Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Distracting the public

My colleague Murray Newman really wants Mike Anderson to be the next district attorney. Over the past four years he has never wasted an opportunity to castigate current Harris County DA Pat Lykos - all the time conveniently ignoring the multitude of ethical and legal problems that engulfed the office under Chuck Rosenthal.

Yes, Ms. Lykos ruffled a lot of feathers. She wasn't warm and fuzzy. She wasn't part of the good ol' boy network. The latter being her biggest fault.

Yet Ms. Lykos lacked the myopia of Rosenthal's crew. She understood that criminal prosecution wasn't the answer to every little problem. She realized it made no sense to send people to prison because they were found in possession of a trace amount of a controlled substance.

Mike Anderson is a throwback. A throwback to the good ol' boy network. The Harris County Jail is stuffed to the gills but if Anderson has his way he'll be locking up folks for possessing trace amounts again. Do tell us, Murray, where's the money going to come from to relieve the jail overcrowding we will face again? How much money are we going to ship to other counties to hold our pretrial detainees?

Murray and the rest of Anderson's followers are upset because Lloyd Oliver said that there should be fewer domestic assault prosecutions. Well, here's an inconvenient truth for y'all, a good number of domestic assault prosecutions end up in dismissals. Whether it be by the defendant taking a battering prevention class or because a complaining witness decided not to cooperate is a meaningless distinction.

And how is holding a defendant in custody with no bond until he is brought before a judge who issues a protective order solving any problem? All it serves to do is to contribute to the overcrowding of the county jail.

And now, in a sign of desperation, the Anderson campaign is trying to scare voters by claiming half of the DA's office will walk out if Mr. Oliver is elected. I guess that's easier than trying to explain how much it's going to cost to expanding drug prosecutions. It's probably easier than explaining why the Harris County Jail is the county's largest mental health facility.

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