Category Archives: legal news

Clean house at state AG’s office

Texas can do a lot better than it has done in selecting its top law enforcement officer.

State Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican (naturally!), is seeking re-election against Democratic challenger Justin Nelson. Paxton isn’t a normal incumbent. He happens to be an incumbent who’s been indicted for securities fraud.

But here’s the surreal part of it, the maddening element: Paxton is likely to win re-election when all the ballots are counted on Nov. 6.

I am going to cast my ballot for Nelson.

What’s fascinating to me is that Paxton — who used to represent Collin County, where I now reside — in the Texas Legislature. Yet a Collin County grand jury found enough credible evidence to indict him for securities fraud; Paxton allegedly didn’t register properly as an investment agent.

Here’s the fabulous part of it: While he was in the Legislature, Paxton voted against a bill that would have made it a felony to commit the very crime for which he has been accused.

The Dallas Morning News, which has endorsed Nelson, has taken note of Paxton’s penchant for partisanship while serving as AG. To be honest, I kind of expect such from most politicians in Texas. NOt that it’s acceptable, mind you. The partisanship doesn’t bother me nearly as much as having a state attorney general who is under criminal indictment.

Good grief, man! Can’t we do better than that? Of course we can! Will we do better when given a chance to select an attorney general on Election Day? Uhh, probably not, given the state’s hard-right lean.

Check out the Dallas Morning News editorial here.

The editorial board offers a solid reason to go with the challenger. Then again, I’ve been convinced for some time that Ken Paxton isn’t my guy.

Get ready for the deserved lawsuits on this tragedy

I usually am not one to call for litigation in the wake of tragedy, but the case involving a crash in New York that killed 20 people qualifies as a profound exception.

Yes, 20 people died this week when a limousine careened off a New York highway. It now turns out that the vehicle, an 18-year-old SUV, didn’t pass the state safety inspection required of motor vehicles.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the vehicle had no business being on the road.

Moreover, the driver of the vehicle reportedly wasn’t properly licensed to drive it, let alone carry so many people.

This probe continues

This tragic event has so many terrible back stories, it’s almost impossible to process the sadness one can feel, even from a distance. Newlywed couples perished; four sisters died as well. The National Transportation Safety Board says it rarely investigates incidents that carry this kind of emotional impact.

Indeed, I fully expect there to be lawsuit upon lawsuit filed to recoup some modicum of the loss that these families and other loved ones have suffered from this tragic event.

My knee-jerk reaction normally would allow for some skepticism.

Not this time.

Credible accusation … or not?

Brett Kavanaugh’s ascent to the U.S. Supreme Court is virtually assured.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has endorsed Kavanaugh’s nomination; then came immediately after her 50-minute Senate floor speech came the endorsement of Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

It’s done!

But here’s an interesting — and borderline maddening — caveat to the senators’ “yes” votes. They both had plenty of praise for the testimony delivered by the woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in that gripping hearing a week ago.

They both said they believe Ford is a victim of sexual assault. They both called Ford’s testimony “credible.” OK, if it’s credible, why do they both assert that although they believe she was assaulted, they do not believe her “100 percent certain” allegation that Kavanaugh was the assailant in 1983? Ford told senators she is absolutely, unequivocally certain that Kavanaugh attacked her.

Is the accuser’s allegation credible? Or not?

How are these folks defining the term “credible”?

Kavanaugh headed to SCOTUS?

The fix is in. The deal appears to be done. Barring some remarkable change of mind and heart among key U.S. senators, a deeply flawed nominee is heading for the ninth seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Federal Judge Brett Kavanaugh stands accused — still! — of sexual assault by a woman who accused him of attacking her when they were teenagers.

Christine Blasey Ford testified to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that Kavanaugh did as she has alleged. She said she is “100 percent certain” her attacker was young Brett.

Kavanaugh denies it.

He disqualified himself, though, in my mind with his highly partisan attack on those who have opposed his nomination by Donald J. Trump. He blamed those who seek “revenge” on behalf of Bill and Hillary Clinton and then said their effort was being financed by “left-wing” political interest groups.

Senate Republicans led by Mitch McConnell are delivering the mother of all bum’s rushes in pushing this nomination forward. The FBI conducted a perfunctory examination of Kavanaugh and the allegation against him. It didn’t bother to talk to Ford, which I would have thought would have been a no-brainer.

The report now is in the hands of senators, Democrats and Republicans. It needs to be made public, given that Kavanaugh appears headed to a lifetime post on the nation’s highest court — which is paid for with money that comes out of my pocket … and yours!

The very best I could have hoped for would have been for Kavanaugh to set aside politics as he pondered how to rule on cases that come before the court. His performance at the supplemental hearing dashed that hope for me.

Newspapers are editorializing against Kavanaugh’s nomination. A retired Supreme Court justice, John Paul Stevens — confirmed in 1975 after being nominated by President Ford — said he has changed his mind and now opposes him. Demonstrators are marching in streets. Politicians are making speeches opposing Kavanaugh.

Will any of this matter? Will anyone’s minds be changed? Probably not. I’m left, therefore, to say a prayer for us as we recover from the circus we’ve just witnessed.

This is how you define ‘comprehensive’?

Let’s see how this plays out.

Donald J. Trump said he wants the FBI to conduct a “comprehensive” investigation into Brett Kavanaugh, Christine Blasey Ford and the allegation of sexual assault that Ford has leveled against Kavanaugh.

That’s good … so far.

Then we hear that the FBI isn’t going to talk to either of them. Kavanaugh, the president’s nominee to join the U.S. Supreme Court won’t be interviewed by the FBI. Ford gets a pass, too.

My question, then, is this: How “comprehensive” can an FBI investigation be when the agency doesn’t interview the two main principals in this on-going political drama?

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell might cast a full vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the high court as early as Friday.

It appears that those of us who want a thorough and “comprehensive” probe are getting the bum’s rush.

How would ‘Justice’ Kavanaugh handle this?

Brett Kavanaugh’s future as a possible U.S. Supreme Court justice is in doubt. However, his nomination to the court is far from a dead duck.

The FBI is conducting an investigation into at least two of the accusations that Kavanaugh assaulted women sexually many years ago. The U.S. Senate will then get to vote on whether to confirm him.

Suppose, then, he becomes Justice Brett Kavanaugh. What happens when the court gets a case involving the constitutionality, say, of a court ruling involving a case involving sexual assault?

Might that happen? Well, it damn sure could. Given all the attendant publicity that has erupted around Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation process, I doubt seriously anyone down the road is going to forget what we’ve heard about what allegedly occurred when Kavanaugh was a high school student. That he allegedly pinned a young woman to a bed, sought to disrobe her, sought to have his way with her sexually.

How does a Supreme Court justice with that kind of accusation hanging over his head rule on a future case involving a similar circumstance?

Is this confirmation turning into a stampede?

Well, here we are, ladies and gentlemen.

Brett Kavanaugh and a woman who has accused him of sexually assaulting her are going to testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Kavanaugh has been nominated by Donald Trump to join to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The testimony will occur on Thursday. What happens the next day? Oh, the committee is scheduled to vote on whether to confirm Kavanaugh to the court.

Hey, it gets better. The full Senate, all 100 of ’em, then might get to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination as early as next Monday!

Let us not forget that two more women have leveled similar accusations against the proposed justice to the nation’s highest court. The Senate is moving at breakneck speed on a matter that to my way of thinking needs a good bit more time.

Does this look as much to you like a stampede as it does to me?

Christine Blasey Ford, who will testify Thursday, has done a remarkable thing. She has dropped the name of Kavanaugh’s supposed good friend — Mark Judge — as a witness to what she alleged occurred in the 1908s at a high school party. Why in the world would she expose this friend to intense public scrutiny if she is making all this up?

I continue to believe there needs to be a thorough investigation by the FBI to determine the veracity of what Ford has alleged. The FBI also ought to look carefully at the accusations leveled by the two other women.

Will the world stop spinning if Kavanaugh’s confirmation is delayed while the FBI gumshoes do their job? Of course not!

I am trying like the dickens to avoid passing judgment on Judge Kavanaugh. I merely want these accusations to be examined fully and carefully.

I do not want to witness a Senate stampede.

The system worked: Cosby sent to prison

Many of us have griped on occasion about the occasional inequity of the U.S. criminal justice system.

I have to say, though, that today the system worked well.

A judge in Pennsylvania sentenced the man once known as “America’s Dad” to three to 10 years in a state prison and declared William Cosby to be a “violent  sexual predator.”

Bill Cosby’s status as a comic superstar, TV star, iconic figure didn’t matter as the judge sent Cosby to the slammer. What’s more, his name will be etched forever on a sex offender registry when and/or if he gets out of prison; the man is 81 years of age.

A jury convicted Cosby of drugging and raping Andrea Constand in 2004. Other women have come forward to allege that he had done the same thing to them.

I take no joy in applauding the sentence and Cosby’s new status as a prison convict. Some years ago, my wife and I attended an event at West Texas A&M University that featured Cosby, who brought the house down with a rip-roaring stand-up routine.

That was then. The here and now tells us something quite different about Cosby and what a trial jury determined him to be.

He is getting precisely what he deserves.

If you think the Kavanaugh battle is tough, just wait

The fight to seat Brett Kavanaugh on the U.S. Supreme Court has turned into a donnybrook, with charges of sexual assault coming from two women who contend the high court nominee misbehaved seriously when he was a much younger individual.

The battle was joined actually before that, when Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh to succeed Anthony Kennedy on the nation’s highest court.

From a philosophical standpoint, though, I remain somewhat perplexed as to progressives’ angst over the thought of Kavanaugh joining the court. He is a conservative who would replace another conservative on the nine-member Supreme Court.

Yet the fight has been joined. Progressives don’t want Kavanaugh on the court because they fear he could overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that in 1973 made abortion legal in this country.

If you think that this has been the Mother of Supreme Court Battles, just wait — heaven forbid — Trump gets a chance to nominate someone to replace one of the court’s four remaining liberal justices.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg keeps emerging as the next likely jurist to leave the court. She said she isn’t going anywhere as long as Trump is president. I’ll take her at her word, provided she can control her own destiny … if you get my drift.

Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonja Sotomayor and Elena Kagan? They aren’t leaving on their own while Trump is in the White House.

Fate does have a way of intervening, so it’s wise to keep your minds open to potential shock waves when any of the four progressive justices decide it’s time to go.

If you for a moment thought this fight over Brett Kavanaugh is as bad as it gets, then you need to take another look across the political landscape and anticipate the eruption that would occur if Donald Trump gets to find someone to replace one of the court’s liberals.

We’d all better hold on with both hands.

What man wouldn’t face such an allegation?

U.S. Rep. Steve King, the Iowa Republican known to utter a bizarre statement on occasion, has done it again.

He has called Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were teenagers, a character assassin. King said Ford is out to destroy the reputation of a man nominated to the high court by Donald Trump.

He said the following: “You add all of that together and I’m thinking, is there any man in this room that wouldn’t be subjected to such an allegation? A false allegation?”

King paints with a broad brush

Hmm. Let me think about that. Even though I am not in the “room” King referenced, I believe I could avoid being “subjected to such an allegation.” Why? Because I’ve never done the thing that Ford has accused Kavanaugh of doing.

Ford is going to testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, another Iowa Republican, has decided to postpone the committee’s vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation until after the two principals testify before the panel.

Let’s hear them both out. Let us, moreover, allow ourselves the opportunity to determine who is telling the truth.

As for Rep. King’s weird assertion that implies that no man could avoid being “subjected to such an allegation,” he ought to quit generalizing about men — and certainly about women.