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.

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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.

 

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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?

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