post).
  • Hurricane Ike.

10 comments:

rage said...

Who was the poster in every FLDS thread who kept justifying the state's actions? Sounds like he and Sampson have a lot in common, except Sampson has seen the error of his ways.

Birnberg is a waste of space. He ran several horribly unqualified candidates who just so happened to win because Obama was at the top of the ticket. His mishandling of the DA candidates filing debacle is widely credited as the reason Bradford lost. His actions made sure that a moderate Lykos ran instead of a crazy Siegler, whom Bradford could have defeated because she represented the last part of the Holmes/Rosenthal menage a trois. Pun intended.

But I have to say that aside from a few political firings Lykos seems poised to make some serious changes. As a lawyer she may not be any more qualified than Bradford, but Bradford never really was a lawyer either. Lykos will be a better administrator and policy maker than Bradford has already shown himself to be as a Mayor Brown cronie.

common sense said...

Kelly Siegler was by far the best candidate and would have handily kicked Bradford's butt in the general election. Bradford's loss with the Obama factor merely highlighted what a bad candidate he was not what a good candidate Lykos was. Lykos won the Republican runoff against Siegler because of low voter turnout and a corrupt Harris County Republican machine whose "blue hair base" carried the day.

Johnny Holmes was a terrific DA.

Chuck Rosenthal was a complete disgrace on every level. To label Kelly Siegler crazy based on her boss' issues is tantamount to labeling a president's entire cabinet crazy just because the POTUS did a very poor job. If you really want to talk about crazy....Patty Lykos fits that bill to a tee. I was talking to a District Judge at a Christmas party over the weekend who told me "it was horrible working WITH Lykos when she was a fellow judge, I can't imagine how terrible it would be to work FOR her..."
Change purely for the sake of change with no credible basis is "crazy". Lykos has zero administrative skills other than mismanaging a few county employees in her courtroom. Couple that with her bad people skills and mean disposition and the end result will be even worse than Rosenthal.
Don't confuse Lykos' complete lack of qualifications and subsequent failure to carry out justice effectively with that of being a moderate....time will prove your assessment to be a gross misjudgment.

rage said...

Kelly Siegler was by far the best candidate and would have handily kicked Bradford's butt in the general election.

No way.

Bradford's loss with the Obama factor merely highlighted what a bad candidate he was not what a good candidate Lykos was

Agreed. I believe I said basically the same thing. But I do think Lykos is better than Bradford.

Don't confuse Lykos' complete lack of qualifications and subsequent failure to carry out justice effectively with that of being a moderate....time will prove your assessment to be a gross misjudgment.

All I said was that she'd be better than Bradford. Do you agree with that?

123txpublicdefender123 said...

Yay for Julie Balovich, my old law school classmate! It's nice to see one of us who chose the public interest field instead of working for a big law firm get some recognition from Texas Lawyer.

common sense said...

Bradford and Lykos were each such terrible choices it's hard to say who would be worse. I think Bradford would have been more blatantly bad because of his overt high level of racism and his "not being the sharpest tool in the shed". Lykos will be more insidious in her corruption with her good old boy politics. She has a miserable reputation among most that have worked with her. She is arbitrary and spiteful with a narcissistic persona not even Rosenthal could compete with.
As for Kelly Siegler, you seem to have either 1. bought into the Lykos campaign theme that Kelly Siegler was just like Chuck Rosenthal or 2. know someone who is bitter that their lawyering skills didn't match up to hers or 3. believe the biased media who have their own agenda.

rage said...

No, I reached my conclusions about Siegler on my own, not that you'll ever believe someone could look at your princess and reach the conclusion that Harris County is better off without her. With all the resources at their disposal, hiding exculpatory evidence, and the judges on their side, any prosecutor can get a conviction. In that light her record is not impressive in the last.

common sense said...

Rage,
I see you went with option #2.

rage said...

common sense: I don't know any lawyer who has tried a case against her. Sorry if your idol is believed by some to be flawed. You can keep worshiping her though, don't let my opinion get in the way of your infatuation.

kbp said...

Sampson, if the reporter was accurate(!), did not even get it correct when he said "ALL the children". The opinion was only for a limited number of the children. Judge "en masse" walther is the one that acted on it.

Anonymous said...

I like to play Asda Story, because I like its name, also I like Asda Story gold. My friend told me that she would buy Asda Story money for me, and I was so happy. I do not like to go shopping, because it always spends a lot of money, but I never hesitate to buy Asda Story Gold. You can buy cheap Asda Story gold; it is so easy and convenient.