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DA investigating Judge Pratt again

Here we go again.

Judge Denise Pratt

Two months after a grand jury cleared embattled state District Judge Denise Pratt of accusations she had tampered with court records, the Harris County District Attorney’s office again is looking into the family court jurist.

Houston lawyer Anna Stool, a former federal prosecutor, said she was called in by the district attorney’s office two weeks agoto answer questions about a child custody case she has in Pratt’s 311th Court in which the judge made the unusual move of finalizing temporary orders by scratching out the word ‘temporary’ with a pen and writing ‘final’ above it. As a result, the case – first opened in 2007 – officially was closed.

There was “never a hearing,” Stool said. “I just found the thing by accident because I started checking (Harris County District Clerk) Chris Daniel’s website.”

County and courthouse sources say several lawyers have been called to the district attorney’s office recently to answer questions about cases in Pratt’s court, and that the questioning is part of another investigation into the freshman judge, who is seeking re-election this year.

[...]

Stool is asking for Pratt to be recused from the case altogether. She filed a motion last Friday, after weeks of waiting on Pratt to respond to another request she submitted in late January for a new trial, days before being questioned by the district attorney’s office.

Stool said she decided to file the recusal motion because problems in Pratt’s court have been “ongoing” and, so far, she has gotten “nothing” for her client.

“I cannot explain to her what the problem is, except to tell her that I don’t know why this is happening,” she said. “But I don’t think, based on what’s happened, that I can get a fair trial in this court.”

See here for the previous chapter in this saga, and here for the whole kit and kaboodle. I don’t know what Judge Pratt’s chances are in the GOP primary, but the fact that she’s competitive at all is kind of amazing. Texpatriate has more.

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3 Comments

  1. Bayard Rustin says:

    Anti-gay hacks like Steven Hotze seem to love Denise Pratt. I guess party affiliation trumps competence.

  2. Mainstream says:

    She is making the case to GOP audiences that the criticisms are not warranted, that the Chronicle is overblowing the details, that she is being targeted for steadfast conservatism, especially with respect for prohibiting interaction between children of divorce and their parents’ new lovers. While Hotze and most of the religious/social conservative leadership has stuck with her campaign, some other equally anti-gay, equally religious/social conservatives such as Terry Lowry have made other choices. I would be surprised if she does not lead in the voting.

  3. Wilson P says:

    NOT SO! Judge Pratt, in my opinion, is irresponsible and should not be re-elected. I am not known to be politically minded for one party or another. But let me give you a normal citizen’s impression of this first time judge. She has no regard for the people she is supposed to serve and nor does she care about how she puts their lives on hold. I was recently in Judge Pratt’s court for a simple uncontested divorced proceeding in early December 2013. On that particular day, the judge did not hear the cases that were before the court, but another judge did. In what amounted to a 15 minute presentation in front of the presiding judge, I was granted an uncontested divorce. Little did I know that Judge Pratt has a rule in her court that she must review and sign all documents coming from her court. in retrospect, I respected that and patiently waited. But what I do not respect is the fact that it is one day shy of being March 2014, and my final decree has not been signed nor do I have any idea of when it will be. I have been told by her clerks that it is “on her desk” awaiting signature. I was even told when I spoke with the clerk that she does not know when it will be signed, because she is only now processing signed orders from November 2013. My advice to Judge Pratt…if you cannot handle the workload, admit it and accept help! If you are incompetent…admit it and step down! Save the taxpayers the trouble of paying the salary of someone who does not care about the impact on the lives of those she is supposed to serve.

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