Ogg: Welcome to new era of criminal justice

HOUSTON – During her inauguration Monday, Kim Ogg said she was grateful for the chance to serve as the newest Harris County District Attorney, and promised reforms.

Ogg formally took the oath at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, a fact she pointed out during her speech, after a few unplanned stumbles during Monday’s public swearing-in ceremony.

“For any defense lawyers looking to challenge the authority,” Ogg joked.

Ogg started her speech by talking about her dream to hold the office.

“It is a dream I have held in my heart for nearly three decades,” Ogg said. “‘How does it feel to be a Harris County District Attorney?’ That’s the question that nearly everyone asks, and the answer is, ‘Gratitude.’”

Ogg also talked about her desire to help victims of crimes and see justice served.

“This means obtaining a just result for the victim, the accused and the community in every single case,” Ogg said.

Ogg thanked her assistant district attorneys and staff who were present at Monday’s ceremony, and administered their oaths after her speech.

VIDEO: Kim Ogg's post-inauguration speech

The Democrat won nearly 60 percent of the vote during the 2016 election. The win came after a contentious campaign against former Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, a Republican.

Ogg campaigned on victim’s rights after a Channel 2 investigation revealed that a rape victim had been jailed to ensure her testimony at trial.

In mid-December, Ogg informed 37 prosecutors who were part of Anderson’s staff that they would not be invited to be part of her staff. Among them was Nick Socias, the prosecutor who handled the case regarding the rape victim.

The transition from Anderson to Ogg was also testy, with Ogg claiming that some of the outgoing staff were deliberately sowing misinformation to upset victims of current cases.

Despite the controversy, Ogg looked to the future in her speech, emphasizing her vision for the office.

“I welcome all of you to a new era of criminal justice,” Ogg said.

Ogg won office in a Democratic tidal wave that also brought in new Harris county sheriff Ed Gonzales and more than a dozen new Democratic judges.

Rice University political scientist Mark Jones says it’s a sea change in Harris county politics.

“What I think we do see with the election of democratic da, democratic sheriff, and sweep across the board in terms of  democratic judges,” Jones said,  “is a move toward the more progressive side in terms of law enforcement.”

Jones said the resurgence by the Democrats is a trend fueled by the county’s changing demographics that is like to continue in the future.

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