In 2017, I had the distinct honor of taking over the Felony Domestic Violence Court (“FDV Court”). I am proud to work with a dynamic team of prosecutors, public defenders, treatment providers, community stakeholders, and case managers. The team is extraordinary, each member uniquely passionate about their role. We meet every Monday morning, discussing each participant’s progress and compliance. We all work together to accomplish the mission of the court: to keep victims safe, and end the cycle of intimate partner domestic violence.
Today was graduation day, my favorite. We added 4 graduates to the growing list of 90 who have successfully completed the demanding curriculum.
A good friend of mine texted me about two months ago. No particular reason, just to catch up on things like we do every so often. I had one of those guilt-ridden moments this morning when I realized I never called him back. I started to reply and noticed the date was March 12 and thought of how different our world is now. I hadn’t heard of COVID-19 back then, and certainly didn’t think my Court would ever be shut down because of a Pandemic, but here we are. I texted him, “Lots of things have changed since your text…others remain exactly the same. Call me when you can.”
The rules in place to help end the COVID-19 pandemic have had profound impacts on our lives. We’ve learned new words and phrases like “shelter in place” and “social distancing.” Businesses are closed causing many to lose their jobs. Restaurants are fighting for survival selling take-out, and retail shops are drying up. While the extent of the exact damage is nearly impossible to predict, we are surrounded by constant reminders that our economy is in significant distress.
In Florida this month, Ashley MacArthur was tried and convicted for first degree murder. 33-year-old Taylor Wright’s body was discovered on a 30-acre tract of land owned by the Defendant’s family. The former police officer’s body was buried underneath a concrete slab covered with potting soil. The investigation lead to Ashley MacArthur, a former crime scene technician. Among other pieces of evidence presented by prosecutors was a video of MacArthur buying quick dry concrete and potting soil a day after the victim was missing. Read More
Jim Leavelle survived Pearl Harbor, testified in the “Trial of the Century,” retired a legendary detective, and attained the age of 99. While researching “The Assassin’s Assassin,” the tall man in the light suit wearing the Stetson hat in Bob Jackson’s famous, Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph told me all about his experience with Jack Ruby, the man who killed Lee Harvey Oswald. Today, in his honor, I’ll share that with you.
Sport unifies powerfully. Hustle and effort are admired and revered. Cheating is abhorred. The rules apply the same to everyone. We don’t care where our teammates came from, what they believe, or what they stand for because we stand together. Jerseys make skin color invisible. We stand united against attack. We cheer. We applaud. We pick up the fallen. We encourage the mistaken. We all feel the sting of defeat. Read More
His case file looked like all the others in the storage facility for the DA’s Office in Dallas: a collection of a dozen or so dusty brown and white banker boxes. The difference? The name written on the outside: Jack Ruby. Read More
He was tall, handsome, and raised in a religious house. As a youth he worked in his father’s grocery store. He was a star athlete at Farmersville high school in Denton, a Texas state record holder in the hurdles. He pledged Pi Kappa Alpha at UNT. And if he hadn’t hitchhiked down Sunset Blvd. in the summer of 1968, he might never have met Charlie Manson. His name is Charles “Tex” Watson, and 50 years ago today, he began a mission of murder called “Helter Skelter.”
I watched the 2019 legislature with great hope, convinced that the bipartisan call for meaningful bail reform in Texas would finally be answered. Ultimately, however, it was not. As such, I offer this open letter to 2021 lawmakers addressing why we need bail reform, and how to do it.