My Advice to Craig Watkins? Double Down! Or Get Under a Desk!

Categories: Schutze

For about three months I was a pre-law student in college -- a fact, I have always felt, that should give me the right to dispense partial legal advice. Partial legal advice, in my view, is legal advice that you should rely on only partially. So with that in mind, here goes. Here is my partial legal advice for Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins.

Sir, you are currently involved in a situation that I, as your partial attorney, would describe as a pickle. Somehow you got yourself into a cross-fire between a bunch of super-rich people seeking immense gobs of money from each other, and you were just a county district attorney, so that, in my partial legal opinion, was bad.

One of the Richie Riches says you brought phony criminal charges against him to keep him from testifying on his own behalf in some kind of hearing or something, which, frankly, in my partial legal opinion, is just a bunch of blah-blah-blah that I don't really get. One of the other Richie Riches has a history of steering you tons of campaign money, to which I say, "Go for it."

Craig Watkins, out in the open where everybody can see him. What's wrong with that man?
Here's the thing. You were supposed to testify in some kind of blah-blah hearing about it. You hid in your office for a while when they were trying to get you to come down to the courtroom and testify, which, frankly, I thought was brilliant. Why didn't you stick with that, guy? So they peeked in the window. So what? You ever hear of under your desk?

Anyway, I'm not here to find fault. I want to help.

Eventually you did go down to the courtroom, but when you got on the stand you refused to say anything. I don't get what's wrong with that. But the judge charged you with contempt of court, which I guess is a crime or something. They can put you in the slammer for it, so it must bad.

If memory serves, I already advised you once when this happened to try to get the charge knocked down to something more like disdain of court or unimpressed by court -- the same idea as contempt but no slammer. You ignored my advice. Fine. We in the partial practice of law actually get that a lot.

Instead you had a lady who was being fired from the county come forward to say that the judge who found you in contempt had bragged at lunch she was going to chop your head off and serve it up on a silver platter. Gross! I loved it! It's like one of those really scary scenes in the Bible. It was way better than my disdain of court idea, because of three things.

1) It made the judge look biased.

2) It made the judge look insane.

3) It made the judge look really really scary.

Now, very tragically and as a total shock to me, the other judge who was in charge of some kind of blah-blah-blah thing about this apparently has ruled that the scene-from-the-Bible lady was not fully persuasive. I do not get that at all. She said it. So in my book, it's true. But you lost that one. Now you are still in a pickle. Let's deal with that.

The question before us is this: In my partial legal opinion, what is your next best move? And as I have said, most of your moves already have been things that were way better than what I would have advised, so take that under partial advisement.

Here is what I think you do. Have another lady who is about to be fired by the county come forward and testify that the judge who found you in contempt is a cannibal.
No, listen to me, man. Don't walk away like that. I'm very serious.

This is based on a legal principle that goes way back into what's called comma law. I partially remember this from the University of Michigan. Comma law is like where you have one thing, and then you have a comma, and then you have another thing. So the comma law principle here is called, "In for a penny, in for a pound."

Library of Congress
Listen to me, guy: This is not you.
If you're going to hide in your office, and then you come out of your office and show up in court but refuse to testify, and then you have an about-to-be-fired lady say the judge is going to chop your head off, and none of that works, what, may I ask, have you got to lose? It's not like you're Judge Learned Hand anyway.

By the way, Judge Learned Hand is the one who said, famously, "How long shall we blunder along without the aid of unpartisan and authoritative scientific assistance in the administration of justice, no one knows; but all fair persons not conventionalized by provincial legal habits of mind ought, I should think, unite to effect some change."

See what I mean? No one had any idea what the dude was even talking about. It's like somebody hit him on the back of the head with a frying pan, and that's what came out. And he's a famous legal guy. So just loosen up and go balls-to-the-wall on this.

Have the lady say the judge is a cannibal. Then you can say you're afraid to leave your office again. They'll have to have about 10 blah-blah hearings about it, which will take about 10 years, and then who cares? Ten years is so far away, it's like never.

I'm trying to say, I think you have been on the right partially legal path with this most of the time. I am still troubled by your failure to hide under your desk back at the beginning, but I know it's tough to think straight when you're under all this pressure.

Let me know about the cannibal thing. I wrote a book about some cannibals way back in the day, and I think I know what kind of evidence might be, shall we say, "arranged" in the judge's backyard. I think that would be only very partially against the law, and, like I say, who cares? Not me.

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mavdog topcommenter

I don't know Jim, cannabalism doesn't seem to work too well, they might ask for the proof. proof would be tough to find, and really pretty gross if he did get some body parts somehow.

my partial legal advice would be amnesia. that works really well when they ask questions, it's a simple "I don't remember due to this darn amnesia" answer that pretty much stops the process. a lot better than the 5th, we all assume someone's guilty when they plead the 5th what with that "might incriminate me" phrase. not good for a politician seeking re-election don't you think?

and stopping the process is what Watkins is in dire need of now, the wolves are circling....they smell blood.


Yo remembers men, when alls else fails, plays dead.


You never have the option to sit there mute if called to testify.  Only the President has that right as the head (not one of the White House minions) of a co-equal branch of government. In fact he needed not appear until impeached and convicted.  Everybody else must take the active step to decline to testify based on your Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate yourself.  Mr. Watkins is not a very good lawyer and gets even worse advice from his staff.  He should have marched into the court like any other citizen and declined to testify based on his Fifth Amendment right.  He retained his rights and fulfilled his responsibilities, a good lesson for everyone.  Mr. Watkins has some idea that his position gives him some special rights.  No, no, a thousand times no.


C'mon the guy was a bail bondsman/attorney/real estate title/real estate investor/law license suspension guy all at the same time.... I hate to say, but I think he can come up with something better than cannibalism. I don't know what, as it takes a certain person to be all those things at once and sell your soul to the Devil and JWP on the side.....but I'm waiting to see. (I really hope its a show and not a boring thrown to the wolves type gig - that would be disappointing)

RTGolden1 topcommenter

There is legal precedence for dealing with cannibals, but only the republican variety:  'You voracious man-eating son of a bitch, there was seven Democrats in Hinsdale County and you ate five of them. God damn you! I sentence you to be hanged by the neck until you are dead, Dead, DEAD, as a warning against reducing the Democratic population of Hinsdale County. Packer, you Republican cannibal, I would sentence you to Hell but the statutes forbid it.'  Judge Melville Gerry at the trial of Alferd Packer.


Let's see--partial attorney turned journalist turned blogger, let me know what that TV commentator gig turns into.


Seems the idiot D A has painted himself into a corner. Should teach him not to try to play with folks who are way smarter ... not to mention richer than he ever will be. Reminds me of the Don Hill brain trust who gotplayed?

everlastingphelps topcommenter

 For about three months I was a pre-law student in college -- a fact, I have always felt, that should give me the right to dispense partial legal advice. 

That's ok.   Watkins got his JD from DFW School of Law night school, so that should only give him the right to dispense partial legal advice, as in, "this is what I think, but ask a lawyer that went to a real law school before you do anything serious."


Partial attorney = whole journalist?  

I'm just a reader, so that makes me an impartial attorney and impartial journalist, right?



"Seems the idiot D A has painted himself into a corner. Should teach him not to try to play with folks who are way smarter ... than he ever will be." -allanenglish

That would be just about everyone....


@everlastingphelps Come on, man, you're not impressed with the Wesleyan School of Law--- not only did he graduate-- he was in their FIRST graduating class.

I bet he learned himself some mad lawyering skills, there!

everlastingphelps topcommenter

@WylieH @everlastingphelps IIRC, it wasn't the first graduating class, it was just this first accredited graduating class.  The ones before had to sit for the bar on waivers from the ABA.

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