Elections are coming up and prosecutors across the nation are facing a shift in what voters want from their District Attorney. U.S. citizens are starting to ask for more progressive criminal reform instead of the standard “tough on crime” approach many prosecutors have utilized.
This may be because of the recent string of scandals surrounding prominent District Attorney’s Office across the United States. One of these is the current Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson. She had won her first election on a change agent platform that also framed her as tough on crime. However, Anderson’s promise has gone on unfulfilled.
Anderson has become the subject of hot debate after her treatment of a witness in 2015. Jane Doe (a name given to protect the identity of the victim) who was supposed to testify against Keith Hendricks. The man had committed a violent crime against her while she was homeless. The witness wasn’t notified he’d be in the courtroom with her before trial. During testimony, Jane Doe went into hysterics and left the courtroom crying. The outburst may have stemmed from her bipolar disorder and symptoms of schizophrenia.
Doe was admitted to a mental hospital but was jailed for more than a month after she was discharged. The move was to ensure she gave testimony in Hendricks case and was ordered by Devon. Jane Doe suffered injuries in prison and was never admitted to their mental health unit.
Tyler Flood, our managing attorney at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc., gave a statement about Anderson’s decisions. “If you have two doors right now, and number one is the right one and number two is the wrong one, she has a real knack for choosing number two, the wrong door.”
Prosecutors such as Anderson have given Americans pause in how they vote this year. We may see an influx of progressive prosecutors who want to reform crime and lessen convictions.