Showing posts from March, 2020

Episode Five: The Empress Strikes Out

SCENE:  The Star Destroyer Jefferson hovers over a very empty Downtown.  [INTERIOR]. The Imperial Throne Room.  An uncharacteristically cheerful EMPRESS OGG is standing at the head of her conference room table.  Behind her, her lead stormtrooper BOBA CLAPPART is busily preparing a bacta tank for one person.  VICE-ADMIRAL MITCHAM sits stoically at the head of the table as other members of the ADVISORY COUNCIL file into the room. EMPRESS OGG:  Greetings my dearest friends and co-workers!  Come in!  Come in!  It is so lovely to see you today!  It brings me great joy to see all of you! YVONNE VENTRESS (whispering):  Why is she so happy? COUNT MUSICK:  I don't know.  I haven't seen her this happy since the Envirolorian's Arkema  trial got postponed. YVONNE VENTRESS:  Yes, I heard the trial was not going well.  Some guy named Brady kept showing up unexpectedly? COUNT MUSICK:  Yes.  Something like that. VICE-ADMIRAL MITCHAM:  Let's call the meeting to order. EMPR

The Changing Shape of Things -- Part Two: Exposure at the CJC

I've heard from multiple people this morning of a potential COVID-19 exposure to the Harris County Criminal Justice Center.  An e-mail went out from Ed Wells, the Court Manager, at 7:25 a.m., notifying people that a prosecutor in County Court at Law #1 had been exposed to a family member that had tested positive for the virus and presumably had then come to work. Court #1 is on the 8th floor of the CJC, so the response was to recommend shutting down all courts on the 8th Floor. Now, you can call me overly critical, but I'm not real sure what closing down the 8th floor does.  I'm going to guess the prosecutor didn't walk up the stairs to the 8th floor.  I'm sure he or she took the elevator with a group of other people.  I'm sure he or she came in the front door and walked through the lobby to get there too.  Closing down the 8th floor at this point does about as much good as putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound. Stunningly, the e-mail points out tha

The Changing Shape of Things - Part One

Many things have changed in the six days since my last post about the COVID-19 Coronavirus and the Harris County Criminal Justice Center.  I'm guessing that this update about the state of things will probably be the first of many as things continue to adapt to what is going on in the world. 1.  The vast majority of Judges are waiving court appearances for bond clients in most Instances.  I'm not 100% sure that all judges are following this rule, but every judge that I'm currently dealing with is doing everything that he or she can to keep people out of the courtroom.  I have not heard of any judges that are not  following this plan, but I can't swear that all of them are. Appearances are being waived and electronic resets are being encouraged.  The only exception that I've seen on this is first appearances for clients that have just bonded out of jail.  2.  Judges are working to get non-violent offenders out of custody if possible.  Defense attorneys should be

Court In a Time of Corona

With the City of Houston's decision to shut down the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo today, I think it hit home for most of us that the threat of coronavirus is truly going to be a lifestyle changer for days, weeks, and months to come.  It was one thing to see the stories on the news about festivals and events getting canceled.  Even hearing about South by Southwest getting canceled in Austin didn't really register for many of us. But, canceling the freaking rodeo ?  Shit just got real. I've been worrying about coronavirus for weeks now; however, I also vividly remember being worried about SARS, Ebola, and swine flu.  Since none of those things ever hit Houston, I was kind of holding out hope that the same would happen with corona.  However, no such luck. It looks like the Houston Independent School District is trying to just get through the next two days before reassessing its response during next week's Spring Break. In the meantime, with two exceptions, the

2020 Primary Takeaways

The 2020 Democratic Primaries have now come and gone and as always, there is much to talk about.  There were some predictable moments and some surprises.  Some races told us who will be holding office in January, while others will still need to be decided in November.  Outside of the obvious results from last night, there were some other, more subtle takeaways to notice. 1.  The Party Turnout Differential--  I'm probably looking in the wrong place, but I can't find a source for the exact number of voters in the respective primaries.  However, I can see that 321,903 people voted in the Democratic Primary presidential race compared to 192,985 voting in the Republican Primary presidential race.  That approximately 129,000 vote difference could be partially explained by the fact that the Dem presidential race is contested while the Republican race is not.  However, it can't feel too reassuring to those Republican candidates on the ballot. 2.  The Houston Police Officers Uni