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.

81 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?

Anonymous said...

If it is not filed, it is not a crime. If it is not reported, it is not sexual harassment. Or so it seems with the new administration.

Anonymous said...

There is not going to be a lawsuit for removal from office. You want Ogg removed, you have to do it the same way Lykos and Anderson were removed. It is called an election. Just remember all of her mistakes and be prepared to discuss them at length in 3 years or so. Until then, heaven help us.

Anonymous said...

Don't let them scare you into backing down! Never tolerate that action. If you don't do something then it only gets worse. Plus if they fire you, your settlement will have you set for life!!

Anonymous said...

Isn't all of this the very definition of a "hostile work environment?" These people are so stupid. They better hope it doesn't hit them in the pocketbook personally.

Anonymous said...

Not that it matters but local law enforcement officers are finding the new intake policies to be particularly curious, the genius running the show deciding to hold mock trials while playing the defense attorney role, judge, and jury all wrapped up in one. This isn't a handful of cases where rookie cops are upset over their own mistakes but seasoned investigators with every "i" dotted and "t" crossed. Contrast that with the pressure Ogg is facing from her handlers to charge teenagers for murdering a pregnant woman whose cheating husband was clearly at fault and you see the new dual standard at play.

Anonymous said...

For anyone interested, there is a Justice for Belinda Lucas Temple facebook page. Anyone is welcome to join, post and comment. I hope it's ok to post here, sir. Thank you

https://www.facebook.com/groups/JusticeForBelindaLucasTemple/

Jigs said...

I initially heard that Kim's reason for failing to pass the Temple case off to a special prosecutor was that it would come out of the DAs budget and might cost upwards of a million dollars and she didn't have the funds. But then I heard that during Devon's term a pro tem fund was created by commissioners court that's administered by the district courts and that it has plenty of money. Anyone know if that's true?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone but me wonder why intake is basically a slush fund for DAs to make extra money when they're salaried? Any reason it can't be staffed like any other department, without having to pay overtime for it?

Murray Newman said...

Anon 3:33 p.m.,
I'm going out on a limb here and guessing you've never worked intake. It is hardly a "slush fund" for ADAs who are already making enough.
It is a frustrating, sleep-depriving tedious shift that only a trial-dodging slug would want as a full time position.

Anonymous said...

3:33: There are several problems with staffing intake that aren't obvious for those who haven't worked it.

1. The hours. Getting a salaried government lawyer to work midnight-8 five days a week. But it's more than that, you don't want just any lawyer, you want an experienced prosecutor. Many people would outright quit if that were there actual assignment. And I doubt you'd have many applicants for the job posting, particularly for the 3 and 2 spots (65k and 95k per year). By the time you've got the sort of experience to be a 2 or chief at intake, you've got a family, a home, friends, and a life. All of that would be disrupted if you started working weird hours. The DA's office isn't the only job in town, so if you make the conditions bad enough you just turn experienced prosecutors into defense lawyers with chips on their shoulders.

2. The work. There's a reason that rotations in daytime intake are generally shorter than other rotations. Most other jobs in the office are intermittently stressful and intermittently rewarding. Intake is constantly stressful and never rewarding. It is an awful job. You never see the conclusion of a case. All you get are cops calling you for charges, a lot of questionable situations that might get your name in the paper, and angry sergeants calling your boss when someone doesn't like what you do. Also, some PC court judge rejecting your warrants for reasons that have more to do with the judge's personality than probable cause. And every time you mess up and take a bad charge, the prosecutor who gets that charge thinks you're a dummy. The most you get from intake is a few good stories, but after a while all the charges blend together. There's a saying: Nothing good ever comes from intake. The more you work it, the more you understand.

3. Did I mention the hours? It actually is overtime. Everyone (except Denholm) who works intake has a full time job with all the responsibilities that entails. In Harris County, being an ADA isn't a 40 hour a week job. So you're already working (easily) 50-60 hours, and then you have to interrupt your normal sleep regimen to sit at an unfamiliar desk for 8 hours doing something other than your rewarding day job.

So if by "slush fund" you mean, "paying people the amount of money it takes to get a qualified pool of employees to do a very unrewarding job," then yes, it's a slush fund. But most people regard that as an efficient labor market. They're experimenting now with paying people less than time and a half, and it's hard to get people to sign up for a lot of these shifts. It's like every labor market. If you want to get more people to work, make the job more attractive, either by making it easier or paying them more.

Anonymous said...

I am unconvinced that intake could not be adequately staffed by anyone other than taking people from current courts and paying them more to do it.

I am, of course, assuming there would be proper training and education to go along with it. But that's not exactly something the rank and file Harris County ADA is known for nowadays, anyway, so taking improperly trained trial attorneys and putting them in intake doesn't fix the training/education issue, either. Perhaps hiring people to run that position on a regular basis would. Hiring people to staff it that knew what they were in for and that it was part of the job would keep people from complaining that all they are doing is intake, or that they think they should be trying cases instead, or that they don't like doing it because it's not what they signed up for, or that they don't like working in shifts--shift work is not a barrier to a life, after all, and knowing the job requirements going in would take care of that issue. It might also give some consistency to the position, and make complaints from cops and magistrates less frequent. In fact, having regular staff in that position would seem to cure every problem you mention except one--the one that throws extra money to the ADAs.

The fact that you have to say that almost any professional job requires more than 40 hours, and you somehow think that's unusual to prosecutors tells me that you don't have much outside experience in the real world. I can't remember the last time I worked only 40 hours, and I've gone years without vacations because of the job.

Besides--there are plenty of trial-dodging slugs out there. We all know who they are when we see them, and there are plenty more out there who just want to go home at the end of the day without any baggage and might actually welcome that sort of role.

And of course, nobody forces anyone to take the job. They are free to go elsewhere. It's like every labor market, after all.

Anonymous said...

5:26, go ahead and apply.

Anonymous said...

5:26, I'm sincerely looking forward to how, with a little training, you'll be able to screen calls and spot bad charges better than experienced prosecutors. That will genuinely improve our office's performance.

Heck, I suppose that with a little training, you'd be able to do my day job better than me. And I assume for cheaper. And there's probable a large group of people out there, similarly trainable, hard-working, and as uninterested in financial advancement. I bet that with a little training you could replace our entire staff and save the taxpayers millions while delivering significantly better outcomes.

Our email addresses are lastname_firstname@dao.hctx.net. Let her know how happy you would be to work the overnight intake shift for the rest of her term. She goes by Kim, not Kimbra. Rumor has it she'd love to hear from you.

Until you follow through and deliver Utopia, though, I'm going to take the word of every single person who has ever worked it that intake is a terrible job.

Anonymous said...

@5:26,
it's not common in the private sector to work double shifts in a "professional job" with no more compensation, nor are experienced attorneys found in the better law firms paid nearly as poorly. Even the traffic ticket gurus that specialize in low level cases tend to make 3x what an experienced ADA makes, those lawyers all too willing to brag about their coffers to anyone within earshot.

What some have pointed out here is that the low pay, the inflexibility of senior staffers, and the demands to march lockstep with the elected leader "or else", have a tendency to increase attrition rates substantially. If you are a defense attorney, no doubt that strikes you as a wonderful bonanza but if you are a crime victim or advocate, the resulting revolving doors just make life all that more difficult, eventually leading to people taking the law into their own hands (historically at least). Your contempt for such employees is duly noted though and it should please you to know that more have left since the initial political purge, with more to follow as other agencies snatch them up quickly.

Anonymous said...

IANAL, but I am a Professional and every full time private sector job I have ever worked has had some type of performanced based bonus system to reward those who put in more than the standard 40 hours, as well as a shift differential for working non standard hours. Neither of which are benefits provided by the DA's office, which is why they need to pay overtime for intake to get people to work it.

Anonymous said...

Oh no, I wouldn't be cheaper. And I get it, the job sucks. To many of us, any job in that building would suck, and yet there are hundreds of people working there. But I still haven't heard anything that tells me why it could not be properly staffed as its own section. In fact, keeping the trial attorneys from having to do it might improve morale, based on everything y'all have said so far--again, with the exception of the fact that they get paid extra for working it.

And working extra hours for no extra pay is absolutely the norm for a salaried employee in the private sector. That's often the main factor in deciding to pay people salaries, in fact. And you can bet that just about 99% of anyone in that building that could get a higher paying job at one of the big firms you are measuring yourself against would get it. Your main problem is that after years in the DA's office, there are very few who could break out and do anything other than defense work on their own or a small firm. So there is little real threat of mass exodus based on low pay, because if there was, it would have happened a long time ago if it was going to happen at all. Hell, as a testament to the inability to go do anything else, people gripe non-stop about staying under a hostile administration, but they stay if they can. If it's that awful, then leave. If you're a true believer, then work to improve the place from within. The only people I have contempt for are this who do nothing but bitch.

Anonymous said...

Anon March 27, 2017 at 9:52 AM, "And working extra hours for no extra pay is absolutely the norm for a salaried employee in the private sector." and "Your main problem is that after years in the DA's office, there are very few who could break out and do anything other than defense work on their own or a small firm."

You are mistaken on both accounts, many from previous purges have gone onto work at bigger firms (some locally, others in Dallas or elsewhere) and succeeded quite nicely, their tenure in the DA's office considered "invaluable" by their superiors. As far as the concern regarding a mass exodus, you might have missed it but there have already been such with each administration, the ones you hear about when a Lykos or Ogg takes over and then the steady flow that walk away from the job they happen to love because policies make them choose between doing the right thing and upholding some nonsensical policy as described on this very blog so often. So while low pay is not generally the big driver of such people leaving, it becomes a factor when salaries are so far below the local norm that they require sacrifices no longer worth it given the crazy antics of the elected boss and her equally crazy appointed minions.

As far as salaried employees showing resistance to working double shifts every week, this may be a factor in a firm where you are on a partnership track but it is uncommon otherwise outside of times when a big case requires additional preparation. In the private sector, the better firms most certainly increase compensation for such added workload and they tend to add extra perks like once said cases are over, the people putting in all the added hours get time off with salary, having catered lunches and dinner from high end restaurants, and even vacation packages to retain top quality workers. In the DA's office, they are lucky to get some burgers or a few bucks tossed in for a pizza from a national chain, and that is on a good day.

So while there may be merit to finding staffers who will work the graveyard or weekend shifts as part of a regularly scheduled shift, the kind of lawyers you will find that are willing to work for 65k are unlikely to be the best gatekeepers in such an important role. This is not an entry level position for someone fresh out of law school that just barely passed the BAR or someone that nobody else will hire. If you think otherwise, please contact the office to sit in on a weekend night worth of calls to hear what goes on. Consider that even then, the way Ms. Ogg has been spending money to help compensate her toadies, they took huge pay cuts after all, there are no funds available for more positions, overtime the cheapest method outside of using up the help.

Anonymous said...

"So while low pay is not generally the big driver of such people leaving, it becomes a factor when salaries are so far below the local norm that they require sacrifices no longer worth it given the crazy antics of the elected boss and her equally crazy appointed minions.?"

So what you're saying is that if you were paid better, you'd stay and enforce the policies you think are endangering the job with less complaint?

Hardly a true-believer stance.

And if money is the issue in the first place, go get you some. But I will warn you, you seem to have an inflated of what "below the norm" means. There are hundreds of lawyers in Houston with years under their belt in Houston that are working shit-paying jobs for commercial lit firms, insurance companies, or insurance defense firms. Hell, even your average plaintiff's lawyer can't keep things afloat, and I know more plaintiff's lawyers who have come and gone than any other type of lawyer. If you are judging yourself against the big firms, you are in for a shocker. You almost certainly do not have the pedigree to work in one.

You also misunderstand why big firms offer those perks. Hell, my first job had a gym and showers, free lunch and dinner, and a dry cleaning service. But it was to keep my ass in the seat and bill more. It only takes a few minutes to eat in the office, but when you're billing $500 an hour, that expense makes sense for the firm. The more they can keep you from having to run errands or take extra time to work out, go out to eat, go to the store, or run errands like the cleaners, the more they can squeeze you for in billable hours. Sound like a perk to you?

Overtime is never cheaper. Just ask any Sheriff who was paying millions extra to staff the jail until they got that cost under control. Yet another indication that you haven't seen the light of day in the business world.

Anonymous said...

To any of the ladies being told "it's just a misunderstanding," check out what PR nightmare hit Uber recently when one of the ladies there was told the same by HR: https://www.susanjfowler.com/blog/2017/2/19/reflecting-on-one-very-strange-year-at-uber

Female criminal law practitioners historically have had to put up with all kinds of sexual crap from male attorneys (too many docket lewd comments to count), from cops and bailiffs, and especially from inmates. The one place they shouldn't have to put up with it is in their own office. I don't know the allegations or whether they're true, but Ogg should take very seriously any complaints. Uber didn't until it became national news and now they're in hot water over it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:33 - is Ogg really getting pressure to charge the teenagers? I thought the pressure was to not retry Temple? Does anyone else know how true this is? Contrary to what Clappart is crying about on TV, neither of them have lawyers anymore and it would be nice if someone in the know could give them a heads up

Anonymous said...

Just putting this out there, as someone who's worked in 2 other DAs offices (outside of TX) and very familiar with other DA's offices in my area: we have intake here too. For most offices, new ADAs either start with 6 months to 1 year in intake or a combination of intake/misdemeanor criminal court for 1-2 years before moving to felonies. ADAs can also sign up for extra weekend shifts for extra money. Of course, there are always supervisors who need to approve each complaint/charges during intake shifts, but for the late shifts, it's only 1-2 supervisors. Even paralegals do intake in many of the offices. It's not an issue since it has to go through a supervisor for approval. Why can't Harris County do something like this?

Anonymous said...

If the office bought me a burger, I'd stop griping about Ogg for a week.

Anonymous said...

"You almost certainly do not have the pedigree to work in one."

Yes- because no one from a top 10 or 15 law school decides to go the civil service route. All of us ADAs are just dumbshits that couldn't get a job anywhere else.

You don't know what the job is like, so please don't pretend. And your ignorance of the job isn't made up for by you attacking others for their lack of real world experience. Which seems to me just means they aren't or weren't a shitty civil lawyer.