The scandal that lead to the downfall of former Family District Judge Denise Pratt now looks to have the capacity to negatively affect Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson. As the astute will recall, an attorney out of Galveston County by the name of Greg Enos, who last year was behind the scandal and eventual downfall of former Galveston County Court at Law Judge Christopher Dupuy, shepherded the complaints and eventual investigations into Pratt.
Pratt, who oversaw a broad array of family court matters, was accused of gross incompetence and misfeasance while in office. She allegedly deliberately backdated orders, unilaterally dismissed cases and covered up this negligence. The DA’s office investigated her once last year, but then no-billed her. After restarting the investigation earlier this year, Pratt promptly resigned and suspended her re-election campaign.
Now, the Houston Chronicle reports that this resignation was a direct quid-pro-quo for non-prosecution on the part of the DA’s office. Simply put, in exchange for Pratt’s voluntary removal from the judicial system, she would not face any further consequences. No justice for all the victims of Pratt’s terrible reign of incompetence and negligence.
As Kiah Collier at the Chronicle expanded upon later that day, this revelation flies in the face of a previous statement made by Anderson on the topic. Kim Ogg, the Democratic nominee for District Attorney, first brought up the question of impropriety vis-a-vis Anderson and Pratt. This past Tuesday, a spokesperson for the District Attorney, according to the Chronicle, “denied [Pratt’s] departure was tied to an agreement.”
Not the next day, Anderson freely admits that her spokesperson’s statement was patently false. “This office made a hard decision – not to prosecute a difficult case against Judge Pratt in exchange for her voluntary and permanent resignation from the judiciary – and we believe that it was consistent with our primary responsibility to see that justice is done,” the statement read. Do you see the problem here?
“DA Anderson did not pursue Judge Pratt, even after it was clear that she backdated orders,” Ogg said. “Anderson and Pratt shared a political consultant.“
This line of attack is not a novel argument. Allen Blakemore, a prominent Republican strategists, represents both Pratt and Anderson, among countless other Republicans.
There is something to be said as well for just how outraged certain Republicans are at this incident. To say that Pratt’s incompetence as a judge was tied to her Republicanism, even for the most diehard partisans, would be an insulting understatement and oversimplification. Simply put, one’s problems with Pratt should not have been tied to any positions she took on political disputes, they should follow from her “malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfesance” on every issue perquisite to being an effective jurist, such as impartiality and integrity, not to mention intelligence.
Accordingly, it was the Republican political class who best recognized the dangers associated with Pratt, not for being a Republican judge, but for being a bad Republican judge. She damaged the brand of the party, far more than any sophomoric antics on the part of Jared Woodfill or party officers. My colleagues on the other side of the aisle, particularly Rhymes with Right, elucidate this point better than me. While he has not gone so far as dumping Anderson, he certainly remains empathetic with those who have and shares a disdain toward Anderson’s recent moves.
Perhaps the biggest point of the night is that Enos has now decided to continue his crusade after Anderson. Speaking on Facebook earlier, Enos wrote “Devon Anderson is my next target.” For those skeptical of Enos’ power, just remember that we wouldn’t be having this conversation if the DA hadn’t started investigating the complaints lodged by none other than Enos himself.
The next few months will be interesting times. The Mongoose is watching, quite literally.