So what will deceased Harris County District Attorney Mike Anderson’s legacy be? Look no further than today’s Houston Chronicle. In an article by Kiah Collier headlined “Harris County jail population nearing capacity again” we find out.
After a nearly two-year hiatus, the Harris County jail population is nearing capacity, prompting officials to again consider whether to ship some inmates to out-of-state lockups.
The late District Attorney Mike Anderson, who took office in January and died of cancer last month, sparked speculation that the jail population would increase when he decided to prosecute trace cases as felonies. His predecessor, Patricia Lykos, treated the cases as misdemeanors, saying it was difficult to accurately test drug residue and the arrests took officers off the streets for too long.
During the first half of last year, 1,670 state jail felons were sent to the county jail. That increased to 2,273 during the first half of this year.
That’s all trace case policy,” said lawyer Patrick McCann, a former president of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association who recently was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to the Specialty Courts Advisory Council.
Yeah, I already know, I’m pointing out the obvious and I’ll lose a few customers for doing so. Lykos’ reforms saved the taxpayers money and gave a few poor souls a chance to redeem themselves instead of rotting in a county jail cell with no way for their defense attorney to contest the state’s test results.
It needed to be said, popular or not.