Monday, March 07, 2011

Nominations Chair: Bradley appointment as forensic chair looks doomed as Rs join opposition

Peggy Fikac at the Houston Chronicle quotes Texas Senate Nominations Chairman Bob Deuell on the waning prospects for Williamson County DA John Bradley's confirmation by the Senate as Forensic Science Commission Chairman.
"The Democrats are not going to vote for him, and there are two Republicans that are not," said Senate Nominations Committee Chairman Bob Deuell, R-Greenville. It takes a two-thirds vote of the Senate to confirm the governor's appointees. There are 19 Senate Republicans and 11 Democrats.

"He probably thought he could talk a couple of Democrats into voting for him. I don't think he can talk four" into it, Deuell said.
Bada Bing, Bada Boom. That should just about do it. Cue the exit music, maestro. Coming back from that deficit would require Lazarus-like qualities. Especially since, from what I've heard via the rumor mill, if push came to shove, more than two Republicans might end up voting against the FSC chairman. There are several R swing votes who'd probably appreciate not being forced to make a public decision. Now, it seems unlikely they'll be required to do so.

What I think did in the nomination was a) Bradley's bellicose performance at the Nominations Committee where he openly insulted Sen. Rodney Ellis, and b) his arrogance, duplicity and manipulation of fellow Republican appointees to the Forensic Science Commission. In his latest column, Rick Casey at the Houston Chronicle recounts an episode exemplifying the latter behavior:
In July, he presented the commission with an unsigned memorandum finding that it didn't have jurisdiction over the Willingham case and claimed it was "drafted, reviewed and edited through the combined efforts of the two members of the FSC who are lawyers, counsel for the Attorney General's Office."

When that was exposed as untrue, Bradley, who couldn't quite admit that he wrote the memo, joined in an 8-0 vote rejecting its conclusions.
Casey's right, that was a truly surreal moment. He also describes another example predating Bradley's ascendancy to the FSC chairmanship which was the subject of questioning from Sen. Ellis to me during testimony at last week's Senate Criminal Justice Committee: Destroying DNA evidence as part of plea agreements to preclude future testing.
Bradley's attitude toward the use of science was demonstrated back in 2002 when, on an Internet bulletin board for Texas prosecutors, he responded to a prosecutor who wanted a suspect to waive any further DNA testing as a condition of a plea bargain.

"A better approach might be to get a written agreement that all the evidence can be destroyed after the conviction and sentencing. Then, there is nothing left to retest."

The reason it should be destroyed is that if the defendant later shows evidence he is innocent, he might get his earlier agreement set aside.

"Innocence, though, has proven to trump most anything," Bradley wrote, as if this is a problem.
I asked him what interest the state has in destroying evidence, especially when scores of Texas convicts have been found innocent based on DNA testing after serving years in prison. 

He said we need finality and painted a picture of thousands of inmates filing endless appeals.
When you go look at the comment string on that topic now, the portions quoted by Casey have been excised from the bulletin board of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association (and for the record, the comment string in question happened in 2007, not 2002, which is the date JB signed onto the User Forum, not the date of the posts in question.). However, when at last Tuesday's hearing, Sen. Ellis asked me what I knew about the practice of securing destruction orders for DNA evidence, I testified that most of what I knew on the subject came from this TDCAA User Forum string and discussions that grew out of it in these two Grits posts. I told Ellis I'd kept a copy of the string in case it had been deleted before we were finished talking, and have uploaded it here (Bradley is commenter "JB") for posterity. :)

So, although his original posts have been deleted at TDCAA, Mr. Bradley can't deny supporting destruction of DNA evidence in order to forestall future innocence claims. Nor can he deny his aggressive, bullying behavior on the commission, nor his belligerence to lawmakers - too many witnesses and cameras were there for that. At this point, the case against him is clear and his own defense isn't credible. As a prosecutor, he would no doubt advise someone in his position to take a plea bargain and resign themselves to their fate. In this forum, he should instead just walk away and save the taxpayer the time and resources required for further deliberation. The Texas Senate has bigger fish to fry this session.

My hope is that either a) the Governor names one of the remaining commissioners as chair and selects a new prosecutor rep who's less opposed to the core mission of the agency, or b) the Legislature amends the FSC authorizing legislation to allow the commission members to pick their own chair. Mr. Bradley played a key role in diverting the commission's focus from scientific issues and shutting down its activities, attempting (for the most part successfully) to make the public debate about capital punishment instead of flawed arson science. This unexpected development presents an opportunity for the FSC to renew its focus and gain traction on investigative and public education projects that were all shut down from the moment John Bradley became their leader.

Like The Terminator, he'll be back. But at least there may be a happy ending (for everybody but JB) to this particular episode.


Hook Em Horns said...

John Bradley likely has done himself in with his belligerent conduct in front on the Texas Senate. It's one thing to bully people into submission in court or Williamson, County but when you take on Senators with a smart-ass mouth, your days are numbered.

This man's ego is as big as Texas and it's time for him to be taken down. The significance of this decision is HUGE. It will likely pave the way for the eventual finding that Texas texecuted an innocent man and could be, COULD BE, the beginning of the end of Bradley in Williamson County.

Time will tell...

South Austin Viceroy said...

Hook Em:

I have complete faith in the voters of WILCO to continue to re-elect Bradley.

Anonymous said...

Is there any place in Austin where I could join you for a crow sandwich. I'm looking forward to it!

Anonymous said...

Re: crow sandwich--that was Charles in Tulia. I'm philosophically and ideologically opposed to this annonymity stuff.

Hook Em Horns said...

The champaign is ready to pour!!!

doran said...

I've tried to imagine the most fun thing Mr. Bradley could do in the aftermath of his spectacular fail. What I've come up with is this: He runs in the Republican Primary for Congress against former Williamson County District Judge John Carter (who is now the US Rep for the area including WilCo). That contest would fracture the Republican Party in WilCo, and maybe in that particular House District. Only an ego driven, smart assed, loosed-liped, insensitive Republican dolt would try it.

Anonymous said...

Hang on ... he forged something that he claimed was a legal opinion from a govt. entity - isn't that a crime? Tampering with a Gov't record (Penal Code 37.10?), plain vanilla Forgery? Time for someone to file an information, and to yank his bar card. Has this been reported to the bar authorities? Time for Mr. Bradley to spend some time in the land of striped sunshine ... ?

Steve Egger said...

This man is too ARROGANT and wants to IGNORE science!

No public servant should be allowed to do that (elected or
State employee)

Anonymous said...

Bradley will never run against a district judge in WilCo. Maybe move into their chair should they decide to retire or go up the ladder. Unless Perry appoints him to a much higher court, Bradley will continue on for years as the WilCo DA. Few have the balls to run against him. Bradley has had only one opponent since being appointed district attorney by RICK PERRY in 2001 and that was in a primary election. The district judges aren't going anywhere either. Together with the DA they will continue to breed more lawyers/prosecutors just like them. They will continue their brand of "tough on crime" using what ever methods or means they so choose. They will continue plowing over many of the Williamson County people they should be serving. They will continue destroying the lives of individuals and their families.

Before Perry appointed Bradley to the DA's office, JB was asst DA to DA Ken Anderson. PERRY appointed DA Anderson to District Court Judge in 2001 (same time.) This coincided with Judge Carter's campaign and being elected US Senator to represent the District.

George said...

I am disappointed in how things are playing out in Austin over John Bradley.

Consider the current fiasco in WilCo . County Attorney Jana Duty is going up against a few of Bradley and his boys (County Judge Dan Gattis, Attorney Mike Davis, and former county court judge Don Higginbotham.) County Attorney Duty called on Bradley to investigate why an attorney billed and was paid for by the county to represent former County Judge Don Higginbotham in a personal lawsuit regarding the claims of sexual harassment filed by two female employees. (Other women who had been harrased were afraid to come forward)

Duty claims County Judge Gattis worked out a deal with the attorney without the knowledge or approval of the Commissioners Court for the attorney to be paid by taxpayers dollars in this personal matter.

Gattis, Higgy & Mike Davis are all former Marines. It is stated in the lawsuit against Higgy that Attorney Mike Davis walked around the WilCo courthouse in his Marine jacket with the noted "UNITED WE STAND" while talking about the case in an effort to not only intimidate the women who had filed suit against Higgy, but to intimidate anyone else who might consider coming forward.

Duty went to Bradley to investigate the allegations of wrongful doings/billing by the attorney and others. It appears Bradley did little if anything. Bradley claimed to have contacted the Texas Rangers, the Travis County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit, and two lawyers from the Attorney General’s office and was advised there was nothing to investigate. This isn’t true. The AG’s office didn’t respond, but Duty did hear back from the Texas Rangers and Integrity Unit. Their stories didn’t match up to Bradley’s. It appears Bradley may have lied about his conversations with the Rangers and the Integrity Unit. This wouldn’t be a landmark first time Bradley has possibly lied to the citizens of Williamson County.

Williamson County worked out a deal with the attorney accused of wrongfully billing WilCo for defending Higgy’s despicable behavior against two female county employees. The attorney will "work" it off by providing legal services to the court system. He does handle court appointed criminal cases. How would you like this guy for your court appointed lawyer in a felony case?

As far as Higgy, the Williamson County Bar Association gave him a retirement party.

Williamson County Attorney Jana Duty's goose may be cooked. She went against the gang. Rumor has it that one of Bradley's boys from the DA's office will be running against Jana Duty in next election.

Bradley has friends in high places as evidenced by the actions of our Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor, and Governor.

Joe D said...

Bradleys boy Tommy Coleman? He can't tie his own shoes without assistance. He has no experience and jb's coat-tails aren't as long as he thinks they are. Maybe Duty should run against Bradley. That would be a sight to see. I think this has made Duty even stronger standing up to this bunch. I respect her more and I know a lot of my neighbors and many others think that way too.
And jb? If anyones credibilty has taken a hit it's his.
Between his lies of "investigating" Gattis and Davis to Amos Pete Peters to Pat Berryman, Bradley has a long history of covering up for his buds. He may have friends in high places, but when the walls start crumbling (as they are starting to for jb), those "friends" will be no where around.

Anonymous said...

Tommy Coleman LOL! I needed a good laugh. What a joke. He is as incompetant as Bradley is arrogant.

Anonymous said...

Bradley was caught lying redhanded about investigating Gattis and Davis.

Anonymous said...

Pat Berryman, you mean one of Sen Steve Ogden's staffers and Georgetown City Councilwoman --- Say it aint so

Anonymous said...

George, you failed to mention that the invoice the attorney submitted to the county for legal services provided in this personal lawsuit was doctored in hopes no one would ever discover his and Gattis' little secret. The amount was approx $8,000 but JB refused to investigate and then lied and said he did. JB's conclusion "move along people, nothing to see here."

You also failed to mention that duty filed suit asking that Gattis be removed based on the misconduct. County Judge Gattis is former St Rep Gattis' father. Maybe dad should learn to pray more like his son.

A visiting judge from Bell County, Rick Miller, was brought in and the suit against Gattis was immediately dismissed on the "forgiveness doctrine" since Gattis misconduct occurred BEFORE Gattis was reelected.

We shouldn't have expected anything any different from any elected official from Bell County. Hell, they do business with the same individuals Bradley and his gang do business with. Including the private contractors providing services to the courts and community services and corrections on criminal cases. Some very shady dealings taking place.