A Very, Very Rare Purge Begins At The DA's Office

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It was an odd mix of feelings around the tables at Char Bar last night, as the prosecutors who had just been given their pink slips from incoming DA Pat Lykos gathered to meet with sympathizers.

No one wants to lose a job in this economy, of course; on the other hand, some had been vocal supporters of Lykos's opponents and, as one attendee told Hair Balls, "they know elections have consequences."

Not in the Harris County DAs office, though, for at least 40-odd years. The DAs office has been the home of the "smooth transition," which generally meant keeping the same administration as your predecessor.

That changed with Lykos's win.

Among those out: Murray Newman, who has been writing (anonymously, until now) the entertaining blog Life at the Harris County Justice Center. As he tells it:

It was a letter from Lykos thanking me for my service, but letting me know that my services were not needed under her administration. I found it a bit disingenuous considering the letter she had sent all District Attorney employees after the Republican primary run-off where she told us all that as long as we didn't campaign for Bradford that our jobs would be okay.

Wow. Never trust a politician. Who knew?

So, anyway, I read my "thanks for trying 55 felony cases more than I will ever try" letter from Lykos and calmly put it back in the envelope.

Brian Wice, noted defense attorney, TV expert and one of the people who was at the Char Bar, notes that the defense bar isn't crying foul over the moves.

"Let's face it, it's not as if this wasn't an administration in need of some 'residing,' so to speak," he says.

The purge -- which included first assistant DA Bert Graham, who's been a prosecutor for almost 40 years -- is not expected to end with the moves announced yesterday.

-- Richard Connelly

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