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Posts Tagged ‘District Attorney’

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 […]

Perry appeals to appeals court again

It had been a few weeks since his lawyers filed any paperwork, so I guess they were getting twitchy. As the race for president shapes up, former Gov. Rick Perry is imploring a state appeals court to take quick action in the criminal case against him. In his latest court filing, Perry said a decision […]

Bill to kneecap Public Integrity Unit gets unstuck

And away it goes. Senate Bill 10, filed by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, passed on second reading along party lines. The integrity unit is currently a state-funded division of the Travis County DA’s office that investigates public corruption, insurance fraud and tax fraud. Some Republicans have said the unit has had partisan motives for its […]

TPJ refiles complaint against Paxton

We’ll see if they have any better luck this time. Texans for Public Justice on Monday re-filed its criminal complaint against Attorney General Ken Paxton with local prosecutors in Dallas and Collin Counties, arguing the latter should recuse himself because of conflict of interest concerns. “Mr. Paxton’s conduct demands a thorough and independent investigation,” Craig […]

TPJ still wants Paxton investigated

At the very least, they don’t want the matter dropped due to blithe indifference. The head of a public watchdog group said he again will urge law enforcement to launch a probe into Attorney General Ken Paxton’s admitted violation of state security laws after learning that the Collin County District Attorney’s Office, headed by a […]

Bill to kneecap Public Integrity Unit stuck in the Senate

For now, at least. A Republican bill to transfer the Public Integrity Unit out of Travis County has snagged in the Senate, where the legislation does not have enough support to force a floor vote — at least for now. The author of Senate Bill 10, Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, acknowledged Monday that she is […]

Bill to neuter Public Integrity Unit advances

Still a bad idea. A measure that would take the state’s public corruption-fighting unit out of the hands of the Travis County district attorney’s office and place it in the Texas attorney general’s office was approved Monday by the Senate State Affairs Committee. The 7-2 vote in favor of Senate Bill 10, authored by state […]

Republicans try again to kill Public Integrity Unit

They might have the votes this time, though as with some other highly publicized “replacement” efforts, their substitute idea lacks a few key elements to make it successful. Under Senate Bill 10 by Sen. Joan Huffman, the attorney general’s office would conduct the initial investigation of complaints against officials, with help from the Texas Rangers. […]

Perry goes to appeals court with latest motion to dismiss

Leave no stone unturned, and no hour unbilled. Rick Perry’s lawyers have asked a state appeals court to dismiss the indictment against the former governor, saying he lawfully used his power to veto funds to the Travis County district attorney’s office and his right to do so is protected by free speech. “On its face, […]

All backlogged rape kits have been tested

Great news. Houston officials have completed the lab testing and review of a three-decade backlog of rape kits, yielding 850 matches in the national DNA database. On Monday, Mayor Annise Parker, District Attorney Devon Anderson and police department and crime lab officials trumpeted the newly complete testing of the 6,600 kits as a major milestone. […]

Perry’s lawyers try, try again

The circle of life keeps on keeping on. Lawyers for Rick Perry asked the court on Monday to again end the prosecution of the former governor, saying the indictment is faulty and the actions he took in issuing a veto are allowed by law. […] On Monday, Perry’s team attacked amendments that McCrum had added […]

McCrum refiles charges against Perry

Here we go again. Former Gov. Rick Perry tried to force out a local district attorney because he wanted to stymie the work of a unit she oversees that investigates public corruption involving state officials, a special prosecutor alleged Friday. The contention is at odds with Perry’s long-held assertion that he vetoed the funding for […]