Harris County’s chief elected law enforcement and legal officer is now admitting that her office violated the law while prosecuting David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt in the well-reported Planned Parenthood Case.

Daleiden filed a motion to quash the indictment against him on the grounds of collusion between Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson’s office and Planned Parenthood.

In a brief responding to the request to quash, the DA’s office refers to their sharing of the Center for Medical Progress videos with Planned Parenthood, “a harmless, technical violation,” of the law. The brief goes on to refer to the violation as an inconsequential oversight. But, the “oversight” cannot be overlooked, especially after many have questioned Anderson’s intentions regarding the indictments, and the relationship between Planned Parenthood and Anderson’s office.

Although the indictment shouldn’t have been made public before the warrant for Daleiden and Merritt’s arrest was issued, Anderson’s office says that because the defendants made no attempt to avoid apprehension, there was no problem. “But because the procedural irregularity was minor and harmless… It does not require that Defendant’s indictment to be quashed.” In other words, because the DA believes there was no negative outcome for her legal missteps, the defendant’s request to quash is unwarranted.

When questions arose about the reasoning for the indictment, Anderson said that she was following the law regardless of her personal beliefs. But, if she followed the law in regard to indicting two journalists, why is it then ok to use her discretion when it comes to following the law regarding procedure?

There has been much to question during the Planned Parenthood proceedings regarding the DA office’s motives and methods.

In April, Anderson attempted to use her position to pressure Don Hooper – a Houston blogger who regularly writes on local issues – away from speaking at a Daughter’s of Liberty (DOL) event.

Hooper, who has been openly critical of Anderson’s handling of the case, was asked to speak regarding the prosecution of the two pro-life journalists. Anderson used her consultant, an associate at Blakemore & Associates, to pressure the DOL to rescind Hooper’s invitation. When that didn’t work she decided to step in herself.

After calls and emails to the DOL president failed to work, she reached out to the DOL board and members to persuade them, claiming they could lose their Texas Federation of Republican Women affiliation if they hosted Hooper.

The board responded in an open letter saying, “We are alarmed that DA Devon Anderson would make inaccurate statements regarding our upcoming April 21 meeting with our guest speaker, Mr. Don Hooper.” To Anderson’s dismay, the speech took place as expected. Both Anderson’s consultant and her sister-in-law attended to record the speech and, to no avail, to intimidate Hooper.

Hooper has long asserted that the DA was colluding with Planned Parenthood, which is why the two journalists were indicted when the investigation was originally supposed to be into Planned Parenthood’s actions.

Anderson openly admits that her office broke the law, but she deems it an “oversight” and “harmless.” What message does that send when the county’s chief elected law enforcement and legal officer is exempt from legal wrongdoing because she determines the error was harmless? That is not justice.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.