Small Progress Against Implicit Corruption in Harris County Courts

I took Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg to task here for not stepping aside from the decision whether to retry David Temple for the murder of his wife. I saw it as a disappointing example of implicit corruption in the Harris County criminal justice system — behavior that a spocklike visitor would recognize as corrupt, but that we don’t see as corrupt only because it’s the way things have always been done.

A couple of weeks ago, after reviewing the file for four months, Ogg made the decision to ask for appointment of a special prosecutor.

Good for her.

The judge mentioned in my original post on implicit corruption returned the campaign contributions he had solicited from lawyers practicing in his court.

Good for him, too. The war against implicit corruption will be won, ever so slowly, in a thousand little decisions like these.

3 Comments

  1. I would argue that the war against corruption is a holding action. It cannot be won in any definitive sense, but the important factor is that it can be /lost/. Avoiding defeat is as significant as achieving victory, especially when victory isn’t achievable, and in that sense, this post is absolutely accurate: Defeat is avoided by winning thousands of small battles, one at a time.

    To (probably mis-)apply a quote from Robert A Heinlein, “Of course the game is rigged. Don’t let that stop you, if you don’t play, you can’t win.” Or in this case, if you don’t play, you will inevitably lose. He also talks about victory in defeat, but I’ve probably said more than enough already.

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