Harris County Criminal Justice Center regulars were shocked over the past several days as the District Attorney's Office conducted a mass firing of prosecutors and other personnel. The Office firing so many employees at one time hasn't been seen since . . . well, since the incoming Lykos Administration decided to fire me and several other prosecutors, investigators and secretaries at the end of 2008.
As I can attest, getting fired isn't much fun. In addition to being embarrassing, it also fills your life with a level of uncertainty that you weren't expecting to address at this stage of the game. (I'm not going to post the name of anyone who got fired here, nor will I publish the names in the comments.)
Some of those who lost their jobs were already at the Office when I started back in 1999. Others started while I was still there and some started after I was gone. I think I knew almost all of them.
And for the life of me, I'm not real sure why they were fired. Especially not all at once. I agree with Mark Bennett that there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it.
I realize that there may be some things I'm not privy to. I've been gone for over six years now, after all. The prosecutors I knew that lost their jobs didn't seem to deserve it from what I saw during my time as a prosecutor or as a defense attorney. I believe one of them was arguably the best trial lawyer they had -- and an even better Chief.
It makes me sad.
So, here are a few words of advice from someone who has been there:
1. The idea of life after HCDA is scary, but it isn't as hard as you think.
2. Remember that everything happens for a reason.
3. If you want to be a defense attorney, ask for help from those of us in the Defense Bar. The Defense Bar in Harris County is not only amazing inside the courtroom -- they are even more amazing outside. You will be overwhelmed at the kindness and generosity of time they will provide -- even that Mark Bennett guy that everybody gets so pissed off at.
4. Get an accountant if you are going to hang out a shingle.
5. Call me if you need anything.
6. This, too, shall pass.
Hang in there, guys. It isn't nearly as bad as you think.