Lloyd Oliver (“Ollie the Cabdrivertising Attorney,” here) beat Zack Fertitta in the Democratic primary for Harris County DA. There’s no chance that Harris County will elect a Democrat to that position in 2012, but I thought there was zero chance that voters would pick Oliver over Fertitta, so what the hell do I know? We could wind up with Lloyd Oliver running the Harris County DA’s Office.
Stranger things have happened.
No, they haven’t.
On the Republican side, Mike Anderson kicked Pat Lykos’s butt. I was not surprised by the outcome, but the numbers were striking: 63% to 37%.
Kristin Guiney beat “Lateral Hire” (and Gary Polland favorite) Lana Shadwick by an even stronger margin (67÷32) in the Republican primary for the 179th District Court. For many reasons—Guiney is a friend, Shadwick is unfit to be a judge, Polland is Polland)—that makes me happy.
Lots of defense lawyers are concerned about a Mike Anderson DA’s Office. They foresee a return to the bad old scalp-counting days of Chuck Rosenthal. I’m not worried. The results I got for my clients under Rosenthal were no worse than those I’ve obtained in the last four years.
DIVERT is going to go the way of the dodo, but Anderson will honor the agreements made by defendants with the Lykos DA’s Office. The policy against taking charges on trace drug cases will vanish; that doesn’t bother me (except as a part of the war on drugs, to which I object but of which it’s a small part). Pretrial diversions won’t be as common, but dismissals will take their place. The reality is that the criminal-justice system is strained, and the DA, whoever it is, will have to make decisions on allocating resources.
Anderson and I probably disagree more than we agree more on what justice is—I thought he was a hardcore prosecutor when he was a judge—but I expect him to give the line prosecutors discretion to make their own decisions in place of arbitrary managerial rules that change without notice.
Will things be easier for us under Anderson? No, probably not. But the Harris County criminal-defense bar is the best in the country, and it didn’t get there by having it easy.