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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Oh Chipper, I think Hughes is talking to you!

Hughes AF order

From Big Jolly

http://bigjollypolitics.com/2013/11/23/rachel-palmer-wins/

Rachel Palmer wins again

 BY  

ADA Rachel Palmer

ADA Rachel Palmer

One thing about being bullied is that if you are willing to step up and fight back, you usually win. Harris County Assistant District Attorney Rachel Palmer, who along with former Harris County District Attorney Pay Lykos was the subject of a politically motivated witch hunt, was willing to step up and fight back. And win she did.

This past Wednesday, Federal Judge Lynn Hughes issued an order forcing the plaintiffs in a frivolous lawsuit against Palmer, Amanda Culbertson and Jorge Wong, to pay  Palmer $82,101 in attorney’s fees. Click here to view the order.

Because Culbertson and Wong brought baseless claims in an attempt to construct a case out of an administrative policy they did not like, they must pay the reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in defending their suit. They may use legal action in their politics, but they are responsible for the consequences.

Let me repeat that last line:

They may use legal action in their politics, but they are responsible for the consequences.

I remain convinced that the real culprit here was the attorney pushing Culbertson and Wong, Chip B. Lewis, along with other supporters of former Harris County DA Mike Anderson (deceased). Hopefully Culbertson and Wong will find a way to make Mr. Lewis pay the $82,101 because they were nothing more than pawns used in an attempt to smear Palmer and Lykos. Perhaps the campaign account of Anderson could chip in because that campaign certainly profited from the smears.

It is an absolute disgrace that these people used a runaway grand jury as a tool to get Anderson elected to office and then used a couple of pawns like Culbertson and Wong to continue the smear.

Congratulations to Rachel Palmer for being a fighter and standing up to the bullies, although it is no surprise. She fights for the citizens of Harris County every day in the courtroom, putting the worst of the worst in our society behind bars where they belong. Those now in positions of power at the DA’s office continue to hold her back and bypass her for promotion. It will take time for this smear job to go away (and the current regime to get booted out of office) but perhaps someday the people of Harris County will recognize her work and elect her to lead the DA’s office and put integrity back in the place.

 

 

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