The title of this post is a play on the NRCC ads that have been hammering Nick Lampson lately. They’re your standard-issue attack ads: grainy images of the target, vague and voluminous accusation of one moral failing or another, an iconic image to remember (in this case, “failing” grades for Lampson from such non-partisan third parties as the Texas Association of Business and the National Taxpayers Union), and of course, the only-one-way-t0-answer-that question “Does Nick Lampson Share Our Values?”
Anyway, today’s Chron reports on a crime victim who is quite unhappy about how then-Judge Ted Poe handled the sentencing in her case.
Texans for True Sentencing members Barbara Davis and Carolyn Hardin said they think Poe let convicted killers off the hook without fulfilling the terms of their probation.
“Judge Poe is not the guy he says he is, he doesn’t follow through on what he says,” Davis said. “He used me for his own personal gain. He destroyed my life all over again. If someone would lie to a victim, what would he tell his constituents?”
In 1996, Davis’ car was hit by a teenage drunken driver, killing her husband and housekeeper and critically injuring her. Poe’s sentencing included conditions such as a six-month jail sentence, shock probation and a requirement that the defendant carry pictures of the victims in his wallet. He also prohibited him from having a driver’s license for 10 years.
Three years later, Davis found out the defendant got his driver’s license back. When she tried to reach Poe, her calls went unreturned, she said.
In 1998, Hardin’s son, Steven, a wrecker driver for a towing company, was sent to tow an illegally parked car. The car’s owner shot and killed him.
Poe imposed creative sentencing, including requiring the man to place a cross at the site of the shooting. After serving only six months in jail, the man was set free. Poe refused to explain why he wouldn’t demand compliance with the remaining sentencing conditions, Hardin said.
Davis recommended some creative sentencing of her own, suggesting that Poe should be required to walk with a sign that reads “Shame on Me, I Lied to Victims.”
This Houston Press story has more on the Davis case, noting that Poe went on the “Oprah” show in 1997 with Barbara Davis to discuss his sentencing of Michael Hubacek, the drunk driver in question. At the time, she supported Poe’s efforts with Hubacek. Not any more.
In January 2000, Hubacek asked Poe to amend his probation. He wanted permission to drive to work. (According to court records, he was working at his dad’s business, just two miles from his home.) He also wanted to drive to community college and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
Poe never even contacted Davis.
He just said yes.
Three years after that, Hubacek asked Poe to let him remove the interlock device that prevented him from driving after drinking. He also asked to be allowed to travel outside Texas. If that was too much freedom, Hubacek suggested an alternative: permission to visit in-laws in Mississippi for one week.
Again, Poe never contacted Davis. And he didn’t go for the more restrictive alternative. So long as Hubacek checked with his probation officer, Poe ruled, he could leave the state whenever he wanted. Davis learned of that new freedom only when contacted by the Houston Press last week. The Department of Public Safety says Hubacek now has no restrictions on his license, though Poe says he’s kept the locking device.
Last January, Hubacek made his boldest request. He asked to be taken off probation entirely.
Finally, the judge said no. But it wasn’t Poe who turned him down. By then, Poe had left the bench to run for Congress; the denial came from his successor, Judge Marc Carter.
That’s sure some git-tuff-on-crime justice from Poe, isn’t it? Read all the way through the article and compare Hubacek’s treatment to that of Jose Martinez.
By the way, Lampson has some new ads of his own out, which I saw last night. They feature John Walsh, host of “America’s Most Wanted” and a self-proclaimed Republican, who lauds Lampson for his leadership on missing and exploited children. It’s a positive and I think pretty effective spot, and contrasts nicely with the NRCC attack ad.