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Friday, December 30, 2011

Bandera - A Great Place to Raise Your Children (Not!)

The San Antonio Express News reports that Bandera is a magnet for registered sex offenders.
BANDERA — "Sex offenders living in Bandera County are facing increased scrutiny by authorities, partly due to concerns about their apparent clustering there.
“We've got a lot of offenders who aren't from here and didn't commit their crimes here,” said Bandera County Sheriff's Sgt. Jose Barreto. “What is it that draws those people here?”
Of the 53 offenders he said are registered there, 21 committed their crimes outside Texas, and 22 outside of Bandera County.
Investigators fear that some type of coordination is occurring among offenders, possibly through social networking, that resulted in the seemingly high number of sex offenders in the rural county."

There are a couple of trashy trailer park unincorporated areas in Bandera County notorious for meth cooks and crank-heads.I wonder if a lot of the perverts live there.
Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Bandera-sex-offenders-are-being-watched-2433456.php#ixzz1i4zIYXGp

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Former Williamson Co. DA Now Judge Ken Anderson Feels Terrible

From the Wilco Watchdog:

Attorney Takes On Ken Anderson

Attorney Adam Reposa has turned up the heat another notch on Judge Ken Anderson. Reposa emailed the Wilco Watchdog stating he had hundreds of yard signs made (see above). A picture of Judge Ken Anderson, wearing a s---eating grin, has the caption: "I cost an innocent man 25 years of his life, and I feel terrible. That is why I REFUSE TO RESIGN!" Reposa said he hopes the public will apply added pressure to Anderson in resigning and post these in their yards. Reposa stated he is handing out the signs to anyone who wants them at no charge. He can be contacted at adamreposa@yahoo.com.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rogue Military Recruiter, Bandera Sheriff Race, Another Wrongful Conviction?

It fascinates me the way people automatically trust and admire someone based on a label. Call it the halo effect. When we hear "ex-Marine"we think of the recruiting posters of Marines in their dress blues, or the tough men who fought the Japanese in WWII.I have the highest respect for the USMC and its service to our country. My wife's late father is one of my heroes - he was in the first wave of Marines to land on Guadacanal and fought in other hellholes. The Marines and Navy turned the tide against the Japanese and gave the US its first victory in WWII.

But being a member or former member of an elite organization doesn't automatically mean a given individual is a good person. Lee Harvey Oswald and Charles Whitman, the Texas Tower sniper, were both ex-Marines.

Which leads us to the following stories, one about an Air Force recruiter alleged to have raped at least ten recruits, and the election to replace disgraced Bandera County sheriff Weldon Tucker.

Former Lackland instructor accused
AF charges include sexual contact with recruits and rape.

By Sig Christenson, EXPRESS-NEWS STAFF
Updated 11:50 p.m., Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Air Force said Tuesday that a former training instructor at Lackland AFB could face life in prison after being charged with “inappropriate sexual conduct,” including consensual sex and rape, with 10 recruits.
The Air Force said Staff Sgt. Luis A. Walker had sexual contact with the recruits through much of his time as an instructor.
Walker, whose age and hometown were not released, faced an evidentiary hearing, called an Article 32, on Monday on charges of rape, aggravated sexual assault, sodomy, obstruction of justice and violating a general regulation — being alone with a female recruit.

7 vying for sheriff in Bandera County
Six Republicans, one Democrat on primary ballot.
By Zeke MacCormack, zeke@express-news.net
Updated 11:39 p.m., Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/7-vying-for-sheriff-in-Bandera-County-2415558.php#ixzz1hAvBDsvX

Restoring departmental integrity is a recurring pledge among six Republicans vying to become Bandera County sheriff, a post that Weldon Tucker vacated under a plea deal that resolved a charge of abuse of official capacity.
The winner of the April 3 primary will face the lone declared Democrat, James “Bubba” Popham, next November.
The GOP field includes Scott Sharp, a former deputy who blew the whistle on Tucker's misuse of a county boat, and Richard Smith, the chief deputy who has led the agency since Tucker's May 5 ouster.
Another current deputy, investigator David McGilvray, is also seeking the Republican nomination.Law enforcement retirees James Newton, Dan Butts and Frances Kaiser round out the GOP field.

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/7-vying-for-sheriff-in-Bandera-County-2415558.php#ixzz1hAvPjHj4

CNN Explores Warren Horinek Case
Anderson Cooper brings fresh scrutiny to alleged wrongful conviction

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/7-vying-for-sheriff-in-Bandera-County-2415558.php#ixzz1hAvK2ULQ
CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 will air a report tonight on the controversial case of Warren Horinek—a former Fort Worth police officer convicted in 1996 of murdering his wife. Horinek is serving a 30-year sentence in state prison. There is compelling evidence that he’s innocent.

The Observer first reported on the serious flaws in the case against Horinek in August 2010. Our exposé—titled “A Bloody Injustice”—detailed the unusual circumstances that led to o Horinek’s conviction.

The people normally responsible for prosecuting a murder came to believe that Warren was telling the truth. The crime scene investigator, the homicide sergeant, the medical examiner and the assistant DA assigned to prosecute the case all became convinced that the evidence pointed to suicide.

“I always thought that it was suicide,” Mike Parrish, the prosecutor handling the case, told the Observer last year. “Still do.”

Bonnie’s parents chose to hire a private attorney, who, through a quirk in the law, obtained a grand jury indictment of Horinek. That led to a bizarre trial. Everyone trying to convict Warren was in private practice, and the agents of the state—crime scene investigator, homicide sergeant and assistant DA—all testified for the defense.

Local Cops Ready for War With Homeland Security-Funded Military Weapons

Dec 21, 2011 4:45 AM EST

miles, Fargo treasures its placid lifestyle, seldom pierced by the mayhem and violence common in other urban communities. North Dakota’s largest city has averaged fewer than two homicides a year since 2005, and there’s not been a single international terrorism prosecution in the last decade.

Like Fargo, thousands of other local police departments nationwide have been amassing stockpiles of military-style equipment in the name of homeland security, aided by more than $34 billion in federal grants since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a Daily Beast investigation conducted by the Center for Investigative Reporting has found.

In Montgomery County, Texas, the sheriff’s department owns a $300,000 pilotless surveillance drone, like those used to hunt down al Qaeda terrorists in the remote tribal regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. In Augusta, Maine, with fewer than 20,000 people and where an officer hasn’t died from gunfire in the line of duty in more than 125 years, police bought eight $1,500 tactical vests. Police in Des Moines, Iowa, bought two $180,000 bomb-disarming robots, while an Arizona sheriff is now the proud owner of a surplus Army tank.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Crooks at the Texas Highway Patrol Museum, Judge Ken Anderson and DA John Bradley Get a Taste of Karma

State sues Texas Highway Patrol Museum in S.A.
By John Tedesco, jtedesco@express-news.net
Updated 07:35 p.m., Monday, December 19, 2011

Attorney General Greg Abbott has sued organizations tied to the Texas Highway Patrol Museum in San Antonio, accusing them of illegally soliciting donations from the public and wasting money on trips, liquor and “exorbitant” pet care for a cat.
Contrary to its official-sounding name, the highway patrol museum at South Alamo and St. Mary's streets is not affiliated with the Texas Department of Public Safety. Actually it's a telemarketing organization that raises millions of dollars in the name of helping DPS troopers.
But Abbott's lawsuit, filed in Travis County last week, alleged that few benefits were actually paid to troopers, and donors' funds were misspent on cigars, liquor, meals, vacations and cars.
Money from donors was spent on “exorbitant vet bills” for an “office cat” that was kept at an Austin office.
Tim Tierney, executive vice president of the organizations tied to the museum, said the expenses were justified because the cat kept employees happy, according to the lawsuit.

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/State-sues-Texas-Highway-Patrol-Museum-in-S-A-2412862.php#ixzz1h2V6UMmV

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/State-sues-Texas-Highway-Patrol-Museum-in-S-A-2412862.php#ixzz1h2Uxlaxi

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/State-sues-Texas-Highway-Patrol-Museum-in-S-A-2412862.php#ixzz1h2SzxY8C

Battle Of The Johns: The Morton Exoneration John Raley 22 John Bradley 1
n what was probably the most dramatic scenario that has ever played out in a Williamson County courtroom, today, Michael Morton was officially exonerated for the murder of his wife. Neither Anderson nor his attorney, Mark Dietz, was present for Monday's hearing.

The drama needle peaked at two points at the very least. The first was when Judge Harle called Morton to the bench and then said, “I'm sure you've spent far too many years having judges look down at you, so if you'll give me a minute, I'll come off the bench and stand down there with you.” He then walked up to Morton, presented him with the signed order of dismissal, and closed by shaking his hand and saying, “Merry Christmas.”

Barry Scheck provided Judge Harle with a 20-minute synopsis of the voluminous repository of evidence which has been filed with the court involving the role of District Attorney Ken Anderson in handling exculpatory evidence prior to, during, and after the trial. Scheck pulled no punches in laying out the arguments for convening a formal Court of Inquiry to determine whether or not Anderson is guilty of criminal contempt for his role in handling the evidence which was not available to Morton's defense team during the trial and in the motion for a re-trial, and in subsequent years when the verdict was appealed.

Friday, December 16, 2011

John Bradley Draws Another Opponent; Harris County Assistant DA in Hot Water Over HPD Portable BAT's

Dee Hobbs to run for Williamson County Attorney

Assistant DA refuses to testify in grand jury
Updated 03:05 p.m., Thursday, December 15, 2011

to force a high-ranking assistant Harris County district attorney to testify before a grand jury regarding evidence gathered from the Houston Police Department's mobile alcohol-testing vehicles.

A grand jury in recent months has been investigating issues surrounding the troubled testing vehicles and possibly the DA's office's involvement.

Special prosecutors filed a motion to compel Rachel Palmer to testify after she was subpoenaed and invoked her constitutional right to not incriminate herself Thursday morning.Because grand jury proceedings are secret, their intentions are unclear, but the startling development may mean grand jurors or the special prosecutors guiding them believe assistant Harris County district attorneys prosecuting DWI's knew there were technical problems with evidence from the breath alcohol-testing vehicles known as BAT vans.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Williamson County DA Draws Challenger

From Wilco Watchdog
Jana Duty Set to Challenge John Bradley for District Attorney
GEORGETOWN, TX – Williamson County Attorney Jana Duty announced her intentions today to challenge District Attorney John Bradley in the March 6, 2012 Republican Primary election. Duty said she is challenging Bradley because she believes the citizens deserve a D.A. who understands that his/her job is to seek justice.
“Unfortunately there is a cloud hanging over the District Attorney’s office,” Duty said. “John Bradley represents all that is wrong with our criminal justice system today. Instead of seeking justice, Bradley aggressively fought against DNA testing for a man who was wrongfully imprisoned for over two decades for murder. The whole time the real killer remained on the loose committing additional crimes. Bradley has also repeatedly refused to prosecute his buddies at the courthouse for their blatant violations of the law. Worse still, he reduces roughly 25% of his felony cases to misdemeanors annually, and passes them off to my office. Some of those cases involve child predator offenders which I find reprehensible. These are not the actions of a tough prosecutor, but instead are the actions of a self-serving politician who cares more about his statistics than seeking justice. That’s why I am running for District Attorney.”

Duty has served as the Williamson County Attorney since 2005 where she prosecutes misdemeanor and felony crimes. During her tenure in office, she has more than doubled the amount of protective orders obtained for victims of family violence, saved millions of tax dollars through innovations and efficiencies, and has implemented checks and balances to insure government transparency. Duty has also earned a reputation for taking on the “good old boy” system at the courthouse, a reputation she embraces.

Duty continued, “I make no apologies for being an advocate for the people of this county. If that makes me unpopular with the courthouse insiders, so be it. My pledge to the people of Williamson County is to bring honesty and integrity back to the D.A.’s office, to see that everyone is treated evenly and fairly under the law and to continue fighting to protect our families as I have done as County Attorney. We need a D.A. who will put the public interest above his own political career and that of his friends.”

Duty’s public service continues a family tradition that goes back nearly two centuries. Jana Duty is a direct descendant of Joseph Duty, one of Stephen F. Austin’s “Old Three Hundred” settlers, who received a title to a league of land in Texas from the Mexican government in 1824. Eventually he settled with his family at Webberville in Travis County. Duty also had four ancestors who fought in the Texas Revolution, including two who participated in the final victorious battle at San Jacinto. In fact, the Duty family has had at least one family member fight in every conflict that Texas has ever been a part of.

Duty is a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio and the St. Mary’s University School of Law. Prior to becoming a prosecutor, she was a high school English teacher. She and her husband, Daniel, are the proud parents of three children and three grandchildren. They make their home in Georgetown.

“The implications of this campaign go well beyond me and my family,” Duty concluded. “I hope the entire community will rally around our cause and send a strong signal on March 6 that business-as-usual will no longer be tolerated. It’s time to start a new era in the District Attorney’s office, and that fight starts today.”

To find out more or to join the campaign, please visit www.JanaDuty.com.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Wilco Watchdog Article on Williamson County DA John Bradley

The Wilco Watchdog has a devastating expose detailing Williamson County DA John Bradley's dishonesty and viciousness in the Michael Morton case. Bradley flips on its head the principle that the duty of a prosecutor is, not to convict, but to see that justice is done.

Morton spent 25 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit, while the real killer was free to kill again. Braley fought tooth and nail to keep him there. No one knows how many more women lost their lives.

Before bungled heist, robber was a missionary
Man who robbed movie theater gets 10-year sentence.
By Craig Kapitan, ckapitan@express-news.net
Updated 10:47 p.m., Monday, December 12, 2011
Known for his adventurous streak and his Christian faith, Steven Paul Mathis loved the thrill of missionary trips to Africa and South America, his family said Monday.
Unable to find direction when he got home from his months-long journeys, he eventually found another thrill: armed robbery.
Mathis, 34, wept as he apologized to state District Judge Sid Harle for a bungled heist — albeit successful to the tune of more than $30,000 — in May 2009 at the Palladium movie theater on Interstate 10 where he once worked as an usher.

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Before-bungled-heist-robber-was-a-missionary-2398358.php#ixzz1gQ5MSQcs

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Good Example of a Lawman and Judge: Kerrville's David Billeiter

When I was in law school at the University of Texas, among the usual graffiti I saw something that expressed a nice thought: "I couldn't think of anything nasty to say so I just drew a flower." In that spirit -

As I've written many times, most judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers are honest, diligent public servants. I've decided to blog occasionally about them instead of my usual rogue's gallery. Our first example is a former lawman and now a justice of the peace in Kerr County, who saved a little girl from a predator. From People.com:
Getaway Girl
By Patrick Rogers
In a Season of Kidnappings, the Abduction and Bold Escape of Houston's Leah Henry Is a Lesson in Hope
In May 2001 a stranger snatched Leah Henry off the street near her home in Houston and held her bound and gagged for four days. Despite her frightening situation, the 11-year-old kept her wits about her. When her abductor—convicted sex offender Gary Dale Cox, 48—left her unattended in a remote cabin near Kerrville, Texas, she managed to free a hand and scribble notes describing her situation and to photograph the cabin's interior with a camera from her knapsack. On May 4 Cox was bundling her into his car, when Kerr County Sheriff's Department Sgt. David Billeiter pulled up to investigate a report of suspicious activity. As Cox walked toward Leah's side of the car with his gun drawn, she bolted out of the driver's side and into the cop's arms. "Leah knew the danger, and she seized the opportunity," says Billeiter, 56, who drove Leah away to safety—moments before Cox fatally shot himself.

You only have to pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV to know that not all child abductions end quite so well. During this summer of what seems like continuous kidnappings, millions of parents are deeply troubled by the story of Samantha Runnion, the 5-year-old California girl abducted while playing in her front yard, then sexually assaulted and murdered. But for every Samantha, child safety experts tell us, there are actually many more victims who survive, like Henry, or Philadelphia's Erica Pratt, the plucky 7-year-old who gnawed through the duct tape used to bind her and escaped to safety.

According to Department of Justice figures, only about 100 U.S. children will be kidnapped for sex or ransom this year; of those close to two-thirds will be returned to their families. So while the problem of kidnapping is real, it is also relatively rare. "I don't want to minimize [the risk]," says Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, "but our message to families is: Don't live in fear—just be prepared."

The best way to start, Allen suggests, is to discuss the problem calmly with your children (for more ideas on keeping kids safe, see box at left). As for Leah Henry, she has faced her recovery from the kidnapping and assault with the same resilience she displayed during her captivity. "She will not talk about it, ever," says her mom, Linda Henry, 50. Although Leah still sees a therapist, the emotional impact of her ordeal is receding.

In the end, says Linda Henry, even the most resourceful child can only do so much; nothing but highly effective law enforcement will halt a determined abductor. "The focus has to be on the criminals," she says, "because you can't make your child kidnap-proof."

Sgt. Billeiter is now Judge Billeiter, continuing to ably serve the people of Kerr County as the Justice of the Peace for Precinct 1.

And to answer the cynics, I have no cases in his court and rarely appear in any of the justice courts.