Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Sometime around January 25, a bunch of folks gathered in Tahrir Square in Cairo.  Sometime after that, Hosni Mubarak gave up the presidency to be hauled away (at least metaphorically) in chains.
Sometime around September 17 a bunch of folks began to set up an encampment in Zuccotti Park.  Occupy Wall Street, they said.  Sometime after that, from city to city, from nation to nation, people were occupying.
Sometime around last week, a grand jury in Houston kicked out the prosecutors, threatened to have them arrested when they wouldn't leave.  Sometime after that (as in within hours and then maybe a day), the courts backed them up.
I haven't written about Zuccotti Park, though it was quite something the day I was there.  I haven't written about Egypt, either.  But I wrote about the lawyers who gathered in Phoenix.  (Look it up.)  And I wrote about that feisty grand jury in Houston (here).  And I quoted Paul Kennedy .
It stands to reason that the grand jurors are taking a hard look at the conduct of the DA's office in this entire sordid affair. Maybe someone gets indicted. Maybe (probably) not. 
Sometimes, not always, but sometimes, what "stands to reason" actually appears to be so.  This is one of those times.  From the Houston Chronicle via Kennedy.
A Harris County grand jury investigating how the Houston Police Department and the Harris County District Attorney handled potentially bad DWI evidence subpoenaed four Assistant District Attorneys as part of its ongoing investigation, KTRK-TV (Channel 13) is reporting:
The four are all prosecutors who handled DWI cases since the BAT vans were used.
The grand jury proceedings are secret, but our legal analyst Joel Androphy says it is clear to him grand jurors are trying to figure out when the DA’s Office knew about BAT van maintenance issues and what they did with the information.
When did Pat Lykos know and what did she do about it?  Yeah, those are the smoking guns questions.  Was her office consciously prosecuting people when they knew the evidence was tainted or were they doing it unconsciously?  Were they actively hiding exculpatory evidence or simply refusing to see it?  (Either way, they violated the Constitution, I should add.)   How much is malice and how much is incompetence?
And who's going to get shafted?
She says she no longer trust the Houston PD to tell the truth about DUI tests.  Mark Bennett asked
[t]he obvious followup question: well, Ms. Lykos, if you don’t trust HPD to tell you the truth about DWI testing, why do you trust HPD to tell you the truth about anything?
Maybe that's really what the grand jury wants to know.  And if it's not what they're after now, maybe it will be as their investigation continues.
Because once you start that pebble rolling downhill . . . .  Oh, sure.  Sometimes it stops.  It bumps into a little rock and that's the end.
But sometimes
And then you can get the Rule of Law.

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