The following letter from Rachel Palmer is a must-read and tells you all you need to know why it's critical to re-elect Pat Lykos for District Attorney:
Please forgive the nature of this message; but, I feel that the time is now to tell you about the horrible injustice happening in the race for District Attorney. A few days ago, as I walked into a building in Houston, I came face to face with a security guard. In a second, I recognized the woman as the mother of a victim in a murder case that I tried a few years ago. This was a particularly difficult prosecution because it was a cold case having happened years before. It was the epitome of the challenges that face prosecutors every day and justice prevailed, the process worked. The woman who I encountered was concerned for me. She had seen me in the news and didn't understand what was happening or why. She knew my character and knew something was wrong. She was right.
I began as an intern at the District Attorney's Office in 2001. My first supervisor was Carl Hobbs, a man who has dedicated his life to public service. He taught me about the criminal justice system and how to be a fair and just lawyer.
Throughout my time as an Assistant District Attorney, I have prided myself in always doing the right thing. Over the last few years, a number of national scandals have tarnished my profession. In 2008, Chuck Rosenthal was forced to resign as Harris County District Attorney after admitting that alcohol and drugs impaired his judgment for some time.
Later that year, Patricia Lykos, a former police officer and judge, was elected District Attorney. Over the last four years, Judge Lykos originated the recently honored Haverstock Hills Apartments Initiative, which aggressively changed the face of community for the better by removing the criminal elements. Prior to Judge Lykos, murder after murder happened in this area and witnesses were afraid to come forward. Elderly residents were too frightened to leave their home to even check their mail during the day. Now, the playgrounds are filled with happy children and the crime rate is down. Most importantly, the area gangs are on notice that the District Attorney means business.
Judge Lykos, the first female Harris County District Attorney, makes certain that all credible claims of innocence are appropriately investigated. This includes the release of Michael Anthony Green who was imprisoned for twenty-seven years for a crime that he did not commit. Jeff Blackburn from the Innocence Project of Texas said that, "under Lykos, Harris County is becoming the single most powerful example of how to change this system and make it work right." In 2008, Judge Lykos promised to pursue an independent, regional crime laboratory. A few weeks ago, ground was broken on the new forensic laboratory that will provide sound scientific evidence and impartiality in the pursuit of criminal justice.
Under the leadership of Judge Lykos, the Harris County District Attorney's Office has prosecuted Houston Police Department union members for stealing over $650,000 from their organization. A former employee of the District Attorney's Office and her husband were prosecuted for stealing restitution payments since 2002. Judge Lykos also fought a judge's illegal ruling against the death penalty.
In January 2010, Judge Lykos initiated a fair drug policy that lead to a significant reduction in crime by focusing on apprehending the drug pushers and traffickers while treating abusers. She has also reduced the number of repeat impaired driving offenders with an innovative program that provides treatment for first-time defendants.
Even with all of these positive changes and initiatives, a group of former and current prosecutors dislike Judge Lykos because she was not a handpicked successor like Johnny Holmes and Chuck Rosenthal. So, upon her election victory, these individuals embarked on a mission to ruin Judge Lykos. Their one goal is to embarrass and humiliate Judge Lykos to prevent her re-election. Justice is never a consideration in their minds and they are blind with hatred so they fail to recognize the vast improvements. They see Lykos as an outsider and they are scared that she will continue to uncover malfeasance and prosecute those responsible.
With all of the great accomplishments of Judge Lykos, the opposition to justice movement fabricated a scandal to attempt to reclaim the District Attorney's Office. In late October, a grand jury removed the District Attorney's Office from their grand jury meeting room and began "investigating" the office. Their plan was clear – they would do anything to hurt Judge Lykos. Their solitary mission was to give Judge Lykos's opponent enough fodder to prevail in the election.
The grand jury claimed to be investigating the Houston Police Department's breath alcohol testing vans; however, that was simply a cover for their real plan, which was to denigrate Judge Lykos. First, Susan Brown, the judge presiding over the grand jury, attempted to hold Carl Hobbs, my mentor, and another outstanding Assistant District Attorney, Steve Morris, in criminal contempt for following the law as it is proscribed in the code. It is mandated that a prosecutor lead a grand jury. Brown created a public spectacle in order to embarrass Mr. Hobbs and Mr. Morris and place a stain on the office in general.
Then, after promising to appoint a neutral special prosecutor, Brown appointed two men who were obviously biased against Lykos as prosecutors to lead the grand jury. One, Stephen St. Martin, was formerly my chief at the office and left because he did not want to work for Lykos. The other is a personal friend of Brown.
This bogus investigation continued over the next few months. In November, I provided over 1,300 pages of records to the grand jury regarding the vans. On the afternoon of December 14, I received a subpoena to appear before the grand jury the next morning. While I cannot discuss what occurred in these secret grand jury proceedings, I can tell you that this group's sole motivation was to hurt Judge Lykos. They were determined to do anything to damage her credibility in the community. I made a decision to rebuke their misuse of the grand jury process.
So, what can you do? Well, I respectfully ask you to vote for District Attorney Pat Lykos on May 29. Then, please tell your friends and family to vote for Lykos. I believe that everyone deserves to know the truth about this vicious campaign of entitlement. Finally, continue to pray that individuals who believe in justice and fair treatment of everyone will always lead our criminal justice system.
Please beware of mailers and telephone calls that you may receive over the next month. Conservative Republicans of Harris County and the Link Letter are pay-for-play mailers that endorse candidates who pay thousands of dollars for these endorsements. Conservative Republicans is an organization run by Steven Hotze. Allen Blakemore currently represents Judge Lykos's opponent, Mike Anderson, and Hotze's group, Conservative Republicans. Blakemore previously represented Chuck Rosenthal and the Houston Police Officers Union. Both Rosenthal and the HPOU have endorsed Anderson. You may remember that when Hotze was charged with driving while intoxicated, Rosenthal dismissed the case.
This entitled group will say and do anything to return to power. They simply don't like Judge Lykos because she is not one of them: a crusty prosecutor with a win at all costs attitude.
I want to say that without my family and friends, I would never have been able to make it through this time. Your kind words, prayers, and thoughts have meant more to me than I could ever tell you.
I believe in truth, justice, and that our society should work towards preventing crime rather than just reacting to it. This isn't about me – it is about our community. This is about the mother that I visited with on Friday. Anderson is running on the campaign promise to return the District Attorney's Office to the "old days." I believe that we can revolutionize our criminal justice system and reduce future crime.
Rachel Palmer Hooper
TCR Comment: It is not often that we run across a compelling letter that tells the truth about the extralegal/political assault on reform conservative DA Pat Lykos. This letter gives the real story behind the political hit to replace her with a "good old boy." Despite one media outlets' cooperation with this political hit, nothing came of it legally. But that wasn't the purpose, it was and is designed to fool GOP primary voters into voting against their interest in clean, economically conservative government. That's why it is critical you vote in the GOP May 29th Primary Election and vote to keep Pat Lykos working for us.
No Justice For Tom DeLay
By Brad Wright, Guest Columnist
The Republicans on the Third Court of Appeals are still running away from Tom DeLay's appeal. There are six judges on the Third Court of Appeals - two Democrats (Woody Jones and Diane Henson) and four Republicans (Bob Pemberton, Jeff Rose, David Puryear and Melissa Goodwin).
The original panel from the Third Court of Appeals was to be Woody Jones (D), Bob Pemberton(R) and Jeff Rose (R).
Bob Pemberton (a Perry appointee in 2003) immediately recused himself because his November opponent works in the Travis County DA's office - a completely questionable excuse to avoid Tom's case. Last week Pemberton's Democrat opponent took a leave of absence from the DA's office. Pemberton's lame excuse is apparently no longer valid.
Jeff Rose (a Perry appointee in 2010) was named to the panel and then said he didn't want to be on the panel. His excuse does not come close to being a reasonable basis for recusal. He also has a Democrat opponent.
Diane Henson (D), leftist Judge, was appointed to take the place of Pemberton on the panel. Her brief speech to the 2006 State Democratic Convention began with Tom DeLay and continued with a vicious attack on Republican judges. She was asked informally to recuse herself by DeLay's lawyer but refused to do so. A motion to recuse her was filed on May 4th. Henson is demonstrating she has more courage than Rose or Pemberton.
Jeff Rose was then replaced on the panel by Justice David Puryear (R). Which made the panel Jones (D), Henson (D) and Puryear (R).
Puryear (R) is a well-respected judge who recognized in an earlier appeal that the money laundering statute did not apply to checks in 2002 when the events occurred. The Legislature added checks to the definition in 2005.
Puryear (R) recused himself on May 3rd because his son works in the Travis County DA's office. One senior person in the DA's office was reported to comment at the time of the son's hiring that the hiring would have the benefit of keeping Justice Puryear off any DeLay appeal.
Next up, Melissa Goodwin (R) and she is the only remaining justice to take Puryears' place on the panel. She is a solid conservative who was elected in 2010. We can only hope that Goodwin will not recuse herself.
If Henson (D) is recused then only Woody Jones and Melissa Goodwin would be left on the panel. That would result in the Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson being asked to appoint a judge from somewhere else to serve on the panel.
Court watchers speculate that Jefferson would probably appoint a Democrat since it was Jefferson who appointed Democrat judge Pat Priest to preside over Tom's case and trial for the past six years. Priest was not friendly to DeLay.
Alternatively, Wallace Jefferson might be asked to refer the appeal to another Court of Appeals. One hopes Jefferson would not send it the 13th Court of Appeals in Corpus Christi - a majority Democratic court or some other Democrat stronghold.
Looks like some of our Republican judges are bunch of conscientious objectors in this fight. Sorry to see them afraid to fulfill the duties of their office.
Tom DeLay deserves better: The truth is he committed no crime and is the real victim here. Enough is enough.
TCR Comment: Tom DeLay has been punished enough for nothing. The criminalization of politics has got to stop. The Court of Appeals Judges need to grow a backbone, stand up and do what is right. Reverse and render.
Brad Wright is an attorney and is also a former State Representative and staunch conservative activist.
Obama Vs. America
From Campaign For Working Families
Barack Obama is out-of-touch with mainstream American values. His extremism is laid bare by public opinion polls demonstrating how he consistently sides with a radical minority against the commonsense views held by most Americans. Download PDF of this article from Campaign For Working Families.
Obamacare: 56% of voters want ObamaCare repealed. 39% support it.
Big Government: 72% of Americans, including 56% of Democrats, believe ObamaCare's individual mandate is unconstitutional. Only 20% believe the mandate is constitutional. Obama sides with the 20%.
Religious Liberty: 57% of Americans oppose Obama's mandate forcing religious institutions to pay for services that violate their values. Just 36% said religious institutions should be forced to pay for services they find morally objectionable.
Energy: 60% of voters support building the Keystone XL pipeline. Just 24% oppose it. Obama sides with the 24%.
Taxes: 75% of likely voters say the top tax rate should be 30% or less. But Obama wants to raise it to nearly 40%. Only 4% of likely voters felt the top tax rate should be 40% or more.
Voter ID: 75% of likely voters, including 63% of Democrats, support voter ID laws. But the Obama Administration is blocking voter ID laws in Texas and South Carolina.
Stimulus: 62% of Americans, including 45% of Democrats, think Obama's $800 billion stimulus bill just created more debt. Only 28% think it actually helped the economy.
Immigration: 61% of likely voters support an Arizona-style anti-illegal immigration law. Only 28% of voters support the Obama Administration's lawsuit against the law.
Ground Zero Mosque: 68% of Americans, including 54% of Democrats, opposed the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero. Just 29% supported it.
Abortion: 72% of Americans believe there should be some restrictions on abortion or that it should be illegal. Just 22% support abortion-on-demand. Obama sides with the 22%.
Missile Defense: 55% of Americans support a missile defense system. Just 16% oppose it.
Occupy Movement: 55% of likely voters have an unfavorable opinion of the OWS movement, while 36% view it favorably.
The Great Financial Crisis - Who Caused What
And Obama's In The Middle
By Neland D. ("Neil") Nobel
Investors Business Daily put it rather harshly:
"The first estimate for 2012 is in, and it's not pretty. GDP grew at just 2.2% - way below expectation. The "Obama recovery" the media keep touting is looking more and more like a fraud."
There was a very interesting article in IBD about the Great Financial Crisis and the repeal of Glass-Steagall. Popular thinking is the repeal of this depression era act (deregulation) was at the heart of the crisis. The article makes the salient point that housing and bad mortgages were at the heart of the crisis, that the government largely mandated bad lending, and that lending on real estate was always permitted by GS. The repeal of GS had nothing to do with the erosion of lending standards, or allowing Fannie and Freddie to become big lenders and backers of sub prime mortgages. This is something Congress did with new regulations. Thus, it was not a "lack of regulation" problem. The source for much of the article were comments by outgoing Citi Chairman Richard Parsons.
I would add the repeal of GS did allow the banks to more fully participate in packaging, selling, and leveraging the bad mortgages. This spread the problem internationally and made things worse. But bad mortgages are toxic assets without that, as we saw in the failure of the Savings and Loan industry some years back, well before financial engineering reached its current level.
Parsons pointed out that as far back as 1992, Citi was targeted by Acorn and accused of lending discrimination. It was pressured by "community organizers" that forced banks to lend to those who could not repay. One Barack Obama was the lead attorney in the shake down.
The next step was to get Fannie and Freddie to support the market for junk mortgages, so the subprime market could explode. Wall Street eagerly packaged the junk and the ratings agencies turned a blind eye once Federal support for the market was established. The rest is history. The whole process had little to do with the repeal of Glass-Steagall.
How is that for historic irony? The cause of the bad loans was the social policy pushed by the left wing Acorn organizers and their Congressional supporters. Could their handiwork now turn upon one of their own, who made it to the White House?
Neland D. ("Neil") Nobel
UBS Financial Services Inc. - Vice President - Investments Phoenix
B.A., M.A. Economic and Recent US History
Board of Advisors Arizona School Choice Trust
Board Member Arizona Utility Investors Association
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones, Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and replaying Sundays at 5:00 p.m. on PBS Houston Channel 8 and on the web at www.houstonpbs.org.
05/11/12: "14th Congressional District U.S. House Race", with Michael Truncale, Felicia Harris, and Randy Weber.
05/18/12: "Unprecedented Power" with Author Steven Fenberg.
For a fun feature go to www.houstonpbs.org and under Red White and Blue, you can see commentary about the show and its guests by Gary and David each week. The current show as well as past shows are also available on YouTube.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his fourteenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last eleven years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 8 years, Gary has published election guides for the GOP primary, general elections and city elections, all with the purpose of assisting conservative candidates. Gary is also in his ninth year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on PBS Houston. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.