Thursday, May 5, 2016

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Our Local D.A.'s Ranked: The Lowdown

Who are our local D.A.'s in Hobbs, New Mexico, Lea County, the Fifth Judicial District.

Here they are:

Jessy Marquez--10/10---Always cool.  Takes everything in stride.  Never exaggerates.  Will dismiss a case if she thinks it's the right thing to do.  Never breaks a promise.  And she has one talent above all else:  She is her own woman,  meaning she is the one prosecutor at the Hobbs office that truly doesn't care what her supervisors think:  She just does what she thinks is fair and just.  Plain and simple.

Michael Tighe--9/10--Extremely smart.  Works his ass off to be a good prosecutor.  Tries to do his best, and when he doesn't understand the law, he attempts to learn about the law.  A good, decent person.  Still is worried way too much about what Dianna Luce or Lisa Kuykendall think.  Once he shakes that fright, he'll be great.  Or, once Luce and Kuykendall permit him to shake that fright, he'll be great.  Tighe has one other amazing talent:  He never allows the other side to get under his skin.  No matter how hard they try.  For being so young, that is unthinkable.  Never flashy.  Always solid.    

Ross Bettis--10/10--Simply the best. Most honest man I have ever worked with across the bow.  Will never lie.  Won't exaggerate.  Simply attempts to do justice.  A very honest, respectable man.  A Veteran that was hired in the Hicks years.  I have heroes in my life.  Ross is one of them.  I'm not afraid of any attorney in the Hobbs district attorney's office except Ross Bettis.  Why? Because juries can sense honesty and goodness.  And Ross is both.

Lisa Kuykendall--7/10--By far the best prosecutor in the Fifth in terms of trial work and knowledge.   She is a bulldog, and every district attorney's office needs a bulldog.  Once in court, she can kick your ass because she is not afraid to speak truth to power.  However, her flaws are earth shattering:  She is never, ever prepared.  If she were ever prepared for a trial she would be unbeatable.  But, she is the most unprepared lawyer I know.  Her knowledge gets her through most court battles, but at trial her unpreparedness is paralyzing to watch.  However, it's her last flaw that is most damaging and destructive:  She takes everything, and I mean everything, way too personal.  And I mean way too personal.   If Lisa ever fixed her flaws she would be the best in the State.  However, I believe she relies on her flaws more than her strengths.  She acts as if she believes that her job is to convict not to seek justice.  Why?  Because with her everything is personal.  The defense attorney?  It's personal.  The case?  It's personal. The facts?  It's personal.  On and on and on.  Plays favorites way too much.  In an office with investigators like the A.G.'s office, or a Major Felony unit, she would be tremendous.  In Hobbs, she's left to do everything herself, which means she is always, always unprepared.  She gets a 7/10 because she has a skill set outside of her flaws that is fantastic.

Erik Scramlin--1/10--A joke.  A simple, simple, very bad, bad joke!  A self-voucher if ever there was one.  His entire argument style is to say "Judge, you know me, you know I wouldn't mislead you."  And then what does he do? He misleads them.  "Judge, I've worked with you for a few years now, and you know blah, blah, blah."  The problem is that because of his demeanor (think "The Big Bang Theory" mixed with a bad episode of "Law and Order: CSI Hobbs"), the Judges actually buy into his act.  That is until the appeals and habeas' come piling down around their heads.  The second worse prosecutor in the State. (Readers, calm down, you'll be introduced to the first in a moment.)  Appalling at all levels.  He does one thing consistently good though:  He knows how to work the video system in the courtroom like a beast.  He displays this skill over and over and over.  A one-trick pony.  Negativity at its multiplied worse.  Has the single characteristic that you never want in a prosecutor:  Passive-Aggressive.  He likes to shoot fish in a barrel.  So God awful.

Ben Gubernick--7/10--I actually like Ben.  Smart as a whip.  And likes to fight.  And that's ok with me.  If this guy had a mentor he would be unstoppable in three years.  He thinks he knows more than he does, and he doesn't know when to stop, but he's a fighter and I'll take a fighter any day.  He has bought into the Kuykendall/Luce idea though, which is to give good pleas to certain lawyers who kiss up to him, and to deny good pleas to those who fight him.  One day he'll learn to respect those who fight and he will become disgusted with the ass-kissers.  Right now, he can't sort that out.  Overreacts to everything.  But that's not so bad as long as you correct overreaction.  Right now Ben doesn't.  (And Ben, getting frustrated with your Victim's Advocate in court is never a good thing.  Yeah, I saw that in LaBree's today.  And that woman is damn good at her job.)  One day it will all click and he will be a force.  Right now he's like a newborn pony, just trying to get his feet under him.  If attorneys were stocks, I'd bet on him in the long run.  A better counter-puncher than ninety-nine percent of prosecutors in the State.  Very good at cross-examination, which is more than I can say for almost all prosecutors everywhere.

Dianna Luce--0/10--Nobody, but nobody is worse.  In the State, in the Southwest, in the Country.  She argues to judges and juries with a series of eye gestures and facial expressions.  Contorting her face when she disagrees with something, and smirking all the while, even when facing the best of the best of the Bar (meaning Barry Crutchfield).  Ladies and gentlemen, I lie to you not, this is her argument style;  Facial gestures, eye rolls, and smirks.  The woman hasn't read a Bar Bulletin in years.  Years.  She literally lives and dies with facial gestures, eye rolls, and smirks.   If this is who the Republicans feel is the best for the job in the Fifth Judicial District, then we are in for one nightmare of a four year term.

I've watched her in trials.  She makes facial gestures all through the trial.  Nothing but facial gestures.  It's kinda creepy.  It's kinda weird.  It's like watching an old Phyllis Diller comedy routine.  Seriously!

Her office is being overturned on appeal left and right now, and it's getting bad.  About a dozen cases have come back reversed during her administration.  (As she's reading this, she will smirk.  Hey, that's just Dianna.)

Her policies have hurt minorities unlike any other district attorney.  If you're Hispanic or African-American and you ever vote for her, or with her, then you're voting against your very own interest.

When she does a trial, look across the room, and I will bet it is a Hispanic or African-American sitting in the Defendant's seat.  Hey, that's how she rolls.

Our jails, and when I say "jails", I mean Lea County Detention Center and Hobbs City Jail are full of minorities.

I was sitting with Orlando Torres recently.  Orlando is an attorney from Albuquerque and he told me that he was stunned by the racial make-up of our incarcerated population.  It is so out of whack with the actual population in Hobbs.

I agreed.  That's just how Dianna Luce rolls.

You see Dianna, you can hide behind your powerful friends all you want, but Hispanics and African-Americans in Hobbs know the truth.

Because they have family.

They have church members.

They have coworkers.

They have neighbors.

They have sons.

They have daughters.

They have grandchildren.

They know who you prosecute and who you send to prison.

In short, they know their lives.  And, in knowing their lives, they know.....you.

They really, really do.

Dianna equals Trump to minorities.  Dianna equals oppression.  Dianna equals the very face of injustice.

Always unprepared.  Always, always unprepared.  Like her Chief Deputy Kuykendall, she is always unprepared.

But why should she be prepared when she relies on facial gestures rather than sound legal argument.  On smirks, rather than facts.  On raised eyebrows, rather than the law.

She is, without a doubt, the worst D.A. in the State.  Her only uplifting characteristic is that she replaced the second worst D.A. in the State:  Hicks.

You don't know how bad she is folks, you really don't.

But, I have faith.  The last time we had court together there were actual giggles in the courtroom when she first announced her appearance.

Actual giggles.  (Now of course everybody there was a Kirk Chavez reader, so they all knew that the Queen had no new clothes, and they looked around and saw the racial make-up of the room, and realized:  Damn, Kirk Chavez is right.  Damn, Kirk Chavez is so very, very right.  They were coming up to me and telling me, "Man, when I look around I actually can't believe it."  Yes brothers and sisters, it's true.)

An embarrassment.   And the people in that courtroom knew it.

Good pleas if your "Pro-Dianna", bad pleas if your "Anti-Dianna."  And, you should see the good boys line up around her eating out of her hand.  Disgusting to the core.  Such good, good little boys.  Clinging to their mother's apron strings.  Clinging oh so tightly.  (Oh by the way, the pleas she actually gives them are not that great in the big scheme of things, its just that their "addicted" to those plea offers.  So very afraid to go to trial because of whatever load of crap they've created for themselves, and sold to others, just might get shown as....well.....a load of crap.  So they always plea....plea......plea.  Rather than fight.  Rather than win.  Used car salesmen.)

No, Dianna is worse than Matthew Chandler at his height.  Repeat, worse than Matt Chandler at his height.

Yep, that bad.

One pair of eyes at a time!

To the good Republicans in this District, and there are many, Dianna will be the one person who you will regret the most in the upcoming years.   You will turn your back and groan.

As that courtroom of onlookers did just a few short days ago.

Groaned! Then giggled.  Then looked around and became sad.  So very, very sad.

Journal Article On Closing Court Hearings To The Public

We have more closed hearing than we need to have right now.

So a plan that permits for more closure is wrong.

The Waller test is strict, but strict for good reason.

CYFD would be a much more efficient organization, with a high level of respect, if the public were permitted in Abuse/Neglect proceedings, where certain portions of the hearings could occur in the judge's chambers, i.e. when discussing mental health issues.

Any rule that gives judges more discretion, or lessening the strict test of Waller, is something the public should stand against.

http://www.abqjournal.com/768491/rules-should-help-judges-decide-when-to-close-court.html

Meet. Eat. Confer.

Best advice I have ever heard on professional disputes.

A bit of wisdom handed down by Justice Edward Chavez of the New Mexico Supreme Court.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Best of Brand New: Radiohead's New Single

Think idealistic small town America.  Maybe Mayberry RFD, Maybe Hobbs.  And then think about all the nasty, gory things happening behind the scenes.

Or, sometimes, even in front of your very eyes.

A model village gone twisted.

Best political commentary in years.

Just released yesterday.




Sunday, May 1, 2016

Best of Brand New: 30 For 30-Fantastic Lies (The Duke Lacrosse Case)

One of the finest shows in recent memory.

As someone who has been the subject lately of a bunch of fantastic lies, I am aware of how the Duke Lacrosse players must have felt.

http://thefederalist.com/2016/03/16/fantastic-lies-10-appalling-moments-from-the-duke-lacrosse-case/

Lawyer Regulation: Article with Overview and Solutions

Just read this article about the regulation of lawyer conduct.  Of course, it's focus is on trust fund issues.  Issues of fraud and misrepresentation.

But its information is pretty insightful.

Is questioning the disciplinary system of your profession bad conduct?  Is having an open discussion with those in charge of that area negative?

Or productive?

Is silence the way to enable constructive change?

I was taught differently in law school.  I was taught to be courageous and brave, and to speak truth to power.  I was taught that a little bit of sunshine was the best disinfectant.

http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4808&context=flr

Also, I've included a damn good overview of our regulatory history, which goes into "The Clark Report" and the "The McKay Commission."

http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/migrated/cpr/pubs/devlin.authcheckdam.pdf

Here is a pretty interesting fact, the Bar has never been held in high esteem.  When the Blue Bloods were in charge of the Bar in the early 20th century, it was truly viewed as a horrible profession.

But that changed.  When did that change?  During the era of Civil Rights when the American public witnessed attorneys like Thurgood Marshall, Justices like Warren Burger, and others who fought for the rights of all Americans.

In short, it began to change when minority and female attorneys started to practice the law.

But, what did the Blue Bloods do to stop this chiseling into their profits?

They used disciplinary proceedings against minorities and female attorneys.  All the while they used discriminatory practices to stop these attorneys from being hired into large firms or to seek judicial seats.  The used their power to keep these people down and to maintain their power and profit gain.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor talks about this in her biography.  Malcolm Gladwell talks about this in his books, i.e. the systematic discriminatory practices used to keep Jewish members of the Bar from gaining entry into the larger New York firms until well after 1950.

The question is:  Were disciplinary processes used against attorneys to protect the profits for attorneys who were part of the power structure through the Bar's history?

The answer: Of course.

The question is:  Are there still places that are behind the times in terms of race relations, so that such practices could still be ongoing?

The Answer:  Of course.

The question is:  Is Eastern New Mexico still behind the times in areas such as race/gender/same sex equality?

The Answer:  Well, I'll leave that to you.  Don't want to step on anybody's toes.

"To use your influence in any manner to stop political speech is immoral.  The best course to stop political speech is to take no course in that direction at all."  Guess Who?