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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Hero Stands Up to the Zetas

Mexican Marines Reconstruct the Death of Don Alejo Garza
"When Mexican Marines arrived at the San Jose Ranch, 15 kilometers from Victoria, Tamaulipas, the scene was bleak: The austere main house was practically destroyed by grenades and heavy gunfire.

Outside of the home, they found four bodies. Cautiously, and with their weapons drawn, the troops continued inspecting the exterior and found two more gunmen, wounded and unconscious, but alive.

Inside the house only one body was found, riddled with bullets and with two weapons by it's side. The body was identified as Don Alejo Garza Tamez, the owner of the ranch and a highly respected businessman in Nuevo Leon.

Upon further inspection of the interior, marines found weapons and ammunition at every window and door. This allowed them to reconstruct how, just hours prior, the battle had played out."

Someone - Clint Eastwood maybe - should make a movie about Don Alejo. He stood up to the Zeta drug cartel when they tried to take over his ranch. He knew they were coming, and stockpiled his house with rifles and ammo, and when they came he ran from window to window, and shot so many of them they thought they were fighting several men, and they retreated, leaving at least four dead. I hope it never comes to this in the US, but our government won't enforce the laws.
Rest in Peace, Don Alejo.

From Grits for Breakfast

Grievances filed against Bradley, Anderson and Davis
A group I'd not heard of, the Texas Coalition on Lawyer Accountabilty announced that it has filed grievances aganst current Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley, former Williamson County District Attorney (and current District Judge) Ken Anderson, and former Williamson County Assistant District Attorney Mike Davis. Go here to download copies.

The grievance against Bradley includes allegations related to the Forensic Science Commission's investigation into flawed forensics underlying Todd Willingham's conviction, in addition to alleged misconduct related to the Morton case. Via Wilco Watchdog.

MORE: See additional analysis from Wilco Watchdog.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Child Beating Judge Suspended, State District Judge Guilty of Bribery, Organized Crime

Judge who beat child suspended
The Texas Supreme Court has suspended a judge whose beating of his then-teenage daughter in 2004 was viewed millions of times on the Internet.
According to an order signed Tuesday, Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams is suspended immediately with pay pending the outcome of the inquiry started by the State Commission on Judicial Ethics this month.

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/article/Judge-who-beat-child-suspended-2283651.php#ixzz1eX4tQyxM

Collin County District Judge Suzanne Wooten found guilty of bribery
A state district judge was convicted Tuesday after a two-week trial that spelled out how she accepted money to finance her 2008 campaign in exchange for future favorable rulings in court.
Suzanne Wooten, 43, was convicted of six counts of bribery, along with one count each of money laundering, tampering with a government record and engaging in organized criminal activity. Jurors chose the lesser charges on engaging in organized criminal activity and money laundering, meaning Wooten faces up to 20 years in prison instead of a life sentence. She is also eligible for probation. The punishment phase of the trial is scheduled to begin Monday.

Dallas County deputies’ holiday DWI campaign cut back as probe leaves funding frozen
The Dallas County sheriff’s drunken-driving enforcement campaign this holiday weekend is being scaled back because of an investigation into whether some traffic deputies falsified overtime records, officials said.
Since at least October, the department has been investigating whether deputies had been making it look as if tickets they wrote during regular shifts were written during overtime shifts paid for with federal grant money. At least seven deputies are under scrutiny, including one who is the subject of a criminal probe.
As a result, grant money has been frozen until the investigation has concluded, Chief Deputy Joe Costa said Tuesday. That means the Sheriff’s Department will not have that money to pay deputies to work extra shifts over the Thanksgiving holiday, Costa said.

Charles Bowden on Mexico, drug wars and illegal immigration

Posted by Don Henry Ford Jr. - November 11, 2011 at 9:07 am
You should watch this:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Reining in Rogue Prosecutors; Good Ol' Boys Protecting Each Other

Excerpts from Dallas Morning News Editorial: How to curb rogue prosecutors
One thread running through many criminal exoneration cases in Texas involves prosecutors who failed their legal and moral duty to justice and fair play.

Too many of them appear to have been more interested in winning a conviction than airing the whole truth, even at the expense of someone’s liberties.
The vast majority of prosecutors are honorable public servants and should not have to look over their shoulders in fear of nuisance suits. That could drive them out of the profession.

But there are outliers in any occupation, and they should not be immune from accountability.

Recent cases with charges of prosecutorial misconduct

Dale Lincoln Duke, 60, was released in Dallas County on Nov. 4 after 14 years in prison, his conviction on child abuse charges declared “unjust” by a judge. The DA’s office said a prosecutor withheld evidence that the child’s grandmother thought the girl was lying.

Chelsea Richardson, 27, won an appeal Nov. 1 that got her off death row and will mean life in prison. She was convicted of masterminding the murder of her boyfriend’s parents in Mansfield, but notes withheld from the defense show a different defendant may have played the key role.

Michael Morton, 57, was freed in Williamson County on Oct. 4 after nearly 25 years in prison for the murder of his wife. DNA tests implicated another man, who was arrested last week. Defense lawyers charge that the DA withheld information that Morton’s son saw a “monster” do the killing. Now a judge, the district attorney is under investigation by the State Bar of Texas.

Anthony Graves collected $1.4 million in compensation July 1 for a bogus conviction in the murder of six people and 18 years in prison, including death row. Graves, 45, was freed in October 2010. Prosecutors proclaimed him innocent and said the former Burleson County DA manipulated witnesses to gain a conviction.
Improved training is another step the state should take. There now is no mandatory course or refresher that the state requires of prosecutors to ensure that everyone is clear on obligations to share evidence. Considering the authority that prosecutors wield, there is compelling public interest in making sure they understand their roles in ensuring constitutional rights.

Finally, though a prosecutor can be criminally charged for misusing his position, an individual who is railroaded by a crooked DA has no access to state courts to pursue civil claims.

John Bradley - Arrogant, Dishonest?
Speaking of nasty prosecutors, check out today's Wilco Watchdog's story about a child molester charged with possession of child porn that Bradley allowed to plead to a misdemeanor. Donald Leroy Morrison went on to get nailed by To Catch a Predator.

Profiles in Courage
Bad Medicine
Before two West Texas nurses brought him down, Dr. Rolando Arafiles peddled dangerous treatments in towns across Texas.

by Saul Elbein, Texas Observer

The case of Dr. Rolando Arafiles could well be the oddest in the history of Texas medicine. In 2008, Arafiles was hired as a doctor at Winkler Memorial Hospital in Kermit, a small West Texas town between Odessa and the New Mexico border. Within months of starting his job, Arafiles began selling supplements out of the clinic where he worked. He put patients on bizarre and potentially life- threatening treatments for conditions they didn't have. He performed botched surgeries in unsterile rooms. When two nurses—Anne Mitchell and Vickilyn Galle—complained anonymously to the Texas Medical Board about him, Arafiles went after the nurses. He allegedly brought Stan Wiley, hospital administrator; Robert Roberts, the county sheriff; and Scott Tidwell, the county attorney into a conspiracy to find, fire, arrest, and indict Mitchell and Galle.

Arafiles, Roberts, Tidwell, and Wiley had all been indicted on charges of retaliation and official oppression. Since then, Roberts and Tidwell have been tried and convicted on all counts. (The trials have been marked by a sort of dark comedy—the October 5 punishment phase of Tidwell's trial saw a number of prostitutes he had patronized—at $2,000 to $4,000 per visit—while his wife was in a coma, take the stand.)

And on Nov. 7, Arafiles himselfpled guilty to charges of retaliation and misuse of official information. He will spend two months in the Andrews County jail and five years on probation. He will have to pay a $5,000 fine and relinquish his medical license.

Arafiles had a long history of misconduct in other Texas towns, including Victoria and Crane. If anyone tried to stop him, he used the good old boy system to retaliate.
In his short time in Crane, Arafiles had become close with the county judge, Donny Henderson. The two played golf together. Officially, Henderson served as the tie-breaker on the hospital board; unofficially, he ran it, Barnes says. During a dispute with the previous administrator, Stan Wiley, Henderson fired half the board and restacked it with three friends—enough for him to fire Wiley. (In one of the strange coincidences that seems to be a hallmark of this story, Wiley ended up as hospital administrator in Kermit).

“Henderson took Arafiles' side in any dispute,” Barnes says. “They tried to fire me.”
Kudos to Nurses Anne Mitchell and Vickilyn Galle and Administrator Bill Barnes.
And shame on County Attorney Scott Tidwell and County Judge Donny Henderson.

Profiles in Cowardice
Who Covered for Penn State Pervert?
CBS reports that San Antonio Police are investigating possible child rapes by Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky while he was in SA for the Alamo Bowl.
More on the subject of good ol' boys protecting their own - how did Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky get away with raping little boys for over a decade? Here's a link to the grand jury report, that shows how officials at Penn State looked the other way knowing they had a serial child rapist using the reputation of Penn State football to lure 10 year old boys into his lair at the athletic center? I hope they all burn in hell after they rot in prison.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Update in Christine Morton Murder Case - Real Murderer Arrested

The Austin American Statesman is reporting that the real murderer that then Williamson County District Attorney now Judge Ken Anderson allowed to remain free while an innocent man spent 25 years in prison has been identified:

The suspect arrested in the Christine Morton’s 1986 murder has been identified as Mark Alan Norwood, 57, who public records show lived near the scene of a related Austin murder in 1988.

I don't know how Anderson can look in the mirror without puking.

Ruthless, corrupt prosecutors: More Revelations in the Craig Morton Case

Former Williamson County DA (now District Judge) Ken Anderson Hid Evidence and Sent
Innocent Man to Prison

Today's Austin American Statesman headlines"
Depositions shed light on Morton prosecution
Then DA Anderson is pictured posing in front of the courthouse, his arms folded and his face stern in self righteousness, above a picture of a young Michael Morton being hustled off to prison.Anderson is now a state district judge.

From the article:
Mike Davis, a Round Rock lawyer who helped Anderson prosecute Morton for the murder of his wife, Christine, described his former boss as a "control guy" — a detail-oriented district attorney who took part in every facet of a major case, from the investigation by law enforcement to the strategy used at trial.
Any murder case was Ken Anderson's baby," Davis said in his Oct. 29 deposition under questioning by Morton lawyer Gerry Goldstein.

Anderson, now a state district judge in Georgetown, would have determined what information had to be turned over to Morton's lawyers before trial, Davis said, adding that he was "shocked" to discover this year that certain evidence had not been provided.

Davis said he was particularly troubled to learn that Morton's lawyers did not receive evidence indicating that there was a witness to Christine Morton's murder — her 3-year-old son, Eric, who described the attacker as a monster who was not his father.
Davis also said Morton's trial lawyers should have been given other information that was recently discovered in files kept by the sheriff's or district attorney's offices. That included a police report about suspicious activity in the Mortons' neighborhood and indications that Christine Morton's credit card was used — and a check made out to her was cashed using an apparently forged signature — in the days after her death.

Anderson's deposition resumes today. Gerry Goldstein is relentless and fearless. He represented a Lubbock detective named Bill Hubbard who exposed the incestuous corruption of then DA Travis Ware and medical examiner Ralph Erdman when they teamed up to try to frame Hubbard. Hubbard wrote a book about the ordeal, Substantial Evidence, still in print and available from Amazon.

The best coverage of the Craig Morton travesty is at the Wilco Watchdog.

Prosecutors begin presenting case in trial of state district judge in Collin County
Dallas Morning News
McKINNEY — Prosecutors began laying out evidence Tuesday on events that led up to Suzanne Wooten’s run for judge in the 380th District Court in Collin County.
Wooten, 43, faces felony charges of engaging in organized criminal activity, money laundering, bribery and tampering with a government record in connection with her 2008 campaign.
The prosecution accuses a woman whose husband was involved in a contentious custody battle of paying $150,000 to Wooten’s campaign manager to finance Wooten’s run for office.

Former Austin cop pleads guilty in window peeping case
By Steven Kreytak
Published: 7:33 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011
A former Austin police officer has pleaded guilty to official oppression and was sentenced to two years' deferred adjudication, a form of probation, related to allegations that he peeped into a woman's apartment window while on duty last year.