So, what do we know about Mike Anderson, the new District Attorney of Harris County?
Well, per his campaign website bio, he served as a prosecutor for seventeen years, then as a judge for twelve.
From what I gather, people who know the culture of the DA’s office tend to associate Anderson with Chuck Rosenthal, whose administration has been talked about at length here on the blog. A lot of the pre-election blogging chatter revolved around the hope or, alternatively, the fear, that he would return the DA’s office to the state it was in before Lykos took over.
He’s doing away with a program that Lykos started where, if there was not enough drug residue to test twice, no case would be brought. I’m guessing that was prompted by the mis-testing, dry-labbing, general fuck-wittery of the Crime Lab. People accused Lykos of being soft on drug use, but really, she was just being harder on her own office; holding them to the very high standard of being able to prove that, even if an independent party tested the evidence, their cases would be solid. Oh, the horror.
Anyway, Anderson tanked that program because…something. In the words of Big JollyPolitics:
So, if po-po on the scene says, “looks like crack to me”, then, hell yeah, accept the charge! Enough to retest? Who cares? It’s just someone’s life at stake! And we all know that the awesome Houston Police Department Crime Lab never makes mistakes, so retest, schmetest, arrest that thug!
If HPD comes back and says “Yeah, that miniscule amount of substance you sent us was actually drugs… but no, it can’t be retested because it was entirely destroyed in the course of our conducting our highly-reliable test,” the DAO will prosecute you for a state jail felony!
I believe that Pat Lykos was a good District Attorney, and that she worked hard to root out corruption and bad prosecutors. Taking the office backwards in time to the place it was before Rosenthal resigned for sending racist emails, then deleting those emails to keep them hidden, and finding that his judgment was impaired because of the prescription medication he was taking, well…It’s a little horrifying, and I don’t even live in Harris County.
I’m looking at all these descriptions of Mike Anderson online, and using that to build a picture of who he is, and I will admit, it worries me. Whether those describing him are for him or against him, he does not immediately come across as someone who would be sympathetic to our cause.
Letting that get me down is not an option, though. Instead, I’m going to use it to motivate me to make sure that my letters are professional, convincing, and based in fact. I’m going to make the assumption that he is every bit as interested in justice as I am, and give him the chance to exceed my expectations.
These letters have to go out. Our voices must be heard.