For Immediate Release
September 21, 2016
ANDERSON HID KNOWLEGE OF DESTROYED EVIDENCE
Documents received today by the Ogg Campaign reveal the Harris County District Attorney remained silent for months about the destruction of evidence by the office of Precinct 4 Constable, even as hundreds of Harris County residents were being wrongfully convicted.
That is the shocking news today as D.A. Devon Anderson finally released e-mails between Constable Herman’s staff and her prosecutors during the period between February 2016, and Anderson’s public admission on August 19, 2016 that as many as 21,000 pieces of evidence were missing or destroyed.
The emails reveal that in April, Anderson’s office received an email disclosing that more than 400 people had already been convicted in cases where the evidence had already been destroyed, in some cases even before the accused appeared in court. Anderson didn’t notify her own courtroom prosecutors until late August. She didn’t notify defense attorneys and defendants until September 6th.
That is nearly four and a half month’s delay after knowing specific cases where hundreds had been convicted.
Ogg had asked for a Court of Inquiry to be convened by the County’s presiding judge and a special prosecutor to investigate the mass civil rights violations—focusing specifically on Anderson’s delay in notifying her own prosecutors, the defense bar and those who were wrongfully convicted. Ogg today received a response from District Judge Susan Brown, denying her request by citing a "current investigation under way".
"This was not simply a bad decision by Devon Anderson, this was an intentional violation of hundreds of citizens’ constitutional rights," said Ogg. "Lawsuits will be filed, convictions will be overturned, and the tax dollars which should be spent making us safer will be wasted."
The District Attorney has now dismissed more than 100 drug cases; more are certain to follow.
"The Anderson administration’s mismanagement and unethical decisions endanger us all. Jailing rape victims, hiding evidence, and defending the courtroom misconduct of her key personnel don’t make any of us safer. Instead of building a trustworthy justice system, Devon Anderson’s lack of transparency has become a common theme in scandal after scandal."
Justice, Fairness, Safety. For everyone. Those are my promises.