Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Separation of powers? What separation of powers?

Judge Mejia --
Thank you for your assistance this past weekend with our No Refusal Program.
I'm cc'ing the new chief of the Vehicular Crimes Section, Catherine Evans, so you can work with her to arrange for future No Refusal Programs.
I will continue to remain in the Section and work with the No Refusal Programs, but please contact Catherine [Evans] with any issues you have. Thanks again.
E-mail from former Harris County prosecutor Brent Mayr to former Director and Presiding Judge for the City of Houston Municipal Courts, Berta Mejia dated 11/30/2009.
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You're welcome. My only complaint (if you can call it that) is that we would like as much notice as possible. For this last weekend, we were notified on Tuesday...
E-mail from Ms. Mejia to Mr. Mayr dated 11/30/2009.
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Judge Mejia,
Thanks for letting me know. I'll make note of that on our schedule.
In the past, some of your Municipal Judges have volunteered to assist us during some of the peak hours. Do you mind if I approach them? I'm trying to make sure that we procure and execute these warrants in the most expeditious way possible, and when we're fortunate enough to have a Judge or Magistrate dedicated only to reviewing the warrants, it certainly moves the quickest.
E-mail from Catherine Evans, HCDAO, to Ms. Mejia dated 12/9/2009.
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So some of the judges at 1400 Lubbock Street have "volunteered to assist" the Harris County District Attorney's Office on "No Refusal Weekends?" Pardon me, but it's not the job of members of the judiciary to "assist" the DA's office. Judges are supposed to be neutral arbiters (I'm certain someone at least says that during "judge school"), not assistants to the District Attorney. There's that little separation of powers thing, if you remember from your high school government class.

Then there's Ms. Evans concern that prosecutors be able to "procure and execute these warrants in the most expeditious way possible..." No one's talking about "reviewing" warrant applications here. Nope, we're talking about finding judges who will sign off on every piece of paper that comes across their desk so that the police can strap down motorists for forcible blood draws.

You can color this anyway you want, and if you choose to drink the Kool-Aid they're serving on the 6th floor of the Criminal (In)justice Center, I guess you find nothing wrong with the notion that the HCDAO is out there actively recruiting judges to sign off on blood warrants so that they can coerce motorists to submit to breath tests under the threat of forcible blood draws.

The true believers have no love for the Constitution and no understanding of the rights it protects.

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