Why I voted for Kim Ogg for District Attorney

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Commentary/Opinion by Don Hooper

While some lifelong conservatives, like me, have voted for Kim Ogg this fall, others may be hesitant because they are conservatives and doesn’t a good conservative always vote for the Republican candidate? Of course, that line of thought begs the question: What does a conservative prosecutor look like?

Before I begin, I would like to address the elephant in the room. I do not like the Anderson administration or their cronies and they do not care for me very much either. When I met my wife, she was a hardworking Harris County Assistant District Attorney. Over the last few years, I saw the Anderson cabal use a fake scandal to gain power. In doing so, they did everything they could to tarnish my wife’s professional reputation, including using Chip Lewis to file a baseless civil lawsuit. For many years, the cabal has used Murray Newman to speak ill about my family. Instead of sitting on my hands, I decided to do something about it and started my own website. That being said, I want to see the Harris County District Attorney’s office return to the people of Harris County and I proudly support Kim Ogg for District Attorney.

Some say that they would only support a conservative for any office; so, I would like to look at Devon Anderson’s record and ask the question: What does a conservative prosecutor look like?

In early 2013, Philadelphia physician Kermit Gosnell was convicted of three counts of murder in the deaths of three infants born alive. Shortly after that conviction, the news broke that Harris County authorities were investigating Douglas Karpen, a local doctor accused of performing late term abortions. Four former employees of Karpen accused him of delivering live babies during the third trimester and killing them by snipping their spinal cord or twisting their necks. On December 20, 2013, on Devon’s watch, a Harris County grand jury no billed Karpen. This no bill occurred as soon as Devon knew that she would have no primary opponent.

Much has already been written about our poor grand jury system in Harris County. Most of the judges use a key man system, which means that the judges select commissioners who choose the grand jurors. Using this process, rather than selecting the grand jurors at random from the jury pool, allows bias to enter the criminal justice system. New York judge Sol Wachtler was famously quoted in The Bonfire of the Vanities that “a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich if that is what [the prosecutor] wanted.”

In Texas, a prosecutor presents a case or investigation to a grand jury and the defense attorney is not permitted to enter the room. So, if a prosecutor, a hired persuader, presents a case to a pro-government, key man grand jury, what is the likely result?

Devon used the key man system when she was a judge. Devon and her husband continuously recycled certain grand jurors, such as Tricia Pollard.

Now we know that Denise Pratt, former judge of the 311th District Court, was operating a dysfunctional court. It is alleged that she backdated orders and dismissed hundreds of pending cases. If proven, these acts would be deemed criminal. Instead of being “one tough prosecutor” and vigorously prosecuting Pratt, Devon presented the case to a grand jury and used the grand jury as leverage to force Pratt’s resignation.

Meanwhile, the appearance of impropriety was grand. Devon and Pratt shared a political consultant, Allen Blakemore. If you are not familiar with Blakemore’s shenanigans, I ask that you listen to Michael Berry’s take on the man and his ethics. Pratt was represented by Blakemore buddy, Terry Yates. It is amazing that Terry Yates still associates with Blakemore. In 2010, Blakemore’s nasty tactics ruined Terry’s wife’s re-election campaign. Now, Leslie Brock Yates is a regular visiting judge down at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center. Devon is just mimicking Chuck Rosenthal as Blakemore also served as Chuck’s political consultant.

Let’s talk about Devon’s most recent campaign press release issued through Allen Blakemore. Allen and Devon claim that Kim Ogg was late on her latest campaign finance report. That statement is a complete lie. A simple gander at the latest report shows that Kim’s report was mailed on the due date, which is permitted by the rules. If Devon would permit this sort of distortion in her campaign, what is she doing as the interim District Attorney?

In 2012, Mike Anderson used the Houston Police Officers’ Union to publicize his campaign for District Attorney. Anderson and the union used Pat Lykos’s “trace evidence policy” to label Lykos as soft on crime. The truth is that policy was in place for two years prior to the aired complaint. Prior to implementation of the policy, Lykos had gotten the buy in of law enforcement and the judiciary, which included Anderson. This is a great example of the trickery and distortion often used by Blakemore.

During that campaign, Anderson also criticized the DIVERT program, which was a program implemented by Lykos that allowed pre-trial diversion for first time driving while intoxicated offenders. Anderson proclaimed that program was illegal. After he took office, he retained the DIVERT program (giving it another name). Today, the DA’s office continues this pre-trial diversion program. In fact, Devon has implemented a pre-trial diversion program for drug offenders. So, has she implemented illegal programs?

Just this week, Devon announced that she granted pre-trial intervention to an HISD principal and another HISD administrator for failing to report sexual abuse of a child. It is interesting to note that the HISD administrator was represented by Billy Belk, one of the attorneys appointed by Susan Brown to “prosecute” my wife in front of the 185th grand jury.

Speaking of Susan Brown, has anyone ever learned why Susan Brown gave $2,925 to Anderson & Thomas, the former law firm of Devon Anderson and Brock Thomas, on December 29, 2010?

Back to the HPOU. Did you know that Devon is endorsed by the HPOU? It is odd to note that Devon does not discuss this endorsement. Why? Is she worried that citizens would draw the dots between her support of the police and the actions of the DA’s office? Does support from a police union make Devon conservative? If you wonder why the Houston Police are still in the crime lab business, look no further.

Now, Devon is up on television during this campaign. Her commercial focuses on her prosecution of a capital murder [on videotape]. While the Victor Trevino case is continuously reset, it is almost like she tried the capital murder [on videotape] to use in her campaign commercial. Is it conservative to use a defendant as fodder for a political campaign?

Shortly after Mike Anderson took office, he hired Ann Johnson, fresh off her campaign against Republican Sarah Davis for House District 134. Johnson was hired as the “human trafficking specialist” at an annual salary of $110,000. Was that a conservative move?

Belinda Hill gave up her bench to serve as the first assistant under Mike Anderson. A lot of folks thought this was a strange move. Why would a judge with broad authority resign to become an assistant district attorney? Once Mike’s illness was announced, it seemed obvious – Belinda would succeed Mike in office. The Houston Chronicle thought so. Surprisingly, Devon was appointed by Rick Perry. Recently, Devon said that Mike wanted her to take his place.

Chip Lewis has been a visible figure throughout the Anderson administration. He was involved with the 185th grand jury and even told Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack about his forthcoming subpoena. Following Devon’s appointment, he said this: “I understand that Judge Anderson and Judge Hill discussed this [Devon’s appointment] extensively. They both believed that this was in the best interest for Harris County and their families to move forward with this arrangement.” Meanwhile, he is representing Victor Trevino and seems to be getting a lot of favorable results for his clients with the Anderson administration.

Kim Ogg certainly has Republican minions running scared. I received word that a political consultant was looking to see if Kim ever represented a Muslim so that could be used as slime against Kim. Note to this consultant: you may want to first run Devon’s bar number through the Harris County District Clerk’s website before you decide to throw stones. This is the type of garbage that certain people resort to when they have nothing else. Thankfully, Kim Ogg is above that trash.

I first met Kim Ogg in 2009 at a fundraiser for my wife, then a Republican judicial candidate. I will never forget the conversation that I observed between Kim and Dodie Osteen – Kim was thanking Dodie for praying for Kim’s mother at Lakewood.

While some conservatives may have reservation about voting for a democrat, I am confident that Kim Ogg is not a partisan figure. The Ogg administration will be true justice for all Harris County citizens. Think of it this way – a vote for Kim Ogg is a vote against Allen Blakemore.

Devon Anderson cancels (some say declines) remaining DA debates

Don Hooper

Devon Anderson, the interim DA, has found herself in a position where she can no longer debate Kim Ogg and has cancelled (some say has declined) all remaining debates. Political consultants often warn prosecutors that their trial skills do not translate well into the political arena. That is certainly true for Devon.

Over the last few weeks, Harris County voters have seen three debates between Kim Ogg and Devon Anderson: Fox 26 debate (in three parts: 1, 2, 3); Red, White, and Blue on PBS; and Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall.

On Sunday’s Newsmakers show, Devon’s scowls grew more pronounced, especially when discussing her special deals for friends of the DA. When the topic turned to Denise Pratt, Shawn Carrizal, and Ryan Chandler, Devon provided a look into the Anderson administration. She said that she was forced into a secret deal with Denise Pratt because she did not want that case to linger like the case against Victor Trevino, the Precinct Six Constable. And Devon said that she did not tell the public about the Pratt secret deal because she was not asked about the case. Devon and Pratt had the same political consultant, Allen Blakemore.

As a reminder, Trevino was indicted by a Harris County grand jury on November 16, 2012, for misapplication of fiduciary property, abuse of office, and tampering with a government record. Trevino is represented by Chip Lewis. Lewis was at the forefront of Mike Anderson’s campaign for Harris County District Attorney. Even though Anderson told Big Jolly that he did not have a special relationship with Lewis, over $10,000 was transferred from Lewis’s pocketbook to Anderson’s campaign coffers.

Lewis told reporters that Anderson’s victory proved that “our electorate cares about the integrity of the DA’s office.” Meanwhile, Lewis was busy informing Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack about secret grand jury matters. When Mike Anderson passed away, Lewis thought that Governor Perry’s appointment of Devon Anderson was “in the best interest of Harris County.”Lewis, someone who makes a living defending folks, also said that he understands that “Judge Anderson and Judge Hill discussed [Anderson’s inheritance of the position of District Attorney] extensively.”

Since January 2013, Trevino’s case has been reset 13 times and transferred from the 351st District Court to the court of Susan Brown, the same judge that led the runaway grand jury. Devon told Newsmakers viewers that she made a special deal with Pratt to prevent a delayed process like the Trevino case. The problem with that statement is that she is prosecuting Trevino and delaying the case now until after the election. Watch what happens after the election is over.

Then, Devon brought up the Ryan Chandler situation. Chandler is the former Houston Police Department homicide detective who was fired for lying and incompetence. Devon claimed to have no information on the Chandler situation because she recused herself from the investigation. Kim Ogg asked Devon to ask the court, once again, Susan Brown, to unseal the orders for more transparency. Devon told the audience that she originally asked the court to seal the orders but her hands were now tied because she recused herself. Meanwhile, Lewis has been making calls to the media on Chandler’s behalf. Shouldn’t he be working on getting Victor Trevino a Devon Anderson sweetheart deal?

Ryan Chandler and bride to be

Ryan Chandler and bride to be

Devon presumably recused herself from Chandler’s investigation because Chandler is married to Inger Hampton, leader of Anderson’s conviction integrity unit. Wrongly convicted individuals must feel safe with Hampton leading that charge. Open records requests revealed that Hampton was covering for Chandler regarding the absence of evidence in criminal cases and sending messages containing case information directly to Chandler.

Devon said that she asked Susan Brown to appoint an attorney pro tem. We know that Brown appointed Jeff Hohl, a former intern at the Harris County District Attorney’s office and current Montgomery County prosecutor. After a perfunctory investigation, the Montgomery County District Attorney, Brett Ligon, a former lawyer for the HPD union and another Allen Blakemore client, announced that no charges would be filed against Chandler.

So, here we are. Susan Brown sent the case to Jeff Hohl, a former Harris County DA intern who was licensed in November 2010. Has this guy even tried a murder case? Is he capable of evaluating a dirty cop who ignored murder victims?

The fact that Jeff Hohl was the attorney pro tem may be shocking to you because everyone was led to believe that the attorney pro tem was Brett Ligon. Then, Phil Grant, the first assistant in Montgomery County, claimed that he investigated the Chandler case. Grant told the Houston Chronicle that he was the attorney who “made the decision.” Of course, my favorite part of that Chronicle article is the fact that Blakemore is referred to as “Mark Blakemore.”

Chuck Rosenthal

Chuck Rosenthal

Throughout this article I mention a number of connections. These connections are crucial to understanding the Anderson-Lewis-Brown cabal. Devon’s latest campaign finance report provides more insight into her administration. Chip Lewis gave Devon two donations: $1,000 on September 17 and $9,100 on September 25. On September 24, Devon accepted $2,000 from former Harris County DA Chuck Rosenthal, who resigned in disgrace after it was revealed that he sent racist and sexist emails while serving as DA. HPOU who is defending Ryan Chandler and working with him to get his job back, donated $5,000 on September 24.Chandler HPD Photo

Throughout the debates, Devon stresses the importance of the human trafficking division. She believes that human trafficking is one of the most serious offenses facing Harris County. That means that she has staffed this division with only two prosecutors. Until recently, the division was manned by one prosecutor, Ann Johnson, hired by Mike Anderson. I guess Dr. Steven Hotze was not consulted on this hire. This is the same Ann Johnson who ran against Sarah Davis in 2012 for House District 134. Shockingly enough, Chip Lewis hosted a fundraiser for Ann. I wonder what Ann thinks about the latest push poll for Devon that emphasizes Kim’s sexuality. Yes, the whisper campaign against Kim Ogg has begun because that is the only card left for Devon to play.

Yesterday, the Houston Bar Association released the bar poll. Kim won that even though Devon Anderson’s office has over 300 votes and should have easily won. Her leadership style must not have won her too many friends in the office.

When asked about the Houston Chronicle’s endorsement of Ogg, Devon claimed that she was proud to not receive that endorsement. Devon’s exact response was: “I feel like I’m on the right track if the Houston Chronicle is not endorsing me.” Funny. If that is the case, why did Devon attend the Chronicle interview?

What can the rank and file prosecutors be thinking right now? I feel sympathy for many of them who have endured the succession of leadership. The truth is that Devon Anderson will do and say anything to be elected. And her besties within the office – the same people who worked against Pat Lykos within the office – have established a mean girls atmosphere where cliques reign supreme. There are still good people who work hard every day at the Harris County District Attorney’s office. What do they think about the FOD (friends of Devon) whispering about Kim’s sexuality and making her private life a political issue?

During the debates, Devon said that Mike told her that he wanted Devon to take his place as District Attorney. Did they tell Belinda Hill?

UPDATE

After this story was posted, Sara Kinney, a representative of the Anderson campaign and an employee of Blakemore & Associates, contacted David Jennings with two suggested edits.

The Anderson campaign claims that Devon Anderson has “declined” further debates rather than “cancelled” all remaining debates. Since August, the League of Women Voters (LWV) has been working with both candidates to schedule a televised debate. After the Houston Newsmakers show was filmed, Anderson withdrew her participation in the LWV debate.

The Anderson campaign’s second suggested edit concerns Anderson’s reaction to not receiving the endorsement of the Houston Chronicle. They did not like my original sentence: “When asked about the Houston Chronicle’s endorsement of Ogg, Devon claimed that she was proud to not receive that endorsement.” Rather than quote Anderson, I provided the readers with a link to the story and a brief summary. I encourage you to click over to the debate on the Houston Newsmakers website and watch the exchange (at 16:50) and decide for yourself if my characterization was correct.

The post Devon Anderson cancels (some say declines) remaining DA debates appeared first on Big Jolly Politics.

 

Devon Anderson cancels remaining debates!

Screenshot 2014-04-13 10.19.07

Devon Anderson, the interim DA, has found herself in a position where she can no longer debate Kim Ogg and has cancelled all remaining debates. Political consultants often warn prosecutors that their trial skills do not translate well into the political arena. That is certainly true for Devon.

Over the last few weeks, Harris County voters have seen three debates between Kim Ogg and Devon Anderson: Fox 26 debate (in three parts: 1, 2, 3); Red, White, and Blue on PBS; and Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall.

On Sunday’s Newsmakers show, Devon’s scowls grew more pronounced, especially when discussing her special deals for friends of the DA. When the topic turned to Denise Pratt, Shawn Carrizal, and Ryan Chandler, Devon provided a look into the Anderson administration. She said that she was forced into a secret deal with Denise Pratt because she did not want that case to linger like the case against Victor Trevino, the Precinct Six Constable. And Devon said that she did not tell the public about the Pratt secret deal because she was not asked about the case. Devon and Pratt had the same political consultant, Allen Blakemore.

As a reminder, Trevino was indicted by a Harris County grand jury on November 16, 2012, for misapplication of fiduciary property, abuse of office, and tampering with a government record. Trevino is represented by Chip Lewis. Lewis was at the forefront of Mike Anderson’s campaign for Harris County District Attorney. Even though Anderson told Big Jolly that he did not have a special relationship with Lewis, over $10,000 was transferred from Lewis’s pocketbook to Anderson’s campaign coffers.

Lewis told reporters that Anderson’s victory proved that “our electorate cares about the integrity of the DA’s office.” Meanwhile, Lewis was busy informing Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack about secret grand jury matters. When Mike Anderson passed away, Lewis thought that Governor Perry’s appointment of Devon Anderson was “in the best interest of Harris County.” Lewis, someone who makes a living defending folks, also said that he understands that “Judge Anderson and Judge Hill discussed [Anderson’s inheritance of the position of District Attorney] extensively.”

Since January 2013, Trevino’s case has been reset 13 times and transferred from the 351st District Court to the court of Susan Brown, the same judge that led the runaway grand jury. Devon told Newsmakers viewers that she made a special deal with Pratt to prevent a delayed process like the Trevino case. The problem with that statement is that she is prosecuting Trevino and delaying the case now until after the election. Watch what happens after the election is over.

Ryan Chandler and bride to be

Ryan Chandler and Inger Hampton campaigning for Anderson.

Then, Devon brought up the Ryan Chandler situation. Chandler is the former Houston Police Department homicide detective who was fired for lying and incompetence. Devon claimed to have no information on the Chandler situation because she recused herself from the investigation. Kim Ogg asked Devon to ask the court, once again, Susan Brown, to unseal the orders for more transparency. Devon told the audience that she originally asked the court to seal the orders but her hands were now tied because she recused herself. Meanwhile, Lewis has been making calls to the media on Chandler’s behalf. Shouldn’t he be working on getting Victor Trevino a Devon Anderson sweetheart deal?

Devon presumably recused herself from Chandler’s investigation because Chandler is married to Inger Hampton, leader of Anderson’s conviction integrity unit. Wrongly convicted individuals must feel safe with Hampton leading that charge. Open records requests revealed that Hampton was covering for Chandler regarding the absence of evidence in criminal cases and sending messages containing case information directly to Chandler.

Devon said that she asked Susan Brown to appoint an attorney pro tem. We know that Brown appointed Jeff Hohl, a former intern at the Harris County District Attorney’s office and current Montgomery County prosecutor. After a perfunctory investigation, the Montgomery County District Attorney, Brett Ligon, a former lawyer for the HPD union and another Allen Blakemore client, announced that no charges would be filed against Chandler.

So, here we are. Susan Brown sent the case to Jeff Hohl, a former Harris County DA intern who was licensed in November 2010. Has this guy even tried a murder case? Is he capable of evaluating a dirty cop who ignored murder victims?

The fact that Jeff Hohl was the attorney pro tem may be shocking to you because everyone was led to believe that the attorney pro tem was Brett Ligon. Then, Phil Grant, the first assistant in Montgomery County, claimed that he investigated the Chandler case.  Grant told the Houston Chronicle that he was the attorney who “made the decision.” Of course, my favorite part of that Chronicle article is the fact that Blakemore is referred to as “Mark Blakemore.”

Throughout this article I mention a number of connections. These connections are crucial to understanding the Anderson-Lewis-Brown cabal. Devon’s latest campaign finance report provides more insight into her administration. Chip Lewis gave Devon two donations: $1,000 on September 17 and $9,100 on September 25. On September 24, Devon accepted $2,000 from former Harris County DA Chuck Rosenthal, who resigned in disgrace after it was revealed that he sent racist and sexist emails while serving as DA. HPOU who is defending Ryan Chandler and working with him to get his job back, donated $5,000 on September 24.

Chuck Rosenthal

Chuck Rosenthal

Throughout the debates, Devon stresses the importance of the human trafficking division. She believes that human trafficking is one of the most serious offenses facing Harris County. That means that she has staffed this division with only two prosecutors. Until recently, the division was manned by one prosecutor, Ann Johnson, hired by Mike Anderson. I guess Dr. Steven Hotze was not consulted on this hire. This is the same Ann Johnson who ran against Sarah Davis in 2012 for House District 134. Shockingly enough, Chip Lewis hosted a fundraiser for Ann. I wonder what Ann thinks about the latest push poll for Devon that emphasizes Kim’s sexuality. Yes, the whisper campaign against Kim Ogg has begun because that is the only card left for Devon to play.

Yesterday, the Houston Bar Association released the bar poll. Kim won that even though Devon Anderson’s office has over 300 votes and should have easily won. Her leadership style must not have won her too many friends in the office.

When asked about the Houston Chronicle’s endorsement of Ogg, Devon claimed that she was proud to not receive that endorsement. Funny. If that is the case, why did Devon attend the Chronicle interview?

What can the rank and file prosecutors be thinking right now? I feel sympathy for many of them who have endured the succession of leadership. The truth is that Devon Anderson will do and say anything to be elected. And her besties within the office – the same people who worked against Pat Lykos within the office – have established a mean girls atmosphere where cliques reign supreme. There are still good people who work hard every day at the Harris County District Attorney’s office. What do they think about the FOD (friends of Devon) whispering about Kim’s sexuality and making her private life a political issue?

During the debates, Devon said that Mike told her that he wanted Devon to take his place as District Attorney. Did they tell Belinda Hill?

Murray Newman wants Devon Anderson to re-try the killer of Officer Charles R. Clark!

Murray stated it was Mike Anderson’s intent to give Officer Charles R. Clark’s killer a new trial. Wow, I guess we can’t ask him if that is true but one thing is for sure, Devon Anderson promised to prosecute all cop killers personally to honor her husband’s campaign promise. Now, there will not be a videotape this time, like in the Harlem Lewis trial, but Murray will tell you Devon Anderson is the greatest prosecutor of all time. What would Devon tell the Clark family if she did not personally prosecute the case – they are not worthy of her efforts? Devon is not about to let the law enforcement community down. Alfred Dewayne Brown and the Clark family need justice.

Of course, I will be discussing Murray’s comments concerning grand juries at length.

Devon Anderson and HPD

“Tonight, Houston homicide detectives are working to solve the murder of a man found stabbed in a parking lot.”

In Houston, the first five minutes of every newscast includes words like these. When we

Ryan Chandler and bride to be

Ryan Chandler and Chief Prosecutor Inger Hampton wearing Mike Anderson stickers.

hear news reporters providing minimalistic details of yet another murder, we believe that detectives will work to solve that particular crime because solving crimes makes us safer. Unfortunately, when Ryan Chandler and some others were assigned murder cases at the Houston Police Department, investigations remained idle and murderers remained free to roam. Thanks to the efforts of James Pinkerton, we know that Chandler had a variety of lapses including waiting years to file reports and lying about the status of murder investigations.

For years, Houstonians have heard of problems with the Houston Police Department. Historically, these issues surrounded police brutality – think Joe Campos Torres. In 2003, the city was shocked to learn about the total failing of the HPD Crime Lab. Instead of solving the root problem of incompetence and poor internal governance, our local government has simply created smoke and mirrors. Recently, Annise Parker created a local government corporation to “control” the crime laboratory; however, problems still remain.

It is long past the time that HPD withdrew from the crime lab business. Scandal after scandal has led to more bureaucratic bumbling with the same management in place. Bill King wrote a great op-ed piece in the Houston Chronicle about the crime lab situation.

Another scandal broke over the holiday weekend. A senior police officer is under investigation for signing in police officers at the municipal courts when these officers were actually absent.

The purpose of the criminal justice system is to hold people accountable for their conduct and make a community safe. Our local government seems to believe that their allegiances are to the police union rather than the people of Houston. The District Attorney’s office is meant to be that checkandbalance – the watchdog of the police.

Now, the police department is embroiled in one scandal after another that festers because the DA’s office can’t or won’t do its job. Ryan Chandler is just the latest exampleof poor law enforcementleadership manifesting itself through shameless politics and mismanagement. I say this because Chandler is indicative of the problems of the crime lab, HPOU, and the command structure of HPD itself.

The HPD organizational structure is very top heavy. Each division has a number of chiefs and captains; yet, people like Ryan Chandler are permitted to exist for years. Tim Oettmeier serves as an Executive Assistant Chief over the Homicide Division at the Houston Police Department, which meant he headed up investigations during the time of theChandler scandal. Somehow, he missed the fact that Chandler’s supervisors continued to offer identical performance evaluations.Ray Hunt Anderson Photo

It is no wonder that HPOU is linked up with Allen Blakemore – they both have a desire to control the local law enforcement scene. After the Pat Lykos administration prosecuted HPOU members for theft, the union paired with Allen Blakemore in November 2012 to criticize Lykos’s trace policy that had been in effect for two years. Of course, this was the public kickoff to Blakemore’s campaign to take back the DA’s office.

The truth was that Lykos, at the encouragement of senior prosecutors (who would later support her opponent), announced that, beginning in January 2010, the Harris County District Attorney’s office would not prosecute cocaine possession cases where the amounts were so small that the evidence could not be retested by the defense. At the time, the police union said that they would work together with the DA’s office.

Two years later, the union acted like they were horrified by this trace policy, even though it had been in effect for two years. The union teamed up with Blakemore to take back the DA’s office. A group of folks either sat idly by or actively participated in using a grand jury for an unlawful purpose, to oust a District Attorney.

Now, the current DA is supported by the union and is also a Blakemore client. Feel safer?

What is the future for the Houston Police Department? The agency ordered a recently-released Operational Staffing Report. As you may guess, the police report says that there is a staffing shortage and the answer to unsolved crime is more police. Instead of maximizing current staff, the Houston Police Department wants to keep the same structure and continue down the path of a less-safe Houston. This department wants the public to pay them to raise the crime rate. It has become a culture to them. Our elected officials need to reverse this problem by paying them to lower the crime rate with real results. In the last ten years, the police department’s budget has increased from $431 million to over $800 million – and not one officer has been added to the force. Truly, not only are we less safe; but, the officers themselves are less safe because of the outdated structure.

The future without change is that this reactive justice system will spiral out of control and our city will be overrun by the criminal element. It is time for our local leaders to use this opportunity to make a structural change to the Houston Police Department. Unfortunately, I don’t think the current leadership has the guts to make these necessary changes. It is easier for everyone to continue to support the union and the outdated structure. That way, no one risks a political endorsement. It is a culture of complacency.

Ed Gonzalez, a city council member and former homicide detective, is embroiled in the Chandler scandal. Do you think that Gonzalez has any suggestions about good governance concerning the police?

Why does the Harris County District Attorney’s office permit expensive special prosecutors like Jim Mount on certain cases; but, when a HPD homicide detective (married to a Harris County Assistant District Attorney) is accused of lying and potential criminal activity, the case is shipped off to the office of a former police union lawyer? And, of course, it was not surprising to see Chip Lewis, the DA’s favorite defense attorney, insert himself into the Chandler situation. Maybe that relationship deserves a closer look.

So, are we safer without Chandler?We know that solving crimes makes us safer. Holding people accountable for their actions is necessary to prevent future crime. Future offenders need to understand that this behavior will not be tolerated in our community. Firing one guy fails to attack the root of the systemic problem. Without pulling up this root, we will remain unsafe.

Mommy, there is a man in the restroom

Lincoln MorenoYesterday, I had the opportunity to see D-Day Normandy 1944 at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. This movie discussed Operation Overlord, otherwise known as the Battle of Normandy. On that day, the longest day, the allies lost countless lives. Memorial Day is an important tribute to those who have given their lives for our freedom and liberty.

The Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution contains the Equal Protection Clause that prohibits states from denying any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. So, why would Annise Parker, in her last term, champion an equal rights ordinance, especially when our Constitution covers discrimination? Could it be that this is simply a slight of hand, a distraction for the true purpose? Maybe Exxon wasn’t enough and she wants to run every business out of town? Why would she say that the ordinance was created in response to a Washington Avenue bar denying entry to a black man but never discuss the ordinance with NAACP leaders?

I have followed much of the local reporting on Parker’s edict and I feel like many people are missing the bigger picture. One of the basic government functions is public protection. The government is tasked with providing police, fire, and ambulance for the general public. Also, the government should pass laws that assist public safety. So, how would Parker’s policy affect public safety?

Imagine that you are the parent of a young child. After church, your family visits a local restaurant and your daughter needs to use the restroom. You take her to the bathroom. Inside, there are two small, narrow stalls; so, you send your daughter into one of the stalls as you stand guard outside. Your daughter is speaking, but you can’t quite understand her words. Just then, you see a man peering under the bathroom stall and staring at your four-year-old daughter as she uses the restroom. You think this is fiction? Think again.

On a Sunday morning in October 2010, Lincoln Moreno, a serial peeper, was looking at a four-year-old girl as she used the bathroom at Café Express in Meyerland. The child told her mother, “Mommy, there is a man in the restroom.” The mother did not see anything at first. Then, she looked down and saw a shadow of a head underneath the stall and a bag. Once captured, law enforcement discovered that the man had electrical tape, duct tape, a sock with a pacifier, a plastic bag, and a recording device.

Moreno also has a lengthy criminal history. This was his eighteenth criminal trespass conviction in Harris County. He has a prior conviction for indecency with a child. After he was arrested for the Café Express peeping, several of his relatives came forward and said that he molested them in the past.

Since Moreno was not using the recording device, the only crime on the books that fit the facts of Moreno’s voyeuristic conduct was criminal trespass and that, in itself, failed to result in adding Moreno to the sex offender registry.  State Representative Garnet Coleman publicly decried this “serious flaw in our system” because the “punishment didn’t fit the crime.” Garnet Coleman said that he wanted to create a new legal penalty for peeping in a restroom that defined the offense as a sex crime. Coleman told reporters at the time that these crimes are “most often committed against women and children.” “Individuals who grotesquely and repeatedly violate an individual’s privacy during a private moment should be on the registry.”

In 2011, Coleman sponsored House Bill 2822, which amended the criminal laws relating to disorderly or lewd conduct in a public place. This bill was lost in committee. Today, the law remains unchanged.

During the 83rd Legislative Session, in 2013, Garnet Coleman, instead of taking up the Lincoln Moreno matter, authored House Bill 3324, which added the words “gender identity or expression” to the penal code. This language would enhance an offender’s punishment if the crime was committed with this specific bias or prejudice. This bill was left pending in the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.

Given this context, the obvious question of the day is whether the equal rights ordinance now provides a defense (or a cover) for people like Lincoln Moreno. Is this equal rights ordinance the type of liberty that men and women have sacrificed their lives for? Doesn’t the Constitution already cover equal rights and discrimination? Shouldn’t the focus be on protecting women and children? Should this equal rights ordinance be made law before we make laws to protect children from Lincoln Moreno? As the city council members vote on this ordinance, they need to think about Lincoln Moreno and his victims.

Harris County DA, HPD Homicide scandal widens

Chronicle Reporter James Pinkerton continues to kill it. His latest Easter Sunday article includes information from the recently obtained disciplinary records for the officers fired and disciplined in the HPD homicide unit scandal. The revelations were countless and shocking. Let me try and summarize the facts.

  • The disciplinary records reveal that the investigation involving (former) HPD Homicide Detective Ryan Chandler began because members of the District Attorney’s office, presumably prosecutors, complained that Chandler refused to testify about his cases at trial. Stunning.
  • HPD Homicide and members of the District Attorney’s office knew about Chandler’s problems and, possibly, the missing files, when Pat Lykos was the Harris County District Attorney.
  • HPD Chief Charles McClelland called Chandler a “liar” with “a severe lack of sound judgment.” Chandler failed to adequately investigate 21 cases, including 15 deaths, misplaced files and evidence, and falsified police reports.
  • The disciplinary records state that Chandler made false entries into offense reports.
  • In a case where a convenience store clerk was murdered, HPD developed the suspect in 2007 and failed to investigate the case until May 2010.
  • After a 2005 murder, two eyewitnesses quickly identified a suspect. Even though a suspect was identified, Council Member Ed Gonzalez’s only effort to find the suspect was to contact the suspect’s wife via the telephone. Years later, the suspect was deported to Honduras without prosecution on the homicide case and the victim’s family is left without justice.
  • The Harris County District Attorney’s office forwarded the case to Montgomery County District Attorney, Brett Ligon, a former attorney for the Houston Police Officers’ Union (HPOU). Chandler is now represented by an attorney for the HPOU.
  • Ligon concluded that no criminal wrongdoing occurred without an impartial grand jury investigation.

If the HPD Homicide Division was having problems, shouldn’t the sitting Harris County District Attorney be told immediately about these issues? We know that, at a minimum, the problems with Chandler began to come to light when Pat Lykos was the District Attorney. Shouldn’t someone have told the sitting district attorney about a homicide detective’s refusal to testify?

Following the publication of Pinkerton’s story, I spoke with Lykos and Jim Leitner, her First Assistant. Neither Lykos nor Leitner knew anything about an investigation into Chandler or any other homicide detective. This is stunning because the article by Pinkerton states that, in 2012, members of the District Attorney’s office complained about Chandler to the Houston Police Department.

The revelation of Chandler’s refusal to testify presents more questions than answers.

  • Who first discovered Ryan Chandler’s refusal to testify?
  • Did they tell anyone?
  • Did they take any action?
  • Who knew about Ryan Chandler’s refusal to testify?
  • When did they know?
  • When did HPD Homicide learn about Ryan Chandler’s refusal to testify?
  • Did they tell anyone?
  • Did they take any action?
  • Were individuals convicted without Chandler’s testimony? If so, who are these defendants?
  • Has anyone identified these cases to the defense bar?
  • Did the Anderson administration know about Chandler’s refusal to testify in homicide cases when they accepted his $550 campaign donation?
  • Was Allen Blakemore, the Anderson (and Ligon) administration’s campaign consultant, aware of the HPD issues?

What about the missing files?

  • When did HPD learn that homicide files were missing from the division?
  • Did they tell anyone?
  • Did they take any action?
  • When did the Harris County District Attorney’s office learn that homicide files were missing from the division?
  • Who from the Harris County District Attorney’s office knew that homicide files were missing from the division?
  • When did they know it?
  • Did they tell anyone?
  • Did they take any action?
  • Has anyone identified these cases to the defense bar?

Clearly, Chandler was very excited about the Anderson administration. Not only did he

Ryan Chandler and bride to be

Ryan Chandler and bride to be

donate $550 to the campaign, he attended the victory party at a midtown restaurant. Here he is, wearing an Anderson sticker, with his girlfriend.

Anderson Campaign Finance Report 12.21.11 Donation

Anderson Campaign Finance Report 4.26.12 Donation

How could prosecutors at the Harris County District Attorney’s office know about Chandler’s refusal to testify without telling Lykos or Leitner? Were they friends with Chandler’s girlfriend, a Chief felony prosecutor and leader of the conviction integrity unit? Were they waiting for the Anderson administration to sweep this under the rug? Did they ever plan to tell the defense bar about these problems? Will there ever be any Brady disclosures?

There needs to be an impartial investigation by the Washington based Department of Justice Public Integrity Unit or the Texas Rangers. One of the Democratic Judges needs to appoint a Special Prosecutor. This is public corruption at its worse involving law enforcement and members of the Harris County District Attorney’s office.

Harris County Grand Jury Reform

It has been widely reported that Harris County DA’s office decided to send the HPD homicide investigation to Montgomery County DA Brett Ligon. While this is not a crime in and of itself, Houstonians deserve a complete and independent investigation by a source free from connections to HPD. I am sure that Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson would argue that she would have been criticized if Harris County had retained the investigation or farmed it out; but, was it really necessary to send the investigation to the district attorney with direct connections to the Houston Police Officers’ Union? This is a fundamental question of judgment.

The Chronicle has it right when they call for an independent investigation of the Police. The officers themselves should want their names cleared by an independent investigation. Think about the crime lab investigation performed by Michael Bromwich, an independent entity.

The investigation cannot remain with the Harris County District Attorney’s office because Ray Hunt Anderson Photothe current appointed district attorney, Devon Anderson, has a relationship with the Houston Police Officer’s Union. This group was instrumental in generating an opportunity for Mike Anderson to be elected. Additionally, we know that Devon has represented at least one member of the Houston Police Department. After Mike took office, the remaining Chad Holley cases were delegated to special prosecutors because Devon represented one of the police officer defendants.

Pollard-and-Anderson-whisper-secrets-1-500x300

Mike Anderson whispering to his 4 time appointed grand jury foreman Patricia Pollard, and the grand jury foreman of the 185th grand jury.

Then, Allen Blakemore’s connection to everything evil cannot be overlooked. He served as Mike’s political consultant. He is currently Devon’s consultant. He is Brett Ligon’s consultant. He has a relationship with the police union. It is public record now that Allen Blakemore knows how to use a grand jury for a political purpose: think 185th. That evildoing involved Judge Mike Anderson’s longtime grand juror, Patricia Pollard, along with Blakemore, Judge Susan Brown, and many others. A picture is worth a thousand words.

While this group is willing to use a grand jury (along with special prosecutors, the District Attorney’s office, and judges) for a political purpose, the real issue is the grand jury system. The major metropolitan areas in Texas have done away with the grand jury commissioner system. Not only is it unnecessary, it is unjust. The commissioner system allows judges to pick their friends as commissioners and grand jurors. It permits people like Pollard to sit on multiple grand juries for the same judge. We know that she served as Mike Anderson’s grand jury foreman for four grand jury terms.

There is a just alternative: selecting grand jurors from the jury pool. A few Harris County District Court judges have pulled their grand jurors from the jury pool; so, selection from the jury pool can certainly be done in Harris County. Of course, this system would not allow judges like Susan Brown to put together a political grand jury. It would also stop shenanigans like Judge Marc Brown, Susan’s husband, appearing before his wife’s grand jury without a prosecutor. And, a grand jury from the jury pool would easily sniff out “special” prosecutors like Jim Mount and Stephen St. Martin.Screenshot 2014-04-13 10.19.07

In 2004, the Houston Chronicle pointed out the ethical dilemma of the grand jury commissioner system. The system was designed for actors with integrity. Without people of integrity, the system fails.

Devon Anderson, and the Texas Rangers Investigation

 Chandler HPD Photo

The Harris County District Attorney’s office has a dilemma, compounded by a conflict, in search of a guy name Brady. A month or so ago, there were rumblings around town that a Houston Police Department homicide detective was under investigation. On Friday, Houston Police Chief Charles A. McClelland, Jr. called this (former) police officer a liar and announced that the officer was fired. Of course, bad news always hits on a Friday.

Back on March 5, Jeremy Rogalski from Channel 11 reported that the homicide detective accused of sloppy work, Ryan Chandler, had received identical performance reviews. All four of Chandler’s performance reviews from 2011 and 2012 were “virtually identical.” They even included the same misspelling: “investigattions.”

On Friday, James Pinkerton reported in the Houston Chronicle that at least 24 homicide cases in the city of Houston were not investigated. Houston City Councilman Ed Gonzalez, a former HPD homicide detective, was recently in possession of pending homicide files. He told Pinkerton that he took the files with him when he left HPD for Houston City Council in 2009. Now we know that seven other officers from the homicide division have been disciplined for playing a role in the failure to investigate murder cases in Houston, Texas.

There is no question that, even at the outset, this was obviously a huge scandal. The actions of local law enforcement and a shared political consultant, Allen Blakemore, have turned the scandal into actions that require investigations by the Texas Rangers and a special prosecutor. It is not surprising to most that Allen Blakemore is the center of evil when it comes to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.

Unsolved homicide cases leave unidentified murderers on our streets and families without answers. So, who is investigating the actions (or inactions) of the Houston Police Department? Typically, the Harris County District Attorney’s office would investigate HPD’s behavior. Instead, the investigation was forwarded to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office at the request of the Harris County DA. This may have been done because Chandler is engaged to a Chief Prosecutor in charge of conviction review at the Harris County District Attorney’s office.Chandler Hampton Photo

The new Harris County District Attorney, Devon Anderson, forwarded the investigation to Montgomery County District Attorney, Brett Ligon. Brett Ligon, an Allen Blakemore client, is also a former union attorney for the Houston Police Officers’ Union. So, now we know that Brett shares a political consultant with Devon Anderson. And they share their political consultant with the Houston Police Officers’ Union. And, before Brett was the Montgomery County District Attorney, he represented HPD officers on a full-time basis for almost ten years. Let me be clear, Brett Ligon represented HPD officers who were disciplined by the department or in trouble with the law. And, of course, Mike Anderson was endorsed by the HPOU. I did contact Jeff McShan, the spokesman for the Harris County District Attorney’s office on Friday and asked for an opportunity to speak with Devon about these issues. I have yet to hear back.

Mike Anderson campaigned on the restoration of integrity to the Harris County District Attorney’s office. After Devon was appointed by Governor Perry, her mouthpiece at the time, Chip Lewis, said that she would “continue the good work” done by Mike. So, wouldn’t you think that Devon would want to avoid even the appearance of impropriety? Why would she forward an investigation of Houston Police Department officers to a former HPOU lawyer? Did Brett Ligon ever represent any of the officers currently under investigation?

Do these disciplined officers continue to work in the homicide division? Do they continue to testify? Has the defense bar been notified about these problems and conflicts? Are these uninvestigated murder cases being reviewed and properly investigated? Are murderers roaming our streets because of law enforcement’s incompetence? Will these murder victims ever be acknowledged? If any of these cases ever go to trial, how will this situation be handled? Were officers paid to not investigate cases? Is that a crime?

The people of Houston deserve a truly independent investigation by the Texas Rangers and a neutral special prosecutor. Allen Blakemore cannot continue to use the courthouse and the District Attorney’s office as his playground. Blakemore controlled the District Attorney’s office through the Chuck Rosenthal administration and we saw the end of that story. It’s always the cover up that gets you.

Amanda, thank you for your deposit of $85,000!

Amanda,

Sorry I have been remiss in posting about your and Chip’s misdeeds. I did want to thank you for placing your $85,000 into the Lynn Hughes’ court registry for Rachel. Now please understand we are adding the additional legal fees incurred by you for your completely bogus and laughable response to our response. Not that you ever had a discernible case for anything but a frivolous suit but your latest filing takes the cake! We all laughed and are betting you wrote it because no competent lawyer would send that to the 5th circuit.

Now we need all your money so keep up the good work. Watch what the 5th circuit does with our request for additional fees for your continued stupidity. Consider this a teachable moment for your law career and hey who knew you could be the law of the land and the case on point for the Citizen’s Participation Act. Elected officials everywhere thank you, well except Devon Anderson who this will turn out worse for her then you. I thank you and Chip for the opportunity, and yes I am having fun putting you in the poor house!

You need to go back and read these posts, pretty uncanny how I predicted your demise. You are a fool and soon be parted from all your money!

Thanks for playing!

Don Hooper