She has a lot of positions to fill, and a lot of work to do.
Several well-known defense lawyers will take top posts in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office under incoming DA Kim Ogg, her transition team announced Friday.
Vivian King, a prominent attorney who was an accountant for 10 years before becoming a lawyer, will be chief of staff in a reorganized office. She will oversee budgets, operations and other day-to-day running of the office.
David Mitcham will be Interim First Assistant and trial bureau chief, overseeing the majority of the 300 prosecutors in the office, supervising the trial bureaus and special prosecution divisions.
Dividing those responsibilities between two positions is a new way to organize the office. Historically, the elected district attorney’s second-in-command – the first assistant – has handled all of those duties.
Other notable hires include Jim Leitner, who was First Assistant under former DA Pat Lykos and will supervise the intake and grand jury divisions.
Other well-known attorneys who will take top posts include JoAnne Musick, who will supervise the sex crimes unit, and Carvana Cloud, who will be over the family criminal law unit, the division that prosecutes domestic violence.
Former Houston City Councilmember Sue Lovell will work as a special contractor as a government affair liaison.
See here for some background. This earlier version of the story includes a few other names. I can’t say I’m crazy about the Leitner appointment, since he just tried to oust Vince Ryan as County Attorney, but the rest look pretty solid. Tapping the defense bar for talent may look unusual, but it’s not. Former prosecutors become defense attorneys all the time – it’s just two sides of the same coin – and both Ogg and Vivian King had spent time as assistant DAs in the past. And if your mandate is to clean up and reform a DA’s office that really needs it, then you are by necessity going to look outside that office for the people who will help you carry it out. Maybe having a few people in the DA’s office who understand there’s more to justice than getting convictions is what that place needs.