Houston - Houston Police Union President Joe Gamaldi has been speaking out about criminal justice reform in Harris County for some time. He says the results of the reform measures taken by Harris County District attorney Kim Ogg have led to the 23% increase in aggravated assaults and the 48% increase in murders in the county.
Harris County District Attorney’s Office Response
"Here we go again with Joe – ready, fire aim! He doesn’t let the facts get in the way of a good sound bite; Joe has not been part of any criminal investigation or even made an arrest in years. This is the same guy who called the two citizens murdered on Harding Street “Dirt Bags.”
As for the cases you ask about:
Joshua Kelsey - The case against Kelsey was lousy and he had no prior arrests for violent crimes. The police couldn’t even place the gun in his hand at the scene. Let’s be realistic, there is no way that anyone could envision that someone who doesn’t’ typically have a violent past is going to go on and years later commit these horrible murders. Now we have him locked away and he faces the prospect of life in prison or the death penalty if convicted.
Randy Lewis – Randy Lewis had a long mental history – he was schizophrenic. A judge decided to release him on bond and ordered that instead of keeping him in jail, he go to a personal care facility from which he quickly absconded. The judge did not even issue an arrest warrant after Lewis disappeared and therefore the police didn’t even know to look for him. We dispute any hastily scrawled note by a clerk that indicates that we agreed to a personal recognizance for someone with a violent past. That would be against our policy; we don’t make such agreements and to be clear, bond is always determined by judges. That is their job.
Clayton Bryant – The record shows that a judge decided to free him on several felony bonds when prosecutors asked that he be denied bond. Previous charges of felon in possession of a weapon and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon were thrown out by a judge who ruled that the cases made by police was so weak it did not even establish probable cause.
Our prosecutors are dedicated public servants who work around the clock with fine officers from dozens of law enforcement agencies across Harris County to keep the public safe." Dane Schiller, spokesman for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office
Here's the What's Your Point panel's take on the topic.