Stuff & Nonsense

Paul Kennedy writes:

But when questions arose regarding who was eligible [for the DWI pretrial intervention program] and who wasn’t and what defendants would be required to do as a condition of their “probation,” there was no one around to answer them. No one was in charge. With Mr. Anderson out of the picture, no one wanted to step up and take any heat for unpopular decisions.

That’s ridiculous. Even when Mike Anderson was healthy, the person at the DA’s Office responsible for DWI pretrial intervention decisions was Belinda Hill.

Kennedy’s view of the DA’s Office as having a “a complete vacuum on the Sixth Floor” for the last four months doesn’t bear scrutiny. Business has been taken care of; when issues have been brought to First Assistant DA Belinda Hills’ attention, she has promptly dealt with them. I doubt that Kennedy has called Hill to ask for the DA’s Office’s answers to his questions.

Rumors have it that Gov. Goodhair has shopped the position [of interim Harris County District Attorney] to various folks who have been prominent in the Harris County criminal (in)justice system but that no one has expressed any desire in serving as the temp. It looks like Belinda Hill will get the nod by default.

Or maybe Harris County will get lucky and Belinda Hill will get the nod, instead of whoever the kleptocrats running the Harris County Republican Party choose, because she is the best candidate for the job. I challenge Kennedy to name a better candidate.

The incumbent, if he or she wins the Republican primary, will be the clear frontrunner in the 2014 election. ((The Republican will be the frontrunner in any case in the 2014 election—Democrats will put up a good fight in 2016, but the off-years still belong to the Republicans.)) And apparently some culture-war Republicans think that Hill can’t win a primary because she is “pro-choice.”

(Hooper appears to have deleted his tweet calling Hill a Democrat and suggesting that she, elected judge four times as a Republican, couldn’t win a Republican primary. Curious.)

I don’t know Hill’s feelings on abortion. As far as I can tell her “pro-choice” attitude was invented by people who don’t want her as DA for some other reason, ((Take your pick:

  • She’s a woman.
  • She’s black.
  • She’s incorruptible.
  • She’s smart.

)) , or perhaps who assume that a black woman is a pro-choice Democrat, but regardless, the DA’s job is not to make the law, and nobody who knows her would say that Hill will not enforce the law. ((The Karpen case that Hooper cites is a good example: if the allegations against Dr. Karpen are founded, I don’t know of any prosecutor in Texas who wouldn’t hammer him for murder. Anyone who thinks Hill would, because of her personal philosophy, throw the case is just plain nuts.))

But the culture-warrior Republicans think the DA’s Office should not investigate whether the allegations are founded. ((First the execution, then the trial!)) They want something done now, which is perfectly understandable, since they are already convinced, but which is a stupid reason to pass over the best candidate for the job. ((Other names that have been mentioned include Ted Poe, who likes being a Congressman, and Joan Huffman, of whom one courthouse wag has truthfully said, “she’s evil, but at least she’s dumb.”))

By default or for good reason, if Belinda Hill wants the job she should be running the Harris County DA’s Office.

7 responses to “Stuff & Nonsense”

  1. I dealt with Belinda Hill when she was a prosecutor. She was tough but fair each time I dealt with her (which was often with Wendell Odom as the lead lawyer on the case.) I had a burglary case in which shots were fired (by a visitor to the home and luckily the children who lived there were away for the night.) I had a terrible offer and made the decision to plead to Judge Hill, who did an LSIR and gave the guy deferred – a true second chance. (This was late in her days on the bench – maybe 2 years ago.) I spoke with Belinda Hill just before she left her bench and joined the DA’s office. She talked about how her view of things had evolved and she felt she was a much better judge than she was in the beginning, etc. I went to her talk when she first joined the DA’s office as first assistant and she said she had an open door for discussions about things and suggestions. I believed her, and continue to believe her. I’m aware of complaints the defense bar has made, particularly through HCCLA, and her responses.

    I like Belinda Hill personally (despite that she is a Republican) and I like her professionally. I hope she is asked to stay on as DA, and I hope she accepts and runs again in the next election. I believe that she brings a lot of knowledge and understanding to the position, and I believe she will not tolerate some of the things that have been tolerated in regimes of the past. Moreover, I believe the ranks respect her which means they will do what is expected from her – which will benefit the defense bar and defendants facing charges.

  2. Hooper is just worried about what the personal ramifications for him would be if Belinda were to be appointed. If he had half a lick of sense (which he doesn’t), he would stop antagonizing. But then again, what do you expect from someone who posted on his own blog that he was celebrating over champagne as two of “them” had cancer (Mike Anderson and me)?

    Belinda is by far and away the best choice. Very few people can be as respected by both the prosecution and the defense and actually still be committed to public service. If Governor Perry does not appoint her, he will be making a loud and clear statement that qualifications had nothing to do with his decision making process.

    • But then again, what do you expect from some­one who posted on his own blog that he was cel­e­brat­ing over cham­pagne as two of “them” had can­cer (Mike Ander­son and me)?

      That’s downright sociopathic.

      • The champagne comment was a response to a post on Murray’s blog, Mark. This was prior to Anderson’s untimely death, actually the evening before? It was taken out of context. As for Murray’s threats just watch Big Jolly today. Elections are a good cleansing opportunity and can cure many ills.

        Murray I am getting tired of taken money from your friends? Poor Jorge now having to pay for Chip Lewis’ ills. Yes, we know about the assets.

        Mark, I really don’t appreciate your comment and Belinda Hill will not be appointed anything or she will be taken out in the primary. Our slate guys have already met and no dice. Allan is scrambling around for candidates and all have turned him down, wisely.

        You still have not addressed the crimes committed in the 185th grand jury. When are you going to write about that?

        • Writing about celebrating anyone getting cancer is sociopathic. It’ll make a nice change to be sued in a state where the losing plaintiff will be required to pay my legal fees.

          Perry may be enough of a dolt to listen to Harris County’s former Republican kingmakers and appoint a second-rate District Attorney to the largest county in Texas. Or he may not—we are, after all, no longer living in the 1990s, when Hotze, Polland, and their ilk got to choose who ran and who won. If Perry had any sense he’d appoint Hill for now, and let the primary sort things out—it’s not as if a Democratic candidate can win anyway.

          Most of us have more immediate and greater concerns than the wrongs committed against your wife. I wrote about it at the time but I, like most of the world, have moved on past the 185th Grand Jury. I’m not saying you should move on, but don’t expect others to share your obsession with vengeance.

  3. I believe I know why Hill wasn’t given the nod. She along with 15 other judges signed a letter back in 2009 requesting our legislators to reduce some drug charges from felonies to misdemeanors. Saw this link on the Chronicle this morning. The Kingmakers apparently thought she would revert to Lyko’s policy of not charging those caught with crack pipes:

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