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.