Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hectoring approach works for John Bradley at Forensic Science Commission, for now

If I were a Forensic Science Commissioner who'd gone to Harlingen for yesterday's meeting, I'd be pretty darn grumpy at my chairman today for:
  • Usurping power from commissioners: Bradley refused to put "action items" on the agenda that were designated in the minutes from the last meeting.
  • Hijacking the meeting agenda: The chairman arrived in Harlingen with a detailed set of "rules" that were never authorized by the commission and insisted they focus on them exclusively.
  • Concealing key activities from commissioners: Most FSC members were never told the chair was drafting rules nor did they authorize him to do so. They were first informed of the rules' existence and given a draft the day before the meeting.
  • Wasting commissioners' time: After spending all day on "rules," the chairman revealed at the end of the meeting that the commission had no rulemaking authority, announcing that these were only voluntary "guidelines" representing an informal agreement that is "not even enforceable on ourselves."
  • Ignoring "process": Though the Commission historically operated under Robert's Rules, Bradley ran the meeting on a "consensus" basis, which removed limits on the chair, obfuscated members' right to control the process, and allowed Bradley to railroad through his agenda.
  • Dissembling: When a commissioner told the chairman her vote hinged on whether old cases already in the pipeline - including ones where the Commission had already paid outside consultants (there are only two) - would be subjected to the new committee process, Bradley said no, they would not. After the vote, when the meeting had nearly ended, Bradley insisted that Willingham's case must go through "part of" the new committee process. If he'd been honest about that during the debate, IMO a majority of commissioners present wouldn't have supported his rules.
That was really quite a display. I'll give him this. John Bradley came into Harlingen with an agenda; he was on his A-game when other commissioners were back on their heels and didn't know what to expect; and as a result he got what he wanted out of the meeting: Delay discussing anything substantive about flawed forensic science and a new "process" in which he can bury the Willingham case in committee until after the November election.

It was a pretty brazen performance, but judging by minimalist MSM media coverage, the Williamson County DA
clearly made a good bet that - by moving the meeting to the Rio Grande Valley on a Friday and waiting to produce the rules until the last minute - he would get away with such bold hectoring of the commission. It's not a great start to Bradley's relationship with his fellow commissioners, but he's obviously not there to make friends. He's there to delay the commission's work and to impede the Willingham investigation by hook or by crook. And he's succeeding.

MORE: See AP's coverage of the meeting.


Anonymous said...

The only thing being done by "hook or crook" is this so called "investigation" being advocated by that New York liberal anti-death penalty out fit and the left leaning mainstream media. These people are rabid in their zeal to find an executed "innocent." They have no regard for the real truth and will villify anyone who dares to oppose them. Instead of using the Forensic Science Commission to achieve legitimate improvements in the field of forensic science, these liberals wanted to hijack the commission and "investigate" standards in arson investigation which haven't even been used for the last ten years. This was nothing more than a transparent smear campaign against the governor and the Texas criminal justice system based upon a bunch of lies and misinformation. The best evidence of their real motives is their whining over not being able to achieve their goal right in the middle of an election year. News flash, Grits--most people with good sense in Texas believe the jury in the Willingham case got it right! Kudos to John Bradley for having the cajones to stand up to these bleeding hearts and put the brakes on this charade!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

8:57 - Your repeated use of "they" without a referent sound like the ramblings of a paranoid. Who constitutes "they" and who on this panel do you believe is carrying water for "them"?

Specifically, when you write, "these liberals wanted to hijack the commission," which "liberals" on the commission are you speaking of? They're all appointed by the (presently GOP) Governor, Lt. Governor and the AG. Which of these Republicans is responsible for unleashing this atrocity, if you don't mind telling us, Mr. Anonymous?

Back in the real world, when the commission had six "action items" designated from their last meeting and the chair instead insists they discuss lengthy new non-rules he only distributed yesterday, that's "hijacking" the meeting, plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

Were the "action items" from the last meeting on yesterday's posted agenda? If not, any discussion of those items would have been violative of the Texas Open Meetings Law.

doran said...

Grits, I think your use of the word "dissembling" -- which is defined as "to conceal the truth under a false appearance" -- is inappropriate to Mr. Bradley's actions in Harlingen. The word "lie" -- defined as "a false statement made with intent to deceive" -- seems much more accurate.

Mr. Bradley's Harlingen performance is exactly the kind of behavior we have all come to expect of conservative Republican politicians. They will lie even when they really don't need to, when it is contrary to the interests of the position or people they supposedly represent, when the nature of the lie is perfectly obvious to all, and even when it is contrary to their own, personal best interests. Conservative Republicans have become the great practitioners of The Big Lie.

Why? Well, because lying appeals to a certain segment of the voting public, such as Anon 8:57. That segment of the public just totally revel in well-told lies; they get down in it and roll around like curs in a fresh pile of cow shit.

What we need to do is stop using polite words like "dissemble" when describing such affronts to the truth. Call them liars, please. They are a shame upon our public discourse and politics.

doran said...

Who put the agenda together, doofus?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, those lying Republicans! You mean like John Edwards and his "baby momma?" Bill Clinton and Monica?

doran said...

Can't help but notice you haven't denied that conservative Republicans, unlike Edwards and Clinton, are really accomplished liars.

Anonymous said...

And Charlie Rangel and his income taxes? And Rod Blogoyavich--the disgaced former governor of Illinois? All fine Republicans huh, doran? That's the problem with slinging that cowshit at others, dude! Some of it inevitably gets on you too!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

It amazes me that Bradley's defenders here think that pointing to dissembling by Democrats somehow excuses the practice by the Chair of the Forensic Science Commission. What do Charlie Rangel or John Edwards have to do with the meeting in Harlingen yesterday? Or was that just a transparent rhetorical ploy to stymie and divert debate?

Doran, to be fair, Clinton and Edwards are both REALLY accomplished liars.

To both sides, the relative veracity of partisan political figures is not the subject of this post. Stay on topic please. This comment string will be moderated for both relevance and civility. Play nice.

doran said...

The point is, while there are Democrats who are liars, some more accomplished than others, Democrats have not elevated the every-now-and-then lie about lovers, taxes, or whatever, to an everyday, all day, 24/7 technique to be used in just about every partisan political discussion they get involved in. Conservative Republicans have done exactly that. Lying, for Conservative Republicans, is a tactic they employ in politics in lieu of truth and accuracy.

A good example is that of the Republican Rep. from Texas who spun out a long, lie-filled question to Pres. Obama yesterday. It was exactly the kind of lie-filled talking point that Conservative Republicans routinely resort to. Obama politely called that guy a liar, which was exactly the thing to do.

The lie-at-every-opportunity approach to political discourse is deadly to civil society. When a Commission Chairman tells a flat-out lie to a Commission member to get her support, that Chairman has corrupted the very Commission of which he is Chairman. How much sense does that make?

I really don't understand, despite my theory about some people really approving of lying, why people think it is just fine to behave in that fashion. If their children were to behave that way, they would probably make then go stand in the corner for at least half an hour. That is what Mr. Bradley should require himself to do.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Doran writes: "I really don't understand, despite my theory about some people really approving of lying, why people think it is just fine to behave in that fashion."

Bottom line: Because it works. At least in the short term and sometimes in politics much longer than that. But it can come back to bite you, hard, in terms of long-term credibility, once you develop that reputation. I don't think it's a partisan issue at all. I've seen pols from both parties behave that way, and also known pols from both parties who are deeply offended by such behavior. Personal character and partisan affiliation are generally unrelated subjects, in my experience.

gravyrug said...

The point is, whatever your political leaning, the only thing the meeting accomplished is delay. There was no discussion of the actual business of the commission, which is the way forensic science is used in the Texas legal system. It seems pretty clear that this delay was deliberately engineered by the chairman, whatever his reasons might be. This doesn't speak well for him, or for Gov. Perry's decision to appoint him. Until the FSC starts work on establishing how to apply science to criminal investigation and prosecution, we Texans are left hanging, with outdated, underfunded, poorly understood, and sometimes corrupt forensics making true justice that much harder to achieve.

Robert Langham said...

Kay Hutchinson ought to take this commission and beat Perry over the head with it.

I'm a conservative- far past republicanism...and I expect these commissions to be run in a fair and principled way gathering the facts and letting the chips fall as they may. Bradley is a disgrace to public service. Perry's appointment of this man is a disgrace to pubic service.

Get rid of Bradley said...

8:57 Anonymous is either Bradley or one of his puppets. Bradley has no problem sending kids to prison, including INNOCENT kids with mental disabilities just ask former lawyer Charles Randy Lepley. Bradley has no problem withholding evidence from the defense attorneys and then destroying that same evidence once a plea in in place.

You can spot Bradley and his small following a mile away. They use terms such as bleeding hearts, treehuggers, liberals, when referring to people who care about real truth and justice.

You will find Bradley, the hypocrit, at his Church tomorrow. I wonder if he knows that Jesus is a bleeding heart.

Anonymous said...

Even if the TFSC did formulate protocols and procedures, would they still have any "teeth"? Or would they just issue stern warnings to those labs who are found in-the-wrong? Maybe a disapproving head shake? Wag of the finger?

R. Shackleford said...

Bradley is a disgrace. Wilco is in a sad state while this guy is in office. Wilco is a byword for corruption and over zealous prosecution. And this won't change until we oust this power hungry madman, and get someone in his place who actually wants the job to make a better county for all of us to live in, as opposed to Bradley, who clearly just wants to garner personal power.

Anonymous said...

Maybe in April the FSC can also study why the vicious killer of a Houston Police Officer was in general population and able to make it to the outside perimeter fence during the escape attempt at the Polunsky Unit; instead of being on death row where he clearly deserves to be!!! Now THAT would be a productive use of the taxpayers' money!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

1:24, to "study" that question you'd have to ask the Houston jurors who sent him there. One supposes they had their reasons. But you won't find the answer trolling the comments of this blog.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 9:23:

If it is not an agency, it is not required to comply with the Open Meetings Act (posting meeting).

Anonymous said...

I say be a man, for once in your life, and instead of your repeated personal attacks against John Bradley, post a poll to ask your readers who has the best interest of the citizens of Texas at heart, Grits or John Bradley.

Even on your own site, you would lose overwhelmingly.

How come we never read about the victims of crime on your soapbox?

Anonymous said...

Grits is going to be on his soapbox and he will always lean left. If you don't like it he says to stop reading his blog.

Harry Homeless said...

It's obvious Perry thinks Willingham is innocent by his implementation of stalling tactics. Were he of the belief Willingahm was truly guilty he'd welcome the commission and trumpet it bere the election.

But I do like the first guy's idea Perry wussed out to vague people in New York and that his office is controlled by reporters! Do Texans really want someone who kowtows to New Yorkers and the media? But maybe he's right and Perry has no backbone.