Friday started badly for John Bradley, the Williamson County district attorney selected last fall by Gov. Rick Perry to ride herd over the troublesome scientists on the Texas Forensic Science Commission.See related Grits coverage of the meeting:
His first official act of the morning was to violate the state's open meetings law.
Then his day got worse. ...
Bradley unilaterally wrote the agenda for Friday's meeting to focus on new policies and procedures, omitting the Willingham report. He also unilaterally chose Harlingen (which is as close to Mexico City as to Fort Worth, where three of the nine uncompensated and busy commission members live), making wrong my snide prediction that he would hold the meeting in Presidio to discourage reporters.
The session took place in a modest meeting room at a Marriott Courtyard Hotel. A few area reporters were seated around the walls, as well as a handful of protesters carrying signs. A camera crew from the national Innocence Project streamed the meeting live on the group's Web site.
But Bradley evicted an Austin-based documentary crew before the meeting started. One of its members called the attorney general's office in Austin, which sent a message to Barbara Dean, the assistant district attorney who has attended all of the commission's meetings, providing legal guidance since its inception.
An hour and a half into the meeting, Dean, seated behind Bradley, tapped him on the shoulder and quietly spoke into his ear. He announced a 10-minute break, and when the meeting resumed the film crew was in the room.
When I asked Bradley about the matter, he curtly told me to talk to the film crew. I said I had and he replied with annoyance: “Then you know.”
His defensiveness was understandable. Enforcement of the Open Meetings Act is the responsibility of local district attorneys such as himself.
Monday, February 01, 2010
Bradley violated Open Meetings Act at forensic hearing
A Houston Chronicle column by Rick Casey ("The revolt of the scientists," Jan. 31) details behind the scenes wrangling at the Forensic Science Commission meeting on Friday, in which Chairman John Bradley first ejected, then reluctantly allowed in, a documentary camera crew tracking the Willingham case. Here's a tasty excerpt: