From the InBox:
Tomorrow is a special day, Election Day, and your vote is needed to help decide your local elections. Thanks to County Clerk Dr. Diane Trautman, you can Vote Your Way at any county voting facility. Click here to find your nearest voting location.
This Election Day also marks the beginning of the 2020 Primary season. Yes, we are only four months away from the March 3, Democratic Primary. This will be a historic primary for Harris County with all the countywide Democrats emerging as favorites to win in November. I was proud to lead the wave in 2016 that turned the tide and set the stage for the 2018 countywide sweep.
I am ready for that challenge and any others I will face in 2020. My 2020 re-election campaign will be managed by Anna Carpenter, a local organizer from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense and the 2018 Beto for Senate Campaign. The Campaign Director will be Jaime Mercado, who managed the 2016 campaign and went on to win major Democratic victories like DA Brian Middleton in Ft. Bend, Senator Carol Alvarado in SD6 and Rep. Christina Morales in HD 145 just in the last year.
Our team is funded and ready, but the difference will be my record:
- Tens of thousands of marijuana cases diverted yearly, keeping records clean and people working
- The elimination of trace case (drug) prosecution
- Mental Health Diversion Program: over $9 million in savings and hundreds diverted to mental health facilities
- The first indictments of law enforcement officials after 300 no-bills
- Creation of a Domestic Abuse Response Team
- Environmental Crimes Prosecution (Arkema & ITC)
- Expanded Elder Abuse Prosecution
- Prosecution of Pimps and Traffickers
- Focus on keeping the public safe from violent crime
I have not made decisions to please any political foe or ally. I make decisions based on evidence and due process as I swore I would. I would be honored to earn your vote again and pledge to continue to protect public safety fairly and equally.
Kim Ogg, Harris County District Attorney
It’ll be interesting to see this play out. Ogg has at least one primary opponent, Democratic Socialist Audia Jones. We’ll get an opportunity to see just how far left the Harris County Democrats are ready to go. Here is her platform:
- Increase Safety While Ending Mass Incarceration;
- End Excessive Punishment;
- Ensuring That No One Is Above The Law;
- Support Crime Survivors; and,
- Build Community Trust.
Here are a couple of excerpts from a fairly in-depth article on theappeal.org.
“Some people are born like, ‘I’m gonna be a prosecutor!’ And that just had never been me,” she said. “Being a woman of color, obviously the interactions with prosecution in our communities of color is not the best. … But what I thought was, maybe I can get in here and really shake things up and be something that’s different.”
Jones clerked at the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., interned for Representative Sheila Jackson Lee at the Capitol, and briefly set up a family law practice before joining the district attorney’s office. In her first interview as a candidate, Jones weighs in on what she thinks went wrong in Ogg’s administration and what types of cases she would decline to prosecute completely.
How do you feel about the cash bail lawsuit settlement, which eliminates cash bail for most misdemeanors? Would you go further, as some are proposing, and eliminate cash bail for felonies?
The settlement, I love it. I think it really hits to one of the hugest broken aspects of the criminal system as far as oppressing the poor and it disproportionately targets people of color. I think it’s huge in turning the tides. I’m all for it.
I am absolutely in agreement with cash bail reform for felony offenses. As the third-largest county in the U.S., it’s important for us to be on the forefront rather than the tail end when it comes to something positive. If we look at how Washington, D.C., courts are handled—and I worked in the district courts there—they handle criminal and civil aspects and they never use cash bail. If you feel like someone is a violent offender or you feel like someone is a threat to the community or a threat to themselves or others, guess what you use? You request no bond. That is an alternative. It’s not like we don’t have alternatives to this cash bail system.
A former Sheila Jackson Lee employee that thinks the Washington, D.C. criminal justice system should be a model for Harris County?
Like I said, it’ll be interesting.
If you want a comprehensive look at the current bail controversy in Harris County, hop over to TheTexan.news and read Holly Hansen’s recap of last weeks bail bond hearing in Judge Lee H. Rosenthal’s courtroom. Here is an excerpt.
Although the settlement has not been finalized, Ogg says the county began implementing PR bonds “in earnest” on January 1, 2018.
“On that date, there were 18,890 open cases in Harris County’s sixteen misdemeanor courts. At the close of last week, there were 29,947 open cases, a 59 percent increase.” Ogg continued, “Given the thousands of misdemeanor cases my Administration has diverted pre-charge since January 1, 2017, the reason for the exponential increase in the county court dockets is clear.”
“Simply put, people are not showing up to court,” wrote Ogg.