Saturday, April 26, 2008

Prosecutors blogging

Jamie Spencer alerts us to the existence of the da blog, apparently based in Harris County and writing from a prosecutor's perspective. Adjust your blogrolls accordingly.

And speaking of prosecutor blogs (which for whatever reason are relatively few and far between) the da blog joins the anonymous bloggers at Dallas Sidebar and Life at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center in Texas blogging from a prosecutorial perspective. The latter has become more interesting to me lately since the writer has completed, for now, her serial hagiography of failed GOP DA candidate Kelly Siegler and moved on to other topics.

Here's an excellent post explaining in detail how the DA's office handles intake and soliciting war stories from current and former users of the system. Following up, we get a discussion of Harris County's 24/7 Probable Cause Court and the bond schedule. There's also a reaction to the recent feature in the Houston Chronicle on alleged cronyism in juvenile appointments, a topic I'd failed to mention here when it came out. Nice work, AHCL.

Of course, we still get the occasional lament about an "end of an era" at the Harris DA's office (which makes me want to shout, "Hurray!), but that's the price of admission for getting to the good stuff. ;)


Murray Newman said...

Hey Grits,
I'm glad you found the DA Texan's Blog. It's pretty good at showing the warped and lighter sides of what happens in a D.A.'s Office.

I'm also glad you liked the articles on the behind the scenes stuff. I'm trying to stay off the more political stuff at the moment, and leave that to you experts. Let me know if you've got any ideas on topics you'd like to hear about.

Take it easy on the lamenting of the End of the Era. We may have had a bad boss, but there are a lot of good people that work in the Harris County D.A.'s Office that you would most definitely NOT be yelling "Hooray" over their departure. Kind of a broad brush there, don't you think?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"you would most definitely NOT be yelling "Hooray" over their departure"

Then they should stay. But I'm happy to see Rosenthal go, and glad his leadership team won't be perpetuated by his replacement.

Anonymous said...

Let me just say that I am here solely for thoughtful independent analysis of the Texas FLDS fiasco.

Anonymous said...

I suspect the paucity of prosecutor blogs is that they're government employees, and thus, feel constrained in publishing their opinions online.

Too bad, because it would be nice to hear more of what they have to say.

Murray Newman said...

Bingo, Steve.

But I will try to address any topics that anyone wants to discuss.

Anonymous said...

It certainly is refreshing now that the election is over and the "OH my GOD I really, no REALLY, wish I was Seigler AND the world will end if she is not elected" worship phase is now completed.

Nonetheless, AHCL now has to check her perspectives on daring new prosecution issues like the open file policy, which, for those of you who don't know, is not the policy Harris County has. Their files can be CLOSED. Many jurisdictions in the US went to completely open files in the 1970's and 1980's, but not Travis, Dallas and Harris Counties.

Murray Newman said...

Um, okay Anon, I'm not sure where you get your information, but Harris County does have an open file policy. Seeing as how the average District Court has about 750 pending cases in it, there are just too many cases to NOT have one.

It is true that they can become closed, but that usually happens under one of two circumstances. The first being the odd case where there is some sort of information within the file that needs to be protected. The second is when the defense attorney has done something that has caused the prosecutor to no longer trust them with the access to the file. In my time at the Office, I believe I closed a file a whopping total of twice to a defense attorney. I would venture that probably happens in less than .01% of the cases.

Anonymous said...

Well, I can't say that I am surprised because even the DA's want to share and defend their sides. But unfortunately, even the most knaive person should see that the the prosecutors spend tax payer money and have faulty witnesses and even have racism and hate in their hearts and use it to their advantage. And so grows agencies like The Innocent Project and organizations such like that. I use to support the DA's and even leaned to the feelings that if someone was arrested or taken to court - they were guilty until the much publized moments of TYC and those kids got their from DA's and the increased jail sentences from I think it was Collin County, even after they got grant money, and those black fella's that have done ten and twenty years for crimes they didn't commit and now I have to pay for their incarceration and then their release because some over zealous color hating DA pushed through, withheld evidence or simply overlooked the truth. I really don't care for the blog and no, I have never been to jail. A sign of the times, I would like to see DA's prosecuted when and if it can be proven they didn't have enough evidence to prosecute but still moved forward or when it can be proven that they over sentenced. I'm sick and tired of my hard earned money paying for releases. I am sure I am not the only one.