Wednesday, December 21, 2016

From the Houston Chronicle: Shake-up at the courthouse: Incoming DA Ogg hands pink slips to 37 top prosecutors

Harris County's new District Attorney is changing the direction of the office.

- Click here for the article.
In her first major action as Harris County's incoming district attorney, Kim Ogg announced Friday she had shown 40 prosecutors the door in a massive shake-up that eliminated a senior level of supervisors and career trial attorneys.

Ogg, who was elected in November as the county's chief prosecutor, notified 37 attorneys Friday that their services would not be needed when she takes office Jan. 1. Three others retired before Ogg's emails went out.

"Change is coming," she told reporters after news broke that more than 10 percent of the 329 lawyers in the DA's office would not be returning in the new year. "Like any good team that has suffered some under-performing seasons, we're changing management. My administration is heading in a new direction."

The terminations had been expected as Ogg - who ran on a campaign of reform - installs her own lieutenants and administrators with a new organizational structure.

. . . Under Anderson, the district attorney's office has a hierarchy that includes about six bureau chiefs, more than 20 division chiefs and dozens of trial and section chiefs who oversee staff lawyers.

Ogg got rid of a number of Anderson loyalists and some prosecutors tied to scandals that have erupted over Anderson's three-year tenure.

Ogg said the majority of her termination decisions fell on longtime employees who worked as supervisors. She declined to discuss specific employees but said her primary focus was to eliminate management positions created by her predecessor.

"It's a difficult process and one that is entirely necessary," she said. "Of the lawyers who were released or given the opportunity to resign, most are eligible to retire. Few of them handle cases on a day-to-day basis."

Some of the highest-ranking prosecutors to go include First Assistant Belinda Hill, Chief of Staff Kathy Braddock and top lieutenants Maria McAnulty, Karen Morris, Roe Wilson, Dick Bax and Jane Waters, all of whom were bureau chiefs. Craig Goodhart and Terrance Windham, who also were bureau chiefs, recently retired.

Other well-known prosecutors who were asked to leave the office include three division chiefs: Julian Ramirez over civil rights; Bill Moore over major frauds; and Lance Long over the major narcotics cases. Also notified that they will be leaving are Alison Baimbridge, who prosecuted high-profile DWI cases and other vehicular homicides; Alan Curry, an appellate chief who successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court; and Inger Chandler, who headed the conviction review section.

I'll hunt around for an organizational chart of the office - both old and new. It'll add useful content for 2306.

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