Once again, the criminal courts lead the local news-former State District Criminal Court Judge Stacey Bond is a shining star. Most of the current Harris County misdemeanor court judges [15 of 16 are “Republicans”] are appealing Judge Lee Rosenthal’s injunction concerning the controversial bail bond practices. Following the latest court hearing, Republican Judge Mike Fields abandoned the old guard’s appeal, which means that the two African American misdemeanor court judges are on the opposite side of their lily white “Republican” colleagues. Even if your involvement in the justice system means reporting to jury duty every few years, you need to pay attention to the upcoming criminal court races.
The continuum of bad publicity for our criminal courthouse elected officials demonstrates that Harris County does not “work.” So, what is really going on and how does it play out for the Harris County Republican primary and the upcoming November general election? Let me explain.
There is a deep state at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. While you may not be happy to see a democrat running that office, trust me when I tell you that it was imperative to remove the Anderson/Rosenthal/Siegler regime from the DA’s office. Even though Kim Ogg did a deep cleanse of the office, the fifth column remains – now spread out among nine separate buildings due to the Harvey damage to the Harris County Criminal Justice Center.
Some of the judiciary is assisting this cabal. For example, the misdemeanor judges have brought in Lance Long, a man fired by Kim Ogg, to serve as their attorney. This group is doing everything in their power to hurt Ogg, which makes us all less safe.
To understand what is happening today, you must remember Chuck Rosenthal’s resignation in 2008. In Judge Kenneth Hoyt’s courtroom at the Bob Casey Federal Courthouse, Rosenthal admitted that he destroyed evidence because he was routinely impaired. He routinely sent racist and sexist emails and created an atmosphere of unethical behavior including his affair with his secretary.
A small group of people truly understand the large extent of corruption at the DA’s Office and in the criminal courts; however, these problems are slowly being revealed to the public kind of like peeling back an onion. I have done my best over the last few years to tell you everything that I know, but, unfortunately, I have been saying “I told you so” too often.
For example, the appellate process in the David Temple case revealed some of the problematic, unethical behavior supported by Kelly Siegler. In a hearing, Siegler testified that she decided if evidence was exculpatory and only provided defendants with information that she believed to be exculpatory. Imagine what life would have been like in Harris County had the Rosenthal supporters gotten their way and Siegler was the elected DA. Kelly is the poster child of prosecutorial misconduct and Harris County cannot afford unethical prosecutors because they cost the county credibility and money.
Judge Pat Lykos ran as a reformer on the promise of cleaning up the frat house culture of the DA’s Office. Her campaign focused on ending the keg parties at the office while implementing criminal justice reform. Importantly, Lykos was the first DA to mandate that the DA’s Office would not offer probation to illegal aliens. Unfortunately, the bad crowd worked against Lykos from inside the office for four years and undermined her to the point where the Andersons had the opportunity to slither into office.
The election of Mike Anderson and Devon Anderson’s appointment to succeed him as District Attorney set off a series of events that were entirely predictable. The frat house just did not want to go away [and still doesn’t]. The Andersons used a fake scandal to get into office and were subsequently involved in real scandals like botched investigations by a HPD homicide detective. Of course, the series of scandals culminated in the intentional incarceration of a rape victim in the Harris County Jail for the sole purpose of coercing her testimony. In 2016, Harris County voters rejected Paul Simpson’s Harris County Works theme and every countywide Republican lost. The District Attorney’s race once again wound up being a focal point in the 2016 election and Anderson brought down the entire ticket. The question for Harris County voters now is whether we should continue down this losing path.
When Kim Ogg was elected, 37 prosecutors were asked to leave the DA’s office. If you think these decisions were made without deliberation, you are wrong. At least two of these former prosecutors are now on the Harris County Republican Primary ballot – Maritza Antu and Justin Keiter. Antu and Keiter are opposed and I recommend that you take a very close look at these two races. These former prosecutors have never been involved in Republican politics. Instead, these folks are running in order to (1) have a job with benefits and (2) stick it to Ogg. Their motivations are impure.
I have written extensively over the years about this struggle. I was criticized for supporting Ogg over Anderson, but it was inevitable that Devon would do herself in – and she did it in grandiose fashion. It was disappointing that Devon took every Republican with her and I would like to prevent that from happening again. However, placing the problem prosecutors on benches will be the same effect – the Devon effect. Placing problematic people in powerful positions perpetuates the deep state whose ultimate goal is power and control over 1201 Franklin. They will work to undermine Ogg and in doing so will permanently damage the party over the long haul. Here is our chance to change course.
Antu and Keiter are represented by Kelly Siegler’s former campaign consultant, Steve Brewer. This speaks volumes because Brewer had retired from political consulting a few election cycles back. Brewer currently works for the Harris County Finance Department and previously worked for Steve Radack after a career at the Houston Chronicle. Radack has long had an interest in who occupied the DA role. You can imagine why. He has seen his buddy Jerry Eversole prosecuted by the feds. Before and after Mark Fury recieved deferred adjudication for tampering, he worked for Radack-notice the author of the story in linked article. In 2008, Radack backed Kelly Siegler over Lykos. He joined the Houston Police Officers’ Union in supporting Devon. It is always important to ask judicial candidates about their consultant because it can say a lot.
It is apropos that Antu is running for Susan Brown’s bench because I would certainly give Antu the award for most likely to jail someone for praising Jesus in court. Truly, Antu and Keiter have one thing in common and that is a complete lack of judicial temperament.
Antu has been on the campaign trail talking [false] trash about her primary opponent, Judge Stacey Bond. Unfortunately, Bond lost reelection in 2016. She operated her court every day with true justice in mind. One example is found in her findings of fact that outlined prosecutorial misconduct committed by two [former] Harris County Assistant District Attorneys. Big deal, right? Wrong. This was the second time in modern history where a sitting judge found that a prosecutor committed misconduct in Harris County. The first was when [Beaumont] Judge Larry Gist found that Kelly Siegler committed prosecutorial misconduct in the Temple case. Bond authored these findings at great peril. Devon and friends later tried to stick it to Bond by not telling the full truth about Jenny, the sexual assault survivor who was jailed by Devon and her prosecutors. This is really important and inside baseball so please pay close attention. When Ogg revealed that Devon and her prosecutors made a motion to jail Jenny, Devon had many opportunities to tell the real story. I believe it was Devon’s payback to take Bond down with her.
In truth, Devon’s prosecutors asked Bond to sign an order keeping Jenny in a mental health unit after she ran away from the courtroom during her testimony. Bond did sign an order that she believed was to keep Jenny in the psychiatric center. Bond did not learn that Jenny was in the Harris County jail until January 11 when Jenny’s new assault case showed up on Bond’s docket.That very day, Bond ordered the case transferred to another court and said: This defendant testified as a complaining witness in a jury trial before me. order transfer jenny
I have a great deal of sympathy for this individual. It would be improper for me to oversee her case – I would feel terrible about punishing her.
Days later, Bond signed an order directing the Sheriff to release Jenny. At a public forum, I asked candidate Justin Keiter if he had ever asked a court to jail a witness. The answer – YES. This was routine practice with the old guard.
The point is that Stacey Bond was an excellent judge and we deserve to have her on the bench. Instead, certain people in the party want to support DA rejects that subscribe to an old, outdated way of thinking about criminal justice that does not keep us safe.
Remember the story about the HPD homicide detective that fudged his investigations that kept murderers on the street? Well, Antu’s name came up in that investigation. See Wayne Dolcefino’s report here.
It is also important to look at the donors to each campaign. Antu received donations from a few current prosecutors who were retained by Ogg [Traci Bennett; Cameron Calligan; Nathan Moss; Jaime Reyna; and Andrew Smith] and some that were fired [Terese Buess; Anna Emmons; Marie Primm; Maria McAnulty; and Karen Morris]. Buess, fired by Ogg, now works at the Fort Bend County DA’s Office. She was a big problem in Harris County and did nothing to curtail the massive public corruption at institutions like HCC [e.g., Chris Oliver]. Regarding Keiter, it is a bit odd that a lawyer who represented his father gave him a campaign contribution.
Antu and Keiter do not have the temperament that is required for this position. Antu has demonstrated that to primary voters by her demeanor and words about her opponent. Keiter, well, ask lawyers who practice in the criminal courts. Ultimately, even if folks like Antu and Keiter win the primary, they will bring down the entire Republican ticket in November.
Aren’t Harris County Republicans tired of losing?