DA Debate

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Hours before Devon Anderson and Kim Ogg debated last Monday night at Windsor Village United Methodist Church, one of Devon’s lead prosecutors was the subject of prosecutorial misconduct allegations in a Fort Bend County courtroom. Prosecutorial misconduct has become a theme of the Anderson administration.

The DA debate, moderated by Khambrel Marshall from KPRC Local 2, occurred just minutes before 84 million people watched the Trump-Clinton debate. Think about that for a second. The race for Harris County District Attorney is easily the most contested race in the county and the Anderson-Blakemore crew decided to debate Ogg the same night of the most watched political debate in history.

kim_ogg

Kim Ogg

Since the 2014 election, Anderson has been on the defensive for a variety of issues including several prosecutorial misconduct allegations; the [unjust] prosecution of two pro-life activists; a lawsuit that exposed the fact that prosecutors jailed a rape victim; even more jailed witnesses, including another rape victim; misuse of the asset forfeiture process; and a complete lack of diversity in the leadership ranks.

Devon used two defenses to this litany of scandals: personally attacking Kim Ogg and blame shifting.

Anderson attacked Ogg for previously running as a Republican. Anderson also attacked Ogg for voting in the 2008 Harris County Republican Primary. Instead of discussing her own attributes, Anderson tried to point out to the black community that Kim did not vote for Barack Obama in the 2008 primary campaign. Again, an interesting approach for someone defending her own Republican bona fides and one I enjoy sharing with Republican voters.

I do find it interesting that Kim Ogg’s father, former State Senator Jack Ogg, was one of the last pro-life Democrats in Texas. I was wondering if Anderson was going to bring that up; but, she is likely unaware of Houston political history.

Interestingly, Anderson is still defending her office’s decision to jail rape victims. While this does not surprise me, Anderson’s lack of legal responsibility blows me away. Let me explain. Most of you have likely seen Anderson’s video from Arizona defending the actions of her office. Since the news broke, Anderson has provided a detailed description of the trial court prosecutor’s actions. This is a problem because, whether or not they are true, the prosecutor’s actions were likely outside the scope of his employment, which would pierce his governmental immunity. This is why most smart lawyers say, “I cannot comment on pending litigation.” Devon Anderson is not a smart lawyer.

Ogg quoted hard data to demonstrate the lack of racial diversity in leadership positions at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. Simply said, the racial diversity in the office in no way reflects the ethnic composition of the county.

In addressing the series of prosecutorial misconduct allegations against the District Attorney’s Office, Anderson claimed that none had been substantiated. In actuality, Judge Stacey Bond found that two prosecutors intentionally caused a mistrial in a highly publicized case. Attorney Stanley Schneider said that “Harris County residents should be troubled by the DA’s office condoning conduct like this.” After Bond’s ruling, attorney Dan Cogdell said, “It says to me there’s a cancer in that office that needs to be cut out.”

The latest problems involve destroyed evidence at Precinct Four and Anderson’s failure to timely notify defense counsel. Anderson’s office is a scandal a week and this will continue. She is in way over her head and has gotten terrible political and legal advice from those that surround her.

At one point during the debate, Anderson described her office’s transparency and a large chuckle erupted from the audience. Let’s just take the Precinct Four situation. Instead of accepting responsibility, Anderson shifted blame to Constable Mark Herman. Anderson claimed that her office could not obtain reliable case information from Constable Herman’s office, which is why Anderson’s office waited six months to notify defendants that the evidence in their case was destroyed. Meanwhile, defendants went to prison and, now, defendants may sue the county over these civil rights violations. Once again, the taxpayers lose with Anderson in office.

Anderson is wasting your tax dollars by permitting her prosecutors to exercise bad judgment and unethical conduct. She is also using the entire budget for salaries and is dependent on asset forfeiture funds for everything else.

There are only two ways to view this debate: via Ogg’s Facebook page and KPRC Local 2.

If you watch the debate, you will witness Anderson’s negative personal attacks against Ogg. Anderson’s defensive posture and blame shifting does not warrant Republican support. Most folks agree that Anderson is weighing down the ticket. It is time for the Anderson administration to end. Otherwise, Anderson’s misbehavior will continue as a stain on Harris County Republicans during every election cycle and lead to more problems for years to come. Most importantly, we are not safer with Anderson in office. Violent crime is prominent throughout the county. Anderson was a product of the slates and as Paul Simpson has waged a war against the three prominent slates, he continues to endorse and support the worst candidate in the Republican field, which drags down all of the candidates. Watch the debate and see for yourself.

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“I feel like Atticus Finch”

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Houston Chronicle Photo: Michael Ciaglo

Houston Chronicle Photo: Michael Ciaglo

Audio Devon Anderson, February 6, 2016

Two days after David Daleiden made his first court appearance in Harris County, Devon Anderson spoke to the Kingwood Area Republican Women at their Mardi Gras Ball. She told the crowd that three of the “best prosecutors in the office” were on the case. With sixty years between these three prosecutors, Anderson was confident that justice would prevail.

Anderson reminded the crowd that she must “follow the law.” She acknowledged that she was being asked to dismiss the cases against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt; but, she said that she would not do so and had no “legal reason” to dismiss the cases.

“I am a Christian . . . My faith gives me strength every day,” said Anderson. She emphasized that she hoped Daleiden and Merritt would accept the pretrial diversion because it was a “sweet deal” and would “end this spectacle.”

Then, Anderson went back to her faith, telling the crowd again that she gets strength from her faith: “God is an amazing force in my life. When you most need Him, He steps forward.”

Anderson added that she was reading To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, with her daughter. “I feel like Atticus Finch,” Anderson told the crowd. Atticus Finch is a fictional character in the book based on Harper Lee’s father, Amasa Coleman Lee, an attorney in Alabama who represented black defendants. The book focuses on Finch’s representation of Tom Robinson, an innocent black man wrongfully accused of sexual assault.

Anderson specifically cited a famous quote from chapter eleven of the beloved book where Scout, the daughter of Atticus, is speaking with her father about the importance of Robinson’s case:

They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinion,” said Atticus, “but, before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.

Devon left out a crucial preceding sentence by Atticus: “This case, Tom Robinson’s case, is something that goes to the essence of a man’s conscience – Scout, I couldn’t go to church and worship God if I didn’t try to help that man.”

Anderson concluded the presentation by telling the Kingwood group: “You’re the kind of people we want on jury duty.”

Devon Anderson dismissed the indictments against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt yesterday.

@DonPHooper

#neverdevon

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Don Hooper’s Sample Ballot

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I have been asked several times to write about my choices for the local and statewide judicial races. Stan Stanart, the Harris County Clerk, recently told me of his sample ballot that allows voters to enter their name and address on his website and produce a personalized sample ballot; so, I decided to give it a try. Stan and his team have developed a program that allows each voter to create their own unique slate to post and send to friends. Think of it as Stan’s way of overcoming the slate machines. And, when you think about it, Stan has revolutionized the way we can share our selections. Running the election operations in the largest county in Texas always makes Stan and his guys the smartest guys in the room. They do a great job.

You will notice I left many unopposed judicial races blank. I do this to send a message. The message is clear for the Criminal District Judges – I am tired of you supporting Judge Susan Brown as the Chief Administrative Judge of the Criminal Courts – think Goforth, the runaway grand jury, Constable Victor Trevino, judicial bypasses, and Devon Anderson. I have intentionally left them blank, which will show up as an under vote. This sends a message. I, of course, skipped Devon Anderson.

You will notice that I voted for Stacey Bond. She got my vote for standing against prosecutorial misconduct in her court. I also voted for Rick Green over Paul Green for Place 5 on the Texas Supreme Court. I do like what has happened at the Texas Supreme Court, especially concerning the City of Houston cases like HERO. I previously wrote about Jim Leitner for Harris County Attorney. It makes no sense for his opponent, a five-year lawyer, to represent Harris County in all civil litigation and advise Commissioners Court. Jim is the only choice.

Create your own ballot, print my ballot, or use something else entirely. Most importantly, VOTE! Study the candidates and, if you do not know them or the issue, do not feel compelled to vote in that race.

Marked Up Sample Ballot

Marked Sample Ballot

 

 

 

Sample Ballot Pic 2

 

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Skip Devon Anderson

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Operation Rescue Photo

On February 4th 2016, Lifesite News, Operation Rescue, Thomas More Society, and Texas Right to Life, joined in a press conference to denounce Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson and call for her to dismiss the indictments against citizen journalists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. Operation Rescue presented 100,000 signatures gathered in just a few days in support of dismissing these indictments. Reverend Patrick Mahoney spoke eloquently and at length on the impact of silencing journalists opposed to Planned Parenthood’s operations. His message was that all journalists are at risk when the First Amendment is attacked. The press conference occurred at the same time that David Daleiden was in Houston to surrender himself and make a court appearance. Merritt appeared in court the previous day.

The local media coverage of the event missed the boat and failed to recognize Reverend Mahoney’s worldwide efforts to defend Christian journalists. Reverend Mahoney referenced the recent 60 Minutes piece, Anonymous, Inc., on lawyers and money laundering. This story followed a nonprofit group that secretly filmed 16 lawyers to see if they would consider moving suspicious funds into the United States. The secret videos depicted an investigator for the nonprofit group posing as a representative of a government official from a poor West African county who wanted to move millions of dollars in suspicious funds into the United States. This nonprofit spent time and resources creating the background and identity of the fake representative in order to investigate American lawyers.

How did we get here? In August 2015, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office announced that it would investigate Planned Parenthood after a series of undercover videos were released by the Center for Medical Progress – a group of citizen journalists, including Daleiden and Merritt. On January 25, 2016, the 232nd Grand Jury indicted David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt for the felony offense of tampering with a governmental record. Daleiden was also indicted for the misdemeanor offense of offering to purchase human organs. The felony cases were filed in the 338th District Court with Judge Brock Thomas, the former law partner of Devon Anderson.

Brock Thomas

Judge Brock Thomas

Anderson was elected to the 177th District Court in 2004. Thomas served as judge of the 338th District Court from 2002 – 2008. Thomas and Anderson both lost reelection to their District Court benches in 2008 and formed Anderson & Thomas LLC and practiced criminal defense.

In October 2015, the grand jury that “investigated” Planned Parenthood and indicted Daleiden and Merritt was impaneled by Mary Lou Keel, presiding judge of the 232nd District Court. Keel is currently running for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which is the highest criminal court in the state. This is the court that will make the decision on Kelly Siegler’s misdeeds in the David Temple case.

At this point, there are more questions than answers. Some of the questions . . . How in the world did a grand jury tasked with investigating Planned Parenthood indict the two witnesses? Did the witnesses testify before the grand jury? Were they offered immunity? Were they given target letters to let them know that they were under investigation? And, most importantly, why didn’t the grand jury vote on whether to indict Planned Parenthood? Why did Mary Lou Keel extend this grand jury? And who asked her to extend it?

As you likely know, a grand jury presentation is one sided. The only people present in the grand jury room are the grand jurors and the prosecutors. The prosecutors may present witnesses. If they do, only the prosecutors and the grand jurors may question these witnesses. A witness goes into the room alone – without counsel.

The timeline is crucial to understand Devon’s lack of integrity.

Sunni Mitchell

Sunni Mitchell

On December 20, 2013, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, led by Devon Anderson announced that a grand jury no billed or refused to prosecute Douglas Karpen, an abortion doctor. Three whistleblowers came to Operation Rescue and alleged that Karpen was aborting babies beyond the legal time limit. These allegations were brought to the DA’s Office in May 2013 and were “extensively investigated” by the Houston Police Department Homicide Division, the Texas Rangers, and the DA’s Office. Following a two-month grand jury presentation, the grand jury declined to prosecute Dr. Karpen. The lead prosecutor in this investigation was Sunni Mitchell.

The filing deadline for the 2014 election was December 9, 2013; so, Devon waited until the filing deadline passed to announce the Karpen decision. If you don’t understand why this timing is important, ask Don Sumners – he defeated an incumbent in 2010. While defeating an incumbent is difficult, if a Republican Primary challenger can obtain the three major endorsements, Hotze, Lowry, and Polland, an incumbent may be defeated.

The filing deadline for the 2016 election was December 14, 2015. The 232nd grand jury was extended past their original December deadline and indicted the two whistle-blowers on January 25, 2016, which again gets Devon past the filing deadline. Again, it is important to understand this timeline because I guarantee you that Devon would have easily drawn a primary opponent if these indictments had occurred before the filing deadline. According to Planned Parenthood’s attorney, the grand jury did not even vote on whether to indict Planned Parenthood. So, what were they doing for four months?

Devon has been burning up the phones to pro-life political folks. She is trying to explain away her actions yet again. Comments by Karpen’s attorney, Chip Lewis, have assisted in the understanding of this situation: “I told them [DA’s Office] ‘Don’t hitch your wagons to this. They’re [Operation Rescue are] crooks, and it’s going to be exposed.” Lewis has donated over $30,000 to Devon Anderson’s District Attorney campaign. What kind of access does he get from these donations? Suppression of certain investigations? Favorable results?

Unfortunately for Devon, there is a fundamental flaw with the runaway grand jury argument that she is trying to spread with political pro-lifers concerning the Daleiden and Merritt indictments:  if the grand jury produced a wrong result and meritless indictments, it is Devon’s obligation to dismiss the indictments as the elected District Attorney of Harris County. It is really that simple.

Sunni and Devon

Sunni and Devon

Devon may soon create a pro-choice division at the DA’s Office led by Sunni Mitchell because Devon again put Mitchell, her ace abortion prosecutor, on the Planned Parenthood case. Yes, the same prosecutor who led the no bill against Karpen has now led a grand jury to indict Daleiden and Merritt. Word on the street is that Mitchell was assisted by Inger Chandler, Chief of the Conviction Review Section, and wife of disgraced former Houston Police Department detective Ryan Chandler who was fired from HPD after failing to investigate murder cases. Big Jolly has covered that scandal extensively.

Ryan Chandler and bride to be

Ryan Chandler and bride to be

At the end of last week, Daleiden and Merritt posted  bond and made their first court appearance. At their first appearance, Mitchell announced that the DA’s Office is offering pretrial diversion to both Daleiden and Merritt.

Pretrial diversion is an informal agreement or contract between a defendant and the DA’s Office where the prosecutors agree to dismiss the case after a period of time if the defendant stays clean and abides by certain conditions, watch out for the conditions. Prior to 2008 in Harris County, pretrial diversion was limited to select private school students charged with possession of small amounts marihuana. Pat Lykos expanded the use of pretrial diversion to possession of marihuana, theft, and DWI first offenders. The Andersons criticized the DIVERT program created by the Lykos administration, which offered pretrial diversion to first time DWI defendants. Then, Mike and Devon offered the same program under a different name. All that being said, it is extremely rare for a pretrial diversion to be offered to a felony defendant; but, that is exactly what Devon is offering to Daleiden and Merritt. Dan Cogdell, representing Merritt, said it best: “I’ve never had an offer of pretrial diversion on a first appearance.”

Devon and Ann Johnson

Ann Johnson and Devon

Although Devon claims to be pro-life, actions speak louder than words. Devon refuses to answer this simple question: have you ever granted a judicial bypass? This question would not violate the privacy of children seeking to bypass the parental notification laws. When you see Devon ask her why she won’t answer whether or not she granted judicial bypasses. There is no judicial cannon preventing her from answering whether she reviewed a judicial bypass application. The Texas Supreme Court in no way bars her from answering whether or not she has granted a bypass application and you can cite this as your source.

Simply said, you are who you associate with and Devon seems to find herself in troubling company. In her re-election bid, Devon is touting her human trafficking efforts, which are led by Ann Johnson, the human trafficking “expert” hired by Mike Anderson. In 2012, Johnson was the Democratic Party’s opponent to Sarah Davis. After graduating from law school, Johnson served as a briefing attorney to Leslie Brock Yates when Yates was on the Fourteenth Court of Appeals. It is important to understand that the Democratic Party sought a more pro-choice candidate than Rep. Sarah Davis. Ann Johnson was that candidate and was heavily supported by Planned Parenthood and their board members. Chip Lewis, Karpen’s attorney, contributed to the Johnson campaign and hosted a fundraiser for her in the gay community with Justin Wood, a Harris County prosecutor and Devon’s legislative liaison. While human trafficking is a laudable cause, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is not providing results. It seems like there is a neon “massage” sign on every corner. We can certainly do better.

Leslie Brock Yates, Johnson’s former employer, lost her job in 2010. The dynamic duo of Devon and Susan Brown found a soft place for Yates to land – visiting judge in a special capital murder court. This court takes capital murder cases from the 22 District Courts for trial. How fair is it to a defendant to be tried by a judge with no accountability to the public? I digress. You may recognize the name Yates – the husband of Judge Yates, Terry, is Mr. Daleiden’s attorney . . . along with Jared Woodfill.

After Mike Anderson’s death, Woodfill, then Harris County Republican Party Chairman, nominated Devon to replace her husband. This was really disappointing to me because Woodfill was well aware of Devon’s reputation concerning judicial bypasses and he nominated her anyway. The executive committee of the Harris County Republican Party rejected her nomination 263-0. Two days later, Rick Perry appointed Devon to complete her husband’s term. The Executive Committee is to be congratulated for rejecting Jared’s nomination of Devon Anderson.

Devon’s hiring decisions are important to note because it demonstrates her true character and lack of integrity. In 2014, Devon hired Lauren Reeder, a Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast board member. Devon has created a pro-choice environment that is not only favorable to Planned Parenthood, it is now being used to destroy the pro-life movement. The damage nationally to the pro-life cause is tremendous and is fuel for the civil suits brought by Planned Parenthood against David Daleiden. Devon is willing to sacrifice the pro-life movement for votes in the general election.

Bryan Vaclavik.php

Bryan Vaclavik

The story gets worse, when Mike Anderson was elected, he immediately rehired Lester Blizzard and Bryan Vaclavik. Both men were charged with DWI offenses in 2011 and were represented by their buddy Chip Lewis. Devon has kept these folks and touts Blizzard’s work with money laundering operations. Contemporaneous with the indictments, Devon sent out a “vote for me in the bar poll” email that lists her “accomplishments”: (1) human trafficking efforts; (2) money laundering prosecutions; and (3) the prosecution of Harlem Lewis [a capital murder on video]. Yet, Anderson fails to provide specific details that demonstrate the successful prosecutions by her office and the feds are forced to prosecute people like Hortencia “Tencha” Medeles, who was convicted in April of operating a sex trafficking ring . It is also a bit odd that Blizzard’s investigations often involve defendants represented by Lewis. See Ricardo Baca, and Katherine Le.

In 2012, Lewis and Blizzard represented Dwayne Jordon and used Bryan Vaclavik as a witness. The issue is the appearance of impropriety. Just as his large donations provide access to the DA’s Office, the relationship that Lewis has with employees like Blizzard and Vaclavik provide access.

Following Judge Stacey Bond’s ruling about prosecutorial misconduct by two Harris County prosecutors, Ms. Merritt’s attorney, Dan Cogdell spoke to the media about his own interaction with these same prosecutors. Cogdell said “there is a cancer in that office that needs to be cut out.” Devon continues to defend these prosecutors even though their conduct is objectively inexcusable. For now, it is a good thing to be a Friend of Devon.

FullSizeRenderThe Texas District & County Attorneys Association (TDCAA) certainly has Devon’s back. TDCAA is a non-profit organization that advocates for Texas prosecutors. Apparently Devon does not believe this organization does enough because she also sends her own lobbyist prosecutor, Justin Wood, to Austin for each legislative session.

File Feb 08, 7 22 03 AMThe question here is one of judgment and integrity. The liberals are thrilled with Devon’s prosecution of Daleiden and Merritt. Lisa Falkenberg, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Annise Parker are tripping over themselves to support Devon. These indictments were no accident and targeted to this audience. The praises for the liberal elite continue to pour in for Devon and this was her intended purpose by the indictments. Devon thought that she had the Republicans wrapped up and needed to broaden her base and the prosecution of Daleiden and Merritt fit that bill. Ladies and gentleman, the verdict is in and Devon Anderson is pro-choice, no question about it. She certainly is willing to let the pro-life movement suffer in order for her to broaden her base.

In recent years, I have found myself in sharp disagreement with Terry Lowry over local political issues and his endorsement of certain candidates. This season, Brother Lowry invited me to write an Op-Ed in his Link Letter, which is mailed to 195,000 Republican households in Harris County. After some contemplation, I accepted this invitation and I told Terry I wanted to ask the readers to take action, which I never do on Big Jolly. My Op-Ed discusses Devon Anderson and her persecution of two brave anti-abortion activists, Daleiden and Merritt, and I ask the readers to skip Devon Anderson on the primary ballot. There is something that you can do – SKIP DEVON on March 1, 2016. Although Devon thought that she would box Harris County Republicans in to voting for her by delaying her conduct until after the filing deadline, you can still send her a message.

Harris County, we deserve better.

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Devon Anderson Shoots the Messenger!

I told you so

The messengers have been indicted. Yesterday, Mary Lou Keel’s grand jury indicted David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt for their involvement in the Planned Parenthood investigation. Keel, the judge of the 232nd District Court is currently running for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

This result was foreshadowed by District Attorney Devon Anderson’s prior decision making. As you likely know, Devon Anderson was appointed by Rick Perry to the position after her husband, Mike Anderson, passed away months into his first term. Following this appointment, Devon was placed on the 2014 ballot to complete her late husband’s term. On December 20, 2013, after she knew that she did not have a primary opponent, a Harris County grand jury no billed 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 cords or twisting their necks. The evidence was compelling and any decent prosecutor from the DA’s office could have taken the case to trial with these witnesses. Anderson of course no billed Karpen. Anderson decided to stick with capital murders on video. That is the level of evidence that she is comfortable with.

One of Anderson’s largest campaign contributors is a criminal defense lawyer named Chip Lewis – Karpen’s attorney.

Devon Anderson has highlighted the work of Ann Johnson, hired by Mike Anderson to “specialize and combat human trafficking.” In 2012, Ann Johnson ran as a pro-Planned Parenthood Democrat against State Representative Sarah Davis.

Anderson has never been called to task about her judicial bypass record as a District Court Judge.

Here we are and Devon Anderson is again on the ballot.  Now, she seeks a full term as District Attorney – again, without a primary opponent. Devon Anderson and her arrogance have succeeded in going where no DA has gone before. Can you imagine a sitting Harris County DA going to the left of the Los Angeles District Attorney or the Manhattan DA’s office? Is this Texas Justice?

While we wait for the records to appear on the Harris County District Clerk’s website, you may research Devon Anderson on Big Jolly. You need to ask yourselves why Dan Patrick, Ryan Patrick, Jared Woodfill, Hotze, and others have been such big supporters of the Andersons. Hate to say I told you so, but….

David Robert Daleiden Indictment

Sandra Susan Merritt Indictment

http://bigjollypolitics.com/voted-kim-ogg/

http://bigjollypolitics.com/harris-countys-tough-crime-da-devon-anderson/

http://bigjollypolitics.com/da-devon-anderson-delay-victor-trevino-trial/

http://bigjollypolitics.com/appointment-devon-anderson/

Charge against David Daleiden

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Kelly Siegler and the Jiggery-Pokery Gang

Kelly Siegler DA Announcement Photo

On Thursday, Judge Larry Gist issued 36 findings of prosecutorial misconduct against Kelly Siegler in the David Temple murder case. I wanted to give you a little background on Ms. Siegler so the Big Jolly readers can remain the most knowledgeable folks on Harris County criminal justice issues.

Kelly and the Jiggery-Pokery Gang united for Kelly’s unsuccessful DA bid in 2008. The gang existed in many forms long before 2008; but, Kelly’s 2008 campaign announcement provided the first opportunity for a public group photo. The gang photo clarifies their unification to the outside viewer.

Like all gangs, there is a hierarchy. Ms. Siegler is the central figure and, generally, close proximity to the leader in the photo denotes a higher rank; although, a few things have changed since 2008. The judiciary members are not as obvious; but, they are certainly a very important part of this gang. Some judges, like Susan Brown, act as capos within the organization. The group also acts to protect other gang members or affiliates, not unlike most street gangs.

The gang’s name has changed over the years. More recently, I renamed the group the Jiggery-Pokey Gang after reading Justice Scalia’s Obamacare dissent. I think the term fittingly describes this group and their operations.

Jiggery-pokery: Dishonest or suspicious activity.

David Temple is a difficult case because so many have prejudged his guilt David Temple Murder Trialbased on Kelly’s facts. Heck, he was already convicted and sentenced. He was cheating on his pregnant wife and later married his mistress. It is easy to hate his behavior. But, the current issue is not about David Temple’s innocence. It is about fundamental fairness and justice. A rigged game is not justice.

When the wrong man is convicted, we are all to blame. It is the responsibility of every citizen, voter, and human being to learn about our criminal justice system and make sure that justice for all actually means something.

We, as Harris County citizens, need to take very seriously who we elect as DA and misdemeanor and felony judges. It cannot be a popularity contest foisted on the precinct chairs by the political consultants. The Jiggery-Pokery Gang has a history. Their affiliates have a history. And certain political consultants, like Allen Blakemore and Mary Jane Smith, are the promoters of these gang members.

Why is the gang designation important? It is crucial for citizens, particularly those outside of the criminal justice system, to understand that Kelly Siegler’s actions are not an isolated incident. Kelly intentionally and purposefully withheld exculpatory evidence in a criminal prosecution. Craig Goodhart, Kelly’s assistant on the Temple trial, has been accused of similar impropriety in the Linda Carty case.  Retired DEA Special Agent Charles Mathis alleges that Connie Spence threatened to question him about a fictional affair with Linda Carty.  Lance Long and Murray Newman, Kelly disciples, were accused of pressuring witnesses to lie in the Antonio Williams case.

“Mr. Long and the investigators pressured me to testify that Antonio was at the scene and was the shooter. They stated to me that if I helped them out, they would help out.”

Excerpt from an affidavit by Sharonda Cooper, a neighbor who testified against Antonio Williams.

This is just a sampling of the prosecutorial misconduct developed and perpetrated by the gang.

The Jiggery-Pokery Gang furthers their agenda in a number of ways. Remember, for the most part, these are lawyers and highly educated people operating in and around the DA’s office. Like all gangs, they use tools common to their surroundings. Here, the gang uses the grand jury system, media, courts, and certain judges to further their agenda.

The DA’s office is very similar to junior high or high school; so, it is very simple for the inner circle to use their popularity and cunning ways to get their way. The group treats Kelly like a deity or party-animal homecoming queen.

Nothing that has come out concerning Siegler’s prosecution of David Temple is new. Siegler employed the exact same methods used by Ken Anderson on Michael Morton, an innocent man wrongly convicted of murdering his wife in Williamson County. In the Morton case, the prosecutor lost his law license and went to jail.

The media is culpable in the gang’s rise to power. So often, the media relies on information used in their stories provided by gang members. This is an important fact because it allows the gang members to assert their narrative. Siegler carefully uses her minions to plant stories in the media, which are used to build her image and television career. Think about how often Chip Lewis, a Kelly crony, is quoted by reporters. It is a game and justice is not the goal.

The win-at-all-costs mentality flourished during the Rosenthal administration. Chuck Rosenthal allowed Kelly and others to run amok.

Devon Anderson promised to return the DA’s office back to the old days, which is code to the gang members for win-at-all-costs. Many members of Kelly’s crew also roll with Devon. The Lykos administration threatened to out this group and their misdeeds; so, they only had one choice: to destroy reputations. That is why, when Kelly ran for DA in 2008, Murray Newman, Kelly’s Minister of Propaganda, created a blog to perpetuate the Kelly myth.

It is high time for people to know the truth about injustice in Harris County. David Temple’s lawyers have asked that an attorney pro tem or special prosecutor be appointed. This would be a start; but, as in the Michael Morton case involving Ken Anderson and the Anthony Graves case, a Court of Inquiry was formed to investigate the misdeeds on a much broader level. If you have been a reader of this blog for any length of time, you are aware of lots of misdeeds reported here involving the District Attorney’s office. It is time for the Republican Party to join with others and lead the charge to clean up the courthouse and the District Attorney’s office.

Part One

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Chip Lewis Top Ten

Top Ten Reasons Chip Lewis is the Topic of Conversation at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center.

10. Judges are wondering if Chip’s campaign contributions were just room rental fees.

9. Chuck Lorre used Chip as a muse for Two and a Half Men.

8. Tiger Woods lists Chip as a mentor.

7. Facilities and Property Management is installing panic buttons in the jury rooms.

6. A certain judge’s jury room table is now in the same office as Chuck’s old couch.

5. Luminol and black lights are on order by Facilities and Property Management.

4. Purell and Lysol admonishments are on the agenda for the next judges’ meeting.

3. Judges ordered new locks for the jury room doors.

2. No more court lunches in the jury room!

1. The 50 Shades of Grey movie vouchers around the courthouse now make sense.

Add your top ten and I’ll post em.

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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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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.

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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.

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