“Penis Graffiti”: More Than Just a Great Name for a Band

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I was about to give Courthouse News Service full credit for the phrase "penis graffiti," but it looks like that phrase was taken from the testimony of a real-estate agent describing what he found after a Texas lawyer was evicted from his office on October 31. Doug Molney testified at a bail-revocation hearing that when he inspected the premises the next day, he found "complete destruction" and "penis graffiti on every single wall throughout the building."

Molney also testified that "his name was written next to several of the penises."

The departing attorney and apparent Molney-disliker was Thomas Corea, who was free on bail at the time after being indicted on four first-degree felonies involving identity theft and stealing from clients. He had been disbarred earlier in October and was supposed to be notifying his clients of this and arranging to return their files and money (if any). It's not clear whether he bothered to do that, although it seems unlikely given the amount of time he must have spent trashing his office.

Molney testified that in addition to the aforementioned graffiti, "someone" had used a sledgehammer to smash several granite countertops, and also destroyed light fixtures, doors, and appliances. The Dallas Observer's "Unfair Park" blog reported on the damage in more detail (with pictures I'll skip here), saying that this someone ripped out a hand-railing, spray-painted every inch of the front windows, tore out the kitchen faucet, put a hole through the sheetrock "about the size and height of a grown man's lower leg," and took most of the electrical fixtures as well as both bathroom sinks and all the cabinet doors. The steel jamb of a loading door had been ripped out, "apparently the result of being attached by a tow cable to an accelerating truck." Molney estimated the damage at over $100,000.

During this testimony, the judge interrupted to tell Corea to stop "making faces at the witness."

From the CNS report it sounds like Corea tried to argue that there was no evidence he had caused this damage, blaming "vagrants." The assistant DA pointed out, however, that the unknown miscreant had also written an obscene message about an Arizona judge before whom Corea had appeared, and had written the judge's phone number below it. "I doubt seriously," said the ADA, that "there are any random vagrants in the Dallas area that are familiar with area code 505." Despite this admission of reasonable doubt, the judge ordered Corea back to jail, saying he was concerned he posed a risk to the public.

According to CNS, Corea was formerly the host of a local TV show called "Ask the Lawyer with Tom Corea," which offered free advice to callers for half an hour every other week. Previous callers might want to consider calling someone else.