Preview Of The Harris County District Attorney's Race

From left to right: Republican Mike Anderson and Democrat Lloyd Oliver
A KUHF-KHOU poll shows a close race for Harris County District Attorney. Results show Republican Mike Anderson leading Democrat Lloyd Oliver 41 to 36 percent. Nineteen percent say they're still undecided. The election pits a longtime defense attorney against a career prosecutor and judge.

 

The Democratic candidate for Harris County District attorney has had a controversial legal career.  Lloyd Oliver has been indicted on three occasions but he's never been convicted.  He's also survived an attempt by his own party to take him off the ballot after his primary victory.  That was because of his endorsement of Republican incumbent Pat Lykos, who was defeated in the party primary. 

But Oliver says party affiliation shouldn't matter.

"What you want is to be safe in your homes and your person, and you want a district attorney that will enforce the law and protect you and your loved ones and your property. That's my first priority."

Oliver has been a criminal defense attorney for 40 years. He says he's spent much of his career representing low-income clients charged with misdemeanor offenses.  If elected, Oliver says he'd like to focus much of his attention on the juvenile division, supporting prosecutors with heavy case loads and offering diversion programs to young first-offenders.

Oliver has also made comments concerning domestic violence cases.  He questions whether all cases need to go to court when someone has been hit.

"And then after a few days, she wants him back home, she still loves him, he still loves her. They've got children. They're all loving and kissing and hugging and making up.   They just want the state of Texas to stay out of their lives now. By then of course they've involved the police and the courts and the bondsmen and the lawyers and the D.A.'s office."

But the Republican candidate takes issue with Oliver's domestic violence stance.  Mike Anderson spent 17 years as a prosecutor before serving 12 years as a district court judge.

"It seldom goes from a slap to non-violence. It climbs and it escalates. And oftentimes unfortunately, we find ourselves dealing with very serious injury or death as a result of this cycle."

Anderson says if he's elected District Attorney, he wants to improve morale. He says that includes retaining experienced prosecutors and providing extensive training for those who are just starting out.

"I think prosecutors need to have the discretion that I think the law intends for them to have. And if they have that and they work hard,  and they take care of their cases, cases will move more quickly. Justice will be served more quickly."

Harris County voters will choose the new DA next Tuesday. 

 

Tonight at 10 p.m., KHOU11 examines the five city bond issues, Houston Community College and HISD.

For the KUHF-KHOU poll and election coverage, visit kuhf.org/election2012.

Bio photo of Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

Gail Delaughter joined KUHF in October 2008 as Saturday morning news anchor and host. A native of New Orleans and a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, Gail has extensive experience in Texas and Louisiana as a radio news reporter and morning show anchor and co-host...