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Posts Tagged ‘District Attorney’

Video fraudsters offered probation

First the one, on Wednesday. A California woman charged last week for her role in the production of undercover videos at a Houston Planned Parenthood clinic will be offered probation, a Harris County prosecutor said in court. Sandra Susan Merritt, of San Jose, Calif., appeared in court Wednesday morning on charges of tampering with a […]

How the tables got turned on the video fraudsters

A must read. Planned Parenthood’s legal strategy was in some ways similar to how corporations facing major white-collar criminal investigations often cooperate closely with prosecutors to try to influence the outcome. From the start, Planned Parenthood and its Houston lawyer Josh Schaffer settled on a strategy of cooperating with investigators, said Rochelle Tafolla, a spokeswoman […]

Every investigation on Planned Parenthood has cleared them

From Think Progress: After a months-long investigation, a Texas grand jury decided not to indict Planned Parenthood on Monday — providing more confirmation that there’s no solid evidence to support the accusations against the national women’s health organization. This trend goes far beyond Texas. Across the country, GOP-led investigations into Planned Parenthood’s activities haven’t turned […]

Grand jury indicts Planned Parenthood video fraudsters

Sweet. A Harris County grand jury investigating allegations that a Planned Parenthood clinic in Houston illegally sold the tissue of aborted fetuses has cleared the organization of wrongdoing and instead indicted two anti-abortion activists behind the undercover videos that sparked the probe. Secret videographers David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were both indicted on charges of […]

County finally takes jail overcrowding seriously

We’ll see what this actually becomes. Chasing $4 million in grant money, Harris County officials on Thursday announced reforms in the criminal justice system to unclog dockets, lower jail population and address racial and ethnic disparities. And because the changes are so important, they said, they will do it even if they don’t get the […]

Interview with Kim Ogg

As I said before, there are two strong candidates who merit consideration for your vote for the Democratic nomination for District Attorney. Kim Ogg was our nominee for DA in 2014, having vanquished the annoying perennial candidate that is cluttering the ballot this year as well in that primary, and though she fell short she […]

Interview with Morris Overstreet

And just like that, we’re on to the 2016 primary elections. I know it feels like we’ve just barely finished with 2015 – the filing deadline for the 2016 primaries was two days after the 2015 runoff. Believe me, I know it feels like there was no break between the two. But that’s not for […]

2016 Election page is up

Here it is. A few notes: – This is for races that will appear on the Harris County ballot only. Our ballot is big enough, with enough contested primary races, that I didn’t have the time or the energy to do anything more ambitious. It’s great that there is such interest in running for office […]

John Bradley does John Bradley things

From Grits for Breakfast: Former Williamson County District Attorney and Texas Forensic Science Commission Chairman John Bradley – who left Texas to become Attorney General of the island nation of Palau after facing national disapprobation, losing reelection, and struggling to find work in Texas as a prosecutor – has been suspended “for ten working days […]

Republican filing deadline highlights

As a followup to this, here’s a look at who filed for what in the Republican primary here in Harris County. Set your phasers to “snark” and come on in with me. Congress There are nine Congressional districts partially or wholly within Harris County. Republicans have incumbents in six of them, and they are running […]

Would you like to sit in armed or unarmed?

From Houstonia: Imagine it’s a Saturday afternoon. You stop into Whataburger to pick up lunch with your kids in tow, the only thing on your mind remembering which kid doesn’t want ketchup on his burger, which kid only wants ketchup on his burger, and whether you want to add jalapenõs to your own. You place […]

Anderson updates pot prosecution policy

Good. Small amounts of marijuana now mean a citation, not a ride to jail, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said Thursday. The county’s top prosecutor outlined changes to a pilot plan for low-level offenders she implemented last year, one that she called a “huge cultural change for Harris County.” Instead of arresting first offenders […]

Morris Overstreet to run for DA

I know we’re all still recovering from Tuesday, but the 2016 filing season is almost upon us, and the Democratic race for Harris County DA just became a contested race. Former appeals court judge Morris Overstreet announced Thursday that he would seek the Democratic nomination for Harris County District Attorney. Overstreet, a former judge on […]

Another view of the Temple case

The Press devotes a cover story to the David Temple case and the allegations that then-Assistant DA Kelly Siegler withheld evidence from the defense. In July 2015, visiting Judge Larry Gist issued his damning decree: 36 findings of prosecutorial misconduct in which Siegler either suppressed evidence or disclosed it too late, depriving Temple of a […]

Perry appeal briefs

The latest update on the appeals before the CCA in the Rick Perry matter. The 3rd Court of Appeals this summer tossed one of two counts against Perry, saying the coercion law underlying it violates the First Amendment. The 3rd Court agreed with Judge Bert Richardson, however, that Perry must face the charge of abuse […]

What is coercion, anyway?

It could be the defining legacy of Rick Perry’s career, depending on how things go in the courts. The coercion law has been used only sparingly in Texas, according to records for the past five years, and some legal experts call it problematic. Others, however, say its absence will be felt if the Texas Court […]

Ogg announces for DA

Rematch time. Kim Ogg, the Democrat who unsuccessfully ran for district attorney last year, launched her second bid for the office Friday, promising to pursue violent criminals, de-emphasize misdemeanor marijuana possession cases and aggressively combat prosecutorial misconduct. Ogg took a series of jabs at how the incumbent Republican, Devon Anderson, has chosen to prioritize some […]

DA’s office responds to Temple case allegations

Their view differs, to say the least. Three months after a judge ruled that a Katy man convicted of murdering his wife did not get a fair trial and excoriated the prosecutor who handled the case, saying she withheld evidence, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office filed objections to the decision, tackling it point-by-point, and […]

Perry appeals his other indictment

More for the CCA to deal with. Lawyers for former Gov. Rick Perry are urging the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to finish off the remaining charge in his indictment, ratcheting up their push to end the case against the presidential candidate. The request comes a few weeks after a state appeals court dismissed one […]

Harris County DA to investigate Planned Parenthood clinic here

I haven’t spent any time writing about the misleading attack videos on Planned Parenthood being put out by yet another shadowy anti-abortion group, so let me dispense with this. Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said Wednesday her office has begun a criminal investigation into the Houston branch of Planned Parenthood after the release earlier […]

Paxton girding for indictment

So are we, Kenny. So are we. A Collin County grand jury is expected to weigh evidence brought by two temporary district attorneys assigned to the case. Paxton’s advisers are furiously preparing for a criminal indictment. The looming showdown has the camps bickering. Anthony Holm, a spokesman for Paxton, contends the AG should not face […]

Three panels investigating Sandra Bland’s death

One was appointed by the Sheriff: In the wake of the controversial arrest of Sandra Bland and her jailhouse suicide, Waller County Sheriff R. Glenn Smith has asked for an independent panel of civilians to evaluate all aspects of the way he runs his department, from the cell blocks to the streets, and make public […]

Perry wins one and loses one at the appeals court

He’s still under indictment. Former Gov. Rick Perry must face one criminal count in the abuse-of-power case against him but another would be dismissed under a Friday ruling by an appeals court. The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin gives Perry a partial victory but, at least for […]

More allegations against Kelly Siegler

Here they come. Howard Guidry was 18 years old when he was charged being the triggerman in a 1994 murder-for-hire case that involved a Missouri City police officer and his estranged wife. Twice he was convicted and sent to death row, and both times the prosecutor who sent him there was Kelly Siegler, the legendary […]

The David Temple case

I have not followed this very closely, but it definitely deserves all the attention it has received. There’s a 1,300-page offense report detailing the investigation into the fatal shooting of Belinda Temple in 1999. There are audio tapes of witnesses who saw the pregnant teacher at Katy High School on the day she was killed […]

Sheriff asks for more funds for body cameras

Good move. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office recently applied for a grant from the Department of Justice to purchase 750 wearable body cameras, a new technology aimed at improving government transparency and accountability after a year of high-profile police-involved shootings around the country. A 30-day trial run with body cameras by a few dozen deputies […]

Abbott signs bill to remove Public Integrity Unit from Travis County DA office

As expected. Ignoring calls for a veto, Gov. Greg Abbott signed controversial legislation this week that will allow elected and appointed state officials and state employees to bypass Austin prosecutors when they are accused of public corruption. Abbott, a Republican, signed the bill Thursday without making a statement or staging a public signing ceremony. His […]

DPS, investigate thyself

What could possibly go wrong? Set to take over statewide corruption investigations, the Texas Department of Public Safety must decide whether it will investigate itself. In April, DPS Director Steve McCraw demanded that the Travis County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit re-start a probe into a no-bid border-security contract issued by his agency. The director […]

Stickland not out of the woods

Despite what he says. A state investigation into allegations that state Rep. Jonathan Stickland improperly registered witnesses to testify on a bill banning red light cameras has cleared Stickland of wrongdoing, his office announced Monday. But two officials involved in the investigation disagreed with the Bedford Republican’s declaration Monday evening. “I can confirm that we […]

Rangers to investigate Stickland

It’s starting to get real. The Texas Rangers will investigate allegations that witnesses were improperly registered to testify last week on a bill banning red light cameras at a House Transportation Committee hearing. The House General Investigating and Ethics Committee voted Thursday evening to refer the investigation to the Rangers, a division of the Texas […]

As Jonathan Stickland turns

Cue dramatic organ music. The chairman of the House Committee on General Investigating and Ethics said Friday he plans to investigate allegations that witnesses were signed up improperly to speak at a transportation committee meeting from which state Rep. Jonathan Stickland was escorted out. “There will be an investigation into allegations of broken rules,” said […]

Prosecutors respond to latest Team Perry filings

Back and forth, forth and back. The special prosecutor in the case against Rick Perry is asking a judge to deny the former governor’s latest two efforts to quash the indictment against him. Perry, meanwhile, is once again showcasing a high-profile group of legal scholars who think the case against him should be dismissed. The […]

House approves bill to move Public Integrity Unit

Like it or not, looks like this is going to get done. The Texas House gave initial approval Monday to a stripped-down bill that would remove public corruption cases from Travis County’s Public Integrity Unit. Final House approval is expected Tuesday. House Bill 1690, initially approved 94-51, was amended on the House floor to apply […]

Collin County grand jury interested in Paxton case

Very interesting. A Collin County grand jury has asked the Travis County District Attorney’s office for its investigative file on Ken Paxton, indicating the panel wants to look into the attorney general’s admitted violations of state securities law. “Collin County appears to be the venue where this evidence needs to be heard,” says the letter […]