Activists on the left and the right should celebrate the decisions since it makes it easier for them to shine a spotlight on the inner workings of organizations they think necessary.
But there are concerns that the elected district attorney felt political heat due to the coming election, which led to the decision to drop the charges.
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Criminal charges against the anti-abortion activists behind undercover recordings of a Houston Planned Parenthood facility were dismissed Tuesday.
David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, the videographers who infiltrated Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, had been charged with tampering with a governmental record, a second-degree felony charge that carries up to 20 years in prison. A court clerk confirmed that the Harris County district attorney's office filed the motion to dismiss the case against Daleiden and Merritt.
Harris County DA Devon Anderson said in a statement that Texas limits what can be investigated after a grand jury term gets extended, which happened in this case.
"In light of this and after careful research and review, this office dismissed the indictments," Anderson said.
Daleiden and Merritt were accused of using fake California driver’s licenses to enter the Planned Parenthood facilities where they recorded staff discussing the costs of providing fetal tissue for research.
The tampering with a governmental record count was the last remaining charge against the activists. A Harris County judge in June tossed a second charge against Daleiden — a misdemeanor charge for offering to sell or buy fetal tissue — because of a technical problem with the indictment filed by prosecutors.
Daleiden’s team had asked a judge to dismiss his indictments, alleging they were a result of improper proceedings by prosecutors and that the grand jury — originally asked to investigate Planned Parenthood, not the videographers — exceeded its authority.