Appointed Interim Harris County DA Devon Anderson has tried to convince voters that she is “tough on crime” while labeling her opponent, Kim Ogg, as “dangerous”. In fact, if Politifact had put Anderson’s claims through their “Truth-O-Meter“, they would have awarded Anderson a “Pants on Fire“.
They also might award Ms. Anderson a Pants on Fire for her claim that she is tough on crime. Let’s take a look at a few cases.
Judge Denise Pratt – in a secret backroom deal brokered by political insiders, Anderson let Judge Pratt walk away from criminal charges of any type in return for her resignation from the bench.
Constable Victor Trevino – Ms. Anderson offered him the equivalent of a traffic ticket instead of prosecuting him for four felony charges. Mr. Trevino rejected the offer.
HPD Homicide Detective Ryan Chandler – Ms. Anderson brokered a deal with her friend Judge Susan Brown to send the case to Montgomery County, under seal, where former HPOU attorney Brett Ligon, now the Montgomery County DA, assigned a rookie prosecutor to the case. When the rookie prosecutor cleared him, Ligon’s right hand man, Phil Grant, claimed that he had made the decision. Neither Anderson nor Brown objected to this blatant violation of the special prosecutor statute. Here is what the HPOU had to say about Mr. Ligon upon his election as Montgomery County DA:
He has loved helping HPOU members through officer-involved shootings, suspension hearings, grand jury appearances, trials on “the merits,” and any other part of the complicated job of being a police officer in a big city.
Hundreds of cases that Chandler worked on are now in jeopardy and Chandler gets off scott free.
Capital Murder Express Court – Ms. Anderson is touting the creation of a special court to get non-death capital murder cases through the courts quicker. She cites no statistics and provides us with just one anecdotal case. What about the other 93 cases that were rushed through? Swift justice is not always justice, if you know what I mean. She’s proud of the fact that the median case is only 1.5 years old – that is less than the time she has taken to prosecute Constable Trevino, to whom she offered a traffic ticket. If I’m some poor schmuck being falsely accused, I think I might not want the express train to “justice”. Or, maybe I do – after all, if she can reduce four felonies to a traffic ticket, maybe she can let me out on a Class A misdemeanor, right? Secret backroom deals seem to be her stock in trade.
Prostitute Court – Ms. Anderson wants to create a special court for prostitutes because “they are victims”. Yeah, right.
Teachers – Ms. Anderson is going to help HISD crack down on cheating because teachers can’t be trusted. But hey, prostitutes, ya know?
Now let’s take a look at someone who is in the news today for killing a Deputy Sheriff the other night. Some are accusing Kim Ogg of trying to gain politically off of the death of Deputy Jesse Valdez III for pointing out that he would be alive if the DA had been “tough on crime” with defendant Kelly Jo Ivey. Sometimes the truth is hard to hear. Let’s take a look at Ms. Ivey’s record and you decide if the appointed, interim DA is “tough on crime”.
Not very pretty, is it? And that doesn’t include a conviction for theft in Liberty County. But it is the three charges in December, 2013 that are relevant in this case. As part of a plea bargain, Ms. Anderson, through ADA Keri Fuller, dismissed one charge (theft, habitual offender), and agreed to the minimum time allowed in the other two cases, after abandoning two enhancements on the auto theft charge, which could have increased the minimum sentencing. They did this knowing full well that Ms. Ivey would be eligible for parole long before the minimum sentence time in jail would be reached. Click here to read the rules on parole. Ms. Ivey did get out early and the rest is fact, not something used for political gain.
“Two years in prison for 3 grams of methamphetamine is perfectly acceptable and I stand by the prosecutor who made that plea bargain,” Anderson said.
So did an attack ad from Anderson’s campaign.
“Kim Ogg isn’t just wrong. She’s dangerous,” says the narrator in the 30-second spot, Anderson’s second. “But Devon Anderson is tough on crime.”
The central debate in the race has revolved around Ogg’s plan to not prosecute low-level drug offenders, like those arrested for having small amounts of marijuana. Ogg has also said that she would institute a policy of ticketing suspects caught with cocaine residue in crack pipes, not arrest them on felony drug charges, a move that has drawn the ire of area law enforcement agencies who support Anderson.
That first quote says that Anderson doesn’t think 3 grams of meth is much, so a light sentence is deserved. All the while filing felony charges against people that might have a trace of crack cocaine on a pipe. Hmm, I’ll bet the folks claiming that crack cocaine users (i.e., blacks) have a tougher time in the criminal justice system than other drug users might have some fun with that one. But before we move on, let’s take a look at the original charging instrument for against Ms. Ivey for drug possession. Notice that she is charged with possessing a minimum of 4 grams and a maximum of 200 grams of meth. Later, the charge was reduced to a minimum of 1 gram and a maximum of 4 grams, which allows for a much lighter minimum sentence. How does the DA explain that?
And that second one, as we know, is a “Pants on Fire” lie. Kim Ogg has NEVER stated that she would ignore laws, she has stated that she will follow the law that the legislature put on the books in 2007 giving prosecutors and officers the discretion to ticket low level offenders.
So which candidate in this race is really the “tough on crime” candidate? I think the evidence is quite clear. Harris County voters need to clean up the courthouse and STOP the secret, backroom, politically brokered deals and put people in jail who deserve to be there while providing true justice for those who don’t.
I’ll be voting for Kim Ogg and I urge my fellow Republicans to do the same.