- Houston Chronicle: Two Harris County prosecutors face contempt charges
- KTRK-TV: Judge threatens top DA assistants with jail time
- Murray Newman: An interesting docket entry
How much simpler would all this have been if, when Houston PD first discovered problems with the BAT vans back in 2010, they'd informed prosecutors and addressed the technical and training problems instead of blaming the messengers? What if, when the DA's office discovered HPD had concealed BAT van errors, they stepped up and took the hit on Brady violations (withholding exculpatory evidence) instead of blowing smoke and attempting to discredit the whistleblowers? And what if, once prosecutors were ordered out of the grand jury room, they'd just abided by the order and waited to see how things turned out?
Odds are, if the HPD crime lab had its house in order a year ago, this would all have been fixed behind the scenes and never been made public. If the DA had owned up to the problem after defense attorneys found out about it, this would have been a one-day story instead of an ongoing drama. And now that the DA's office appears to be defying/circumventing the grand jury, perhaps even illegally violating its secrecy provisions, they've opened up a can of worms that may end up taking DA Pat Lykos down.
MORE: Mark Bennett sees political machinations behind the "runaway" grand jury, with the investigation possibly serving as a stalking horse for Lykos' political foes. He suggests there's at minimum an "appearance of impropriety" from appointing a special prosecutor who was a major contributor to Lykos' 2008 primary opponent, Kelly Siegler, and who is known to have "bad blood" with the DA. That all may be true, but it's also true that if the situation had been handled more forthrightly earlier on, there would be nothing to investigate now. AND MORE: See a followup post from Bennett. Murray Newman predicts delay tactics.