Defense attorneys express concerns about DPD's enforcement of public lewdness

Pete Schulte, attorney for former WFAA anchor Brad Hawkins, isn’t talking to the media about the public lewdness charge his client faces after an incident last Monday night at Flagpole Hill Park near White Rock Lake. But I did manage to talk to some other criminal defense attorneys who frequently represent people charged with public lewdness.

I also talked to a representative from Southwest Airlines, Hawkins’ employer, who would only confirm that the company is aware of the charge and that Hawkins is still employed there. The Southwest representative wouldn’t say anything further, but I think this is a good sign for Hawkins. Since this is Hawkins’ first offense, even if he enters a plea to avoid a trial, he’s likely to receive 12-18 months probation and a deferred adjudication, according to the attorneys I spoke with. If Hawkins were to complete the probation successfully, the charges would be dropped and he could have them removed from his record.

But what about the other issues involved here? I’ve tried to address a few of them after the jump.

—  John Wright

Ex-WFAA anchor Brad Hawkins charged with public lewdness after Flagpole Hill incident

page5_blog_entry752_1
Brad Hawkins worked as a reporter and anchor for WFAA from 2000 until 2008, when he joined Southwest Airlines.

Former WFAA anchor Brad Hawkins, now a spokesman for Southwest Airlines, was arrested Monday on a charge of public lewdness after an incident at Flag Pole Hill Park, The Dallas Morning News reports. We’ve posted the full police report here. As best I can tell, the 37-year-old Hawkins has been out as gay for at least a few years, which raises the obvious question: What in the hell was he thinking? Anyhow, I’ve contacted Hawkins’ attorney, Pete Schulte, who told me via text message that he’ll be in court and unavailable all day. Here’s what Schulte told The Dallas Morning News: “We believe that Mr. Hawkins is not guilty, and we ask that public opinion be withheld until the facts are known.” Unfortunately, I’m afraid it’s a little late for public opinion to be withheld. The first three gay people I saw this morning asked me, “Hey, did you hear about Brad Hawkins?” Well aren’t we a gossipy bunch? But my other question here is, why is this newsworthy for The Dallas Morning News? Would they treat a straight person being arrested on a class-A misdemeanor charge the same way? I also have concerns about the arrest itself, but I’m told we’re never going to win this argument. Hawkins was arrested after he pressed an undercover officer’s hand, over the clothing, against his erect penis, according to the report. When the officer pulled his hand away, Hawkins said, “Sorry, I just wanted you to know how horney (SIC) you made me, and I wanted to feel your hand so later when I blow I have a thought to go by.” Hawkins then allegedly invited the undercover officer to meet him at his house for sex. Hawkins got on his bicycle and rode away, but police came to his house later and arrested him. Sexual contact, even when it’s over the clothing, has been interpreted as public lewdness by Texas courts. Here’s the definition of public lewdness under the penal code:

§ 21.07 PUBLIC LEWDNESS. (a) A person commits an offense if he knowingly engages in any of the following acts in a public place or, if not in a public place, he is reckless about whether another is present who will be offended or alarmed by his:
(1) act of sexual intercourse;
(2) act of deviate sexual intercourse;
(3) act of sexual contact; or
(4) act involving contact between the person’s mouth or genitals and the anus or genitals of an animal or fowl.

—  John Wright

Let's all do 'the bunny hop'

Bunny Hop from Michelle Lee on Vimeo.

In my story from today’s Voice about the 1979 Village Station raid, I mentioned that the 12 bar patrons who were arrested that night had been doing “the bunny hop” on the dance floor. But it didn’t occur to me until later — thanks to a rendition from ageless DV staffer David Taffet in our offices — that many of our younger readers might not even know what the bunny hop is, or might have the original version confused with a later, hip-hop version. According to Wikipedia, the bunny hop is a party dance that was created at Balboa High School of San Francisco in 1952. The dance was generally performed to Ray Anthony’s big band recording of the song, “Bunny Hop,” which was released on a single that featured on its B side another dance classic, the “Hokey-Pokey.” Anyhow, I went looking for some video of the bunny hop, and lemme just tell you, there ain’t much out there. Most of it is of the newer, hip-hop version. The clip above from Vimeo, sorry to say, is about the best I’ve found. But if you’re unfamiliar with the bunny hop, it should give you some idea of what vice cops in those days defined as public lewdness — at least in a gay bar.

—  John Wright