By Chris Hoenig
Lloyd Wayne Oliver wants to prosecute crimes in Harris County, Texas. He just doesn’t want to prosecute that many domestic-violence cases.
Oliver, who won the Democratic nomination for Harris County District Attorney in 2012 but lost the general election and who is running for some form of public office for a sixth time, told The Texas Observer that he believes “family violence is so, so overrated.”
“This here,” he said, tapping the back of an Observer reporter’s hand, “is an act of family violence in accordance with what they’re doing up there now. Just me touching you.”
And his belief that domestic violence is overrated is the cornerstone of his campaign platform. “That’s my issue, right there,” Oliver said. “An inordinate amount of time [is] spent on that when we could get more criminals out of Harris County by doing what I suggest, I guarantee.”
Oliver’s suggestion is to decrease the amount of domestic-violence cases tried in the courtshe feels only about 10 percent of domestic-violence charges actually warrant jail timeand use those resources for other trials. “You don’t want to pursue it,” he says. “I don’t want to pursue it. The children are crying, ‘Please don’t take my dad to jail.’ And we’re pursuing things like that That’s where we’re wasting our money Oh, and our time Why don’t we go after those baby-rapers instead” He pounds on the table with each word of this apparent closing argument. “Let’s. Put. Those. People. In. Jail.”
The term “baby-rapers” is one he would go on to use five other times during the 70-minute interview with the Observer. “The district attorney will have a trial going at every court at every hour every day when I’m elected,” he says. “Justice delayed is just no damn justice at all. And that’s what I see. You see those damn filthy baby-rapersthey get tried, what, nine months later A year later Why not two months later How long does it take to prepare a case”
Harris County, which includes Houstonwith more than 4.2 million people, it’s the third-most-populous county in the United Stateshas the highest rate of domestic violence in the state. Of the 114 Texas women killed by their partners in 2012 in incidents of domestic violence, 30 of them died in Harris County.
Oliver thinks some cases that constitute assault still should not to be brought to trial. “Most of the men that I know that are victims of some woman whipping their ass, they deserved it,” he said. “So your husband, you slap him. He comes home, 2 o’clock, and he smells like some woman’s perfume and you whack him upside the head. You know what He probably deserves it. But technically that’s an assault. It’s an assault, family violence. Technically, you’d get arrested and go to jail for that. Is that silly or what”
But Oliver, who has also run to be a judge in the past, is confident, if not cocky. “It’s my race to lose,” he told the Houston Chronicle. “My strategy is to watch a lot of TV, I think. That’s all I’ve been doing.”
His latest comments about domestic violence are far from his most controversial. In 2012, Oliver came within five points of winning the District Attorney’s race, but only after suing to stay on the ballot. After using a series of slurs during an interview with the Houston Press, he called local Democratic leaders “frustrated homosexuals.” Those same leaders decided they would rather have no one run at all after Oliver won the primary, but Oliver won a lawsuit to remain in the race.