Lloyd Oliver is a 68-year-old criminal defense attorney who has practiced law in the Houston area for more than half his life. So why would someone who has represented thousands of accused criminals want to switch sides for the prosecution?
"To further some of the policies of Pat Lykos."
Which is odd, when you consider Lykos is a Republican, and Oliver is running as a Democrat. Oliver wants to keep the recent policies that apply to certain drug and DWI cases. He says Lykos' decision not to prosecute people who possess trace amounts of drugs is one that he would hold onto — with a modification.
"So that if you have a criminal history, yes, let's put you in. Let's charge you with a felony. Let's keep you in if we need to. Other trace cases — give them some rehabilitation. Maybe they're just a fool. Maybe they're just a citizen who made a stupid mistake."
Oliver is also in favor of keeping the DIVERT program. That calls for probation and treatment for first-time DWI offenders with no prior criminal history. Oliver says he would put a greater emphasis on 12-step rehabilitation.
"Let’s attack the problem, the alcohol. Not have them doing menial labor. So let's modify it. Let's help the people that need help."
Oliver says he admires the work of Pat Lykos to the point where he would have voted for her, had he not been running himself. Lykos lost the primary to former assistant DA and judge Mike Anderson. Oliver says he and Anderson have a history.
"He was a tyrant on the bench — an absolute tyrant. He would make a wonderful prison guard. This guy — I've got to run against -- and I did."
Anderson is widely viewed as the front runner for DA. Oliver accuses Anderson of being in the pocket of special interest groups.
"I don't accept campaign contributions from lawyers, because defense lawyers, for instance, they're going to practice in the courts, and I'm on the other side. I don't think the citizens want that. I wouldn't want that. But Anderson does. That's wrong."
Oliver has run for various judge positions at least three or four times. He says he's lost count. In last month's primary, he defeated Zack Fertitta, an assistant DA who is considered by many to be more qualified than Oliver. Oliver attributed his victory to dumb luck. That was followed by a headline in the Texas Observer that referred to him as "perennial goofball."
"If running for office makes you a goofball, I guess I'm a goofball. If keeping judges up there honest make you a goofball, I'm sincerely a goofball. If representing your client — really representing your client — makes you a goofball, I am a goofball."
Oliver says between now and the election in November, he will work to earn the votes of moderate Republicans who he believes support the policies of outgoing DA Pat Lykos, and are turned off by what he calls the "hard-right" positions of Mike Anderson.