New DA making some big changes

January 2, 2009 8:55:14 PM PST
Pat Lykos was sworn in Thursday as Harris County's new district attorney. She's hitting the ground running, already making changes just hours after being sworn in to office.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

This is no holiday weekend for those in the district attorney's office, especially for Harris County's new DA. The week ahead will include the massive chore of reorganizing the departments and divisions. The new DA tells me, re-establishing public confidence in the office is her number one priority.

"The bad guys better get out of our county because we're going after them," Lykos warned.

Those who know Judge Pat Lykos know the tough talk is no act. Her reputation as a cop and later as a criminal court judge was determined by her no nonsense approach in the courtroom.

"There will be standards established but I want grown-ups in the courtroom," Lykos told us.

Less than 24 hours after being sworn in, Judge Lykos spent most of the day in meetings telling us she wants to reorganize her office. Part of that includes making sure her staff has necessary resources to successfully prosecute 21st century crimes such as cyber crime and identity theft.

"So one of our initiatives is to build this real time system so as offenses occur, they're immediately reported," she told us. "Then we'll have crime analysis so we can fit the pieces together, because you can have a gang that will commit an offense in Katy and one in Deer Park and perhaps one in Pearland and no one puts it together."

As for her staff, Lykos says she is hiring new attorneys and promoting from within. None of it based, she says, on past political alliances.

"I can remember during the campaign several prosecutors here were surrogate speakers for opposing candidates," Lykos said. "My decision was not based on politics. As long as they do their job they can breathe easy."

Judge Lykos will also inherit several high profile criminal cases, such as the shooting death of Houston police officer Timothy Abernethy.

"It's been filed as a death penalty case, the final decision has not yet been made to go forward with the death penalty and the decision will be forthcoming," she told us.

The new district attorney wants the office to become transparent and used as a standard for DA offices across the country.

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