Monday, September 23, 2013

The Search for the Interim District Attorney

Both the Houston Chronicle and ABC Channel 13 are posting articles on their websites this afternoon about the search for the interim District Attorney to lead the office after the passing of Mike Anderson.

The Chronicle article, written by Brian Rogers, focuses on Republican GOP Chairman Jared Woodfill voicing his support for former 177th District Court judge and widow of Mike, Devon Anderson.  Although I always cringe whenever Jared Woodfill or other Republican Party "leadership" dabble into the world of Criminal Justice, I can't disagree with Jared on his vote.

Devon was an All-Star prosecutor before taking the bench.  One of my earliest memories as a baby prosecutor was watching her, along with Lyn McClellan and Johnny Holmes, try the notorious Railcar Killer, Rafael Resendez Ramirez.  Although Mr. Holmes and Lyn were outstanding in the jobs they did, this case was Devon's and she did a phenomenal job as lead prosecutor.

The Channel 13 article was a little more interesting as Deborah Wrigley reports that in addition to Devon Anderson, other possible candidates who want to be considered for the position are Judge Marc Carter, Congressman Ted Poe, First Assistant Belinda Hill, former First Assistant Jim Leitner and . . . wait for it . . . seriously . . . you aren't going to believe this  . . . Rachel Palmer.

Now, let's look at that list of candidates real quick.

It is my understanding that Judge Poe has already stated that he has no interest in the job.  I don't know why he would, actually.  He's a United States Congressman and if he wanted to be the District Attorney of Harris County, he could have easily taken it in 2000 when Chuck Rosenthal first ran.  He could have also taken it easily in 2004 when Chuck Rosenthal ran again, or in 2008 when Pat Lykos ran.

Judge Marc Carter is a fantastic judge and would be an excellent candidate for District Attorney.  I do a lot of work in Judge Carter's court, and I would be very surprised if he wanted the job, though.  He enjoys being a judge, and those of us who practice in his court are glad that he IS judge.  We all hope he stays on the bench for a very long time.

First Assistant Belinda Hill is also a phenomenal candidate.  She's highly respected by both the Defense Bar and the Prosecution.  She's already received the unsolicited endorsement of the Houston Police Officers' Union.  However, it has never been clear whether or not Belinda actually wants the job.  Although she had been elected Judge of the 230th District Court for several terms, there is a big difference on the campaign trail when one is running for judge and when one is running for District Attorney.  It is an unfortunate fact of life that politics plays a tremendous part in keeping your job as District Attorney.  A person may love the job description of being District Attorney but (rightfully and sanely) have no desire to hit the campaign trail for it.

Now the fun candidates . . .

Jim Leitner?  Really?  You're putting your name in the running for this?  You were first assistant for a very mean Pat Lykos and yet you still got the label as her "evil henchman."  Why on earth would Leitner be a consideration for Perry?  Thus far, the only thing that Leitner has proved politically adept at is running as a spoiler candidate and then giving his support to a candidate who will give him a job.  Perry wants somebody who can run in 2014 and win.  If he wants somebody who can go in and take a dive for personal gain, maybe Jim has a shot.

And finally . . . Rachel Palmer.  Sigh.

I heard late last week that Rachel's beloved husband Don Hooper was trying to get his wife appointed to District Attorney.  At some point, I have to wonder if he even consults with his wife before trying some of his harebrained schemes.

It's been a couple of years now since Rachel invoked her 5th Amendment rights in front of a Grand Jury.  Time heals old stains to the reputation provided they are given the opportunity to fade away.  Thanks to the Donner and his relentless blogging, however, he keeps her unfortunate incident in the forefront of his limited readership's mind.  Hooper and Palmer have a blog that is legally owned by Rachel and can be found under her name.  That blog celebrated Mike Anderson's cancer (and mine), and calls into question whether or not Hooper is fit to serve as First Lady of the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

Not to mention the fact that Rachel has still yet to rise above the level of Felony Two in the Office.  The idea of her being appointed to District Attorney is nothing short of preposterous.

In the end, the natural candidates for the position do seem to be Devon Anderson or Belinda Hill.  Both have been outstanding public servants and prosecutors in the past and hopefully will continue to do so in the future.


Anonymous said...

I suppose the party line on the Republicans' shameful passing over of Belinda Hill—the most qualified candidate, but also a black female in a party run by old white men—is that "she doesn't want the job." Here's to hoping that she dispels that falsehood, even if she waits until after her ouster.

Anonymous said...

At the outset, please do not in any wise construe this comment as any criticism of Mike's widow - she is an excellent attorney - nor as an endorsement of any candidate - that has been done elsewhere. I do find it amusing, however, to listen to Jared Woodfill, Harris County Republican Chairman, pontificate on his choice for the vacancy created by the untimely death of Mike - a "person qualified, with Mike's vision, and a good campaigner." The latter is the only thing that has ever mattered to these party people - a good campaigner. In my opinion neither Republican nor Democrat party officials have ever worried above qualifications - just have an "R" or "D" after your name. Although Woodfill supported Pat Lykos against Mike, he has ostensibly found the error of his ways and amazingly now supports Mike's widow for the position. If she has the same vision as Mike, what is now different? The hypocrisy unfortunately is obvious, even to me.
Calvin a. Hartmann

Anonymous said...

Leitner! Surely he could keep his 6 figure county consulting boondoggle and be DA at the same time. I know he has been itching for a badge on his belt.

Unknown said...

Jared Woodcock er I mean er , Woodfill supported Pat Lykos for DA. Calvin Hartman is right. Jared Woodfill you are disqualified by your support of Lykos. Jared Woodfill you supported the only person on the face of Earth ( Lykos) who was actually capable of taking the DAO to a lower point than Rosenthal. No one in the Courthouse cares one iota about your opinion. Mike Anderson was the right man for the job. You did not support him.
You supported the one that caused the lowest moral in DAO history, right? The one that caused young DAs to carry buckets of water... Just in case, right?

Please leave these matters to those who actually care about the criminal justice system. Kindly content yourself with maintaining your hairdo. It must be a full time job keeping it " oily enough" for your position.

Devon Anderson will make a fine Da if Devon wants the position. It's a delicate matter.

If Devon is understandably not interested, then the next logical choice is First Assistant Belinda Hill.

Belinda was a judge for 16 years before Mike Anderson hand picked her to be his first Assistant. A brilliant move on Mike's part. Belinda is tough, honest, respected and extremely intelligent. She is a person of
Integrity and like Mike, she is respected by her colleagues in the DAO & defense bar.

If, as Mike Anderson's hand-picked first assistant, Belinda Hill is appointed- our community will be well served.

Woodfill's attempts to inject himself in this process should be ignored. Devon Anderson and First Assistant Belinda Hill are both
Highly qualified for the position.

Robb Fickman

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see the letter Don wrote to Rick Perry. I bet it looks something like this:

"Governeror deer Peerry. Pleased too submit my wifey to be the chef prosecutorial for the count-e which I reside and inhabited. She is smart and has lot's of lurning. Pleeze tell New Aturney Generalist I pay child suport. Love, Don"

Anonymous said...

Newsflash- Devon is going to be appointed DA and Judge Hill is going to remain First Assistant. Sadly, Woodfill (who is an idiot) will claim credit.

Mark W. Stephens said...

Devon is going to get it.

Anonymous said...

Oh come on, I really wanted to see Palmer's depostion from the dismissed Federal lawsuit used in her campaign ads. I hear it goes beyond "God is good." Maybe it's on youtube, I will have to look for it.

Anonymous said...

Dang, this ended too fast. I wanted Murray to have a contest where commenters predicted what a Palmer administration would look like , complete with personnel
and renamed divisions.

Anonymous said...

A Palmer administration flow chart would have had pretty colors, pictures and small words so Don could understand.

Episode Seven: The Voters Awaken - A One Act -Sci-Fi Play

SCENE:  The Death Star orbits over Downtown Houston. [INTERIOR] The Imperial Council Chambers. EMPRESS OGG sits at the head of a long table ...