05/28/24 Kim Ogg District Attorney

Moral High Ground
Kim Ogg
Harris County Texas District Attorney

Kim Ogg is the District Attorney of Houston/Harris County Texas.  Topics include police corruption, judicial disparity, millions of traffic stops, prohibition of drugs, of words, porno, books, abortion & birth control and those who love to prohibit. MUCH MORE!

Audio file

Reverend Becker: (00:00)
Those who believe in drug war, do not believe in public safety because of law enforcement's stubborn belief in this policy. Criminals around the world make hundreds of billions of dollars each year selling ever more deadly and contaminated substances. I am Dean Becker, the Reverend Most high broadcasting and standing upon moral high ground . Very special show for you today. I am Dean Becker, the Reverend Most High, and we have with us in studio, the district attorney of Houston slash Harris County, Texas. Ms. Kog. Hello Kim. 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (00:44)
Hello, Dean. My old friend. 

Reverend Becker: (00:46)
Yes, indeed. We are friends, aren't we? I, I was doing a little digging, you know, trying to locate when we first met up. And the, the best I can come up with is a picture of a normal N-O-R-M-L meeting where, uh, Keith Strop was there, I guess by special invitation. He was then head of normal, and, uh, that's when I was doing, or was president of Houston normal. And that's well over 20 years ago. So we've been friends a long time, huh? We, 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (01:13)
We have, and we've shared the same views about the drug war and our policies in America, and how the criminal justice system has handled it. And, uh, I've had the opportunity to have a direct hand and front row seat. And so we've had some good conversations. I look forward to another one. 

Reverend Becker: (01:30)
Thank you. Uh, and it, it is been my privilege, I would say since, uh, Chuck Rosenthal was district attorney to have interviewed every, uh, um, every working district attorney and the candidates I'd, uh, um, moderated a couple of debates between, uh, Lycos and Bradford back when, and the sad thing is, is the, the, the door was open when I was just talking about weed. I think most people were willing to, uh, uh, come on the show and, and talk about the need for change there. But since I have become a quote, the world's legalizing, its legalize. A lot of folks don't want to talk to me anymore. That includes the, uh, past mayor, uh, the, uh, the past police chief, uh, and our current sheriff, though he, he did interview with me back, uh, when he was first running for office. And I guess what I'm, I'm wanting to say is that the, the task is, uh, it's scary to some people who are not informed enough. I, I think is really it. And I tell all of these people, I'm willing to educate them, talk to of them off air, explain exactly why I believe what I believe. But thus far, I'm not having any luck. 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (02:43)
Well, Dean, politics and the drug war have been intertwined since the very beginning, since the inception of the idea. And it's hard to take the politics out of the drug war. And so I think the public craves and needs public officials who will speak, honestly, say the same thing before different groups. And I've always thought that your perspective, well, I don't agree with all of it. I don't agree with all of almost anybody, uh, any, anything, uh, people say. So I think it's important to just listen to other people's perspectives and see what points of common ground we have. And you and I have quite a few 

Reverend Becker: (03:21)
Now. Um, sadly, I have been in contact with our current mayor, uh, uh, I almost wanna say Senator Whitmire, but, uh, uh, he has been a guest in the past. And I, I have something here I captured back. Um, well now, 11 years ago, uh, I was at a conference here in Houston at the, uh, um, Texas Southern University, a drug drug conference. And I saw a man sitting in a chair. He was weeping, just tears coming down his eyes. And I went over and talked to him. And it turned out it was senator then, Senator Whitmeyer, who was feeling, uh, understanding the drug war a little better that day, I think, from the information being presented. And we had a discussion, and then we wound up having, uh, an interview. And I, I wanna share a little bit of that interview with you and, and to ask you, uh, mayor, please come on the show. I'm, I don't bite. Please play the track. 

Houston Mayor Whitmire: (04:21)
I helped some that are leaving prison in a reentry program. So yeah, it's just a wrong thing to do, to lock up somebody that's, uh, not a threat to anyone. 

Reverend Becker: (04:30)
Yes, sir. Um, you know, there's a situation, I can't remember the exact year. Was it 2008 or oh nine or so? Uh, a bill went through House Bill 2391 saying no longer necessary to arrest or jail anybody for four ounces or less than marijuana for graffiti and check writing under $500. And yet, uh, only the, I think it's the police chief of Austin has taken advantage of that. Yeah. When I interviewed Judge Lycos, uh, DA Lycos here in Harris County, she said it would create too much paperwork. Yeah. And, and yet the legislature passed it. The governor signed it, and they choose to ignore it. Your response, sir? 

Houston Mayor Whitmire: (05:08)
Well, obviously I voted for it and think it makes a lot of sense. We just, we gotta keep people with their families on the job. Let people be taxpayers instead of a burden to the state. Prisons. Jails ought to be for public safety. You don't have to lock people up. You should not lock up people that pose no public safety risk, place 'em in other programs. 

Reverend Becker: (05:34)
Yes, sir. Now, as I indicated when I started off here, the more and more politicians, newspapers, broadcasters, Mm-Hmm. , people are recognizing the futility of this a hundred year war, aren't they? Sure. 

Houston Mayor Whitmire: (05:47)
Well, we sure as hell tried to build our way out of it and, uh, lock as many folks as we could. And that didn't work. Uh, actually, uh, treatment and diversion and alternatives to incarceration have proved a lot more effective. Now, you'll always have a bad element, a dangerous element that you need to lock up, but you need to identify those individuals and don't paint defendants with a broad brush. You got dangerous ones, and then you got some that, for lack of a better word, are just a nuisance. And you can fix those people. 

Reverend Becker: (06:22)
Yes, sir. And, and all too often, like say for instance, somebody busted for a check for $20, he can't get outta jail. He loses his job, maybe his apartment, his car, his girlfriend. And, uh, if it's a marijuana charge, he can't even find a job. Hence, forward. Uh, your thoughts, sir? 

Houston Mayor Whitmire: (06:41)
Well, I believe in rehabilitation. I believe in giving people a second chance. Sometime a third chance. So, speaks for itself. 

Reverend Becker: (06:48)
Yes, sir. It does. Uh, well, Senator Whitmire, I, I want to tell you once again how I admire your courage. Okay? Uh, once again, that was then Senator, uh, John Whitmeyer. He's now our mayor here in Houston. Uh, you took, I, I don't know if I'm gonna say advantage. You understood what he was talking about with that misdemeanor marijuana situation. And you created a, a unique program here in Houston that's saved thousands of people from going to prison, right? I mean, from going to jail. 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (07:15)
It, it really has. I met a guy at the Rodeo Barbecue, said, Kim, your alternative solutions program saved my life. So marijuana is a commonly used substance. It is illegal in some states. It is legal in others. It creates a great deal of confusion for people, especially young people. We know that it's illegal in Texas, and the DA can't change the law. But what I did is work with all the police agencies to basically establish a non-res pre-charge program where the drugs are confiscated, the individual's instructed to go to a class, if they have sufficient resources, they pay for it. If not, it's free. And their case is, uh, never filed. If they never go to class, then we have the option during the statute of limitations period to file the case. This is saved literally tens of thousands of people from criminal records for simple possession of marijuana under four ounces. 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (08:13)
It is not limited to first offenders. Now, this was the hardest sell to law enforcement. They all believed that their efficiency was at stake, takes four hours to book somebody one joint. You do the math, it's just not worth it. And police chiefs understood that, because the public wants to be protected from burglars and rapists and robbers. So the hardest part was making it applicable to everyone regardless of their criminal history. Now, let me tell you what that entails. If somebody's been convicted of murder, and they're out on the street, and they get caught with marijuana, just like the first time offender, the marijuana is confiscated. If it's under four ounces and that person is directed to a class, some people say, well, because of the past bad criminal behavior of those offenders, they shouldn't be eligible. But my thought is, we just don't want to fill up our jails with people that the mayor described as folks we're mad at. Not that we're afraid of. Jail space is a critical resource. We need it for the violent criminals that we have waiting for trial. And there are thousands of them. So I'm super proud of the marijuana program that we put through. And I've heard Whitmeyer as Mayor Mirror and say the very things he said before he was mayor while he was Dean of the Senate. So I haven't seen any deviation there, and I support whit programs. His, his philosophy. And to the best of my knowledge, he supported my programs. 

Reverend Becker: (09:38)
Right. No, and, and look, I, I, again, I know I scare people because I, I believe I have the answers. I've toured the world. I've talked to the drug Za Portugal many times. I've talked to, uh, the head of the Global Commission on Drugs, former president of Switzerland, Ruth Dreyfuss. She's a friend of mine. She, she, she salutes what I'm doing. She hopes I make 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (10:01)
Pro. So Dean, I don't think you're very scary at all. . What you are is educated, informed, and you're an advocate. It's politics that keeps people off your show. They're concerned that something they say will be used by their opponent or misinterpreted or fed, you know, as part of a negative message about them. And that's the problem with politics right now. People need to stop being afraid of it. Who want to be public servants tell people the truth. And I believe the public responds to that. 

Reverend Becker: (10:30)
Um, I'm aware of just a couple of people. Beto O'Rourke is one. Uh, there's a gentleman up in, uh, Washington State, uh, Roger Goodman. He's a legislator up there. Uh, and they have, we have communicated a lot in this regard, and they are two of the most bold people I know of that are willing to talk on this subject, because they, they both have thanked me for a portion of their education. They did most of it on their own. But I, I think I give them the final plank they need to, uh, to go across this divide. Well, 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (11:03)
You've researched the problem. You've gathered evidence. And in my training, we base our judgment on the evidence. And the evidence has led you to believe that the drug war's a failure. It's led me to believe that as well. And that's part of why I wanted to make the important and somewhat radical changes. It's always so interesting to me that Houston absorbed my marijuana program without so much as blinking an eye. Right? There was not mayhem in the streets. People did not run around tearing their clothes off. And, uh, public safety was not impacted. Had I not been a lawyer of 29 years, when that program came on, I might have been as scared as the next politician, but I felt that it would not impact public safety. And therefore, Houstonians would support it. Not necessarily 'cause they were pro weed, but because they're smart on crime. 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (11:54)
And know that our jail resources, our court resources, and the records that we give people that needs to be directed at those who are dangerous to our community, who steal from us, who rape and rob and murder, that's who the justice system is intended for. And drugs and drug use. If society wants to do something about it, then treatment is the way to direct people. And a lot of people do want treatment. I don't think for marijuana. They want treatment, but they do for things like fentanyl and meth and other drugs. And it's important to provide it. And we do. 

Reverend Becker: (12:32)
Thank you once again, that was Kim Ogg, the district attorney of, uh, Harris County, Texas. Kim, um, you know, last time we talked, I, I was getting into kind of some nitpicky stuff, the stuff that aggravates me. Uh, I was just talking to your, your security man out here, who, who agrees with some of what I said that cops are, are, uh, have become too dominant, too controlling, too, uh, needy, I think is really the word. And we, we had, and, and not paying attention to what they need to do. There was a situation happened down in, was it Sealy or Seabrook? Uh, about a year ago, a lady got arrested for some minor charge. They wrestled with her, they got her in cuffs, laid her on the ground, and it wound up her face was laying in an ant bed, and the cops left her there while they talked. 

Reverend Becker: (13:21)
And who knows, uh, ignored her. And she wound up with over 300 ant bites on her face and neck. And that to me, is it, and then it took a year for the video to be released of this situation. And next week, I'm gonna have, uh, uh, her attorney I'll, to see if I can think of it, is gonna be on with us to talk about that situation. But it's indicative of maybe lack of care for those they serve. There's another lady that was arrested, put in a car that was parked on a railroad track, and the railroad, uh, the, the, the car, excuse me, the engine came along and knock the car, you know, 500 yards down the road. And I guess what I'm saying is they get so caught up in detail and check marks and stuff. They don't pay attention to humans and that obligation. Please talk about that. 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (14:15)
Well, I hate generalities because the police officers that I know who do perform their job well, hate to hear about work with or learn that other officers fail in their most basic duties. When someone is in the custody of law enforcement, we have responsibility for their safety. See, the Harris County Jail, people should not be dying in the Harris County Jail. Then when you look at the investigative process, police are great at investigation, but just like lawyers who police themselves and doctors who police themselves, yeah, cops are not the best police of themselves. And the only alternatives are other police agencies. And that blue blood really does run thicker than water. It's very difficult to get a objective investigation of one police agency or officer by another. That's just the reality. It's the same in in the practice of law. So we've gotta come up with a more objective way of dealing with officers who violate the civil rights of ordinary citizens. 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (15:29)
In my administration, in the last seven and a half years, we had the benefit of randomly selected grand juries. Now, why is this? Why does it matter? When judges selected grand juries, you definitely had participants who were law and order. Uh, they, they leaned law and order. This was bad for civil rights investigations and prosecutions, because it requires a grand jury to look at the illegal actions or potentially illegal actions of police. Hey, that's uncomfortable. We like police. We're trained to call the police when we're in trouble. Indict a policeman. Ooh, that's scary. It was hard to find prosecutors to fill the division. Wow, my job could be on the line. And yet I found dedicated people who would take cases to the grand jury. And we let the community decide whether there's probable cause to charge those police officers. We never make the de the, uh, decision independently. 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (16:31)
So why do we do that? I do it specifically for the reason that I want the community to participate in their democracy. This is not a thumbs up, thumbs down decision by some Caesar like, da, this is the community judging a policeman's actions against a, an ordinary citizen. I will tell you that practice is not followed in many jurisdictions in the country, or even in Texas, even up in Austin with, uh, a very self-identifying, uh, left-leaning da, uh, they make more unilateral decisions. I don't believe in that. I want the community to decide, I want my fellow Houstonians to say, prosecute this cop or don't with their decision behind it. We just feel more confident that we're making the right decision. It's hard for us. We work with cops every day. So those civil rights complaints, Dean, you give us some terrible examples. I hate hearing about that, and I hope that those individuals got justice. 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (17:36)
I know in this county, we try and it remains difficult for juries to convict police. Interestingly enough, we have all democratic judges, but we will see evidence suppressed right and left when there's a cop on trial. Hmm. Uh, and that's because there's a strong police union that has an influence on our judicial races. And I work with the union, and I understand their political influence. And when it affects decisions in court, or it appears to, that really rubs me the wrong way. And I think the public would object. So again, we need leaders that will make honest decisions regardless of the political impact to themselves. 

Reverend Becker: (18:15)
Okay, thank you. And, and thank you. I mean, I just thank you. I, I don't know how else to say. Look, I mentioned earlier the, it was a year before the lady being, uh, the video of the lady laying in the ants was released, which is indicative of a lot of what I see as the problem is that if, if I was to hurt a cop and they videotaped it, they would, that would be on the news that night. But if that cop were to hurt me, eh, there's gonna be a delay in ramifications. And who knows how many people have to review it. Perhaps, you know, maybe not for pushing, but you know, for an instance of some type. And, and I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is a disparity there. The rights of the citizen versus the rights of a cop. The cop has qualified immunity. So, 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (18:58)
So there's a huge difference. And I want you to understand why it's a hard job. We put a gun in their hand and we ask them to protect us, and then we if they do it wrong, or we perceive them to do it wrong. So in a sense, they're in a catch 20, you know, a catch 22. On the other hand, every police officer has a family, a mom, a dad. They may have children, spouses, they want their family to be treated fairly by law enforcement. And, and, and that's why I think it's really important to make sure that everyone's family is treated appropriately by law enforcement. But I I think that, um, you generally have police officers who wanna make our community safer, and they, they don't support the actions of, of bad cops. Now, this lack of transparency, failure to release the video, that kind of thing, there's all kinds of reasons. 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (19:53)
Qualified immunity and fear of civil suits, all kinds of reasons for agencies to not want to be transparent. On the other hand, it's our duty to the public. And so without that political fear that they're, they'll get in trouble, their officers will somehow be a reflection on them. I think that lack of transparency goes more to the top than to the actual officer. Although those collective bargaining agreements that the union is able to drive for employee, police officers are very strongly in favor of police officers. Their union has sought those protections and receive them. And so you have to look to your government and the deals that the government makes, uh, with various special interest groups, including unions and this delay, and getting the officers, uh, letting them see the video first, going through the employment administrative process, an open criminal investigation. These are the very things that are used to prevent release of videos and other transparent processes. I wanna commend former Chief Troy Finner in his decision to release body cam video in police shootings within 30 days. I thought that took guts, and I thought that it was the right decision. And we do that. He did that in spite of the ongoing criminal investigations that are conducted by grand juries of those officers' actions. And again, when you have a leader that stands up for something, uh, our public needs to cheer, cheer them on. 

Reverend Becker: (21:31)
I, I i, in, in dr in drug reform, I salute all the incremental things, all the harm reductions, the weed, the psychedelics, the needle exchange on down the line, each and every little thing is good because it is a part of legalization. And, and I, I, I get a lot of flack, some flack from other drug reformers that I'm going too fast too far. You don't wanna scare 'em. They've been scaring us for a hundred years. We need to embarrass, belittle, and expose these people for their lack of knowledge, for their belief in old ancient systems that hurt people, that ensure profits for terrorists, cartels, gangs that make sure that another million will probably die in the next 10 years. Because we believe in drug war. And, and it's like, if I were a younger man, I would start out as a politician. I would be the one who steps forward at the national level eventually and run for president on this. Because who's going to ever argue with me? We need more terrorist cartels gangs. Oh, the number of deaths doesn't matter. Oh, it's only our children. No, this is an insane policy. Uh, please respond. 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (22:42)
Well, first of all, Mr. President , , um, I got a real good visual image of you at the White House. Let, let me just say, alright, and we'll leave it at that. Um, it's, uh, it's, it's a lot of young kids' dreams to influence our country, and we need more people who want to do that. So I think it's cool that you would've liked to have been president, and I think you're still out there being very active. Um, I think, you know, what we're facing is, again, a decision of priorities. And there's some interesting things happening with drug prosecution and policy that I actually embrace. And it, it may be to your surprise, but the drug dealers who pass on drugs without knowing or giving a about what's in the drugs that then kill someone. I have a really dim view of them, and I see them as violent criminals. 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (23:44)
Now, most people would say, well, what? Just dealing a, you know, a pill that makes you violent, well, it does if that pill kills. And so this fentanyl phenomenon that is taking so many lives, I think there's a way to make drug prosecution relevant again, instead of prosecuting the offenders, the people who are buying the drugs, the users. Why aren't we prosecuting the people who are making money off selling the drugs that kill people? I don't know how you feel about that, Dean, but I take a really hard line view. We've charged, I think, four people now with murder. If you'd asked me about it before I started meeting victims, I can't tell you that, I'm sure I would've supported it. But after meeting the families, which range from every socioeconomic and ethnic and religious group, seeing the damage done to these families, um, some of them, their children were addicts and they intentionally were taking fentanyl and died from it. 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (24:51)
But many others were kids who thought they were getting Adderall or, uh, you know, some other drug, even cocaine and not Yeah. And not fentanyl. And so, man, I feel for these families, and I, and I, I just don't have a lot of empathy for somebody who, in the name of a dollar will expose anybody else to poison. And they all know that it could be poison. So it's just something new that's happening. We're pursuing it while we're letting out almost 5,000 people a year charged with simple possession of felony drugs, meth, fentanyl, cocaine. We treat them, we run almost 5,000 people a year through drug treatment court. And it has good results. Recidivism is down in these programs, and many of the people really go on to live much, much better, healthier lives. Some don't make it. That's just the nature of life. But I think that it's important to try. And so we're not punishing the drug possessors, we're treating them. We're punishing the drug dealers. 

Reverend Becker: (26:07)
And, and look, I can, given the current circumstance, and if somebody's selling poison, and, uh, especially if they're, I, I wanna back up a little. You guys can't even afford to test the weed to see if it's got THC or not. And I know that the, the guy out there that's selling these pills that doesn't have a laboratory and, and he's having to trust the provider, whoever, uh, up the chain that delivered to him, and they're trusting these yahoos in Mexico or Columbia, or who knows where these drugs are coming from to make a product that is worth using. And there is, I have no doubt that every pill out there right now is suspect. Even the ones that are labeled and look like they were made by Merck or Pfizer, they're, they, they have, they 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (27:00)
Were likely made in somebody's garage, 

Reverend Becker: (27:02)
Right? They have these, or 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (27:03)
Storage warehouse with a pill press with chemicals that come from China and are made by criminals. And so here's the thing, it's sort of like running, uh, a plant that makes cars. There's nothing illegal about that. But if, you know the tires are bad and are gonna, are likely to blow out, mm-hmm, . And even though you didn't intend to kill somebody, you know, I think that we would all understand the responsibility that those folks running that factory would have, and it would include legal responsibility. And whether it included criminal legal responsibility would depend on how much they knew and what damage was done. It's the same with drug dealers. I'm not suggesting though, that they're in a legitimate business, that they can afford to take that risk. What I would tell you is they can't, and by me making it harder for them to take that risk by charging them with murder if and when they kill somebody, I think that's important. 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (28:01)
It's, it's different to me than prosecuting users. For years, cops have stepped over the bodies and said, well, they must have asked for it. And I think it's much like we're handling human trafficking now. We're not looking at prostitutes as criminals. We're looking at them as victims. 'cause really, you know, a little girl or boy that wanted to grow up and be a prostitute, I don't no . And so we're, we're changing our attitudes in our society and culture about who the real victims are and who the perpetrators are. And lemme tell you, juries will give pimps and traffickers decades in prison, and the men and women in prostitution, again, we're trying to herd them back into social services to get them some help so that they can be, you know, productive members of our community. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But we keep trying. And I like this prosecuting up the chain of criminality. That's what's been missing in my career in law enforcement, is cops seem to be satisfied and agencies seem to be satisfied with counting the number of arrests as somehow an indicator of success. I wanna know that crime fell, that fewer people were harmed. That's how we tell if something's working. And so I don't believe in just arresting great numbers of people. I want quality arrests. 

Reverend Becker: (29:21)
I'm, I'm, I'm with you. I, I wanna bring up something that each and every day there are almost a million cops that go out there on the streets and the highways, and they're looking for traffic violations or whatever. And there's a very much smaller number of detectives, I think, I don't know the percentage there, but, but they're, they're a much smaller number, more focused, more trained, more mm-Hmm. , uh, capable. But these cops are out there, and so many times they, I don't know, they get a, a hunch, a suspicion, uh, oh, I wanna search your car. I'm gonna get the dog, I'm gonna do this. And to me, it's like they all think they're Sherlock Holmes, and this guy's black, he must have drugs or whatever, that they, they just start into this, and usually they don't find any drugs, and they've stalled the people there on the side of the road. 

Reverend Becker: (30:09)
And, you know, um, and, and I guess what I'm saying is those at least a million hours every day of the year devoted to looking under people's car seats and glove boxes and checking their pockets and sometimes more intimate areas. And, and I guess what I'm, I'm wanting to say is that these hunches, you know, occasionally pay off. Occasionally they do find a big pile of drugs in the trunk or something, but it, it's not from my perspective, legitimate policing, it's just throwing the dice and see in what happens. And I, I think too often that's all they're doing. Uh, you know, uh, you, you didn't roll your window down fast enough, or all of these things that cop use cops use as justification. Oh, get out of the car now. You know, it's, it's all designed to lead to that search in so many ways. You're 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (31:03)
So, okay. I, I just can't agree on the generalization. Cops are as fearful as they have ever been of the average person. And it's the number of guns, it's the level of violence we're seeing. And it is a negative attitude about the police that has permeated the country, especially among minority, uh, men and women, really. And so I think they're fearful. I think that searches, we know they're supposed to be based on something more than a hunch. And if a cop can't articulate why he's searching, then at least in theory, that evidence should be suppressed. I'm with you. I don't want unreasonable searches. I believe in the fourth Amendment. What I'm suggesting to you is that a lot of this is leadership and training, and it's what their department wants as a sign of success. And if we would just look to quality arrests for violent crimes and take a lot of this, uh, body count out of narcotics, prosecution, and focus on the harm done, I think America would be more supportive. 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (32:10)
None of us want our kids to die from drugs. We also don't want them to go to prison for drugs. Sure. And so we all have a stake in this, and I, I just think we can do better. And I think in the last eight years during my administration, we have done better. Uh, you haven't seen as many arrests for drugs that led to violent incidents. Uh, that just hasn't been happening. You haven't seen nearly the number of people going to the penitentiary for drugs because we put them in treatment. And you see our focus being on murder and sexual assault. And I think that's what the public wants. At least that's what Houstonians want. They're saying, Hey, handle the big problems and we'll talk about these smaller issues as we get to them. You know, we can take incremental measures. I like that you said that none of us, uh, who want change, like incremental measures, but I think that's just the way of the world, Dean. Sure. You just take, put one foot in front of the other and hope for the best. 

Reverend Becker: (33:12)
Um, using that, uh, interpretation perspective, whatever. I hate, I am almost drummed out of drug reform these days because they agree with me that yes, what you say is true, dean, but we can't go there yet because we are doing our incremental stuff. Uh, you know, I used to get grant money. I, I don't get a drop of it anymore because, um, when I was in Portugal, I asked the, the drugs are, um, Dr. Glau, uh, a rough question. I'll catch it out here, sir. The drug war empowers our terrorist enemies and riches barbers, cartels, my usual. And, uh, it ensures more overdose death. So I must ask, sir, what is the benefit? What do we derive from this policy that begins to offset the horrors we inflict on ourselves, in fact, on the whole world, by continuing to believe? And they interrupted me, the head of the DPA said, oh, how dare you ask that question. And that's where I began to be. I, I don't know why exactly 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (34:12)
Because of politics, dean, because that's a national position that's appointed by the president or the leader of Portugal, and they have a party line too. And the party line does not support, um, much of the negative things that you say in truth about the drug war. So I think there's a, a certain party line that gets followed everywhere in the world, and it's politically orchestrated and engineered. It is not organic. Right. If you were in somebody's living room and you asked them what they thought about it, I think you'd get a very different answer. And my challenge to everyone who wants to be in public services, can't we just say the same things publicly that we're saying in private, 

Reverend Becker: (34:54)
Right. Well, and it was just after, it was a before lunch get together. And I had that chance to ask the question. So when I went to lunch, the drugs r came and sat next to me, and we had a great talk and have developed a great friendship. He didn't mind that question at all. And in fact, he 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (35:12)
Was his communications guy probably went ape . Yeah. 

Reverend Becker: (35:15)
But, but no, no. And he's been on my show three times since then because he believes in what I'm doing with the words I present. Uh, I think I'm mentioned earlier, you know, Ruth Dreyfuss and, and others, these are top leaders that, that respect me for what I'm doing. And, uh, it's just sad that here in the us, uh, you know, you're about the only one that really gets it. And I, I, I do thank you for that. Um, I, I wanna talk about, hmm, I, I don't know what the word is, mutual absolution society, uh, that's a word I'm using in some of my writings, that, um, cops can be absolved by prosecutors and or judges that they respect them for the work they do and, and for their, uh, their commitment to society, et cetera. And they are too believed before Joe Citizen out here. And, uh, I, I don't know, too many times I feel cops just get away with things that, uh, again, a push to a cop, you know, I'm in, I'm in jail. A cop pushes me. It's just part of his day. And please talk about that, would you? 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (36:26)
Yeah. We're we're talking about the same things. We're talking about police misconduct that results in civil rights violations of ordinary people. And you're against that. And I think we're all against that. And I think cops would tell you they're against it. The devil is always in the details. And because we use the people to make those individual decisions about when a guy gets hit in the head in the jail, we just had three jailers indicted for what turned out to be five separate incidents of blows to the victim's head during 1 24 hour period. Now, it was five different officers that leveled those blows. Three of them were indicted, and two were not. It gives me a great example to show you of how the community sorted that out. They could attribute the man's horrible medical injuries, two, three of the five. They could not attribute his injuries to the other two, or, and I don't know which, because it's secret and grand jury. 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (37:39)
They didn't believe that the cop had intentionally done it or that it was, uh, you know, or there was a reason for it. So there I like that we got three and two, because it shows you that the regular people who are taking their job of sitting on a grand jury or jury, seriously, really are looking at the individual circumstances, the actions of the perpetrator cop, the actions of the victim, and they're applying the law as best they see fit. And I think that's what we have to ask for from regular people. You get a jury summons, get down here and do your part. Sure. You know, when I get a jury summons, I go, I know I'll never be picked, but I go to set an example for others that we shouldn't be trying to get out of participating in our democracy. We ought to be trying to get into participating in our democracy. 

Reverend Becker: (38:33)
No, I'm, I'm with you. I, I, uh, I, I, I think that is, um, part of the key to this. There's so many people that don't want to be citizens these days that don't feel any obligation to learn more. You know, they're just too into, uh, intertainment. What are we gonna 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (38:48)
Do about apathy? Dean, come on. Get up off the sofa, everybody, let's get to work. 

Reverend Becker: (38:53)
I, I, I hear all these, uh, ramblings at, uh, at the State House about education and how we should move forward. We need to make civics the number one class so people know how to be a citizen in this country. Shouldn't 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (39:06)
Agree more 

Reverend Becker: (39:06)
Because Right. We've, I think right after I left high school, about 66 or so, they, they kind of walked away from that, that somehow it's just not needed any 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (39:15)
No, we still had it in the seventies. We had government class. Yeah. Not, not just history, but government and civics. And I don't know when it went away, but what a crazy thing to eliminate from a curriculum. 

Reverend Becker: (39:28)
Yeah. Uh, thank you. I mean, it's just like, who thought of that? 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (39:32)
The same people who eliminated pe I live for pe. Get me out of this classroom, man. 

Reverend Becker: (39:37)
Gimme a little breathing room. 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (39:39)
That's right. No kids need that. And, you know, we've gotten into this testing and a lot of, I think things applied to everyone, and the key to the world is individual application. That's, that's what I think individual applications decide whether a cop did right or wrong, whether a citizen did right or wrong. You gotta look at each person separately and look at their actions separately. 

Reverend Becker: (40:07)
Um, you know, there, there's so much happening. I, I don't really like talking politics. It's just seems so bizarre and absurd to me. But I I, I caught, I was watching, um, a segment this morning, uh, uh, bill Maher, and it is a quote from him, when did this country turn into Utah? And I, I, to me, that that just says that, and, and leads me to my next set of questions here. Um, we are now trying, we have already prohibited the seven Deadly words or whatever they're called, the ones Bill Mar talked about. And I think there, George Carlin 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (40:42)
Talked about 

Reverend Becker: (40:43)
It first. Who did I say? I Okay. Yeah. Thank you. And, um, uh, I think they're appropriate. I think they should be used on the radio right here, because there is a time and a place where these words have absolute meaning and must be utilized. But right now, the Texas governor is trying to prohibit people from accessing pornography on the internet. And I can tell you that with a simple search, you can still find plenty out there. They will never prohibit, uh, pornography from being distributed on the internet. And, and they're, and other states, and maybe here in Texas, I, I don't recall trying to eliminate certain books that should not be read by children. Oh my God, whatever. Um, and, and I, let's just talk about that. Why are we trying to, uh, stifle information and, and such in this country? What is, are we just too prudish, too Christian? What, what is going on? 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (41:40)
We're too. Political history is more interesting when you know all of the facts and to prohibit any of those facts, even if they're just perspectives that were held at the time, really robs kids of the full picture. And I think what we want to do is provide them information and set examples that will help them make good judgements. Not try and rigidly engineer those results through select information that we feed them an omission of other information. So I think when you're raising kids, transparency, just like in government is really important so that they can learn to make their own decisions with full information instead of just being taught if a then b every time just life doesn't work that way. 

Reverend Becker: (42:28)
No. Alright, we're back now with, uh, our da ka now and coming back to the, the prohibitions again, I, I am sick of these prohibitions. Uh, people are now wanting to prohibit abortions. They're now wanting to prohibit birth control. They're now wanting to control more. And I, I, my theory is this idea of drug control has never worked. They have never stopped the drugs, but they've been able to control a lot of people. And, and that, uh, as an example, uh, you know, a touchstone, let's, let's prohibit more. It seems to be working good. And, and I, I want to talk about that, that these people, 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (43:10)
It, it's super problematic because they've moved a lot of social issues into the realm of criminal justice. And in part, uh, the Democratic nominee who defeated me in the last election ran on a platform that K Ogg was going to enforce the governor's abortion ban. It's a lie. And yet millions of dollars was spent advertising that lie about me, because I simply said, we have to apply the law to the facts in each and every case. If I were to say, we'll never prosecute, fill in the blank abortion, then I subject my office and me to removal. And yet a candidate can say anything they want. They can lie, they can cheat, and you get bad political results. And so I really take issue, uh, with the fact that the prohibitions that I have been against all my life regulating women's bodies, uh, the drug war, I've been against that all my life. 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (44:15)
Other education, limiting history. I'm not for any of those things. And yet we're being squeezed between extremes on the right and extremes on the left. And most of us really just wanna be left alone to our lives. We wanna be protected by cops, not abused by them. And if we're not hurting anybody, you know, then a very legitimate libertarian perspective is maybe the government should leave us alone. So I, I think that the average person is crying out for representation from people who use common sense and are not trying to cram anything down their throat, regardless of whether it's, you know, uh, super conservative or super progressive. I'm for letting people make up their own minds based on the truth. The use of propaganda, just like we've seen in other countries pre fascism, the use of it to get us to believe things that aren't true is really, really frightening. 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (45:20)
And as a result, people not only hate and distrust the media, they hate and distrust government. And that is the beginning of the end for our democracy. So I, I'm, I'm really strong on our legislators staying out of the criminal justice system with social issues. And I can support conservatives on some issues. I can support progressives on other issues. But I think most people want a much more middle common sense approach to their government. Pick up our trash, keep the streets from flooding. Don't let me get robbed going to the grocery store tonight and make sure my child is safe at school. That's what we want. And laws that exceed that or do not rise to that level, fail us as a community. And that's when you look for new leadership, whether it's legislative, whether it's local, or whether it's national. 

Reverend Becker: (46:14)
Alright. Uh, I wanna harken back to what I was saying at the beginning of our discussion, and that is that other elected officials should not be afraid to come on this show, to talk about this. I, I was talking to one of the DA candidates that, um, I guess we'll replace you. Um, and, and he seemed to think I wanted, you know, kids to get drugs that I wanted drug dealers to run wild. That, you know, he, he was unwilling to hear what I had to say, that I could make a half a statement and get interrupted. And, and I guess what I'm trying to say is that I have never hurt anybody's political ambitions on this show. I've had prior mayors in the series of district attorneys, sheriffs and police chiefs, and, and I, we had a great discussion. I don't think they felt hurt or harmed in any way. Well, 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (47:07)
Let me confirm, Dean, you're totally legit. You've got a perspective that many people agree with. You're educated, you're informed, keep it coming. We need the variety in outlook, and we need people who will advocate and fight for what they believe in, for others, for the greater good. I think that's what you do. And I am proud to have been a guest on your show. I think this is my, probably my fifth or sixth time to be with you. Yeah. And I hope the public enjoys, uh, my level of, um, authenticity about the drug war and how we handle it. And is the chief prosecutor and top law enforcement person in the county, you know, I hope that my perspective can be respected even if it's not agreed with. 

Reverend Becker: (47:54)
And, and I, I, I'm gonna do a little Mia culper or fess up whatever here. I, I'm a softie these days. I, in my younger days, I was more rebellious or whatever, but now I'm just educated. I, I'm just wanting to have this discussion. I I don't want to hold anybody's feet to the fire. I don't want to embarrass them. The only one I want to embarrass is the, the current head of the, uh, drug Enforcement Administration. 'cause he runs the global drug war monger cartel. There are, there are millions upon millions of people who listen to him and use his words to make a living. And I, I would love to have, well, five minutes would be all I really need with him. Um, and it, it brings to mind that you out there listening, uh, you have, you've heard these truths for years. 

Reverend Becker: (48:45)
And I, I mentioned it earlier. You, I, I beg you, please speak a little louder at the, at the PTA meeting, perhaps about the silliness of some of these drug laws and the perspectives. But, but realize it, it boils down to control. They want to control. And, and that da candidate, he says, I want to stop the drugs. And I tried to tell him he will never stop the drugs that they will always be circulating because the black market, well, I didn't get to say this, but it is the world's largest multi-level marketing organization. Outdoes, Amway, and everybody 10 to one. And, and it's, it's a pipe dream, uh, that's put forward, I think, by the cartel leaders themselves, by, uh, whoever Chapo Guzman's son is now serving it up to the DEA, here's what you gotta tell 'em. Uh, make sure they're afraid of these drugs, but make sure they want 'em. And it's just a, 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (49:45)
Well, Dean, I don't know if I could see the conspiracies like you do, but what I see is a lot of daily wasted time by law enforcement and wasted lives by people who are utilizing drugs and come into contact with cops. As long as it's illegal, it's gonna be a problem. But while I'm the district attorney, the arrests for marijuana are the lowest in the state. We have under 200 a year. When I came here, we had 10,000 people arrested and charged every year with marijuana. So I feel proud of that accomplishment. We have the fewest number of misdemeanor offenders in our Harris County Jail. We hear how full it is. That's right. It's full of violent offenders. We don't have misdemeanor offenders in our jail for more than 24 hours. Not unless they're charged with a felony or have an ice hold. So we've accomplished good things at the low end. 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (50:40)
And I like the focus that we're bringing to the, to the harm bearers. The, the dealers dealing fentanyl to unsuspecting and to addicted people. Those are both vulnerable populations. I'm a big crime victims advocate. You know, when you exploit a vulnerable population, I want people to know that while I'm the da, you do that at your own risk. So we've made good changes, and it's important to enjoy the progress that we've seen. I want you to be proud of your part. Uh, I got information from you when I was running about statistics on all kinds of issues related to drugs. And they were very, very useful in the development of my policies and programs. And we'll have to see what the future brings with the next da. But I can tell you, I'll be in private practice and I'm, uh, going to look forward to some public interest law, meaning you can count on me to sue the government if I don't think they're doing it right and want to do it differently. And you count on me in the halls of our legislature always asking for improvement and positive change in criminal justice. And I think as the only two term DA in this century in Houston, Harris County, Texas, I hope people will keep listening to me. 

Reverend Becker: (52:03)
Well, I you'll always have a home here. I promise you that. Thank you, Dean. Um, I, I wanna say this, that, you know, the truth is writ large, it's sky high. It's, it, it goes from here to the moon that there is no legitimacy to this drug war. It has never succeeded at anything, nothing. It empowers terrorists. They just grow some flowers and turn it into weapons. Uh, it, it, it empowers these gangs that control certain neighborhoods they're patrolling with, you know, high powered weapons, enticing our children to lives of crime or addiction because we allow it. We want that to, we don't want to actually control drugs. We wanna pretend to control drugs. And therefore these drugs are more deadly. As Kim was saying, they're more dangerous, they're more available. And, um, they're telling me, I gotta wrap it up. But once again, Kim Ogg, thank you so much for being our guest. 

District Attorney Kim Ogg: (52:59)
Hey, Dean Becker, thanks for being the drug warrior you are. I always enjoy your perspective and I think that we get good information out there to your listeners. 

Reverend Becker: (53:07)
Alright, thank you ma'am. And once again, I remind you that because of prohibition, you don't know what's in that bag. And I urge you to please be careful and always remember that euphoria is a blessing, not a crime. As the Reverend Most High, I consider it my job to teach you the choir to sing solos. We bring you the complete unvarnished truth about the drug war and find there is no one in law enforcement willing, daring to attempt to refute what we present here. Please help to expose the abomination of this drug war. Until next time, this is Dean Becker the Reverend Most High, claiming the moral high ground.