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Houston Lawyers Choose Anderson to Remain as Harris County DA, But Just Barely

Houston lawyers say they want to see Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson elected to a second term, but just by a hair.

According to the Houston Bar Association's annual judicial preference poll, attorneys picked Anderson over challenger Kim Ogg, 806-787. That slim margin — just 1 percent — stands out in the survey of 42 local and state races, where lawyers largely selected incumbent candidates in lopsided tallies.

In the other administrative race in the survey — which does not serve as an endorsement from the bar association itself — attorneys selected incumbent Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan by a more than two-to-one ratio.

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Anderson has struggled to overcome two scandals involving her office since the summer. In the first, Anderson defended a deputy prosecutor's decision to jail a rape victim to ensure the woman would testify against her attacker. Prosecutors used the woman's testimony to get a conviction, but the DA's office drew nationwide criticism for its handling of the victim.

As news of a massive evidence destruction scandal in Precinct 4 broke in August, local defense lawyers claimed Anderson knew about the missing evidence for months but never informed the defendants in those cases. Anderson has since dismissed more than 100 cases, but the extent of the evidence mishandling, and its effect on pending cases, have yet to be determined.

Ogg, who narrowly lost to Anderson two years ago, seized on both incidents, and has called for an independent investigation of Anderson.

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