Sunday, August 22, 2010

Action on the Elevators?

There's an article in today's Chronicle by Brian Rogers about the condition of the CJC and how poorly constructed it is.

The accompanying photograph shows the line outside the CJC and the article is entitled "The Long Line of the Law", which I have to admit is a pretty good title.

The article itself is hopeful since it looks like somebody might finally be taking he complaints about the building and safety seriously for a change.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Chronicle article without first thanking Pat Lykos for her merciful bounty that she bestows upon us all. Lykos, who was clearly the first person to discover that there might be a problem with the CJC and its elevators some time last week, notes the CJC is "the most poorly designed criminal justice center in the United States of America."

Funny, I was just saying that about her upper-Administration.

Sorry, that one was just too easy to pass up.

The article goes on to address problems that those of us who are in the building every day are all too familiar with. The difference with this article, however, is that it addresses some possible solutions that are coming at us pretty quickly. These include:

-starting Monday (per the article), Defendants in the Misdemeanor courts will no longer have to go by Pre-Trial Services on the 12th floor. (NOTE: for those of you all who aren't familiar with the CJC, just trust me that this will actually help. Explaining why would just take too long.)

-they are talking about stretching out the length of time between resets. (NOTE: Gee, wish one of us had thought of that idea.)

-an agreement between the judges that jury panels of over 60 people aren't going to be brought over until after 10 a.m. (letting the docket settle in).


-renovating the first floor to allow defendants to check in, pay fees and get drug tests in the same area.

These are all great ideas, praise Patsy.

Here's an idea that I was thinking about, too -- remove the first set of exterior doors that lead to the hallway where the jury rooms and judges' chambers are.

That would give everyone access to the stairwells in the corners and would be especially helpful for attorneys who are having to move from floor to floor on their cases. The downside would be that the jury room doors would be less "zoned off", from the general public, but that doesn't jeopardize their safety or the integrity of their verdicts.

Just a thought.

You may now resume your regularly scheduled Sunday morning.


Anonymous said...

I just remember who the judges were that made up the committee to assist in the design of the courthouse. Was Lykos one of them?

Thomas Hobbes said...

Let's see . . .

Checking in with Pretrial? This will not have nearly the effect you appear to expect.

Length of time between resets? It's the "credit card" deficit approach to the problem. You can do this for only so long until things become jammed up again. Many in the CJC are particularly sensitive to ideas that slow dockets.

Jury panels? Do you really think there were that many panels coming over so early before this epiphany?

Renovating the first floor? Well, the Sheriff has first dibs, so let's see whether there's enough room left when he finishes.

Access to stairwells? Now you're starting to make progress, but you apparently already noticed that idea isn't on the table.

If you'd like, sometime we can talk about the other things that aren't on the table.

Anonymous said...

Patty Lycos, before the landslide election, was on the County payroll
as COUNTY JUDGE ED EMMETTS Special Assistant! Ed will be quick to tell you that he inherited her from his predecessor COUNTY JUDGE ECKELS, whos administration designed and built the puzzle palace.

jigmeister said...

It wasn't there Sunday and just appeared this morning:

Michael said...

After reading the headline of this article on Google reader, I thought this was going to be about something else.

Anonymous said...

URL for the story:

Faith_No_More said...

I recently had to visit the CJC to represent a client and found the line circling around the front sidewalk area. Unbelievable! Austin is just about as bad. At least the CJC has more than one metal detector! One Friday the wait was unbearable whereas one Monday it was a breeze. I wonder what the discrepancy is?

Anonymous said...

"Action on the Elevators"

A title this awesome led me to hope for an awesome post. Alas, no such luck.

Anonymous said...

All this just to satisfy the holy judges egos.
Nobody get's to see the wizard!

Anonymous said...

Friday is "arraignment" day for all the people that bond out before making an appearance in MIsd court. Not all misd arraignments, but the significant portion.

The stairwells are closed off for a reason. They are supposed to open during emergencies, but not everyone needs to be able to pop on in to certain
floors from the stairwell when an unknowing
person opens the door from the inside.

Anonymous said...

There is a huge difference between being the super of a building and being the DA.
Generic decisions that have nothing to do with the actual day to day duties of effectively prosecuting defendants seem to be glorified by our local paper as the primordial job of DA withers on the vine.

A three year old might look charming in the driver's seat of a parked Daytona Ferrari....but not when it's time to start the engine.
The Harris County District Attorney's Office has crashed; and as it burns the media would rather fan the flames than investigate the cause.

I just have to wonder if Obama's great grand daddy didn't spend some time in Greece at a Lykos family picnic....

Murray Newman said...

Thanks to those who sent in the link. I got the article modified.

Michael, what can I say? Sex sells. Now get your mind out of the gutter.

Thomas Hobbes, as always, I appreciate your insight. You know pretrial better than I do, but there does always seem to be a helluva lot folks getting on and off on the 12th floor. It will be interesting to see what shakes out.

Michael said...

Just saw the Christine Haas story on So HFD has only found the building safe for 350 people? Are you kidding? And if Harris County has a courthouse that makes it impossible for a criminal defendant to get to court in time to avoid forfeiting his bond, that's a Section 1983 case waiting to happen.

Thomas Hobbes said...

Just an FYI . . . Sometimes the Chronicle will have a special report (maybe that overstates the case) that is published in the Sunday paper, but does not appear online until Monday morning. I suppose it could be a ploy to get more of us to buy the advertisement-laden Sunday edition.

Sorry, Brian, but your article just wasn't enough to loosen my pockets.