Missed the Target
Don't shoot the judge: Glenna Whitley does an excellent job of character assassination in her article "Undue Process" (October 5). The only problem: She shot the wrong person.
Regardless of any assessment of the strength of his/her case, there is no lawyer in his right mind who would ever try a capital murder to anything but a jury; waiving a jury in a capital murder trial is unheard of! Maybe Ms. Whitley would have known that had she asked any other lawyer on the planet outside of those who had a financial stake in the case (Hendrick and his appellate attorney Mitchell). Of course, Hendrick did the writ for free--but he's the one who F'ed up Karage's case and maybe his life (guilt will make you do funny things).
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The decision in this case was made on the evidence presented by both sides. Surely Whitley is not insinuating that the state did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt--could there be a conspiracy against Karage? (That was sarcasm.) Maybe the same lawyer who waived a jury in a capital murder case was unable to adequately defend his client. Just a thought. I have to say that I was not there and did not hear or see the evidence presented, but obviously Whitley was nowhere near either.
The only reason lawyers waive a jury in that situation is because they know they are in over their heads with regard to their ability to try such a complex case. If the case was such a "lay-down," why not lay it down in front of 12 jurors? Larry Mitchell is a good appellate attorney who I am sure argued in his appeal that to waive a jury in a capital murder is per se ineffective assistance of counsel--why were those grounds for appeal not included in the article?
I'll tell you why. It's one month before elections. Karen Greene is a Republican candidate running against Democrat Andrew Chatham. The Dallas Observer has written several favorable articles about Mr. Chatham and his legal practice (a cursory search of your archives demonstrates that). Chatham, Hendrick and Mitchell (who is also running for judge on the Democratic team) are all staunch supporters and sometimes candidates of the Dallas Democratic Party. I don't want to say your mag leans left, but let's call a liberal a liberal.
One of two things happened here. Either Ms. Whitley has no journalistic integrity and used her position to write a thinly veiled partisan article in an attempt to influence voters, or she was cleverly duped by the Dallas County Democratic Party and does not possess the investigative skills to be a journalist. Either one of these cases should give you pause.
I consider Judge Greene, Andy Chatham and Larry Mitchell to be friends of mine. I have no dog in this fight, but it's hard to stand by and watch this miscarriage of the facts.
Those Crazy Baylor Grads
Staying power: I am writing you regarding Elaine Liner's "review" ("Who's on Faust?" October 12) of Rebecca Gilman's play The Glory of Living done by Second Thought Theatre in Addison. In short, I am wondering how Ms. Liner could write (and how you could accept and subsequently print) a review on a show she admittedly didn't see the second act of? Recently Joel Siegel walked out of a press screening of Kevin Smith's comedy Clerks 2, announcing his exit loudly to a group of fellow reviewers in the process. ABC television refused to accept his review of the picture based on the fact he hadn't seen it to completion. I think you should have followed ABC's example--that is, unless the standards for your reviewers are different from professionals. Joel Siegel apologized to Kevin Smith and to his network. I think Elaine Liner owes Second Thought Theatre the same courtesy. Would you trust a food review if they left after the soup?
Frat Boys, Yeah
Kicking myself: I was in a fraternity not too long ago, and I love the Yeah Yeah Yeahs ("Y Control?" by Jonanna Widner, October 12). Just because some fraternity dude and his girlfriend didn't fit the stereotypical look of the crowd that night doesn't mean they couldn't appreciate all of the great music being performed. But say they were only there to hear "Maps." Maybe in the process they discovered the rest of the band's music. By the way, who do you think cared more about fitting in with the crowd that night: those two SMU types or all of the über-hip people you described at the beginning of your article? For what it's worth, I too would hope the YYYs would go bat-shit crazy on stage as well. Either way, I'm kicking myself for not being there.
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"Best Reason to Outlaw Skating"? Ouch: When I opened the Best of Dallas issue (September 28) the other day and anxiously came across page 26, I had to read the write-up twice to fully grasp all the concepts, not that it was necessarily complex, but because of the productive relationship the Dallas Derby Devils have had with the Dallas Observer over the past two years. How does a writer who has not even attended a game come by the opportunity to bestow negative publicity to roller derby in Dallas? Instead of a professional approach with research about our organization, your writer publicly criticized our efforts.
What baffles me is that if derby in Dallas is a short-lived trend, why are we still selling out our games at 1,200 patrons on a Sunday night?
Dallas Derby Devils