Anonymous Bloggers

I’m in favor of people in sensitive positions being able to blog anonymously so that they can bring us insights that we wouldn’t otherwise [edit: receive]. But — and maybe this is just me — I think if you’re going to blog anonymously you should treat people with at least as much respect as you would give them were you face-to-face.Dick DeGuerin is one of the respected leaders of the Harris County criminal defense bar, and a lawyer who could very well clean up a courtroom with AHCL. When Dick’s on a case, the Office puts Kelly Siegler up against him; the cases Kelly brags about on her website are the ones in which she beat Dick DeGuerin. He is that good.I doubt very much that AHCL would call Dick DeGuerin “Sore Loser of the Year” to his face. I doubt, also, that she would refer to as “Dickie” in person.Pat Lykos is fair game — maybe — because she’s running for office. She’s put herself out there. But by taking shots at Dick DeGuerin from behind the cover of anonymity, AHCL drops her blog to a different level, and makes herself out to be just another anonymous coward.

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0 responses to “Anonymous Bloggers”

  1. AHCL has student loans to pay and an uncertain 2009 ahead of her. An occasional emotional outburst is to be expected (and forgiven).

  2. The office doesn’t wait till Dick shows up to assign the case to Kelly. I know a number of prosecutors other than Kelly who have handled or are currently handling cases against Mr. DeGuerin.

    From what I’ve seen, Kelly tends to take on the toughest cases, which means the evidence can be challenging. It also means, the defendants themselves can be daunting. And sometimes that means they have alot of money. DeGuerin commands a high fee. He doesn’t represent pro se defendants, no matter how “innocent” they claim to be. Kelly and Dick have gone head to head four times, so far as I know. Has he only handled four cases in 21 years in Harris County? If so – maybe his legend is a little over-broad. If not – maybe the office doesn’t really assign Kelly to him since he isn’t “that good.” Prosecutors get cases at random, and who the defendant hires doesn’t impact which ADA handles the case. Mark, you know better.

  3. Okay, I concede that I went too far. The DA’s office doesn’t always put Kelly opposite Dick. He’s not that good.

    Still, the cases that Kelly brags about are the cases in which she beat Dick (or, in one instance, Dick’s office). He is that good.

  4. I agree. Beating Dick is noteworthy for a prosecutor – he is that good.

    And, I agree – Dick is not that good, that he should draw Kelly Siegler every time.

  5. Ah Mark,
    I was wondering when we would have our first fight. Kind of interesting, isn’t it?

    First of all, I called Dick the names “sore loser of the year” and “Dickie”. I didn’t call him an expletive nor insinuate that he had a body buried off the New Jersey turnpike. It surprised me that you took such offense on his behalf.

    Second, as to the comment that Dick would “clean up a courtroom” with me. Perhaps. I’ve always tried to refrain from talking myself up or predicting a win in court. I wouldn’t ever predict a win against any attorney, but I certainly would never be scared to try a case against them. Call me Old Fashioned, but I’m one of those folks that believes cases are more about the facts, than the attorneys. I’ve tried a fairly large amount of felony cases, and I’m not saying that I’ve won them all One thing that is true of 100% of my cases is that I’ve never once seen you in the audience during one of them.

    Therefore, your prediction of me being used as a utensil to clean a courtroom may be a bit premature.

    Third, when I first started this gig (and subsequently hired you as my attorney to protect my anonymity), I believe that we concurred that me keeping my identity a secret was best for a multitude of reasons.

    Cowardice over saying something to someone’s face was not one of those reasons.

    However, that has put me in the unique position of being called a “coward” when I say something you disagree with, apparently.

    I fully realize that you and I will say things that the other will disagree with. It happens more often than not, in fact. I give my take on things. You give your take on things. But, we had remained polite to one another.

    Until today, at least.

    We’re freaking bloggers, for God’s sakes. Not newscasters.

  6. My opinion of DeGuerin fluctuates with what I think of the defendant he’s working for (I know, it shouldn’t, but it does). DeGuerin is cleaning up a mess in central Texas made by another legendary attorney who, when push comes to shove, hasn’t lived up to his reputation a couple of times.

    I think more of AHCL than I do of the anonymous ADAs posting on her site who have nothing better to come at me with than the fact I look like Uncle Fester. (I know I won’t need to be scared of them if ever I have to try a felony in Houston if their trial strategy consists of name-calling.) But I wonder why she lets those anony-mouse posters get away with that juvenilia.

  7. AHCL, I still think your anonymity is important. Maybe, thanks to anonymous commenters on another local blawg, I’ve developed a distaste for anonymous ad hominem attacks. Or maybe I always had such a distaste.

    Am I wrong that you should be at least as respectful when you’re anonymous as you would in person?

  8. Michael,
    You are correct. I shouldn’t have allowed the Uncle Fester on my blog. As the blog host, that was my duty, and I apologize. If you would send me a comment on my blog letting me know where the comment is, I will go back and delete it. I fully realize that it is too little, too late, but I hope you accept my apology.

    I believe, as I always have believed, since starting my blog that all statements I made should be taken for what they were worth. That is, statements made by an Anonymous Blogger. Is it maddening to read something bad about yourself and have no one to respond to?
    Of course it is. One of the reasons I started the blog was in direct response to the anonymous posters over at the Chronicle’s website. I just wanted a voice to be heard that actually was an opposing view to what was written over there.

    Should people be respectful? People should ALWAYS be respectful, But sometimes things are said to illustrate points that are disrespectful. I think I’ve been clear in early posts about Dick that I think he is one hell of an attorney. That doesn’t mean that I strongly disagree with how he handled the guilty verdict of David Temple. I described it as I felt.
    Another case in point, Alan Bernstein.
    I’m giving him Holy Hell on my website because of what he has elected to write and not write at the Chronicle.
    I guess the bottom line is that if I support my characterizations with WHY I made them, maybe you will consider them. Maybe not. Feel free to regard me and what I write as being no better than the mush written in the Chronicle message boards.

  9. Mark, I think you are too harsh on anon bloggers/posters. Please recognize that you are your own boss (but for your wife) and nobody will fire you for speaking your mind. Others are employees of someone or an agency, and only feel comfortable blogging/posting without giving their names.

    I have a few questions:
    Have you seen AHCL in trial?
    Do you think Dick is better than you in trial? Dick is good, but is he really the best?
    Is Kelly the only one who can beat him?
    Just wondering.

  10. Batgirl:

    I thought the last remark was directed at me, rather than Mark, but since I surfed over here…

    Without knowing who AHCL is (and I know Mark does) I am certain I’ve never seen her since I’ve never seen a Harris County felony trial. (Well, I guess I should allow for the possibility I’ve seen her in another county.)

    I think Dick is better than me in trial. I don’t think Kelly is the only one who can beat him.


    By the way, off topic: GO RAZORBACKS!

  11. Batgirl,

    Anonymous blogging is okay, but not as cover for ad hominem attacks.

    If I’ve seen AHCL in trial, I haven’t seen her much; even assuming that she’s the second best the HCDAO has Dick could very well clean up a courtroom with him. That was intended to be a statement of possibility; my apologies if the expression is unfamiliar to you. Is Dick better than me in trial? He could very well be. Is he the best? He could very well be. Is Kelly the only one who can beat him? Not likely.

  12. With regard to “who is the best attorney” and “who can beat whom”, there’s these pesky things that keep getting in the way of trial advocacy, called “facts”. About ten years ago, the Austin criminal bar was abuzz with the rumor that Roy Minton was paid $2,000,000 to represent a murder defendant (the actual amount was probably closer to half a million) but still lost the case. The moral was Minton has a monster reputation, but Roger Scaggs killed his wife.

  13. “The best” depends on the case. There are cases for which I’m the best lawyer. There are others for which I’m not. The trick is finding the cases in the first category and avoiding those in the second.

  14. AHCL, you banned me from your blog for calling the Harris County District Attorney’s Office–a government bureaucracy–depraved. You (and your ADA friends) can dish it anonymously, but you sure can’t take it, even anonymously. It’s really no surprise to me that, with this petulant attitude, you’re an ADA in Texas.

    And I’m not sure that I agree with Mark that you deserve anonymity if you are a government employee in such a powerful office as the district attorney’s. You aren’t exactly a whistleblower, you know. More like a PR spokesperson. But governments don’t have the prerogative to spin. Maybe Mark sees “insights that we wouldn‚Äôt otherwise” from your blog, but I sure don’t.

  15. No, PJ. I banned you from my website because you were like a long-winded broken record. You always said the same thing over and over again, usually personally attacking Rob Freyer. It would be one thing if you had a point and made it, but you just kept repeating yourself. It got old.

    Mark, as to my early “Batson” article, I believe that is the one that you referred to in the comments as “an excellent post”, and it generated a lot of discussion (albeit, most of it at my expense).

  16. AHCL, I believe you’re right. If you wanted to confirm your belief, you could click on the link I put in my comment. Like I say, insights that we wouldn’t otherwise; (I think I meant to put a verb there like “see” or “get”).

  17. Easy you guys! Apparently the viewers like to read both blogs by AHCL and Bennett for the different opinions. As you know, you both have many of the same views/commenters. The ADAs read Bennett’s blog, too. Keep it up…both of you. You both have good information to contribute to the public.

    PJ, play nice.

  18. ** We’re freaking bloggers, for God’s sakes. Not newscasters. **

    Amen to that.

    A blog should be able to have some fun with high-profile figures (and Dick DeGuerin is a fairly high-profile figure in this town).

    We frequently assign amusing nicknames to the things we blog about on bH. That doesn’t mean that in person I would ever refer to the mayor disrespectfully, but that also doesn’t take anything away from the points we try to make (in a humorous manner at times, because we’d rather laugh!). In fact, I think the humor makes them stickier (to wit, the Danger Train references). There are many ways to get a point across.

    Now, I’m not such a big fan of anon bloggers/commenters looking simply to spread unverifiable dirt/gossip, but certainly that’s not what AHCL is up to.

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