Wednesday, May 2, 2012

And the news just keeps getting worse

Life's just not getting any easier for embattled Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley. Not only is he facing what appears to be an uphill fight to hold onto his office, he must also deal with complaints filed with both the State Bar and the Travis County DA's Office that he was negligent in his leadership of the State Forensic Sciences Commission.

Dr. Christopher Nulf, Ph.D., a former analyst with the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas, alleges that Mr. Bradley, while chair of the FSC, failed to notify his fellow committee members of any potential conflicts of interest and that he made false statements to the public.
Click here for the ethics complaint filed with the State Bar. 
Click here for the Dr. Nulf's letter to the Travis County DA.
Under Mr. Bradley's stewardship of the FSC, Dr. Nulf filed a complaint about the many problems he observed at the SWIFS facility. The Committee failed to conduct its own investigation into the allegations - choosing, instead, to allow ASCLD/LAB (American Society of Crime Lab Directors), the body that "accredits" crime labs, to conduct a series of telephone interviews with directors of SWIFS. He also allowed committee members who had conducted business with ASCLD or Dallas County (SWIFS), or who had entered into contracts with them, to vote and take part in commission discussions regarding Dr. Nulf's allegations.

More disturbing is the fact that these problems were occurring right under the nose of the organization that provide accreditation to the crime lab. The problems in Dallas, and the recent revelation that there have been problems in the DPS Crime Lab in Houston raise questions about just how thorough an audit ASCLD performs. We won't even mention the fact that the crime labs pay ASCLD for their accreditation audit.

Nope. No problems here.


Anonymous said...


Ms. Stephens complaint to the FSC was dismissed in October 2011. The FSC stated that her complaint was to be handled by Human Resources -- "personnel issues".

Anonymous said...


Analyst Stephen's complaint was dismissed in October 2011, citing that is was an APD Human Resources Issue.

Anonymous said...

I understand the temptation to take any and every opportunity to beat up on Bradley. However, in reading these complaints it is very clear that both the criminal and ethical accusations against him have absolutely no merit.

Indeed, they are laughable.

This seems to be the pattern for Nulf. Documents posted on scribd and elsewhere indicate he has filed ethical complaints against his own lawyer (for what it isn't clear), a defense attorney (for calling him as a witness and asking him questions he didn't like), and a prosecutor (for asking him more questions he didn't like). He's sent this latest complaint to the state ethics commission. And he's previously sent complaints to DPS, the state auditor's office, and Senator Whitmire out of Houston.

And everyone, it seems, has roundly rejected him.

While there may be some credit due for persistence, it's a major league stretch to believe that there is suddenly now going to be substance and merit when there has been none before.

So, while he doesn't appear to be running out of people and things to complain about (doubtless he will be complaining about the Travis Co. DA in the near future), he does appear to be running short of state agencies to send the complaints to.

But hey, there's always the Railroad Commission and Parks and Wildlife.

sliter.chews.pens said...

Anon 8:08 (Son-of-Bradley)-

Instead of name calling, reveal the info.

If it's "very clear", you should have no problem presenting your counter-point.

Where are the reports with the opinions and reasoning that discredit Dr. Nulf?

The TFSC doesn't have one.
The DPS doesn't have one.
The ASCLD/LAB Review was a joke.

If Dr. Nulf was part of the Innocence Project or any lawyerly organization, he wouldn't have this much problem getting very simple answers to his concerns.

Provide something intelligent that adds to the conversation.


Anonymous said...

According to the Innocence Project, approximately 50% of post-conviction exonerations are the result of incorrect scientific testimony proffered at trial.

Dallas County has 32 post-conviction exonerations, meaning that approx 16 of those should be the result of poor science.

How many have actually been attributed to incorrect scientific testimony in Dallas County?

2, which suggests that Dallas County may be hiding scientific in competencies.

The most recent is February 2012, Ex Parte Richard Miles, where it was discovered that a trace analyst from the Dallas County Crime Lab deviated from lab protocols to produce a lab report that incriminated the defendant -- 14 years in prison.

The citizens of Dallas County should be concerned that this crime lab wasn't further investigated by Bradley and the FSC.

Anonymous said...


Where to begin?


In a 116 document submitted as supporting documentation of an ethics complaint, Nulf claims Bradley violated professional rules that are specifically written in regard to attorneys engaged in the work of representing clients.

But in his role on the Commission Bradley was representing no client and was not acting as an attorney. He may have qualified for the Commission because he was an attorney. But that is very different from acting in a professional legal capacity.

So the ethics rules don't apply, and the accusations are laughable.

It's really worth the time to go over the 116 page complaint. I've gotten through most of it, and it's painful going. But at the end of the day, it's the same thing, over and over and over again - unsubstantiated innuendos without even the appearance of fact. It's really quite an amazing document as far as its ability so use so many words to say so little of value.

I don't envy the Travis Co DA that has to spend time trying to digest it fully. I would be driven to drink.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:53 / 8:08 -

Oh Geezus, sounds like you started drinking long ago.

So, your argument is that Bradley is a lawyer, but not acting as an lawyer as a member of the FSC. Thus, Ethical Standards which apply specifically to lawyers are not relevant in this setting. Is this your argument?

Perhaps you are not familiar with the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct:
Preamble: A Lawyer's Responsibilities
1. A lawyer is a representative of clients, an officer of the legal system and a public citizen having special responsibility for the quality of justice. Lawyers, as guardians of the law, play a vital role in the preservation of society. The fulfillment of this role requires an understanding by lawyers of their relationship with and function in our legal system. A consequent obligation of lawyers is to maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct.

Bradley is a public citizen, is he not? The Ethical Standards are inherent with the profession. The are not mutually exclusive just because Bradley is a member of the FSC.

Unless, to use your argument, Bradley is NOT acting as a public citizen of Texas while a member of the FSC. Thus, if Bradley is not a citizen of Texas, then Texas law does not apply to him either-- which would explain his perjury during a legislative hearing... --Part 1 --Part 2

Same question, different answers.

Find those reports yet? Willing to make an intelligent contribution to this subject?


Paul B. Kennedy said...

Mr. Anonymous,

I ran your last comment only because it had a few salient points that were germane to the discussion. However, if you're going to go around insulting folks, I would appreciate it if you had enough integrity to identify yourself. It's easy - and cowardly - to attack another person anonymously.

Anonymous said...

8:53 here.

Sliter.chews.pens said: “So, your argument is that Bradley is a lawyer, but not acting as a lawyer as a member of the FSC. Thus, Ethical Standards which apply specifically to lawyers are not relevant in this setting. Is this your argument?”

Yes. Exactly. The legal profession is not different from other professions in this regard. Rules of professional ethics apply to one’s conduct in the business of the profession, whatever that is. In the legal profession, it is the business of providing an effective service to a client. That is the way the rules are written. And in the questions it asks, the bar’s grievance form reflects this focus on the business of providing a service to a client.

Look. I share the view that Bradley is an objectionable fellow in a lot of ways. But the fact that he is objectionable for lots of good reasons doesn’t mean that every accusation against him is going to be valid. In fact, because so many people find him objectionable, he is an easy target for spurious accusations.

I see this Nulf complaint to be exactly that – a litany of extremely spurious accusations. Nulf’s accusation that Bradley lied in his testimony to the senate committee is one of these spurious accusations. As described in the Nulf complaint, at one point, in a series of questions about the general operation of the Commission, Bradley was asked if there were “roughly 3” complaints accepted for investigation by the Commission, and his answer was yes. At a later date he stated specifically that 2 complaints were being investigated – Moon and Willingham. And Nulf is accusing Bradley of perjury? The last I checked, “roughly 3” doesn’t mean “exactly 3”. This isn’t even an inconsistency in testimony. But Nulf claims it is perjury. Accusations don’t get more spurious than this.

So I stand by my assessment that these complaints by Nulf against Bradley are a crock.

Anonymous said...

sliter.chews.pens here-

Maybe Bradley isn't unethical, only "roughly" unethical?? Maybe he wasn't lying, but maybe he was just not telling the truth. Maybe Bradley implied "roughly 2". Or, maybe he implied "exactly 2". Maybe he said 2, but was thinking 3, or "roughly" 3. Or, maybe he just forgot the correct number of complaints being investigated. We can dance with wordplay and semantics with what was implied or not, or what was intentional deception or an honest oversight.

Or, we can simply listen to what Dr. Sarah Kerrigan stated during the April 4, 2010 meeting with the Texas House of Representatives Commission of Public Safety:


Dr. Kerrigan: "...of the 20 complaints that we've received, we have 3 that are currently under investigation that we would consider major investigations..."

Dr. Kerrigan: "...identified 3 that are actual investigations...the Moon investigation, the Willingham investigation, and we have an anonymous complaint that is still pending that is in the process of being investigated...there is an investigation panel for Moon, an investigation panel for Willingham, and I don't believe there is one for the anonymous complaint.."

So, between April, 2010 (Kerrigan's statement) and February 2011 (Bradley's statement), the Commission lost a complaint?? Or perhaps you would argue that Dr. Kerrigan was lying.

When Bradley made the statement in Feb 2011, he was aware that the FSC took actions relating to the investigation of the SWIFS Crime Lab that were well outside their legal boundaries, fabricating excuses to dismiss the complaint (ie. "FSC Policies and Procedures"). He also knew that a tremendous amount of additional corroborating information (i.e. the complaint from the SAO, and a second anonymous complaint -- mine) had been submitted to the FSC approximately a month before his testimony, unvetted at the time (or any time for that matter). Moreover, Bradley knew he could only mention the two other investigations because they were submitted by the Innocence Project -- of which Senator Ellis was a board member, to which Bradley could accuse Ellis as being biased and having a conflict of interest. Bradley couldn't mention the third investigation because he couldn't use it against Ellis. Bradley had no explanation for the third incomplete investigation by the FSC. Thus, it magically disappeared.

Nulf's complaint listed facts, followed by opinion -- which you may subjectively call "spurious" (aren't all accusations "spurious" to at least one party?). But fact is, Bradley (and the FSC) had a numerous opportunities to address each and every one of these concerns before the complaint went to the State Bar. Instead, Bradley chose to ignore them. That is, Bradley had an opportunity to respond with his own arguments or explanations (even if to call them a crock), but chose to disregard the concerns of public citizens/clients.

As a member of a state agency, Bradley's role was to serve the public. The public/taxpayer is the "client". Thus Bradley was bound to serve his "client" within professional ethics as defined and expected by the public. Even if you believe that there are no "clients", as a lawyer he has an ethical responsibility to be honest with non-clients. Or, we could debate the interpretation of the "Texas Lawyer's Creed - A Mandate for Professionalism".

Anonymous said...


As the Nulf complaint to the Travis Co. DA makes clear, the complaint you are referring to never made it out of the screening committee. The screening committee recommended dismissing it. The full commission adopted that recommendation.

You would have to ask Kerrigan what she meant. But there appears to be no doubt in Nulf's mind that the complaint was not accepted for formal investigation and was dismissed by the Commission. By the way, the Commission dismisses the majority of complaints it receives, for one reason or another. The screening evaluation of this one appears to have taken longer than normal because it was set aside pending Nulf suing Dallas County. Nulf was supposed to let the Commission know when the suit was resolved, and apparently didn't for some reason.