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.