Monday, August 30, 2010


I am not a big fan of the Houston Chronicle, its agenda-driven biased editor, Jeff Cohen, or KPRC TV (Channel 2 in Houston); but I strongly support their First Amendment right to have access to a video surveillance tape which might document police misconduct.
Any limitation on the videotape's publication should be based strictly on the degree of graphic content and not political favor.......our Constitution would demand nothing less.

How can DA Pat Lykos explain her teaming up with the Houston Police Officers' defense teams in support of a protective order that hides the tape of an alleged HPD police brutality incident from the public?
    1. Does the criminal defense bar really intimidate the Keystone Cops running the Harris County District Attorney's Office to that extent?
    2. Perhaps Lykos does not appreciate the cultural differences between Houston and Los Angeles?
    3. Could it be that Lykos' inexperienced crew is too afraid to try a high profile slam dunk case after the public videotape viewing?
    4. The publicity of a public viewing would undoubtedly preempt a plea bargain.
Well whatever the case might be: "The Rule of Law", "Transparency", purging "The Culture of Corruption", etc. etc. is as meaningless to DA Pat Lykos' administration as it is to any other cartel.

The Chronicle's legal counsel, Joe Larsen,  summarizes the issue quite well noting: "the videotape is indisputably the key evidence in the case and is a court record."  Larsen went on to say, " It looks more to me this motion (the Lykos Protective Order) is to protect law enforcement more than the trial process."
The absurdity and blatant subterfuge by Lykos is succinctly spelled out by Larsen when he effectively points out that Lykos' argument that, "a public release of the videotape would prejudice the entire jury pool does not account for the fact that the jurors are going to see this whether they see it on the Web or see it when they are empaneled as jurors, and the impact will be the same."

Benjamin Hall, who is representing the alleged police brutality victim at the Civil courthouse, is not afraid of taking this matter to trial and neither should the Harris County District Attorney's Office. 
Heck, even Clint Greenwood or a comparable first year law student could prosecute this whale and maybe DA Pat Lykos can bust her cherry and actually prosecute her 1st criminal case.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


The concept of the media or press as a fourth branch of American govenment stems from a belief that the news media has a responsibility to OBJECTIVELY inform the populace and as such is essential to the healthy functioning of the Republic. The media's role should be as a watchdog to protect its readers and viewers from corrupt government and special interests; not to be a lapdog in bed with either of these folks. Once a publication's dissemination of truth and objectivity is marginalized, its only valid function is to line a birdcage.

"The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers... [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper." --Thomas Jefferson to G. K. van Hogendorp, Oct. 13, 1785. (*) ME 5:181, Papers 8:632

"I fear the newspapers more than a hundred thousand bayonets."
— Napoleon Bonaparte
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference. 
Freedom of expression consists of the rights to freedom of speech, press, assembly and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and the implied rights of association and belief.
HOWEVER, despite popular misunderstanding, the right to freedom of the press guaranteed by the first amendment is not very different from the right to freedom of speech. It allows INDIVIDUALS to express themselves through publication and does not afford members of the media any special rights or privileges not afforded to citizens in general.
Capital punishment is often the subject of controversy and the Houston Chronicle continues to shirk its responsibility to provide objective journalistic integrity in coverage of the issue.
Jefferson would be appalled at a publication, such as the Houston Chronicle, which furthers an editor's agenda to place a national moratorium on the death penalty above fair and balanced objectivity to its readers.
In a death capital case, the media's responsibility is not to usurp or attempt to influence the jury's deliberations; but rather to fairly and objectively report the facts.
Capital punishment, or the death penalty, is the execution of a person by judicial process as a punishment for an offense. The term capital originates from Latin capitalis, literally "regarding the head" (Latin caput). Hence, a capital crime was originally one punished by the severing of the head.........severe historical penalties include breaking wheel, boiling to death, flaying, slow slicing, disembowelment, crucifixion, impalement, crushing, stoning, execution by burning, dismemberment, sawing, scaphism, or necklacing.
The great state of Texas provides for meting out the death penalty when a defendant's conduct satisfies statutory guidelines and is so terrible in nature that twelve jurors agree unanimously that death by lethal injection is appropriate. To effectively argue that the method of "death by lethal injection" is cruel and unusual, the courts need to place a moratorium on general anesthesia.

Opponents of the death penalty argue that it has led to the execution of innocent people, that its main motive is not justice but revenge, that to save money, life imprisonment is an effective and less expensive substitute, that it discriminates against minorities and the poor and that it violates the criminal's right to life.
Ironically, it is the very people who complain about the high cost of death row that are responsible for the exorbitant cost.

Supporters believe that the penalty is justified for only specified murderers by the principle of retribution, that life imprisonment is not an equally effective deterrent and that the death penalty affirms the right to life by punishing those who violate it in the strictest form.

To date, as many as 39 executions have been carried out in the U.S. in face of compelling evidence of innocence or serious doubt about guilt. Newly available DNA evidence has allowed the exoneration of more than 15 death row inmates since 1992 in the U.S., but DNA evidence is only available in a fraction of capital cases.
Debate is sometimes revived by particularly brutal murders, though few countries have brought it back after abolishing it. However, a spike in serious, violent crimes, such as murders or terrorist attacks, has prompted some countries (such as Sri Lanka and Jamaica) to effectively end the moratorium on the death penalty. In death penalty countries, the debate is sometimes revived when a miscarriage of justice has occurred, though this tends to cause legislative efforts to improve the judicial process rather than to abolish the death penalty.

Most religions weigh in on the ultimate punishment.

Followers of Judaism either oppose the death penalty altogether or support it only in extreme cases with absolute proof, such as well-documented cases of genocide.
The WW II genocide cases were 100% eye witness testimony based AND never had supporting DNA.  Where is the media's outrage in reporting on the Nazi hunters? Imagine if a Harris County defendant was sentenced to death with the same type of evidence!
Some Christians interpret that Jesus' teachings condemn violence in The Gospel of Luke and The Gospel of Matthew regarding turning the other cheek, and John 8:7 in which Jesus intervenes in the stoning of an adulteress, rebuking the mob with the phrase, "may he who is without sin cast the first stone"; others consider Romans 13:3–4 to support it. Many Christians have understood that Jesus' doctrine of peace speaks to personal ethics and is distinct from civil government's duty to punish crime. Also, Leviticus 20:2–27 has a whole list of situations in which execution is supported. Christian positions on this vary. The sixth commandment (fifth in the Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches) is preached as, 'Thou shalt not kill' by some denominations and as, 'Thou shalt not murder' by others. As some denominations do not have a hard-line stance on the subject, Christians of such denominations are free to make a personal decision.
I wonder what the folks at Lakewood Church's view is?

The state has not only the right, but the duty to protect its citizens from enemies, both from within and without. A concept that Obama and the Houston Chronicle have a difficult time understanding.
It is often argued that it is better to let ten guilty men go than to punish one innocent man.
What is so magic about ten why not let 10,000 or even a million guilty men go so as to insure that not a single innocent man is wrongfully punished? Well what about the potential carnage these tens of guilty men will rain on innocent members of society that are subsequently exposed to the risk?
EVERY REASONABLE failsafe must be employed to minimize wrongful prosecution; but no judicial system comes with a warranty.

Society's need to provide for the common good of the whole is greater than the good of any particular person. The life of certain heinous criminals is an impediment to the common good of human society. Therefore, certain individuals must be removed by death from society; as a diseased limb or a cancer must be removed for the good of the whole individual.
As the head of a rabid dog is severed; the rest of the pack may survive and prosper.

The argument that evildoers should be allowed to live in the hope that they might be redeemed is frivolous. If they would not repent in the face of death, it is unreasonable to assume they would ever repent.
How many people are we to allow to be murdered while waiting for the repentence of the wrongdoer?
Using the death penalty is vastly more humane than the alternative. Further, a speedy execution is not only cost effective, it protects inmates and guards and negates any possibility of escape.

Sharia Law or Islamic law may require capital punishment. There is great variation within Islamic nations as to actual capital punishment. In Islam, apostasy and stoning to death are controversial topics.
Although the Qur'an prescribes the death penalty for several hadd (fixed) crimes—including rape—murder is not among them. Instead, murder is treated as a civil crime and is covered by the law of qisas (retaliation), whereby the relatives of the victim decide whether the offender is punished with death by the authorities or made to pay diyah (wergild) as compensation.
"If anyone kills a person—unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land—it would be as if he killed all people. And if anyone saves a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all people" (Qur'an 5:32). "Spreading mischief in the land," can mean many different things, but is generally interpreted to mean those crimes that affect the community as a whole and destabilize the society.
Crimes that have fallen under this description have included: treason, apostasy, piracy (essentially armed robbery), murder, terrorism, rape including pedophilia, adultery and homosexual intercourse.

So what makes it "OKAY" with the Houston Chronicle's Sunday edition that Peter Cantu will be executed on Tuesday, August 17, 2010, for his role in the brutal killing and rape of Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena 17 years ago?
Why is Cantu's confession more credible than others on death row?
Why are these two young girls' lives more precious than any one elses'?
Why is their horrific torture and death so much more gruesome than untold others in Texas?
Why is Cantu not deemed incompetent or insane?
Why does the Houston Chronicle have an exclusive on deciding when a killer deserves to pay the ultimate price for his atrocities?

MOST importantly, when the next Ertman Pena slaughter occurs in Harris County, WHO at the District Incompetent's Office will prosecute the vermin............