Judging from the email and death stares I’ve gotten from my first post about Harris County District Attorney Mike Anderson’s initial attempt at training his staff, I’m not too popular in some Republican circles. Such is the life of blogging. And although I freely admit that I’m biased, my bias isn’t the reason that I’m putting this information out there. Not every Republican thinks that the criminal justice system needs to be a lock ’em up and throw away the key system, one in which prosecutors hide evidence from the defense or take shortcuts or abuse power to get convictions. Many of us think that there are times when you do lock ’em up and throw away the key but we also insist on transparency from those that try to lock ’em up and throw away the key.
I’ve actually taken the time to watch and listen to the entire training, several times in fact, pondered it over and over, and still come to the conclusion that the “training” was little more than reinforcement of Anderson’s us against them mentality. In this case, us is the valiant warriors of the district attorney’s office. Them is everyone and anyone that isn’t a part of that group: criminals, to be sure, but also taxpayers, voters, and bizarrely, the Texas Legislature. I think that if we allow that mentality to stand without challenge, we risk a return to the wild west days of hang ’em high “justice”, filling our jails and prisons with innocent people.
In that first post, I urged (begged) people to watch the training and form their own opinion. Based upon some of the quick response and outrageous claims (I love crime and want to coddle criminals?), it is apparent that most people didn’t do that. Hey, I get it – many of you are busy and maybe reluctant to invest a full two hours of your life in to this. So I’ll make it easier for you to get a flavor. Here are short excerpts from the training but lest I be accused of taking things out of context, remember, the entire, uncut video is posted here and you can watch it for yourself. Not all of the cuts below are necessarily “bad” – if some of them bother you, you need to watch the video for yourself.
Here’s Mike Anderson alleging that the Innocence Project thinks prosecutors are pond scum:
Anderson introducing Johnny Holmes:
Holmes talking about the difference between prosecutors and defense attorneys:
Holmes insulting former DA’s Chuck Rosenthal and Pat Lykos:
The trainer, Rob Kepple of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association attacks Tea Party legislators:
Kepple wishing reform would go away:
Kepple claiming that business and conservatives are in cahoots with the ACLU:
Kepple lamenting about how much cheaper it is to put people on probation:
Kepple mocking the idea that cost should be a factor in the reform debate:
Kepple continues his theme that reform is only about cost:
Kepple says that all DNA has been tested, so now prosecutors will be targeted:
Kepple on the Innocence Project:
Kepple on Michael Morton (if you aren’t aware of this case, click here.)
Kepple mocks the Dean of the Senate, John Whitmire:
First of three mentions by Kepple of Pedro Oregon (click here to read about Oregon, shot and killed by officers for no reason):
Second of three mentions by Kepple of Pedro Oregon.
Third of three mentions by Kepple of Pedro Oregon:
To those that say my filing the TXPIA and putting this information out there is nothing more than sour grapes because DA Lykos lost the primary, I will remind you that I supported Mike Anderson’s campaign after that. He was the best choice in the general election and I encouraged people to vote for him. This isn’t sour grapes, this is shining a light on the affairs of the office in order to keep the office from destructive behavior. Innocent people should not be in prison just because a prosecutor’s ego demands it. I hope that Anderson eventually realizes that the Innocence Project is not his enemy – I don’t think that Mike Anderson wants innocent people in prison any more than they do. I think that the tone of Anderson’s first training session was the wrong tone, sets up the office for failure, and hope that, in the future, he brings in trainers that do not have the same type of persecution complex that Rob Kepple displayed.