A Blue-Star Push of Corruption in the HCDAO
It looks like Harris County prosecutors are making one last-lap effort at proving Murray’s anonymous commenters wrong and guaranteeing infamy for the prosecutorial tenure of Devon Anderson. Here’s an email from the DA elect to the outgoing First Assistant, Judge Belinda Hill:
Judge, Please be advised that I have received several phone calls on my personal cell phone and at my law firm from a sex trafficking victim, the mother of a child who was sexually assaulted, and two parents of murdered children-all of whom have cases pending with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. These crime victims have been contacted by individuals identifying themselves as assistant district attorneys. The callers deliberately misinformed the crime victims about the status and well-being of their cases, and then told them to call me personally to complain. The prosecutor identified by the sex trafficking victim is Justin Keiter. A frantic rape victim’s mother called me to say she was notified by VINE that the a defendant accused of raping her child had been released because of case dismissal by the prosecutor, Nick Socias, who had failed to contact her about the dismissal. Last night I spoke with a woman whose daughter is the victim of a capital murder. She received an anonymous phone call by a person identified as a prosecutor who not only misinformed her about the status of her case, but made false statements about me, including stating that I would never seek the death penalty in her case, currently scheduled for Feb. 2017. The prosecutor handling her case is Gretchen Flader. The purpose of this communication is to inform Ms. Anderson and you that the use of official and confidential information available only to the prosecutors handling these cases is unethical and possibly illegal. I urge you to immediately halt the access to all official information by these prosecutors and any others engaged in these despicable actions. Additionally, please take immediate action to ensure that all records (personal cell phone, personal and work email, etc.) from each person involved are immediately preserved so that a full investigation can be undertaken. To say that these actions re-victimize people who have already suffered enough is an understatement. In the name of professionalism and common decency, I urge you both to take appropriate action immediately. Regards, Kim Ogg Harris County District Attorney-Elect
(Here’s Channel 13’s coverage of Ogg’s press conference this morning.)
Devon Anderson Weighs In
Never one to be left behind in the corruption sweepstakes, Devon Anderson has given a wealthy and politically connected defendant an early Christmas gift: She (personally) dismissed Rick Perry’s personal lawyer’s misdemeanor DWI case, claiming:
He qualified for pretrial intervention and completed all of the requirements typically mandated for a first offender DWI defendant.
Line prosecutors dismiss DWIs all the time. And in a politically fraught case such as this, it’s not unreasonable for the elected DA to put her name on the dismissal. But Anderson’s public justification for the dismissal is blatantly untrue. DWI pretrial intervention (which is not available in County Criminal Court at Law Two, where the case fell) requires at least a year to complete. And if the defendant had completed pretrial intervention requirements, he would have known it. Which he didn’t:
My case was dismissed because there wasn’t enough evidence to prove in court that I was driving while intoxicated,” he said. “I shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place.
Strong Enough Medicine?
Ogg has announced that thirty-seven prosecutors’ contracts will not be renewed in January. Thirty-eight including Anderson. Some good people. Some … well ….
Has Ogg removed all of the vipers from the nest? Seems doubtful.
How many corrupt prosecutors do there need to be for you to distrust your DA’s office? Studies have shown that people willing to work in corrupt organizations are themselves more personally corrupt than people unwilling to do so.
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