HOUSTON (FOX 26) - From the outside, the Harris County Courthouse looks exactly like it did one day earlier, but District Attorney-elect Kim Ogg promises major changes are on the way inside the building.
"We are going to usher in a new era of criminal justice," says Ogg.
One primary area where changes are coming is the District Attorney's Office prosecution of sexual assault and sex trafficking cases. The office jailing a rape victim to compel her to testify against her attacker became a major campaign issue. Ogg vows to put the pressure on the rapists and traffickers and not the victims.
Kathryn Griffin Grinan works with women who are in custody at the Harris County jail in those cases. The Democrats captured a large share of the criminal court judgeships. A lot of them are women and Griffin Grinan says those are positive developments.
“I'm grateful to know that women understand women's issues better.” But not everyone agrees.
University of Houston law professor Sandra Guerra Thompson says outgoing District Attorney Devon Anderson was already aggressively pursuing rape cases and that is what led to the rape victim's incarceration. She also says that Harris County has had two female district attorneys and plenty of female judges before -- the only difference now is party affiliation. She adds that Ogg's plans regarding bail and marijuana are of more importance.
"The big changes, the systemic changes are going to come from 'cite and release' and bail reform," says Guerra Thompson. "That's going to impact a ton of people.”
'Cite and release' refers to ticketing people for possessing small amounts of marijuana instead of arresting them.