Ogg had apparently hoped that the story of Denholm's absolutely inexcusable behavior would blow over with a little time. Unfortunately for Ogg and Denholm, however, statements from the Houston Police Officer's Union (HPOU), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and Texas Congressman (and former Harris County Assistant District Attorney) Gene Wu have made it clear that the story was not going away. The story broke on television a few nights ago and Keri Blakinger followed up with an article in the Houston Chronicle. This morning, the Washington Post brought Denholm's stupidity to the level of national attention.
Why it took Ogg eight days to arrive at the seemingly obvious conclusion escapes me.
Ogg is far more well-known for her impetuous decision-making and general hotheaded responses when angered than she is for using cool rationale to respond to problems. The fact that she waited eight days before firing Denholm is indicative that it was not a decision that she wanted to make. That's not all that surprising, I suppose, given her history. Let's not forget how long it took her to decide to recuse the Office from the David Temple case, despite extremely obvious conflicts of interests she had with the case.
But, alas, poor John Denholm's last day did come today. It is my understanding that Denholm was given the option of resigning, but he refused. Apparently, in his mind, he did nothing wrong. He certainly wasn't willing to "take one for the team" and bow out gracefully. So, Kim did what she had to do and finally sent a minion to take Fredo fishing.
Kim's belated firing of Denholm is not likely to placate anyone with any common sense, and the fact of the matter is that she wouldn't have found herself in this situation if she wasn't such a shameless politician. Denholm was an unabashed political hire who was put in a position of leadership that he had neither the credentials nor the intellect to handle.
Before I go into Denholm's credentials (or lack thereof), I will, once again, point out that he and I have a personal grudge with each other that I will cover below.
I first met Denholm when he was a lieutenant with the Harris County Sheriff's Office Homicide Division. He seemed alright to me back then, but I didn't know him particularly well. His group of Homicide Investigators drank beer with the group of prosecutors that I hung out with back in the early 2000s.
Denholm went to law school and when Kelly Siegler was prepping for trial on David Temple, she asked Denholm to use his law school "expertise" to play defense attorney in a mock trial run-through. John thought he did a wonderful job, but told Kelly that if he had been the lead homicide investigator on the case when it first happened, he'd have gotten a confession out of him. Denholm was never short on confidence.
After Temple had been convicted and Denholm had gotten his law license, he started up with his talk about how David Temple was innocent. One of the people he told about it was none other than Dick DeGuerin, Temple's trial lawyer. It was a dramatic reversal of opinion coming from Denholm, and many of his former co-workers at HCSO looked at it as Denholm saying whatever he could to ingratiate himself with the famous defense attorney. One HCSO Homicide Detective went so far as to tell me: "If Denholm dropped dead tomorrow, you couldn't find six guys around here who would carry his casket."
Although Lisa Falkenberg would later portray Denholm (and his cohort, Steve Clappart) as heroes who lost friends for making a stand for Justice in their defense of David Temple, that wasn't the reality. The reality was that the two of them lost friends because none of those former friends believed that Denholm was doing anything other than trying to advance his defense attorney career with the help of Dick DeGuerin. The fact that Denholm and Clappart were willing to file capital murder charges on a kid (that not even Temple's own defense team would accuse during the second trial) didn't go over very well with those former friends, either.
I can't help but wonder what Lisa thinks about Denholm in light of this week's events.
A few months after I had blogged about what Clappart and Denholm had tried to do with their secret warrant, I received notice from the State Bar of Texas that John Denholm had filed a grievance against me for trying to "subvert justice" by exposing their plan in my blog. The State Bar dismissed Denholm's complaint as meritless, of course, but I won't lie -- it was infuriating to know that he had pulled such a pathetic ploy.
When Ogg took Office and hired Denholm as a Division Chief, I was shocked. I knew that he was a campaign donor, but he had only been a lawyer for about eight years. Eight pretty undistinguished years. He had the credentials to maybe start as a junior Felony Two, at best. The idea of making him a Division Chief was absurd.
Yet, thanks to political patronage, there he was.
Unsurprisingly, Denholm did about as well as one would expect in the Intake Division slot. He considered himself to be an all-knowing combination of ex-cop and super prosecutor. Multiple officers claimed he was condescending and rude when they called in for charges. He seemed to enjoy rejecting charges that didn't live up to his high standards. Those charges that he did take were often baffling. His reputation with the Defense Bar and his fellow prosecutors ultimately coined the term "Denholm Special" for describing charges that were inexplicable.
For those of us who know John Denholm, learning that he had refused charges on somebody because the victim "might be illegal" didn't really come as too much of a surprise. Stupid is as stupid does, after all. The only thing truly shocking about this was Kim Ogg's utter lack of appropriate reaction to Denholm's actions.
Upon learning of Denholm's actions, what Kim should have done was suspend him with pay pending an investigation.
But, that's not what she did. What she did was immediately announce that he had been
If it hadn't been for HPOU President Joe Gamaldi's press statement and demand that Denholm be fired, it is reasonable to believe that Kim thought the issue had been handled. She had removed Denholm from Intake and she probably thought that would alleviate the problem.
The fact that she waited for eight days and a Washington Post article before firing him clearly illustrates that her decision was based more on politics than on outrage over what Denholm had done. Kim has fired many other people for far less and she has done so far more quickly. Hell, she's fired other people for less and more quickly today, according to some information I received this evening.
We'll talk more about that later.