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March of 2003 Edition

A Message from J.J.,

gradoni-jan-13It seems like yesterday was the beginning of the New Year, and before I knew it we were entering the month of March.


I would like to take this time to personally thank all of our clients who have been so supportive over the years. Last year was another banner year for Gradoni & Associates. I was constantly reminded as the year progressed “that the truth always makes a difference.”On many, many cases, diligence, persistence and hard work by members of the staff resulted in getting the information our clients needed to litigate the cause of their client.

The Clara Harris Case

Our firm also had the honor to work with George Parnham, Emily Munoz, and Dee McWilliams on the Clara Harris case. In my opinion, the media attention was even more intense than the attention received by Andrea Yates. Although we have participated in hundreds of criminal defense cases, I can certainly attest that this was the hardest and most unusual case we’ve ever worked on.

The nature of the crime, players and publicity turned this case into a combination of criminal defense, plaintiff litigation defense, and family law. The owners of the hotel where the incident occurred would not allow our Investigators to interview any of the witnesses. The establishment wasn’t even cooperative with the District Attorney’s office. Two of the establishment’s four witnesses are no longer employed at the establishment, one being fired the day after he testified in the criminal case.

In order to get the medical personnel who attended the victim to speak to us, we had to subpoena them to court on the first day of trial just to get them to give us their version of events. The private investigative agency involved in the incident, has been all over the news media before, during and after the trial, and has recently signed to do a movie about the incident from their perspective per a Houston Chronicle article.

Even with all of the stonewalling that occurred, we provided George Parnham with a mountain of information that he utilized successfully to discount some of the state’s witness testimony. We also identified and interviewed a number of people at the scene whose witness observations were beneficial to our position.

An Unexpectedly Harsh Sentence

None of us on the defense team expected the harsh sentence the jury handed out. We all hope that Clara Harris is successful in her appeal attempts. We did not poll the jury after the trial but after listening to some of the jury’s comments to the media, I can’t help but think that the high profile nature of this case, along with the defendant’s economic status, may have had some conscious or subconscious role in the verdict.

J.J. Gradoni

Investigator Profile

stephany-weightStephanie Wright has recently joined Gradoni & Associates bringing a wealth of knowledge, experience, and skills in conducting interviews, investigations, and research. Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Sam Houston State University and served as a Police Officer with the Huntsville Police Department in Huntsville, Texas. During her public service she received training and gained field experience in patrol functions, accident investigations and reconstruction and criminal investigations. Stephanie has also received training on issues of child abuse, family violence and violent criminal behavior.

Stephanie eventually decided that she wanted to enhance and diversify her work experience to include a legal background so she became a paralegal for a law firm that specialized in defending governmental agencies involved in civil litigation pertaining to the actions of public servants.

Stephanie’s experience in law enforcement and the legal community coupled with her background in psychology has given her a firm foundation in the field of Investigations, including background and public records research.

Please join us in welcoming Stephanie to Gradoni & Associates, as she will prove to be a great asset in providing premiere services to our clientele in the future.

Goodbye & Goodluck

Everyone on the staff at Gradoni & Associates would like to say goodbye and good luck to Polly Korzekwa, the background specialist who has been with our firm since March, 1993. Polly recently accepted a position with the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Department in the Communications Division.

Polly has been interested in starting a law enforcement career for quite some time, as well as having an opportunity to work very close to her home. Polly was a wizard in conducting background investigations with her strong suit obtaining accurate and credible information in jurisdictions outside of Texas. Polly was a very dependable employee, loyal to the core, with a great attitude and work ethic.

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