Harris County Primaries

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.

6 responses to “Harris County Primaries”

  1. I believe Zack lost because of his namesake and cousin, Tilman Fertitta. Tourists may like eating at Tilman’s restaurants but the locals seem to despise him and they just took out their hatred on Zack. I knew Lykos was toast. Don’t really understand why though. All the judges seemed to appreciate the changes that allowed their dockets to operate smoother. And she seemed to me anyways to play politics well. She dropped charges that were filed on those who were politically connected like Texas State Supreme Court Justice David Medina’s wife. Maybe she prosecuted someone that had more power than she realized. I do recall a lot of HPD officers who were outraged that one of their brothers received a long prison sentence for stealing almost a million dollars from the HPOU. And if I remember correctly his father and brothers were all popular HPD officers. Seems to me right about that time is when they began condemning her for other things she had done. But voters as a whole are generally stupid. Certainly if they think they will see any discernible difference in their quality of life just because Lykos is gone.

  2. The election for DA and the judges will turn on turnout. If Obama ramps up the Democratic turnout like he did in 2008, we might end up with Lloyd Oliver as DA. Now isn’t that a thought?

  3. After all I have read about Pat Lykos both here and elsewhere, I have to say that, having already learned about Lykos’ loss, I was a little bit let down not to find more gloating here. Couldn’t you oblige with just a little bit more of a touchdown celebration? That said, congratulations.

  4. I’m left wondering what the Lame Duck will do with the remainder of her term. If one was to believe even 1/100th of what has been written about her on Murray’s website he’d think that she’s capable of doing awful things to get back at those who still work there and have taken any pleasure with last night’s results. I’m not sure why Lykos was wanting another 4-years anyway. At her age she should be retired and enjoying what’s left of her life instead of grasping the vestiges of power. Anyone know what she did between her years as judge and the time she was elected to be DA? I can’t see her defending anymore than I could Rosenthal. In fact, has she ever practiced in court? Surely she must have been politically connected to have gotten a judgeship without ever defending a client or prosecuting a case. You know, she just might be the only attorney in this country who can claim all that she’s done without ever practicing. And who says voters aren’t stupid…

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