On Sunday, candidates for the Harris County District Attorney’s race went head-to-head on the issues important to Harris County. This is a hot race to watch not only because Harris County has the largest DA’s office in the state with more than 600 employees, but they also process an average of 110,000 cases annually.
Last year Governor Rick Perry appointed Devon Anderson, the widow of the late DA Mike Anderson, to serve out her late husband’s unexpired term. Anderson is up against Harris County Democratic nominee, Kim Ogg, on this year’s ballot for Harris County District Attorney. The Fox26 panel of Chris Tritico, Mustafa Tameez, and Jacquie Baly moderates as the two candidates answer compelling questions in the first and only debate of the 2014 DA race.
Election Day is November 4th with early voting from October 20th- 31st. Reminder: A valid photo I.D. is required to get your ballot.
To view the full debate, please visit Mustafa’s blog, In the Loop, on Chron.com.
Debate Guidelines: The first round of questions will be directed to both candidates. Each candidate will have one minute to respond. The candidate who goes first will be determined by a coin flip.
Opening Remarks from Devon Anderson and Kim Ogg
The Michael Morton Act
In the last session of the legislature the Michael Morton act was signed into law which requires the prosecution turn over virtually everything in their file to the defense. Do both of you support this act? What should be the sanction for the failure by a prosecutor to comply?
Each year about 13,000 misdemeanor cases are filed. Many defendants sit in jail because they cannot make bond. They lose their jobs and suffer other consequences before even going before a judge. Do either of you support increasing personal bonds monitored by the pre trial services office in these cases?
Ms. Ogg has indicated there are several laws that she will not enforce if elected in November. Why not? Ms. Anderson–do you feel these laws should be enforced? Why or why not?
Thousands of people are charged with marijuana possession each year in Harris County possessing less than 4 oz and they’re jailed, costing tax payers millions of dollars. What is your plan to handle these cases and how is it better than your opponent’s?
First 100 Days
If you are elected on November 4th, what changes to the DA’s office will you make in your first 100 days?
Backlog of Capital Murder and Human Trafficking Cases
Ms. Anderson, you have indicated your office is working to reduce the backlog of capital murder cases and strengthen the human trafficking division. How are these additional resources supported in the budget?
Punish Bad Prosecutors
The job of a prosecutor is to see that justice is done – not just get convictions.
What would you do to a prosecutor who suppressed evidence and/or knowingly used false testimony?
Would you support making such conduct a criminal offense?
Most Important Issue
So what is the most important issue, criminal justice wise, facing the citizens of Harris county and what do you plan to do about it?