Issue: No. 62                                                                                 April 30, 2015
New Mongoose Logo

I paid an artist to create my own unique Mongoose artwork, which has its debut in this issue.  T-shirts and coffee mugs with this new logo will soon be available.

Legal Directories and Your Free Listing

I am updating my contact information on Harris County family lawyers and all attorneys in Galveston County/Clear Lake for my legal directories.  Please click here to download a form you can send me to change or confirm your information.  Your listing in my annual legal directories is free.

Other Projects

I have hired a summer law clerk to make me finish my magnus opus on grandparent visitation and custody rights in Texas (assuming this legislature does not abolish them completely).  I am already planning my Mongoose booth at the Advanced Family Law Seminar this August 3 - 6 (you can already register for the seminar and book a hotel room!).

I do not expect to win every case.  I just want an efficient system in which my client gets a fair hearing before a judge who works hard, knows the law, and does not play favorites.  I also expect judges to appoint qualified amicus attorneys who zealously look after children (and actually visit the kids in their homes).   Is that asking too much?  Stay tuned.


Greg Enos
The Enos Law Firm     
 The Enos Law Firm
  17207 Feather Craft Lane, Webster, Texas 77598
  (281) 333-3030    Fax: (281) 488-7775
Web site:

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The Mongoose

DevonThe Gary Polland / Alicia Franklin Scandal is Now an Even Bigger Devon Anderson Scandal and Embarrassment
Click here to read my complete essay on why the Gary Polland / Alicia Franklin CPS Billing Scandal matters to the integrity of our local government and courts and should be of great concern to the Harris County Republican Party.  The refusal of District Attorney Devon Anderson to either investigate or recuse herself should now be considered an even bigger scandal and embarrassment.

My Tea Party and Republican friends agree with me that our government should be efficient and transparent and should use tax dollars wisely.  Liberals, like me, and arch-conservatives all believe that "insider" power brokers should not be allowed to manipulate or profit from government and that criminal laws should be enforced equally on the average citizen as well as well-connected big shots.  Folks who scream at each other over same-sex marriage can agree that our criminal justice system must BE fair and APPEAR fair to the public it serves and protects.   Everyone wants abused and neglected children to be properly protected by dedicated professionals who perform their duties imposed by law and who do not immorally profit from the CPS system.

All of these universal principles, which virtually all citizens agree on, explain why a local scandal involving a few judges who appoint a handful of politically connected attorneys over and over to represent children and parents in CPS cases is a big really big deal.  At least it should be a big deal, but the lawyers who are literally making millions from this system are too powerful and our District Attorney refuses to investigate or recuse herself, even though she has an enormous conflict of interest.  Our local Republican elected officials, who are almost all people of good faith and integrity, should be embarrassed and a little worried that the focus of this scandal is shifting toward District Attorney Devon Anderson.

Devon Anderson should do what the Republican District Attorney of Collin County recently did regarding his friend Attorney General Ken Paxton and recuse herself "to avoid any potential appearance of impropriety arising from [her] business and personal relationship" with Gary Polland.  Click here to download a copy of the motion filed this month by Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis to recuse himself because he was personal friends with Ken Paxton and had a business relationship with him.  The D.A. there did the right thing and asked for a special prosecutor (in Texas called a "prosecutor pro tem") to be appointed to investigate whether Attorney General Paxton violated State securities laws.

I am now going to write directly to the individual grand juries currently sitting in Harris County and sending them my information and documents in hopes that they will take action when our District Attorney will not.  A grand jury can request a prosecutor pro tem.

Click here to read my complete essay.  I hope no one thought I had given up on this particular issue!
 CowardGreg Enos: Moral Coward?

I recently stood by quietly in a hearing and watched my opposing counsel get treated very rudely and unprofessionally by a judge.  Even for this notoriously cranky judge, this performance was over-the-top loud and angry and unfair.   I was allowed to expound on my position all I wanted but my opposition was interrupted, yelled at and basically told to shut up. My opponent handled this brutal judicial beat down with stoic calm and professionalism and she at least never raised her voice or acted disrespectful in any way to the judge.  I called her the next day and apologized to her for how she was treated and for my failure to say something.  Even my successful client was bothered by how the judge treated the other side.

Although I owed my client a duty to zealously advocate for her case, I should have spoken up  for my fellow attorney and the integrity of our system.  Thinking about it now, I should have said something like, "Judge, I know I will totally disagree with what she will say, but she at least should be given a chance to speak."  That might have startled the judge enough to calm him down and get him to reconsider how he was acting.  I could have asked for a break in the hearing and asked if counsel could speak to the judge in his chambers to see if I could calm him down. I sure as hell should have had a court reporter making a record, so I could share the transcript with those with a lot more power over the situation than me.

It is really hard when your client is so clearly winning to take the chance that judge will pivot and direct his over-the-top ire toward you, but there are times when things are just so outrageous and unfair in court, that we as officers of the court have the duty to speak out, even if it is to help out opposing counsel.  I hope this particular judge when reading this article realizes how much I now regret not doing something to help him maintain his dignity and composure. I also hope I do better next time I am in this position. 
 FranklinJudge Franklin York Expects an Exhibit List

As expected, Alicia Franklin was a stunningly beautiful bride.  I was on the third row at the wedding disguised as a distant relative of the groom from Brooklyn.   Unfortunately, it was very difficult to aim the camera hidden in my Shtreimel. Some actual guests posted lovely pictures of the bride and couple on Facebook.

The staff at the 311th lost no time after the wedding and posted new signs with the judge's new married name - "Alicia Franklin York."  Now I have to revise all of my court charts!

Judge F.Y. now has signs in her courtroom warning attorneys that their exhibits must be pre-marked (duh!) and that an exhibit list must be given to the court reporter and the judge or the hearing will be reset (say what?).

I always have typed exhibit lists for trials but even O.C.D. Enos seldom has them for temporary orders hearings, much less hearings on motions to compel or to appoint an amicus.  I know of very few attorneys who prepare exhibit lists for such hearings.  Now, in at least in one of our nine family courts, you had better bring an exhibit list or you will not get a hearing.  What happens if I bring an exhibit list but my opponent does not and it is my motion that is being heard?  Will my hearing be reset?  Will the judge accept handwritten exhibit lists?  What if the hearing is really important for the safety of a child or to preserve community property?  Will she really risk a child or spouse's property because of this extremely unusual requirement that no other judge has?  Click here to download a blank Exhibit List form you can print and carry in your briefcase in case you find yourself in the 311th for a hearing and the judge's need for such a tidy, typed exhibit list outweighs the parties' need for a hearing.  
SlaughterJudges: No Facebooks Posts About Pending Cases!
You know a judge's conduct must be pretty bad if the Texas Commission on [Ignoring] Judicial [Mis]Conduct actually publicly reprimands a judge who still holds office.  The Commission did not get around to reprimanding Judges Pratt or Dupuy for criminal behavior until months after they had resigned.

I am a big fan of Galveston District Judge Michelle Slaughter and I was one of her earliest financial contributors, well before most attorneys even knew who she was.  I am thus sad to report that the Commission on Judicial Conduct on April 20, 2015 came down hard on Judge Slaughter for posting comments on Facebook about a criminal case she was presiding over which resulted in a mistrial.  Click here to read the full order, which states in part:


Judge Slaughter cast reasonable doubt upon her own impartiality and violated her own admonition to jurors by turning to social media to publicly discuss cases pending in her court, giving rise to a legitimate concern that she would not be fair or impartial in the Wieseckel case or in other high-profile cases. The comments went beyond providing an explanation of the procedures of the court and highlighted evidence that had yet to be introduced at trial. Judge Slaughter's Facebook activities interfered with her judicial duties in that, as a direct result of her conduct, a motion to recuse was filed and granted requiring the judge to be removed from the Wieseckel case. The judge's recusal then led to the granting of a motion for mistrial so that the case could be retried in its entirety before another judge. Judge Slaughter's conduct in the case was clearly inconsistent with the proper performance of her duties and cast public discredit upon the judiciary or administration of justice in light of the considerable negative media attention given the case and her posting. The Commission therefore concludes that Judge Slaughter's conduct constituted a willful and persistent violations of Canons 3B(10) and 4A of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct, and Article V, Section 1-a(6) of the Texas Constitution.


In condemnation of the conduct described above that violated Canons 3B(10) and 4A of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct and Article V, §1-a(6)A of the Texas Constitution, it is the Commission's decision to issue a PUBLIC ADMONITION AND ORDER OF ADDITIONAL EDUCATION to the Honorable Michelle Slaughter, Judge of the 405th District Court, Galveston, Galveston County, Texas.

Judge Slaughter then REALLY disappointed me by trying to pull a "Ted Cruz" by defending her actions to her Tea Party fans with a laughably bogus argument that invokes the Constitution but defies common sense and the law.  Judge Slaughter claims she was merely exercising her First Amendment rights.  If Judge Slaughter catches a juror tweeting about a trial, I wonder if she will have the same attitude and do nothing about it. 

Click here to read what Slaughter posted on Facebook and on her web site, which says in part:

My Fellow Galveston County Residents,

The Commission on Judicial Conduct has issued a public admonition in my case based on truthful, objective statements regarding publicly-available information that I posted on my Facebook page. I respectfully disagree with the Commission's action, and for several reasons I will seek review by a higher court.

First, and foremost, I believe that the public has a right to know what judges and courts do.  In Texas, voters elect judges, and taxpayers pay our salaries and the costs of maintaining the court system. The people should know what we do and how we do it. Social media can be very useful for communicating that information to the public.
To help protect that important public interest, to uphold the right of judges to use social media to provide truthful, objective information to the public, and to help clarify the guidelines on use of social media by Texas judges, I intend to vigorously pursue the appeal of my case to a court of special review. This is an issue of transparency and First Amendment rights.

I will be represented by Chip Babcock (who successfully represented Justice Hecht in overturning the Commission's public admonition), of Jackson Walker L.L.P.; legal ethics expert Chuck Herring, of Herring & Irwin, L.L.P.; and Bob Warneke, former General Counsel of the Commission on Judicial Conduct.
If Judge Slaughter did indeed post comments about this criminal case while the trial was going on and if she mentioned information that was not in evidence, she acted terribly improperly and no big shot lawyers and no constitutional argument will help help her out of the mess she created for herself.  Slaughter simply should have acted like the good judge she usually is  and paid attention to the trial instead of her social media accounts on her smart phone.  Any litigant, but certainly a criminal defendant, deserves a judge who does not make posts about an on-going trial, much less posts about matters that have not even been admitted into evidence in the trial. 

Even before yesterday, Slaughter's argument that she was simply exercising her right to freely express herself was embarrassingly inane.  Of course, a judge has the general right to write whatever she wants to say on her Facebook page.  But, her duty as a judge and the ethical rules that govern her conduct properly prevent her from writing some things, especially those that threaten the integrity of the justice system or a litigant's civil rights.  Unfortunately for Judge Slaughter, the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday issued an opinion by Republican Chief Justice Roberts that very clearly says that a state's judicial ethics rules can limit a judge's freedom of expression in order to protect public confidence in the judiciary.  Click here to read Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar, that upheld the state's right to prohibit judges from personally soliciting campaign contributions.

Slaughter is going to embarrass herself further by fighting this reprimand and she will just bring more public attention to her indefensible behavior.  Her posting of inappropriate comments was a momentary mistake made in a brief second.  That error is not nearly egregious as her on-going effort to try to excuse her behavior.  Slaughter is way too smart to think that she has a First Amendment right to act unethically or violate a defendant's rights.  Slaughter's various written defenses fail to quote the Commission's reprimand and she does not reveal to her gullible followers exactly what she posted. If she continues making this defense, Judge Slaughter is knowingly misleading the public and that is an even worse sin.
Legal News You Can Use...

HouseA House Purchased in One Name Just Before Marriage Could Be Jointly Owned Separate Property 

A man and woman lived together with her children and the man signed an earnest money contract and closed on the purchase of a home solely in his name.  Then the couple got married.  When the inevitable divorce occurs, most lawyers would assume the house is the husband's separate property because he purchased it in his own name prior to marriage.  Yet, in Aaron v. Aaron, No. 14-10-00765-CV (Tex. App. Houston [14th Dist.] 1/31/2012)(mem. op.), Judge David Farr and then the Fourteenth Court of Appeals found the house was jointly owned separate property.  The moral to this story is for lawyers to not assume and not give up on a house purchased before marriage when the man and woman were a couple (albeit unmarried).  This article would probably apply to same sex couple who bought properties together before their marriage became legal (as I predict will happen this summer thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court).

Click here to download my full article on this subject that could someday allow you to win a lot more money for your client.  This article also explains a judge's options when dealing with jointly owned separate property in a divorce. 

classesUpdated List of Four Hour Parenting Classes

Click here to download an updated list of four hour parenting classes to help your client comply with the family courts' requirements for parents to attend such classes in cases involving children.


InadmissibleCan Judges Ignore Inadmissible Evidence?
We expect a lot from our hard working judges.  In bench trials, we often expect judges to "ignore" or "forget" mention of inadmissible evidence.  When a document is offered and an attorney objects, sometimes the judge actually looks at the document and then rules it is not admissible.  Can we really expect the judge not to be influenced by that inadmissible document she just read?  Click here to read a very interesting study that tested actual judges and concluded,"judges are generally unable to avoid being influenced by relevant but inadmissible evidence." 


Useful Attorney Links...
Harris County Vacation Request Form
HBA Family Section Summary of Harris County Family Court Procedures

be him
Attorney Greg Enos has been through his own divorce and  child custody battle (he won) and understands  what his clients are going through.  Enos  graduated from the University of Texas Law  School and was a successful personal injury  attorney in Texas City be fore he decided his true  calling was to help families in divorce and child  custody cases. Greg Enos is active in politics and in Clear Lake area charities.  He has served as President of the Bay Area Bar Association and President of the Board of  Interfaith Caring Ministries.  The Enos Law Firm serves clients in Galveston County and Harris County, Texas.  

Greg Enos

Board Certified in Family Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization

The Enos Law Firm