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Law Professor: Politics Play A Role In Harris County District Attorney’s Office

The awkward transition between incoming District Attorney Kim Ogg and current DA Devon Anderson may have a long-lasting impact on the office.

Incoming Harris County DA Kim Ogg has accused County's prosecutors of misuse of information.
Gail Delaughter
Incoming Harris County DA Kim Ogg, to the right, has accused County’s prosecutors of misuse of information. In the image, Ogg celebrates his electoral victory on November 8th, 2016.


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Incoming District Attorney Kim Ogg plans to investigate at least three Harris County prosecutors for misuse of official information. She accuses them of going beyond just notifying crime victims about a change in lawyers or status. But University of Houston Visiting Criminal Law Scholar Melissa Hamilton doesn’t think their actions rise to the level of statutory violations.

“If, for example, all these prosecutors are saying to the victims is: ‘ we’ve pled your criminal out because we’re gonna be short-staffed’, I don’t see that that’s misinformation. You know, obviously, there’s gonna be a gap in their resources”, says Hamilton.

District Attorneys are also politicians, she adds. “You know, on the one hand you would expect professionalism in the transition, but on the other hand you have humans who, you know, may well be partisan and may well not, you know, want to assist somebody else who they may see as a transgressor”, Hamilton explains.

Tensions became public after 37 staffers were told they will no longer be employed after January 1st. Hamilton says these changes are common, but it could impact morale. Devon Anderson declined to comment.