Veteran crime victim’s rights lawyer Kim Ogg says District Attorneys should immediately implement changes in the way they review criminal charges of resisting arrest or assault on a police officer.
“Sandra Bland’s death in the Waller County Jail has made international news, but if prosecutors had viewed the Texas Department of Public Safety dash-cam video at the same time they were presented with the arresting officer’s sworn statement, they would never have approved criminal charges against Bland. Absent a criminal charge, Sandra would never have been jailed,” says Ogg.
Ogg says she has the ‘fix.’
Ogg says in cases where police seek to file charges against a citizen for resisting arrest or assaulting a police officer, they could and should be required to produce any existing dash cam or body cam video footage in their custody to prosecutors within 24 hours. This would require prosecutors to review this material in time to assess whether the charge is valid or whether the offender should be released without charges filed. Bland was in jail 72 hours before she died.
Prosecutors say it was a suicide.
“This is a simple solution that will protect citizens and police officers. Scene videos will either be supportive of an officers’ allegations or not, and a quick review by prosecutors charged would protect Harris County citizens from injustices like Sandra Bland suffered.”
Ogg’s further suggests that best practices would invite and encourage third-parties who videotape these encounters to have access to providing digital recordings they make at such scenes to the District Attorney directly during this same time period or even later. Prosecutors would be obliged to review that additional evidence.
Ogg is available at her law office for comment.
3215 Mercer, Suite 100 – Houston, Texas 77027
713.974.1600 . Fax: 713.621.2106
Take a public stand on the HERO ordinance. Today.
“I am the only candidate in this race that has been steadfast in fighting against the efforts of this current mayor and administration to suppress the voting rights of the citizens to be heard on this issue. I am the only candidate in this race who opposed this ordinance.”
Hall says it is a disgrace that so many candidates have refused to take a stand on the ordinance or be willing to fight for Houstonian’s right to vote. As a former Houston City Attorney Hall says he is disgusted city lawyers have been used to wage political warfare for the Mayor’s lifestyle agenda.
“If I am elected Mayor I will always honor the right of voters to petition City Hall. City hall has shamed us all. That will not be tolerated under my watch.”
Houstonians know exactly where I stand. All Mayoral Candidates owe the voters the truth today.
I am not a career politician.
When I ran for my first political office in 2013, I let the Mayor and her friends distort my life.
Like tens of thousands of Houstonians I paid my property taxes just a few months late, and as a businessman and a lawyer I fought with the IRS. Before they were done mischaracterizing my life I was some kind of deadbeat.
This year my family has now been viciously attacked on social media as haters because we signed a petition to have a vote on the definition of gender.
This time I am fighting back. The voting rights of 22000+ who signed the petition and every other Houstonian are at risk as this will set a dangerous precedent for future elections. People lived and died to secure the right to vote for all Americans. As a result, all Americans must protect the right to vote.
Let me make one thing clear. My faith in God is not for sale nor negotiable.
I fought when the long hand of this divisive Mayor reached into the pulpits of our city to subpoena the sacred sermons of ministers.
Maybe that is not smart politics. But, then, I am not a politician. I am a man of faith. I am an independent businessman for change. Unlike some of our career politicians, I am not going to go around trying to buy special interest votes.
Part of our decision was based on law. The current lack of a clear legal definition is dangerous because it might actually protect a heterosexual man who dresses like a woman simply for the chance to sneak into a woman’s restroom and invade their privacy or attack our wives and daughters.
That’s not a gay issue. That’s an issue of public safety.
This issue is very personal to my family. That is why Saundra so much wanted to talk to you and share with you her experience.
The question should not be why Ben and Saundra Hall signed a petition seeking an election. That’s the American way!
The question should be why so many of our politicians are silent. They lack courage!
I will be Mayor for all Houstonians and I will protect all our citizens from illegal discrimination.
Houstonians want someone to tell them the truth about the city’s frightening finances; our broken streets; our crime; a drainage system that floods neighborhoods and kills people.
They also want democracy. The voices of the people must be heard! Let the people vote!
I believe in the rule of law. People fought and died for our right to have a democracy.
That is why I believe Houstonians have a right to petition their government–whether you, my son or my wife agree with the reason for their doing so.
I am not afraid of democracy, but I wonder why so many of our career politicians in Houston are.
My family proudly signed a petition calling for a vote to define gender.
– Ben Hall
530 Lovett Blvd.
WEB SITE www.benhallforhouston.com
It’s been a year long battle. Thursday morning crossfire went back and forth as two EMS board members threatened to stop funding the ambulance service of a half million people in North Harris County.
“It becomes a public safety question and Cypress Creek knows that and it’s just as disingenuous and horrible for Cypress Creek to use the threat of public safety as a reason for a not showing what are clearly public records,” Investigator Wayne Dolcefino said. READ THE STORY
At least two members of the Emergency Service District Board will seek suspension of monthly payments to Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Service at a likely stormy public meeting Thursday morning, July 16, 2015.
Cypress Creek EMS holds the government contract to provide ambulance service for 500,000 residents from Tomball to Spring, but relies on a check of more than $800,000 in property tax dollars from the ESD #11 every month to do it.
The drastic action of trying to cut off funding comes as CCEMS continues to defy the Harris County District Attorney and Texas Attorney General requests for payroll records. CCEMS has refused repeated requests for key documents detailing how public funds were spent, even from the elected government officials who gave them the contract.
CCEMS continues to spend tens of thousands of dollars fighting a criminal charge and has filed two lawsuits against the Texas Attorney General.
CCEMS even refuses to detail how much they are using three ambulances financed by taxpayers last year ESD commissioners tell Dolcefino Consulting the ambulances were supposed to be staffed and responding to calls 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The ESD provided 1.5 million dollars in public funds.
The ESD# 11 meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 16 at 7111 Five Forks in Spring at 9 am.
The Waller County District Attorney has tried to conduct a new criminal investigation into the controversial Highway 6 landfill plan, but he has been stonewalled. Tonight, the bizarre legal issues keeping the public from getting the whole truth.
Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis believed he had a conflict when the criminal allegations first surfaced in 2013. Mathis asked District Judge Jeff Steinhauser to appoint Special Prosecutors After conferring with Fort Bend DA John Healy, two Fort Bend prosecutors were chosen. The rest is history. The Prosecutors didn’t call a single public official to the grand jury, but did issue a rebuke to the county officials about the secret way they were conducting public business.
Earlier this year, Elton Mathis asked for the investigative file of Special Prosecutors on the landfill case. There were specific reasons. During a civil trial over the landfill in late 2014, evidence of violations of state transparency laws were put into evidence. Sworn testimony raised questions of possible perjury by at least one public official.
On April 28, 2015 the special prosecutors wrote back, “Your request for our file is denied.” Not very neighborly, although they did send best wishes along with their rejection.
The letter obtained by Dolcefino Consulting states the Fort Bend special prosecutors have “exclusive jurisdiction as to criminal matters related to the landfill matters.” In other words, Waller DA butt out.
The Special Prosecutors may have been appointed by one judge, but now they are under the jurisdiction of Waller County Judge Buddy Mccaig because of a reshuffling of the courts.
And that raises new troubling questions.
Judge McCaig recused himself in the civil trial challenging the Waller County Commissioners landfill votes. The Judge didn’t say why, but it came right after he criticized the Dolcefino Consulting investigation that exposed secret communications between commissioners and the landfill bosses.
Now it looks like Judge McCaig retains control over the special prosecutors, not Steinhauser, whose Waller County court docket was transferred to McCaig. So is a judge who claimed he had a conflict of interest in the landfill case now the only person who can free the District Attorney to investigate the landfill case?
“Judge McCaig should immediately take steps to figure this out one way or the other, have the special prosecutors release their files to the Waller County District Attorney and let the sunshine in,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting.
Hempstead is a small town, but tonight it has a big legal mess on its doorstep.
The Waller County District Attorney has tried to conduct a new criminal investigation into the controversial Highway 6 landfill, but he has been stonewalled. Tonight, we know why and you will never believe who is trying to stop the whole truth from coming out.
It is the special prosecutors from Fort Bend County who were first assigned to probe the smelly landfill deal.
Earlier this year, Elton Mathis asked for their investigative file on the landfill case. On April 28, 2015 the special prosecutors wrote back, ”Your request for our file is denied”. Not very neighborly, although they did send best wishes along with their rejection.
The letter obtained by Dolcefino Consulting states the Fort Bend special prosecutors have “exclusive jurisdiction as to criminal matters related to the landfill matters”. In other words, Waller DA butt out.
The Special Prosecutors were appointed by Waller County Judge Buddy McCaig. Their investigation ended without a single Waller County official being called before the grand jury. Of course, the makeup of the grand jury was under fire too. It included the wife of a county commissioner, a neighbor to another commissioner, and a Mayor of Pattison.
Judge Mccaig later recused himself in the civil trial challenged the Waller County Commissioners landfill votes. The Judge didn’t say why, but it came right after he criticized the Dolcefino Consulting investigation that exposed secret communications between commissioners and the landfill bosses. Even after the recusal, Judge McCaig retained control over the special prosecutors.
Mathis told the special prosecutors that a civil jury in Waller County found law violations which needed investigations and prosecutions. The deposition testimony of former County Commissioners raised questions.
“Waller County voters have turned the page on good ole’ boy politics, but apparently there are some folks in Fort Bend County who still like that old book”, says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “The special prosecutors did tell Mathis if he had new evidence of criminal activity to tell them what it was. Of course, they would already know what it was if they read the paper.
“It was clear to me a long time ago that those special prosecutors had no interest in doing the right thing, but blocking a prosecutor from doing his job is something entirely different.”
For three years, HISD has been fighting to keep a secret. Namely, e-mails exchanged between Bill King and the Superintendent of HISD Schools Terry Grier.
This week HISD lost the battle. The Texas Attorney General says taxpayers have a right to see them.
HISD first claimed releasing the King e-mails would interfere with a corruption case involving former school trustee Larry Marshall. HISD is no longer part of that lawsuit so they couldn’t use that excuse anymore.
This spring the argument changed. HISD now argued the e-mails would disclose legal advice Bill King gave to the Superintendent. You don’t hear it in the Mayoral commercials, but Bill King was paid $52,800 in tax money in 2012 as a governmental relations lawyer for the school district.
“Taxpayers may not have known it, but they paid Bill King to lobby for that huge 2012 HISD Bond Election, yet HISD has fought to keep secret exactly what he did for the money,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “I think we should know what he did, who he talked to, and whether King was involved in soliciting campaign contributions from contractors.”
It is no secret the FBI has been investigating HISD contracting practices for years. Two years ago, an HISD contractor provided evidence to Dolcefino Consulting of improper payments to Houston School Board Members. That tape recording was also provided to the FB I. Published news reports have explored links between bond contributions and HISD contracts.
It has never been clear why HISD tried to hide Bill King Communications. At the time HISD was being sued by a contractor who claimed at least one school board member was soliciting bribes.
HISD has yet to turn over the e-mails. Stay tuned.
Ridership projections for that controversial $200 Million Dollar Uptown Bus Project will be slashed.
Dolcefino Consulting has learned Metro already knows thousands of potential riders will be cut from the ridership claims made by Uptown.
Uptown has claimed 14,000 people would get on buses going in and out of Uptown by 2018, and used those same inflated numbers to convince city officials Post Oak Blvd needs to be torn up and widened for two exclusive bus lanes.
Metro is conducting a new study of ridership projections, but is already acknowledging the new numbers will be closer to reality; Fewer and slower buses, far less parking at transit centers, some routes no longer counted.
Documents obtained by Dolcefino Consulting spell out key changes.
- Parking at the Bellaire Uptown Transit Center will be cut by several hundred spaces. Only 11 not 14 buses will be providing Uptown Service.
- Buses will move slower than Uptown claimed. Transfer times from the Northwest Transit Center to Uptown buses will be doubled. That alone will make the trip by bus longer than claimed.
- Bus Frequency will be cut in half down Post Oak during much of the day. Instead of trips every 5 minutes during non-rush hours, Metro will recommend 12 minutes is more likely. Uptown suggested nearly half of all the riders taking the bus to Uptown would not be workers, but shoppers. News those shoppers might have to wait at bus stops in the heat for nearly 15 minutes may be a deal killer.
Metro agreed to study the Uptown numbers after Dolcefino Consulting proved one of the routes used in the projection had been discontinued months ago, taking at least 1,000 riders from the projection.
And today TXDOT confirmed the planned flyover from 610 to Uptown won’t be done in 2018. Uptown had claimed the flyover would bring thousands to Uptown in 2018. Metro should release the official results toward the end of summer.
“It is time for Houston City Council members to put the brakes on this project,” says Uptown Property Owners Association Spokesman Jim Scarborough. “These documents literally shred Uptown’s justification for this boondoggle.”
The Harris County District Attorney has subpoenaed five years of payroll records from Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services, setting the stage for yet another showdown on a taxpayer funded ambulance service that simply refuses to play by the rules.
The subpoena was served on CCEMS Chief Executive Brad England, who has led the fight for secrecy, ignoring the District Attorney and the Texas Attorney General. England won’t even divulge how much he makes, although 2013 tax returns put the figure then at nearly $180,000 dollars.
The fight began when Dolcefino Consulting sought records detailing the payroll of CCEMS employees paid with more than 7 million tax dollars from homeowners living between Tomball and Spring. The Harris County District Attorney filed criminal charges against CCEMS last December. CCEMS has filed suit twice against the Texas Attorney General trying to keep records secret.
“The subpoena should just be the start,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “The elected safety commissioners in the area have an obligation to either demand transparency or cut off the money. This is absurd.”
The investigation by Dolcefino Consulting has already uncovered questionable spending, and bidding irregularities in the ambulance service. CCEMS also refuses to disclose the weapons some medics are carrying on ambulances, part of a tactical unit that refuses to share with the public how much it is costing.
CCEMS has a budget of more than 20 million dollars to operate 15 ambulances. The money comes from property taxes and the bills for the 911 service. CCEMS is now spending tens of thousands of those dollars, trying to keep secrets.