Harris County DA’s Office forced to turn over key information to defense attorneys in Harding Street investigation

State’s highest criminal court says “offense reports” are “statutorily required” to be disclosed by DA Kim Ogg

Bullet holes are seen in the walls of a southeast Houston home Jan. 29, 2019, after a police raid that turned into a shootout the day before.
Bullet holes are seen in the walls of a southeast Houston home Jan. 29, 2019, after a police raid that turned into a shootout the day before. (KPRC)

HOUSTON – The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is legally being forced to turn over key reports from their investigation into the deadly Harding Street raid.

This comes after a ruling last week by the Court of Criminal Appeals for the State of Texas.

District Attorney Kim Ogg and her team did not want to turn over documents requested by defense attorneys, claiming the reports were part of their own investigation and “that the requested information amounted to “work product,” which is statutorily exempted from disclosure,” according to the court in its opinion. The court goes on to add, “The trial court ordered the disclosure of the information after determining that the requested information amounted to “offense reports,” which Relator (Kim Ogg) is statutorily required to disclose.”

The decision, according to lawyers involved in the legal battle to obtain the reports, is the fifth time the court has forced the DA’s Office to turn over the requested information.

“I think it’s a victory for the rule of law and a loss for Kim Ogg’s ongoing attempts to circumvent the rule of law,” said Nathan Hennigan, a criminal defense attorney involved in the Harding Street cases.

Denial (KPRC 2)

“We have notified defense lawyers that material is ready for pick up from our offices this morning. Civil Rights Division prosecutors remain focused on delivering justice for Dennis Tuttle, Rhogena Nicholas and the entire community, and we look forward to presenting all the evidence to Harris County jurors,” said Dane Schiller, spokesman for Harris County District Attorney’s Office.

Hennigan says he and others involved in the defense of multiple HPD officers are glad to finally see the reports they felt they were entitled. Hennigan calls the DA’s office “the least transparent” and added that he looks “forward to finding out what she has been hiding.”

Hennigan says the whole case and the actions of the DA’s office in this fight are “unprecedented”.

“I think it’s ironic Kim Ogg campaigned on a platform of making evidence based decisions in light of her unwillingness to turn over potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense in the Harding Street Raid cases that they are clearly entitled…” said Brian Wice, KPRC 2′s legal analyst.

The Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest court for criminal matters, also denied Ogg’s office earlier this week of their suggestion for reconsideration of the opinion given by the court.

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