Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Last one in gets the job

And the game of trying to find someone who wants to be DA continues...

For those of y'all not up to speed. Mike Anderson, a former prosecutor and state district judge, was elected Harris County District Attorney in November 2012, defeating perennial candidate Lloyd Oliver.

Mr. Anderson announced he was taking a leave of absence in May 2013 due to his suffering from cancer. On August 31, he died. While he was on leave, his first assistant, Belinda Hill, a former prosecutor and state district judge, was named the interim district attorney.

Since Mr. Anderson served less than half of his four-year term, under state law a special election must be held to determine who will serve as DA for the remainder of the original term. But the government must appoint an interim DA to serve until the special election.

As of now Ms. Hill seems to be the favorite to be appointed interim DA because, well, no one else seems to want the job. The Harris County Republican Party is so enamored of Ms. Hill that Jared Woodhill, the leader of the local GOP, is asking Governor Perry to appoint Mr. Anderson's widow, Devon Anderson (also a former prosecutor and state district judge who also worked the dark side as a defense attorney after being booted from the bench in 2008) to fill the seat.

Why doesn't anyone want the job? It's the highest profile county-wide post in Harris County -- aside from being county judge when a hurricane strikes. It will give whoever accepts it a big leg-up in the special election. You get to be the top law enforcement agent in the largest county in Texas. What could beat that?

Well, I guess there's the issue of managing an office with well over 200 attorneys plus staff. Then there's that whole "tough on crime" thing that doesn't take into account that it costs a bunch of money to lock folks up in jail. And then there's the state of the Harris County Jail -- it's full to the gills with folks who can't make bond.

As we can see by the grease fire that is the DWI pre-trial intervention program, it's not enough to make promises and speak in sound bites on the campaign trail. In order to make things work it takes attention to detail and an office that "buys into" a program. The PTI program was cobbled out of Pat Lykos' illegal DIVERT scheme without much thought as to how it would be implemented.

On second thought, maybe it's no wonder no one wants the job.


PDiddie said...

Great question.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps no one has come forward to express interest in the position because they fear Devon Anderson will rig a grand jury to heap some bad publicity on them. I mean, if she did it once what's to prevent her from doing it again?