In a Jan. 26 letter, Beyler told [Chairman Pete] Gallego: "Mr. Bradley.... asked me not to appear before your committee. He was apparently concerned about your motives in inviting me and was very concerned that you wished to do the Commission harm."
"I was not at all convinced by his concerns and decided to come to Austin. As it turns out, his fears were wholly without merit. I very much appreciated that the committee members did not ask questions about the pending TFSC work," Beyler wrote in the letter to Gallego.
Bradley, of course, maintains he was only concerned about harm that might befall Mr. Beyler's reputation if he said the wrong thing, but in context the move looks like a cheap bullying tactic.
FWIW, in the testimony Bradley tried to prevent, Mr. Beyler suggested that judges be allowed to retain their own independent experts to evaluate forensic science, the way that the court retains independent experts for psych evaluations at competency hearings that aren't beholden to either party. An interesting idea, but pretty noncontroversial stuff. Beyler was right to reject Mr. Bradley's order, demand, suggestion, advice, or whatever it was.
Speaking of people saying "No" to John Bradley, Rick Casey at the Chronicle has another column on last week's Texas Forensic Science Commission meeting in Harlingen, describing how commissioners rebuffed efforts by the chairman to create a General Counsel position that would eat up most of the budget with redundant legal services already provided by the Attorney General. (See the discussion from Grits' liveblog of the hearing.)
Viewed as a whole, it's hard to see the chairman's recent actions as anything more than obstructionist, aiming to delay or quash discussions of questionable forensics instead of facilitating them. I'm heartened that he's at least getting some pushback. The DA is not a fellow who's used to people telling him "no."
See Grits coverage of last week's FSC meeting:
- Bradley violated Open Meetings Act at forensic hearing
- Hectoring approach works for John Bradley at Forensic Science Commission, for now
- Forensic Science Commission meets today, but does it have rulemaking authority? Some say 'no'
- Forensic Science Commission meeting in Harlingen, but Willingham off the agenda
And coverage of the Jan. 11 House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee hearing: