Posts tagged ‘Harris County’

Mind of the Prosecutor

All I can say is, Eek!

Back in 2007, the Grits for Breakfast blog noted that Williamson County, Texas, District Attorney John Bradley gave some curious advice on a discussion board to another prosecutor. The other prosecutor was asking about how to construct a plea agreement in a way that would forfeit any future right to DNA testing. Bradley responded, “Innocence, though, has proven to trump most anything.” How unfortunate! He then added:

A better approach might be to get a written agreement that all the evidence can be destroyed after the conviction and sentence. Then, there is nothing to test or retest. Harris County regularly seeks such agreements.

We give prosecutors strong incentives to take away people's freedom and put them in jail.  Guilt or innocence is not part of their incentives, only closing cases and locking people away.  Given these incentives, we should be particularly careful to circumscribe their behavior.  In reality, we give them a virtual free pass.  Prosecutors are almost never held accountable for even the most abusive and illegal behavior.

The Highest Paid Public Employees

Phil Miller observes that the new Hawkeye football coach is now the highest-paid government employee in Iowa.  This is wildly unsurprising.  In fact, I renew my question that we never got a final answer on:  Is there any state in which a college athletics coach is NOT the highest paid public employee in the state?

Update:  Tim, who has a blog at writes with lots more thoughts:

Being from Texas I tried to find some numbers on your question:
- David Lopez, chief executive of the Harris County Hospital
District, has agreed to a three-year deal that could pay him $500,000
annually and would make him the highest-paid county employee.    (
- Already, the retirement system's chief investment officer, Britt
Harris, is the highest-paid state employee (excluding higher-education
officials and athletic coaches, whose pay isn't tracked by the
comptroller's office). Harris earns a base salary of $480,000 and is
eligible for a maximum bonus of $360,000.  (
Other State's
Nevada: Public employees who repair Nevada's local streets and
highways, operate its city and county jails and fill nonteaching jobs
in its school districts are the best paid in the country when compared
with their counterparts in the other 49 states and the District of
Columbia, according to U.S. Census figures for 2001.  (
New York: Alain Kaloyeros, vice president and chief administrative
officer at the College of Nanoscale science and Engineering and an
expert in the field of nanotechnology, became the highest paid employee
after the State University of New York (SUNY) chancellor approved a
$142,000 per year raise, bringing his annual salary to $666,995, the
Associated Press reports. (
However, based on football coaches in Texas alone (most of whom
make more than $1 mil), none of these other employees come close (just
as you predicted).  Even college basketball coaches are making alot of
money now.  In fact, before A&M's Gillespie bolted to Kentucky, he
was offered $1.75 million a year, up from $500k: ( -- his replacement, Mark Turgeon, signed a deal worth $1.2 million/year.
Note: this is one of the better articles covering this issue:
Regarding the Nevada example above, UN basketball coach is raking in more dough than any of those employees as well:
And for the record, I think the coaches that get a cut of ticket
revenues are in a conflict of interest, due to the fact that more than
90% of Div I schools fund athletics departments through student fees (
and their sport typically get a large amount of promotion through
by the institution.  Then again, the entire collegiate enterprise is
backwards to begin with...