(Note: see update below)
More strange happenings at the Harris County
District Attorney’s office criminal justice center. This week, the office agreed to once again delay the prosecution of Precinct 6 Constable Victor Trevino was delayed yet again. The Harris County District Clerk’s office now has the next court date as October 30th. Hmm.
Mr. Trevino was charged on 11/16/2012 in Judge Mark Kent Ellis’ 351st court. The case has dragged on through multiple resets and even a change of courts. Voir dire was finally to start on 10/3/14 in Judge Susan Brown’s 185th but was delayed by agreement with the prosecution until 10/30, after subpoenas were delivered to potential witnesses requiring them to be in court on 10/7.
So here we go again with the main players in the farce that was the 185th Runaway grand jury. Judge Susan Brown, Defense Attorney Chip B. Lewis, and District Attorney Devon Anderson. Note that the case was shifted to Judge Susan Brown in July of 2014 by Judge Mark Kent Ellis of the 351st.
So what does all this mean? Good question, I wish I knew.
Is the District Attorney preparing to give Constable Trevino a sweetheart deal, as she did with former Judge Denise Pratt? Think about that for a minute. If she does give him a sweetheart deal, the original trial date would have put this issue in the forefront of the November election. Anderson’s opponent, Kim Ogg, would have yet another example of why the current DA needs to go. By moving it to 10/30, the deal wouldn’t be public until after the November 4th election. Slick. If that is the goal. Like I said, I have no idea. Maybe it’s as simple as the DA’s office not being able to pull its case together in 2 years time. Perhaps Ms. Anderson could release a public statement as to why she chose to move the trial date.
UPDATE 9/26/14 11:30 am
Shortly after publishing this post yesterday, I received a call from DA Devon Anderson’s campaign spokesperson, Sara Kinney, telling me that I had it wrong and that the prosecution did not agree to a delay. Ms. Kinney told me that the defense had filed a motion for the delay, that the prosecutors had argued against the delay in open court for 20 minutes, and that Judge Susan Brown granted the continuance despite the state’s objections.
I explained to Ms. Kinney that the information on the Harris County District Clerk’s website was clear that the continuance had been granted because of a agreement between the parties. I sent her this screenshot:
Ms. Kinney told me that the District Clerk’s site showed only that the parties had agreed to a date for trial, after arguing before the court, and after the Judge rendered her decision, and told me that she would be sending me confirmation on paper shortly. I told her that I would pull the post down pending confirmation.
After agreeing to provide the written evidence, Ms. Kinney later told me that she checked with the court and they do not sign anything on continuances and there is nothing to prove that the prosecution objected to the reset. I then told her that of the 14 resets granted in this case over 18 months, 12 of them state that “Reset on Defense Request”, 1 states “Reset by Court”, and this one states “Reset by Agreement of Both Parties”. Why wouldn’t this one state “Reset on Defense Request”? Here is a screenshot of all 14 resets in this case:
I never received an answer to that question. Ms. Kinney assured me that the prosecution did object to the delay and advised me to call the judge or defense attorney for verification.
I am too biased about the current DA to objectively determine what really happened here. I am skeptical that there would be no record of a hearing requesting a delay in this high-profile case. The defense attorney, Chip B. Lewis, is simply too good to not put something on the record which could possibly be used for an appeal later if the judge ruled against him. And if you don’t believe me about Mr. Lewis, here are his stats for 2013 – of 84 disposed cases, 51 were dismissed, 15 deferred adjudication, 7 probation, 5 reduced charges, 3 grand jury no-bills, and only 3 resulted in incarceration. Hire him if you get in trouble.
The plain truth is that I don’t know what happened. The clerk’s website says that both parties agreed to the reset. The Anderson campaign says that is not what happened but could not provide any proof to refute it.
Because of my bias against the DA, I decided to err on the side of caution. I changed the title of the post, highlighted parts of the post that might be incorrect, and have provided this information for you so that you could make up your own mind.
One thing remains clear – Victor Trevino has been under indictment on four charges of corruption for almost two years while remaining in his post as a lawman. That isn’t anyone’s definition of swift justice and the District Attorney should be held accountable for that.