Responding to complaints from the GOTR crew and more importantly, our listeners and fellow citizens, the Office of the District Attorney of Harris County has offered an explanation of what happened this weekend. To say the least, we were disappointed by the weekend’s events and the DA’s office has tried to offer some explanation. Speaking through their Public Information Officer, Jeff McShan, the DA’s office says they are looking at “the big picture.”
As mentioned, a friend of the show was the victim of a burglary last week. This burglary occurred just hours after it was announced that District Attorney Devon Anderson had joined Prosecutors Against Gun Violence, promising to seek solutions against and actively prosecute gun crimes. Just 48hrs later, her office was presented with a an opportunity to deliver on those promises. McShan says his boss is “tough on crime,” but having her Assistant District Attorney refuse mutliple charges seemed like a contradiction and joining PAGV, co-chaired by New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., and Los Angeles City Attorney, Mike Feuer, neither of whom are known to be friendly to gun owners, likely does her no favors among the conservative voters she’ll need for her re-election campaign.
So, what is the long version of this “big picture” explanation? Well, according to McShan, the ADA refused charges of burglary because in the eyes of the court, simply possessing the guns does not mean they had anything to do with the burglary. As someone who once found himself in possession of a stolen gun, I’ll vouch for that answer and that answer alone with one critical exception. In my case, I never wavered in the facts of how I came to possess the gun and everything I told the cops was readily verified by everyone involved. Well, everyone except the suspect originally involved in the burglary who, if I remember correctly, was already in a hospital with multiple blunt force injuries when police went looking for him. In this case however, the suspects’ stories about how they came into possession of the stolen guns changed multiple times and were in conflict with each other during their encounter with police. In law enforcement, I’m told they call this a clue. An indicator of deception if you will. You know…A lie. But it’s not proof they knew the guns were stolen according to the ADA. And so, she also refused charges of possession of stolen property. By the way, this is where that “big picture” argument comes in.
You see, the claim is that the ADA who took the call from deputies, knew that a conviction for possession of stolen property might be easy but, could mean a short sentence…As little as six months. So with that in mind, the ADA instructed the deputies to release the suspects, seize the weapons and refer the case to investigators. You see, if investigators can make a burglary arrest, that is a 2nd degree felony. A 2nd degree felony punishable by a minimum of 2 years or a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. So why not arrest them AND investigate them? Well, because again, the ADA was “looking at the big picture.” You see, the DA’s office says that possession charge, which they originally said might be an easy conviction, might also be an easily dismissed by a judge. Again, Anderson believes her ADA made the right call. Be that as it may, it was only after the deputies made their fourth and fifth call to the ADA, citing chapter and verse of Chapter 46 of the Texas penal code regarding possession of prohibited ammunition in this case, that charges were finally accepted and an arrest made. The suspects have since bonded out on that charge and have a pending court date for it.
One hopes there really is an ongoing investigation regarding the suspects’ involvement in the burglary. But the “big picture” in our experience, being that it’s a burglary with no loss of life or significant injury, would suggest that further investigation is unlikely. The DA may be tough on crime but, burglaries are rarely listed as “cleared” by law enforcement agencies. Burglaries, in the big picture, are not considered “violent” crimes that police agencies consider a priority. I honestly hope that isn’t the case here but, having experienced my own burglary, I have little faith that anything more will come of this case. Conviction is not assured and there’s an election coming. At the end of the day, the district attorney’s job is to convict the accused and get re-elected. This case does not figure into that equation but, maybe, just maybe, Anderson will prove me wrong.