Friday, August 22, 2014

Where Kim Ogg Jumped the Shark

Back in September of 2013, when Kim Ogg announced her candidacy for Harris County District Attorney, I made the statement "I'm just happy that we have two candidates in the race who actually care about Criminal Justice."  I'd known Kim for years and thought highly of her and her no-nonsense approach to her job.  She was certainly a better candidate than the moronic Lloyd Oliver (whom she easily defeated in the Democratic primary) and she certainly wasn't as mean-spirited and incompetent as Pat Lykos.

Although I still planned on supporting Devon Anderson for District Attorney, I didn't think there would be too much negative to say about Kim.  I was actually looking forward to the debating of the issues the affected Harris County Criminal Justice.

There was a warning sign (at the time of Kim's announcement) that foreshadowed a dirty campaign, unfortunately.  Photos published by Dave "Big Jolly" Jennings on his website here  showed Ogg shaking hands with self-proclaimed "energy trader" (and husband of Rachel Palmer), Don Hooper -- as Palmer's attorney Clay Rawlings and former-Lykos 1st Assistant Jim Leitner smile in the background.  Why exactly would a former Republican candidate for D.A. and a self-proclaimed "Republican Activist" be at a Democrat's campaign announcement?

Despite Kim's affiliation with Hooper and Leitner, I remained optimistic that a good, clean campaign would be run.  Sadly, Kim's press conference yesterday illustrated again that politics bring out the worst in otherwise good people.

Yesterday, the Democratic candidate for D.A. decided to make intellectually dishonest attacks on the Harris County District Attorney's Office over the Office's handling of the investigation into former-HPD Homicide Sergeant Ryan Chandler.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'll tell you right now that Ryan Chandler is a good friend of mine.  His wife, Inger (formerly Hampton) Chandler is someone that I consider to be one of my best friends.  Ryan visited me in the hospital when I was recuperating from chemo, this time last year.  I was invited to their wedding and I gladly attended.  I know what has been written about Ryan ad nauseum.  He is still my friend and he is a good friend.

So, if you want to take the following with a grain of salt, feel free.

When the news of the investigation into Ryan began, District Attorney Devon Anderson recused the Office from the investigation due to the fact that Inger was an Assistant District Attorney there.  It was a no-brainer of a decision and the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office was brought in to handle the investigation.  No criminal charges were filed.

This was standard operating procedure and one that has been frequently done in other instances involving potential conflicts of interest with a prosecuting agency.  The rules were followed and the Harris County District Attorney's Office never became involved with the handling of the case.  The results were entirely out of that Office's hands.

And Kim Ogg knows that.  Yet, she decided to attempt to make a disingenuous argument in order to jump on the wave of attention that the HPD scandal is currently attracting.

As most of you probably are aware, Houston Chronicle reporter James Pinkerton (who is apparently the head of the paper's Ryan Chandler Bureau) has been writing a series of articles about the HPD Homicide Scandal.  In addition to covering the different cases involved and the people affected, Pinkerton has also covered everything from Ryan's grades in guitar class in Junior College to his high school classmates' belief that he would become a radio DJ.  The Warren Commission didn't get this much detail when they looked into Oswald.

Kim knew that all she would have to do was mention Ryan Chandler's name in a press release and Pinkerton would come running with a pen and paper in hand.  She knew that she could make the silly argument that the D.A.'s Office somehow did wrong by recusing itself and he would write the article as if it were gospel.   Kim didn't disappoint him.
"The DA has cut another backroom deal, to the benefit of a political supporter [Chandler], the romantic partner and current husband of the DA's lawyer in charge of her conviction integrity unit."
"Romantic partner and current husband"?  Ooh.  Sounds salacious.  "Backroom deal"?  Sounds dirty.

Devon Anderson removed her Office from all involvement in the case to specifically avoid any questions about the propriety of how it was being handled.  She asked a neighboring county's District Attorney to investigate.

But, wait, Kim Ogg doesn't think that Montgomery County D.A. Brett Ligon should have been the investigating Chandler, either.  Why?  Because Brett Ligon formerly worked for the HPD Police Union.  His ties to representing police officers in employment matters somehow made him an unfair investigator?

That's kind of a funny accusation coming from Kim Ogg, who also has a lengthy history of representing police officers in "employment matters" and brags of it ON HER OWN WEBSITE.  Calling Brett Ligon's integrity into question was baseless and silly.

All of this press conference from Kim Ogg is baseless and silly, too.  Kim has been practicing law since I was in junior high school.  She knows that the recusal of the Office was handled appropriately, yet she deliberately misled the Press for political advantage.

And that's a move straight out of the Pat Lykos playbook.

Kim, you're better than that.  At least, I thought you were.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Murray as you know Brady evidence includes statements of witnesses that conflicts with the prosecution's witnesses and evidence that could allow the defense to impeach the credibility of a prosecution witness.

If you were the appointed DA Devon Anderson and one of your ADAs withheld Brady evidence in such a flagrant manner that said ADA was sanctioned for the egregious behavior would you terminate the ADA or sign an affidavit suggesting it was a no big deal innocent oversight and keep her employed by the HCDAO?

A Harris County Lawyer said...

I don't understand your point. What are you referencing?

Anonymous said...

Anderson should have asked that the case be referred to the State Attorney General's Office. They have a special division for the purpose of doing just that type of investigation. She also should have asked that the recusal be made public to that it does not appear to be hiding the facts of the recusal - a mistake by a rookie DA. Hopefully she will do better in the future.

Anonymous said...

My favorite Are Ogg's press releases where she announces a new program whereby minor offenders won't be arrested, saving time and money.

Except, the program is just the cite and summons law enacted by the legislature years ago and which she has no authority to force HPD or HCSO to actually use.

I was hoping for better too, but it looks like we won't get it.

Anonymous said...

I have known Kim Ogg for years and always considered and respected her as a very competent prosecutor. Obviously she went off in a different direction after leaving the HCDAO and unfortunately immersed herself in the politics of Houston. I have also known Brett Ligon for years as well and also considered him to be both a very competent prosecutor as well as defense attorney. More importantly I believe his integrity, his honesty to be beyond reproach. At first blush therefore it was troubling to me that Kim Ogg would level such apparently disingenuous attacks against Devon Anderson and Brett Ligon, but then after recognizing that such attacks ostensibly could have found their origins in the same cesspool giving genesis to charges in the Perry case I can understand a probable explanation as to why Kim might have felt compelled to go in this direction. I hope that this episode, however, in an aberration and that the voting public will be provided with relevant, and non-politically massaged, information necessary to make an informed judgement on the office in question from both parties. I believe that Kim does herself and the office she seeks a disservice by leveling charges she should know are without merit except to the Comical.
Calvin A. Hartmann

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:25, the AG's office?

Hahahaha

Their prosecutors were a joke when they came in to prosecute the cases that little Jimmy and Bilgewater had before they came to the office.

At least Phil Grant can evaluate and try a case.

Anonymous said...

The State AG's office? Ummm, former HCDA chiefs work there too....

Charlie said...

Kim was at victor trevino's fund raising event last month. She was shaking hands and asking him for money for her campaign. He is under 4 felony indictments and what is that to be considered.....

Anonymous said...

Brett Ligon also represented non-police officers accused of crimes. By Kim Ogg's logic, he would be unable to prosecute any case because he previously represented people accused of a crime. It's sad to see a once honorable person figuratively laying in bed with the dogs (RP, Hooper, BJ, Dolcefino). We all know what she'll covered with shortly.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, when I heard that Anderson had asked Ligon to do the investigation, and not another nearby DA's office, I thought Chandler caught a huge break. I had some dealings with Ligon when I was a HC prosecutor. Very nice guy. I just thought he would never indict Chandler on anything. Whether you think it's relevant or not, I think he has huge ties to the police community and is less likely to indict a cop. Also, if I knew Ligon, I know Inger had to have. I have no idea if Chandler should have been indicted or not. I just think Anderson could have avoided the appearance of possible impropriety if she had gotten someone else (of which she had numerous choices) to do the investigation.

Anonymous said...

Let me clarify - never indict a cop on a relatively close case.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Hmm. Isn't there a law against threatening judges? Especially online? You never know what kind of "energy trader" "Republican activist" you might run across on the web these days.

Anonymous said...

And I have to say, it looks a little strange (you might even say disingenuous), for Devon Anderson to call Chandler a bad cop to the media and then post on FB that she's praying for him and his wife. Makes a person wonder whether she truly wanted the truth to come out or wanted to protect her friends and colleagues. Let's be honest - Ogg is not the only person trying to score political points on this thing. And I don't have a dog in the fight. I'm just pointing out that neither side is being completely honest.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

I don't disagree with you, Anon 4:53 p.m.

Like I said, politics brings out the worst in people.

Anonymous said...

I would bet Jimmy Leitner's chopped cojones (if anyone could find them) that the reference made by anon 4:46 is to Devon Anderson's running buddy, Kari Allen.
This precedent makes Brady a non-issue for ADAs if they conveniently say, "whoops, who knew?"

The Harris County Lawyer cannot fathom his good friend Devon Anderson politicking something as serious as Brady; but then again, he is a loyal friend and has too much integrity to be a politician himself.

David Singer said...

Your right Murray your connection to Ryan Chandler makes your opinion about this case irrelevant. We are talking about 20 homicide cases of minority victims that went uninvestigated and involved reports that were falsified. Since when should a DA who recuses herself have a role in choosing her replacement? And why was it done in secret? And why was there no presentation of any evidence to a Grand Jury but just a DA saying there was no criminal conduct? The HPD Chief says Chandler is a liar. But I guess when your a cop and lie in police reports it's ok as long as you have a relationship with those who are prosecuting you.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

No, David, my opinion is not irrelevant -- it just contradicts your views. I'm disappointed to see you buying in to Kim's rhetoric. To be clear, are you questioning Devon's integrity or Brett Ligon's? Or are you just reciting your Party's mantra?

As to Chief McClelland referring to Ryan as a "liar," let's examine the fact that HPD is suffering from HUGE manpower shortages and is having trouble across the board - from homicide all the way down to patrol. Isn't it to the chief's advantage to say it is all due to one "rogue officer" rather than acknowledge more widespread problems?

David Singer said...

Murray I'm not impugning anyone's integrity except maybe Chandler's. Is it really just a coincidence that the 20 uninvestigated homicides involved minority victims? Are you saying that those 20 cases are only a reflection of wider problems at HPD? If so, where are the other detectives with other uninvestigated cases? I'm not sure what other problems at HPD have to do with Chandler's clear misconduct. I'm am suggesting that this (DA investigation) should have been out in the open. Number two, Devon should not have had any role in selecting her replacement. If you look at the statute on this it's pretty clear that she should not have been involved in selecting Ligon. And number 3, there should have been a grand jury impaneled to hear the evidence, not just Brett's advisory opinion of no wrongdoing. You can accuse me of just spouting the party line, but this is what I really feel should have happened. I think I can easily say the fact that it didn't go down the way I say is a reflection of the political motivations of the people involved. I think at the very least Devon was trying to avoid a potentially embarrassing situation in her campaign. I'm not saying it went any further than that as far as her motives go, but keeping it a secret should bother everyone including you. And the failure to conduct a real grand jury investigation should be troubling as well. I think you can say those sitting elected officials have at least as much political motivation as I do.

Anonymous said...

Gig 'em Aggies…….

Anonymous said...

I'm sad Kim Ogg allegedly partnered with Leitner and gang. It certainly appears so anyway. She could have been a credible candidate on the democratic ticket.

Anonymous said...

Big dumb Jolly is repeating his attacks on Anderson today, claiming Ogg's pot program will allow the police to skip writing a report, skip properly identifying suspects, skip all the requisite steps they are still going to follow per their department policies, to go back to service after writing suspects a ticket. While this kind of clueless cheer leading may work on a handful of people, the reality is, both programs will provide no significant time savings on the part of the arresting officers and both still require suspects to confess to obtain the benefits of either program. What a bunch of chumps he must think voters are to swallow that BS.