Bradford acquitted by judge

Houston Police Chief C.O. “BAMF” Bradford was acquitted by a directed verdict this afternoon. That’s pretty much a slam dunk for those who thought this whole trial was borderline at best.

Minutes after the state rested its case against Bradford, state District Judge Brian Rains directed the jury to find Bradford not guilty.

The quiet of the court crackled with the applause of more than 50 supporters who had packed into the courtroom during the two-day trial. Supporters wanting to shake hands and hug Bradford made it impossible for the chief to even leave.

As the jurors left the courthouse, several of them said all 12 would have voted to acquit Bradford anyway.

“You’re innocent until you’re proven guilty. They could not prove it,” said juror Rosia Moore. “All 12 of us were on the same page. We all agreed.”

I thought this was a thin case, but I’m still surprised that the judge granted the motion to acquit. Harris County is not known for being friendly to defendants. I’m truly amazed.

The prosecutor, naturally, defended his efforts:

Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal could not be reached for comment.

Prosecutor Don Smyth said he did not agree with the Rains’ ruling.

“There’s no question the chief knew what these questions were all about because he had had notice that they were coming, he had notice exactly what words were going to be attributed to him and the setting. . . ” Smyth said.

Smyth defended his prosecution of the chief.

“We got a complaint,” Smyth said. “Now, is it my job to take that complaint and flush it? Or is it my job to investigate it and present it to a grand jury if there is evidence to show that it may be a truthful complaint. . .

“The grand jury heard the same witnesses and even more than the judge and that jury heard. And the grand jury returned a true bill of indictment.”

Yeah, yeah. We all know how little an indictment means. Simply put, someone in the DA’s office should have asked themselves if there really was enough evidence to have a decent shot at a conviction. They misjudged pretty badly, and they look foolish as a result. I don’t blame them for investigating. I blame them for hubris.

Anyway. Mark Aguirre’s official oppression trial is still a few months away. That’ll be the real fun. This was just a minor diversion. In a year’s time, I doubt anyone will even remember it.

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