Friday, March 17, 2017

Kim Ogg's Flaming Dumpster Fire of a Month

We're barely past the Ides of March, and Kim Ogg is already having a month that would make Julius Caesar feel sorry for her.

First off, she began the month by getting blasted in the Houston Press for participating in her March 2nd fundraiser, hosted by David Temple attorney Dick Deguerin.

The very next day, her 1st Assistant, Tom Berg, inexplicably made comments to the media regarding the already-expunged case of prominent attorney Tony Buzbee.  This would seemingly be in violation of Art. 55.04 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which states:
Art. 55.04. VIOLATION OF EXPUNCTION ORDER.Sec. 1. A person who acquires knowledge of an arrest while an officer or employee of the state or of any agency or other entity of the state or any political subdivision of the state and who knows of an order expunging the records and files relating to that arrest commits an offense if he knowingly releases, disseminates, or otherwise uses the records or files.Sec. 2. A person who knowingly fails to return or to obliterate identifying portions of a record or file ordered expunged under this chapter commits an offense.Sec. 3. An offense under this article is a Class B misdemeanor.
The D.A.'s Office seemingly brushed off this apparent law violation by claiming that the Expunction was not valid, and this is where Ogg's personal dumpster fire really started burning.
For those of you who don't handle criminal cases in Harris County, when a person wants a case expunged off their record, the first step they take is determining whether or not the D.A.'s Office will oppose it.  If the expunction is agreed upon, the process is reasonably smooth.  Generally, the Office has been pretty user friendly on expunction cases.  If the person is entitled to the expunction under the law, they agree.  The person who usually makes that agreement is the Office's General Counsel, Scott Durfee.

On March 8th, multiple rumors started flying from multiple sources that there had been large kerfuffle between the Ogg Administration and Scott Durfee overnight.  As per normal procedure, Durfee was the Office's representative who had agreed to Buzbee's expunction, following Buzbee having successfully completed pre-trial diversion under Devon Anderson's Administration.  

Apparently, Ogg was not amused with whatever agreement Buzbee had received and sought to undo it, despite the fact that the Office had already agreed to the expunction.  She allegedly had a Motion for New Trial filed regarding the Expunction, which is legally permissible.  However, the reports were that Ogg wanted Durfee to claim he had acted without authorization in agreeing on Buzbee.   Durfee, understandably, was reported to have refused.

What happened next is not clear.  There were rumors of an affidavit that Ogg wanted Durfee to sign and then varying reports over whether or not he had, in fact, signed it.  There were also reports that Durfee had resigned, or that he had been fired.  The fine details of what actually happened aren't clear, and as of this writing, it isn't even clear whether or not Durfee still works for the Office.

On to the next scandal . . .
Late last week, multiple reports also surfaced that three, young, female prosecutors had filed a sexual harassment complaint against one of the new, high ranking members of Ogg's Administration.  Apparently, an intermediary supervisor did the right thing and filed a memo documenting the allegations.  How Ogg will respond to the allegations remains to be seen.  I have heard rumors that the three females were called to the 6th floor and explained how they must have understood some things "out of context," however, that has not been confirmed.  
And finally, there is apparently a massive dissension in the ranks over an upcoming murder case that Ogg wants filed, against the advice of her upper echelon.  I'm still waiting to see how this one unfolds, but my understanding is that Ogg wants charges filed for publicity's sake, while several of her high ranking prosecutors don't believe the case can be proven and that there is a strong possibility that the soon-to-be accused is actually innocent.  
We shall see.
All of this, coupled with the fact that the D.A.'s Office has suddenly "run out of money" to pay for coveted intake shifts, adds up to a huge disaster.  Courthouse folks who have seen or spoken with D.A. Ogg lately describe her as stressed and overwhelmed.
With all this going on, the description is not surprising.
Keep your chin up, Kim.  Only two more weeks until April.

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

And I hear that her bracket is in ruins.

Anonymous said...

Burn this motherfucker down!

Anonymous said...

Kim said her first priority was to "secure the evidence." Any word on how that's going?

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm sure Kim will do a thorough investigation of the sexual harassment claims...Right after she is done "reviewing" Temple. Ogg has created such a hostile and terrifying workplace that I'm honestly shocked people had the courage to come forward. The fact that the administration tried to hush them up unfortunately does not surprise me. Hopefully those 3 women know that there are plenty of employment lawyers out here willing to help you.

Anonymous said...

"Run out of money"???? The Harris County fiscal year began on March 1st.

Anonymous said...

Lock her up!

Anonymous said...

The sexual harassment claims deserve more than one paragraph, Murray. But I'll let the County Attorney weigh in on that.

Murray Newman said...

Anon 10:25 p.m.,

Of course they deserve more than one paragraph, but I'm also limited by what I know for sure and what I'm comfortable enough to put in writing. Please don't think that I didn't write more about them because I didn't think they were important. I have a feeling that there is going to be much more to write about in the future.

Anonymous said...

Is the "high ranking member" male or female?

Anonymous said...

Male - in charge of misdemeanor division.

Attorney said...

"Ogg has created such a hostile and terrifying workplace that I'm honestly shocked people had the courage to come forward."

These are young prosecutors at the very beginning of their careers. Whatever happened must have been pretty bad for them to report this.

I've been there a few years. Relative to others, I have a little job security. But before I would make a complaint to one Ogglodyte about the behavior of another Ogglodyte, it would have to be bad enough that I would be fine getting fired for making a complaint. Last December I saw the quality of person Kim was willing to fire to make room for her preferred minions. Relative to some of those people, I'm a nobody.

I hope things work out well for these young ladies.

Anonymous said...

You are NOT nobody. Don't ever let them make you think otherwise, no matter how many people they fire. Victims of serious crimes and the falsely accused are relying on you to be great. So be you, be great, do justice.

Attorney said...

We're talking about an office where Durfee -- the highest ranking non-Ogglodyte -- gets run out of town for following the terms of a lawful plea bargain (something that you'd think the defense lawyers in the upper echelon of the office would think was important), but VK gets to keep a private practice on the side, Musick gets to post her thoughts on pending cases on her public Facebook page, the First Assistant gets to flippantly commit a jailable offense in a public manner, and a-senior-Ogglodyte-who-shall-remain-unnamed-for-now gets the administration to cover for his serial mistreatment of female subordinates.

There are Ogglodytes, and there are nobodies. In that world, I'm a nobody, and I'm fine with that.

Anonymous said...

The next story will be how much of the HCDAO budget is dedicated to security for Ogg and her family. DAO investigators not only drive Kimbra to and from work, but also her son to and from high school. No money for Intake though.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why his name isn't being posted. The harasser's name is no secret and anyone reading the comments can put it together. Don't act like Kim Jong Ogg wouldn't have held at least 3 press conferences on this issue already, naming everyone involved, if it would have helped her political career in any way. Also pretty offensive is the first assistant's response to all this. Maybe just once Ogg and the administration can make the right decision.

Anonymous said...

What was the first assistant's response?

Anonymous said...

Does any of this surprise anyone? If, so, why? Ogg was always corrupt. It's just going to get worse.

Murray Newman said...

I haven't published the person's name because I don't know enough about the specific allegations. It is one thing for the word to be out within the CJC and another to put it on the internet where it will remain forever. I'm not comfortable sharing the name at this point, but that could change. Contrary to an earlier comment, I have no idea about the names of the victims. I wouldn't publish them if I did know the names, unless they specifically wanted me to.

The allegations of sexual harassment are serious and I've heard from multiple sources that upper admin is trying to drastically water down the complaints. That's going to bite them in the ass in a big way, if true.

Remember, it's always the cover up that gets you . . .

Just Sayin' said...

So let me understand this, Murray:
DA Kim Ogg wants to prosecute a factually innocent man for murder while dismissing Temple, who was found to be factually guilty of murdering his wife and unborn baby girl.........all to boost her political standing?

It is one thing to attack your political rivals, real and/or imaginary; but quite another to sacrifice justice in that pursuit.

Who exactly is Kim Ogg's political advisor and what bizarre political agenda is she pursuing?

Just Sayin'

Anonymous said...

Attorney Quote:

[quote][1 - We're talking about an office where Durfee -- the highest ranking non-Ogglodyte -- gets run out of town for following the terms of a lawful plea bargain (something that you'd think the defense lawyers in the upper echelon of the office would think was important).
2 - VK gets to keep a private practice on the side.
3 - Musick gets to post her thoughts on pending cases on her public Facebook page.
4 - the First Assistant gets to flippantly commit a jailable offense in a public manner.
5 - a-senior-Ogglodyte-who-shall-remain-unnamed-for-now gets the administration to cover for his serial mistreatment of female subordinates.

March 18, 2017 at 2:22 PM] [/quote]End Quote

Question:
At what point can the Attorney General of Texas step in and remove Kim Ogg from office, for multiple crimes being committed, and the Governor appoint a new DA to serve out the term?

TopGun

Anonymous said...

Making the right decision would mean that she would have to admit she made the wrong decision in hiring the harasser. I wonder what exactly it will take to fire him. He's told prosecutors to lie and now he's made multiple harassing statements. If three ladies have come forward, I'm sure there are many more out there. What's going to be the final straw for this guy?

Anonymous said...

We had a perfectly good DA and we threw her away.

Anonymous said...

Under government code, Sec. 87.015, anyone can petition for the district attorney to be removed on grounds of gross ignorance of official duties; gross carelessness in the discharge of those duties; unfitness or inability to promptly and properly discharge official duties because of a serious physical or mental defect that did not exist at the time of the officer's election; or intentional, unlawful behavior relating to official duties by an officer entrusted with the administration of justice or the execution of the law.

I see a couple of easy grounds for removal so far.

Anonymous said...

In light of our ongoing National disaster, that's really not funny and that kind of rhetoric shouldn't be used so cavalierly in a blog whose readers are most probably lawyers and understand that words do matter. Say what you want about Kim, and I know that many of the criticisms posted about her here are justified but I'm frankly tired of this type of thing.


Anonymous said...
Lock her up!

March 17, 2017 at 9:48 PM

Murray Newman said...

I agree. Kim hasn't done anything illegal that I'm aware of.

My continued frustration with her is her failure to be a good leader and to do little chickenshit things like she has been doing, rather than rise to the occasion.

It is extremely disappointing.

Anonymous said...

At first blush it appears from a reading of this blog that Scott Durfee is no longer an employee of HCDAO. That would be unfortunate. Can this be verified by somebody? If he in fact is unemployed based upon what seems to be the result of a possible criminal offense by Ogg (official oppression) or an unlawful employment "termination", matters could get real interesting at the good old HCDAO, both from a financial exposure and/or a prosecution/removal. I would further initially concur with blogger 5:24 PM in his or her initial assessment of removal if the summary repeated from an earlier blog (3/18/17)by blogger 12:53 PM is accurate.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, I really have trouble believing all the comments on this post as well as other posts on this blog actually came from prosecutors!? Clearly Kim was right to try and have the expunction in question nullified, right? I became a prosecutor to get justice for victims, and when I became aware of this joke of a deal which allowed him such an easy walk I almost quit. It wasn't the first sleazy deal that I had seen, the first being a retired deputy sheriff who raped a five year old girl over and over and who received DEFERRED adjudication! All of you commenting here and running our current boss into the ground should be ashamed of yourselves. If I saw deals like that then you all likely seen a lot more sleazy deals go down because I'm a relatively new hire and wasn't privy to most of the details in other cases. Granted, Kim has absolutely made mistakes but I believe, at this point, anyway, that she's honest and sincerely trying to be as fair as she can without sacrificing the virtues of justice. BTW, I read through a lot of your other posts and the comments and it seems like to me that none of you have been supportive of any of the past DA's. Maybe you all weren't cut-out to serve the interests of justice from the point of victims and would be happier hanging out your own shingle. Rant over.

Jason Truitt said...

Well, 5:24, what are you waiting for?

Anonymous said...

7:57 pm: You almost quit after someone was granted a pretrial intervention on a misdemeanor DWI? Your entire world may get rocked when Ogg lets a murderer walk free due to her back room dealings. But hey- if sexual harassment victim shaming, coverups, side practices, and illegal publication of expunged records is what makes you proud to be a prosecutor, it sounds like you're in the right office.

Anonymous said...

@7:57 PM, in most cases, the plea deals were the ONLY way those cases would see a prosecution resulting in conviction. Say what you will about how something "looks" or how distasteful something "feels" based on poorly reported media accounts, just how incredibly weak reporters have been in covering criminal justice matters locally is difficult to describe, but if you are a new ADA, avail yourself of the case files if you can do so discretely.

In the DWI case, the officer left out many important details in his report, a phone conversation with him and his past testimony such that he'd be easy game on the stand. Then, in the molestation case, there were enough holes in it that even the best in the office right now would be challenged to secure a conviction based on legally admissible evidence, and I say that as a fan of some of the experienced staff that has remained.

There is a difference in making decisions based on practical realities versus true political payoffs, the fact is that those political cases will involve all the resources a well placed, high profile individual can muster. As such, any deficiency in such cases gets magnified so a choice must be made well above your pay grade and experience. Rant away as you see fit but nobody is claiming some of these decisions are the result of a perfect world, merely the best that can be done given the circumstances.

What many of us here bemoan is that Ms. Ogg showed at least a little promise when she ran for office but she is quickly proving what her detractors claimed all along, those that worked with her in the city gang task force, at Crime Stoppers, and even in the defense bar telling us over and over again how we'd be sorry. If you think she is above political paybacks, ask yourself how the Temple case review of hers is going.

Twilight Zoned said...

There once was a DA named Kim Ogg.
Who fell asleep in a really dense fog.

With visions of crime sparings,
Her soul tied to Deguerin's.

She woke up a deserted cur dog.



Anonymous said...

I sure hope she isn't trying to file murder charges against the boys who Deguerin say killed Belinda Temple. That is a move lower than the outright dismissal of the case against her husband!

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:57 do you still believe in Santa too?

Anonymous said...

Kim Ogg is on her way to being such a pariah that even promising cuts of that Soros money won't help her.

Anonymous said...

Three more resignations today. It just keeps on coming. And they were excellent employees.

Anonymous said...

Who resigned today?

Anonymous said...

Three? I know two investigators quit. Who else? At least a hint. No one tells us anything anymore.

Anonymous said...

To senior management I pose this question regarding the misdemeanor chief's multiple sexist and misogynistic comments to women in his division that are straight out of Mad Men -- if these women were your daughters, what would your response be? Tell them to ignore it or to seek justice? Kim, you know what the right answer is.

Anonymous said...

Janice Hawk, J.D. Hawk and Greg Gonzales

Anonymous said...

To the ladies who have come forward--you have a lot of supporters. Don't let this administration push you into changing your minds no matter how much they try to minimize what happened. Don't back down. If they fire you or try to treat you unfairly because of this, that just gives you one hell of a lawsuit.

Jason Truitt said...

7:51--I get the need to stay anonymous, and the policy for Murray allowing it. But your support, while remaining anonymous, means exactly nothing. It's not even as nice as a Facebook 'thoughts and prayers'. They cannot rely on you as a witness, or come talk to you about what to do next if they have no idea who you are. It does not assure them that they will keep their jobs, or help them move on if they don't.

The people we remember the most in our lives and in history are those who stood up and made themselves known. If you feel the issues surrounding the Ogg administration are big issues and that lives and safety are at risk, be big enough to take a stand--yes, even if that means losing your job. Otherwise, just send thoughts and prayers. It means more than your so-called support.

Anonymous said...

When David Mitcham worked for JBH as a prosecutor in the early '80s and then as a solo criminal defense attorney on Texas Ave. he was always a man of great ability and integrity.

I did not, unlike many others, find it shocking for David to return to the HCDAO. David is a class act attorney who truly cares about serving justice and his community.
What I do find shocking, however, is what appears to be his not adhering to the principle of doing the right thing simply because it it the right thing to do.

I sure hope (and expect) there are facts I am not privy to that explain his alleged acceptance of criminal charges based on political favor instead of probable cause.

Anonymous said...

My boy Jason,

SPOT on brother!

Are you hiring?

ADA Anonymous

Jason Truitt said...

10:55, actually, we are hiring. Please send your resume to:

Anonymous Employer
Anonymous Address
Anonymous City

(See how helpful that is?)

Anonymous said...

It's a little hard to reach out to individuals when you don't know who they are. So, until their names are released, sending a blanket statement of support will have to do.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:53,

Jason thinks you're a pussy.

Anon 10:55

Anonymous said...

Yeah!

Eric Garcia said...

So who's going to be the guinea pig and file the motion to remove her from office?

Anonymous said...

Probably commissioners court when they find out it only took Ogg 3 months to bankrupt the office.

Brad Walters said...

So is that a gripe about not getting to work more intake shifts because the department head is working them, or a sincere belief that intake does not have enough resources to do the job?

Murray Newman said...

Brad,
I'd say it is probably a combination of both. Intake is a really busy place and it is very critical to how the system that we are all familiar with runs (for better or worse). Not having it properly staffed could cause a log jam with how cases are filed. But, you are correct in pointing out that prosecutors are upset about losing potential intake shifts that allow them to earn money. As in many other professions, extra shifts mean extra money for the family.

Anonymous said...

Without intake, I know a lot of people who could not have made ends meet.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me paying for her and her son security detail out of her budget was not the brightest idea. I am not a lawyer but I would think intake would be right at the top of the budget. I really do not know whether to laugh or cry. Saying I told you so will not do any good.

Anonymous said...

Obviously the Chronicle wouldn't do it, but what does it take for the media to get involved with exposing this level of corruption and general incompetence?

Anonymous said...

Eric Garcia said – [So who's going to be the guinea pig and file the motion to remove her from office?]

I’ll tell you who ought to file it. Every one of the ADA’s who Kim fired need to get together online and create the document together, all sign it and file it.

Sweeeeeeeeet revenge.

Sweeeeeeeeet JUSTICE.

TopGun

Anonymous said...

"If these women were your daughters, what would your response be?" How about if one of those women was your wife? I wonder what the chief of misd would do if someone made the same lewd comment to his wife

Anonymous said...

TopGun, that would be the worst possible way to go about it. It would look like sour grapes, and be easily dismissed as such--just like when Susan Hawk was the subject of this exact type of thing. Hawk later resigned, but for reasons that Ogg does not face.

It will have to come from some PAC that is well-funded, and still will only serve to get more of this in the spotlight. She has not done anything that would show that she is unfit. If Hawk survived, Ogg certainly will. Your only hope is to get enough media to pay attention that Ogg changes her policies.



Anonymous said...

What lewd comment?