Trial By Ambush

I have spent the last couple of days trying to find a way to find the judge in Gracia seizure case to be a little bit reasonable but I just haven't seen it yet and here's why.  The animals were seized on a Thursday to ensure that the hearing would be held in less than 10 days because days 9 and 10 fall on Saturday and Sunday.  The hearing was initially scheduled for Wednesday and re-scheduled to Friday.  This gives a grossly limited time for the defense to put together their case, find and prep experts, etc., etc.  On Friday, several things became apparent from the testimony.

First, the HSPCA has had every animal, all 1,000+, examined by a veterinarian (or at least had the opportunity to do so) and presented numerous reports on individual animals and on groups of animals for use by their expert witness, a veterinarian.  The defense expert and defense counsel were permitted a grand total of 1 hour, 1 HOUR, to do a walk-through to see the animals and no touching was permitted.  The prosecution's expert also did a walk-through  which took 2 hours.  The defense has been unable to find an veterinarian expert do to the short time between the seizure and the hearing and their avian expert was crippled by the limited time allotted by the judge.

The defense basically begged for a continuance repeatedly so they could get a veterinary expert and was repeatedly denied.  Friday afternoon, not only did the judge insist upon proceeding because a continuance would have inconvenienced the prosecution's expert, he let the hearing go until well after 6 PM.  Essentially, he ensured that the defense would not have ANY time on Friday to seek out an expert, further exacerbating the unfairness.

The technical name for this is Trial By Ambush and it is common in Texas criminal trials although most of those trials certainly do NOT occur within a 10 day timeline.  In civil trials, there is an entire set of rules that provides for silly little things like a jury and discovery where a defendant usually gets to force the plaintiff to cough up all their evidence in advance so a proper defense can be put on and a just result reached based on the FACTS, not on surprise and by ambush.  These are indeed quasi-criminal cases but with the denial of a jury (which is why I use the term "prosecutor" rather than an alternate term); these are the worst kind of Trial By Ambush proceedings I have ever seen.

Frankly, the entire legal profession and judiciary should be embarrassed beyond belief that proceedings like these can be had in any American court.  I have never been one to approve of kicking cripples, less so to cripple someone and then kick them.  That is exactly what the 821 hearings remind me of - crippling someone and then beating them before they can even squirm back up to a seated position.  The Gracia Trial By Ambush will resume 10:00 AM on Monday morning at at 1001 Ssgt Macario Garcia Dr., Houston, TX  77011.  It’s S Sgt instead of Ssgt in Google Maps.  Harris County Precinct 6, Place 2.

There's so very much WRONG with all of this that I will cover in the future but here's a couple of examples of the kinds of things you might get to hear at the hearing.

It appears that the majority of birds who have died (and we don't know when they died so far) did die of "blunt force trauma" to the head according to the necropsies performed by who knows whom.  HSPCA presents this as evidence of abuse/cruelty.  I couldn't help remembering them (the HSPCA dweebs) chasing the birds around the big flight cage trying to catch them and, as it turns out, they did that with big NETS.  Well, DUH, would any of us be surprised if they freaked out the birds so much that some of them ran into the sides of the cage hard enough to kill themselves?  Worse yet, did the HSPCA devil spawns kill them with the rims of those swinging nets???

I mean, seriously, we are talking about people who put birds in dog carriers that don't even come close to the mandated 3 screened side carriers for birds.  Seriously?  The HSPCA gets to ignore the law ON CAMERA but the defendants would have been hung out to dry for caging the birds like that even temporarily!

And just for my regular readers who own dogs and so you'll know what kind of expert the HSPCA might use in your cases...  It might be a veterinarian who refers to your dogs nails as claws, yeppers, CLAWS.  That might be technically correct but still... Sure doesn't show me someone who works with dog owners regularly.  How does a veterinarian blither on about humanizing care of animals to the extreme of wanting their water bowls sanitized DAILY but then refer to their nails as CLAWS???

Barring complications, I expect to be there in the morning to watch the Ambush Trial proceed.  Now, if mother nature just doesn't knock out my electricity like she did for a while late last night...

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