#Justice4Raymond: Help us ensure that Raymond Leal receives a fair and just trial.
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For eight long years Raymond has been fighting for truth and for the opportunity to have his story told of what really happened August 9, 2009; and for eight long years a broken, dishonest, corrupt justice system has been fighting to conceal that truth. But with your help, the help of the people that love him, and the good Christian people of our community, we will pull back the veil of corruption and uncover the truth...THE TRUTH that will ensure that Raymond Leal receives a fair and just trial.
Please sign the petition to have Kim Ogg and her office recuse itself from Raymond Leal's case to ensure that he receives a fair and just trial.
FIRST HAND CORRUPTION IN TEXAS: Integrity Non Existent in the Harris County District Attorney's Office
In an article published by the Houston Chronicle, Saturday May 5, 2017; the Harris County District Attorney’s Office announced that they would seek recusal on the Temple case stating that they wanted to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.
Additionally, when the new Harris County District Attorney, Kim Ogg, took office early 2017; she hired a number of private sector criminal defense attorneys to work for the District Attorney’s office, many of whom were representing clients facing criminal charges in the Harris County courts at the time. Again, knowing the conflict that would arise from switching sides from a defendant’s defense attorney to working for the very office that was prosecuting that defendant; the Harris County District Attorney's Office voluntarily recused itself from prosecution of some 375 defendants requesting that special outside prosecutors be brought in who had no ties to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, in order to, ‘avoid the appearance of impropriety'.
SUPPLEMENTAL MOTION TO DISQUALIFY THE HARRIS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY AND APPOINT PROSECUTOR PRO TEM -http://www.attorneyoversight.org/articles/why-does-the-harris-county-district-attorney-s-office-not-mind-the-appearance-in-this-case/supplemental-motion-to-disqualify-the-harris-county-district-attorney-and-appoint-prosecutor-pro-tem/
For Kim Ogg and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office to want to do all that they could to, “avoid even the appearance of impropriety”, would be seen as an act of great integrity if it were a sincere act. But in light of some recently uncovered facts that just doesn’t seem to be the case.
Clear Conflict of Interest
There is at least one case that Kim Ogg and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office refuses to recuse themselves from and yet the conflict of interest in this particular case appears to be more grieves than any of the other nearly 400 cases.
Raymond Leal is a defendant whose attorney also switched sides in the middle of his case from representing him as sole counsel for the charge of murder, learning everything about Leal’s case and defense strategy from the inside and then withdrawing from the case to accept a job with the District Attorney’s Office as a Division Chief with a desk next to Lauren Byrne, the Assistant District Attorney prosecuting Leal’s case. I don’t believe you’ll find a case with more of an appearance of impropriety than that. But it gets better…
HERE ARE THE FACTS:
In August 2009, Raymond Leal was charged with Murder; accused of fatally shooting his wife in a late night confrontation, which Leal has always contended was a case of Sudden Passion (a charge with a sentencing range of 2-20 years in prison.)
In December of 2011, Leal went to trial and was sentenced to 99 years in the Texas Prison. In a grievance filed with the American Judiciary Institute of Attorney Oversight & Reporting, Mr. Leal claimed that he was the victim of a rigged trial, stating that his, then attorney, Steve “Rocket” Rosen, deliberately and intentionally sabotaged his defense and his trial by having him plead guilty months before trial (no deal…just plead guilty to murder.) Leal claims that Rosen told him that he had to plead guilty to murder as a formality in order to be eligible to receive the special issue of Sudden Passion. He also contends that during trial Rosen assisted prosecuting attorney, Lauren Byrne, in concealing the fact that his deceased wife was engaged in an extramarital affair.
[American Judiciary Institute of Attorney Oversight & Reporting | Grievance Filed By Client] (2nd Grievance Filed on Attorney Steven R. Rosen) RAYMOND LEAL -http://www.attorneyoversight.org/attorney-grievances/--17/steven-rocket-rosen/
In 2012, on direct appeal Mr. Leal’s 99 year sentence was reversed and remanded for a new trial. (As to punishment only because of his guilty plea.) His attorney for direct appeal and in trial court upon his return to Houston was Lester Blizzard. That is until Blizzard withdrew from the case to take a job with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office which would be prosecuting Leal.
Yes, Attorney Lester Blizzard; Mr. Leal's defense attorney, who knew everything about Leal's case from the defense standpoint, is now working in the same office with Lauren Byrne who is prosecuting him for the very same case. A clear conflict of interest.
Leal further claims that the misconduct perpetrated by Assistant District Attorney Lauren Byrne is the reason the District Attorney’s Office can’t recuse itself from his case; alleging that Byrne had a number of state witnesses purge themselves on the stand during his first trial and that in preparation for retrial has approached other witnesses for the same purpose, explaining that his deceased wife’s affair was common knowledge to all the witnesses in the first trial and the Assistant District Attorney, Lauren Byrne, convinced many to testify to the contrary; and because of that says Leal, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office can’t and won’t turn over their files to any outside entity without being exposed. He accuses Lauren Byrne of withholding Brady Material from the defense also which by law she is required to turn over.
Leal’s Defense Attorney Chief Public Defender for Harris County, Alex Bunin (you’ll know him as the attorney instrumental in bringing about reform for Harris County’s unconstitutional bond system.) has been battling the District Attorney’s Office for months in an effort to assure his client a fair trial (by disqualifying the District Attorney’s Office.) citing case law such as,
- Landers v. State –
“For a prosecuting attorney to, ‘switch sides’ in the same criminal case is an actual conflict of interest and constitutes a due process violates even without a specific showing of prejudice. This has been called a; fast and hard rule of disqualification.”
“…in this context, an actual conflict of interest is demonstrated where a District Attorney or a member of his or her staff has previously represented the defendant with regard to the charges to be prosecuted…”
MOTION TO DISQUALIFY THE HARRIS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY & APPOINT PROSECUTOR PRO TEM - http://www.attorneyoversight.org/articles/why-does-the-harris-county-district-attorney-s-office-not-mind-the-appearance-in-this-case/motion-to-disqualify-the-harris-county-district-attorney-and-appoint-prosecutor-pro-tem/
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO DISQUALIFY THE HARRIS COUNTY ATTORNEY & APPOINT PROSECUTOR PRO TEM -http://www.attorneyoversight.org/articles/why-does-the-harris-county-district-attorney-s-office-not-mind-the-appearance-in-this-case/memorandum-in-support-of-motion-to-disqualify-the-harris-county-attorney-and-appoint-prosecutor-pro/
RESPONSE TO MOTION TO DISQUALIFY HARRIS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY & APPOINT PROSECUTOR PRO TEM -http://www.attorneyoversight.org/articles/why-does-the-harris-county-district-attorney-s-office-not-mind-the-appearance-in-this-case/response-to-motion-to-disqualify-harris-county-district-attorney-and-appoint-prosecutor-pro-tem/
The Cover Up
In light of these facts it seems that the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is only interested in avoiding the appearance of impropriety when there is no impropriety. But when there is an actual impropriety their interests shift to covering it up. The hell with appearances.
The District Attorney’s Office, when questioned; as to why they refuse to recuse themselves from the Leal case in the face of such a clear conflict of interest, responded that it was because Leal has been awaiting retrial for a very long time. But how does that change the fact that the attorney who knows everything about the case, privileged attorney-client communication, now sits in an office right next to the attorney that is prosecuting that very case?
In oral arguments the District Attorney’s Office argued that Leal’s previous attorney New Division Chief, Lester Blizzard promises not to share anything with Assistant District Attorney Lauren Byrne. But if that is all it takes then why didn’t the District Attorney’s Office just get attorneys to promise not to help on the other nearly 400 cases?
Mr. Leal says it’s because the corruption being perpetrated by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office goes deeper than most people could ever imagine. One example being the issue of his guilty plea where his famed attorney Alex Bunin, Chief Harris County Public Defender filed a Writ of Mandamus to the Court of Appeals requesting that Leal be allowed to plea ‘Not guilty’ in his retrial. His argument,
(1) According to, - Carrol v State - ,
“…once the guilty plea is entered, the procedure becomes a “unitary trial” to determine the remaining issue of punishment…therefore, in a unitary trial where a defendant has plead guilty there exists no per se “punishment phase.”
(2) The Writ of Mandamus also cites,
…that Leal was given a new trial because of a lost record that was no fault of his own. (Lost trial transcripts). The remedy for which is a “new trial”, (Tex. R. App. P. 34.6 (F)) and since there exists no per se “punishment phase” in Leal’s case the Appeals Court has no legal basis to limit his retrial to punishment only.
PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS -http://www.attorneyoversight.org/articles/justice4raymond/pfwom-images/
The State's (Harris County District Attorney’s Office) response was that it was too late for the Appeal’s Court to recall the mandate stating the following,
‘Relator’s remedy, several years ago, was either, (1) to object to this court’s judgment by asking for a motion for rehearing or a petition for discretionary review before the mandate issued or, (2) file a motion in this court to recall the mandate. Instead, relator did nothing…’
RESPONSE TO WRIT OF MANDAMUS -http://www.attorneyoversight.org/articles/justice4raymond/pfwomo-images/
What they failed to mention, however; was that Leal’s attorney, “several years ago”… (who) “did nothing” was none other than, Lester Blizzard, who sat on the case just long enough to assure that the time expired to recall mandate before switching sides and consequently receiving a cushy division chief position, knowing all the while that the judgment was in error, stating as much in a Houston Chronicle article, August 22, 2017,
“…Blizzard will argue Leal deserves a completely new trial, including the option to plead not guilty and have a jury decide guilt this time." That's the remedy set out by the law', he said."
[ARTICLE] August 22, 2012 HOUSTON CHRONICLE -http://www.attorneyoversight.org/articles/justice4raymond/august-22-2012-houston-chronicle-article/
There is so much more to this case but the above outlines just a few examples where the misconduct and impropriety is blatant and without question in light of documentation. As bad as the situation is, however; all hope is not lost. Leal’s case is set for trial in August (the week of the decease’s birthday… how convenient.) There is still time to assure that he receives a fair trial and impartial trial. But it will only happen with your help.
“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.
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