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Posts Tagged ‘Harris County Attorney’

Fifth Circuit sets bail hearing

Mark your calendars. Harris County will have another chance to defend its embattled cash bail system this fall in a lawsuit brought by indigent defendants who languished in jail for days because they couldn’t afford money bail. The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced Tuesday it has set oral arguments for the week of […]

Harris County Attorney files amicus brief in SB4 lawsuit

Good. Last week, Harris County Commissioners Court opted not to join a lawsuit challenging the state’s controversial “sanctuary cities” law as unconstitutional. Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, however, has filed a brief asking a federal court to halt its implementation on Sept. 1. “S.B. 4 will do irreparable damage to this State’s child welfare process, […]

Still a few bugs in the system

A continuing story. While Harris County officials are complaining that a federal judge’s bail order threatens public safety, the county has failed to provide more than 100 low-level defendants with pretrial services aimed at ensuring they make their court dates. The latest revelations come amid criticism from District Attorney Kim Ogg, who accused county officials […]

County’s new bail system not quite ready

Real soon now. Harris County’s long-trumpeted new system for setting bail for people awaiting trial will be up and running by the end of July, nearly a month later than the July 1 effective date the county had promised a federal judge, officials said Monday. The new approach won a green light late Friday from […]

Ellis seeks Harris County entry into SB4 litigation

From the inbox, an email from Commissioner Ellis: Despite strong opposition from law enforcement officials, faith leaders, local governments, civil rights organizations, constituents, and advocacy groups, Senate Bill 4 (SB4), the “show-me-your-papers” legislation, has been signed into law. The new legislation unfairly targets immigrant families, allows state-sanctioned racial profiling, and violates rights to due process. […]

One Republican judge doesn’t want that high-priced attorney for the bail lawsuit appeal

Credit where credit is due. One of 15 Harris County judges challenging a federal order altering how bail works for indigent defendants has dropped out of the group that hired a pricey D.C. law firm to appeal the lawsuit. Court at Law Judge Mike Fields, a Republican who has been on the bench since 1998, […]

SCOTUS will not hear Harris County bail appeal

Let this please be the end of the line. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has denied Harris County’s request to stop the release of misdemeanor inmates who can’t afford to post cash bail. The county had appealed late Tuesday to halt Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal’s directive that it begin releasing some […]

Fifth Circuit reinstates bail order

Good. Harris County took the fight over its controversial bail system to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, even as county officials scrambled to plan the imminent release of dozens of misdemeanor defendants held behind bars who cannot afford to post cash bail. A federal appeals court ruling earlier Tuesday had greenlighted the release of […]

Judge Jordan deserves to have his position in the bail lawsuit represented

I have problems with this. The only Harris County judge to fight the county’s defense of its controversial bail system has been notified he will not get his own lawyer to appeal the high-profile federal lawsuit that has divided county leaders. Judge Darrell Jordan – one of 16 criminal court at law judges sued over […]

Harris County bail order halted

Very late in the day on Friday. A federal appeals court granted Harris County a last-minute reprieve Friday in a contentious civil rights lawsuit, calling a temporary halt to a judge’s order that would have altered the way cash bail is handled for hundreds of people jailed on misdemeanor charges. In an order posted after […]

Harris County will continue to fight bail lawsuit

Stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Harris County has appealed a federal civil rights lawsuit that challenged the county’s bail system, despite rising legal costs that have neared $3 million. After a heated discussion and a closed-door meeting Tuesday, Harris County Commissioners Court voted 4-1 to appeal the suit and to ask for a delay to a […]

“What are we fighting for?”

That’s the key question for the county in the bail lawsuit. As legal costs mount, surpassing $200,000 per month, pressure is building for Harris County officials to settle a lawsuit over the county’s cash bail system that a federal judge has ruled unconstitutional. Newly available documents reveal that teams of defense lawyers are racking up […]

Why won’t the county settle the damn bail lawsuit?

Lisa Falkenberg asks the same question I’ve been asking. Now that Chief U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal – it should be noted, a Republican appointee — levelled her devastating assessment of Harris County’s rigid bail system a few days ago, ordering county officials to cease practices that violate misdemeanor defendants’ rights to due process and […]

County considers its bail options

I can think of one, if they need some help. With just two weeks until the 193-page order from Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal kicks in May 15, county officials are working to draft a plan to deal with the hundreds of misdemeanor offenders now behind bars and the new cases filed each […]

Harris County bail system ruled unconstitutional

Damn right. A federal judge in Houston Friday issued a scathing denouncement of Harris County’s cash bail system, saying it is fundamentally unfair to detain indigent people arrested for low-level offenses simply because they can’t afford to pay bail. In a 193-page ruling released Friday, Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal ordered the county […]

Settle the damn bail lawsuit already

Enough. Harris County commissioners Tuesday voted to add high-profile, conservative litigator Charles Cooper to a growing team of attorneys defending the county and several public officials against a civil rights lawsuit alleging the county’s bail system unconstitutionally jails the poor. Cooper, a former clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist and friend of U.S. […]

Bail practices lawsuit wraps up

It’s up to the judge now. The call by two civil rights groups for an immediate fix to Harris County’s bail system is now in the hands of a federal judge after high-stakes arguments over whether poor people should remain in jail on misdemeanor offenses because they can’t afford to post bail. Key criminal justice […]

Bail practices lawsuit gets going

The first day in court for this lawsuit was Monday. Neal S. Manne, a managing partner at Susman Godfrey, told Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal in his opening statement Monday that ODonnell and hundreds of other poor people charged with minor crimes do not get a fair chance to win pretrial release here […]

Harris County really needs to settle that bail practices lawsuit

Enough already. Two Houston-based lawmakers called on Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan Friday to dismiss an attorney hired to represent county judges in a federal civil rights lawsuit, after that attorney claimed in a hearing that many people jailed in Harris County were there by choice – not because they could not afford to post […]

Motion to dismiss county bail practices lawsuit denied

Onward. In a sweeping 78-page opinion issued late last week, a federal judge has denied Harris County’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit that accuses it of operating an unconstitutional bail system. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal dismissed the sheriff and county judges from the lawsuit in their personal, but not official, capacities; and the five […]

City sued over bail practices

One more lawsuit going after the practice of jailing people who can’t afford to post bonf. Two civil rights groups sued the city of Houston late Monday, alleging the city jail has detained people for days at a time without offering them a hearing to determine if there was probable cause for the initial arrest. […]

Precinct analysis: Ryan v Leitner

Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan was the only non-judicial incumbent elected in November. Here’s how his race looked. Dist Leitner Ryan Leitner% Ryan% ========================================== CD02 158,149 113,363 58.25% 41.75% CD07 135,129 116,091 53.79% 46.21% CD09 25,714 106,728 19.42% 80.58% CD10 80,244 36,703 68.62% 31.38% CD18 46,062 154,354 22.98% 77.02% CD29 35,312 93,732 27.36% 72.64% SBOE6 […]

New Sheriff not interested in defending current bail policies

Good. After defeating Sheriff Ron Hickman in the election this month, Sheriff-elect Ed Gonzalez is already sticking his nose in Hickman’s official business — mainly, the lawsuit filed against him. Hickman, along with the county, all the county judges and five bail hearing officers, has been sued for participating in what a national civil rights […]

Dems sweep Harris County

Hillary Clinton had a 100K lead in early voting in Harris County, and increased her lead as the night went on. The only countywide Republican who was leading early on was Mike Sullivan, but later in the evening, at the time when 80% of the Election Day vote was in, Ann Harris Bennett caught and […]

Texas gets VW lawsuit settlement money

Not bad. Texas will receive more than $190 million for environmental mitigation under a multibillion-dollar settlement in the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal approved by a federal judge in San Francisco on Tuesday. Volkswagen buyers will have the option of buybacks or repairs. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer authorized the $15 billion agreement, which was first […]

Interview with Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan

Two-term Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan is currently the only countywide Democrat, though we hope he’ll have some company after November. An Army veteran and former City Council member, Ryan served under former County Attorney Mike Driscoll and maintains an unmistakable passion for the office. He has actively pursued industrial polluters and other environmental malfeasants […]

Chron overview of the County Attorney race

It’s the one with the one Democratic incumbent running for re-election. Vince Ryan calls himself the Doberman pinscher of Harris County. The Democrat county attorney campaigned in 2012 as a government watchdog. He cannot point to any “dramatic” instances he has played the part, but said that is the point: deterrence through Doberman-like intimidation. “A […]

Spending money to defend our terrible bail practices

Ugh. About $170,000 in tax money has been paid to outside attorneys to defend Harris Country officials from a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging that the bail bond system discriminates against poor people, records show. That’s more than the cost of a six-month pilot project that would have provided attorneys for indigent misdemeanor offenders at […]

Endorsement watch: Stay the course

Harris County Democrats have one incumbent up for re-election: County Attorney Vince Ryan. The Chron gives their approval for another term. [Ryan] said that he actively pursues pollution enforcement lawsuits against big companies – such as Volkswagen after it lied about emissions tests, or the corporations responsible for the San Jacinto waste pits. But in […]

July finance reports for county candidates

Most of the interesting race in Harris County this year are the countywide races. Here’s a look at how the candidates in these races have been doing at fundraising. District Attorney Friends of Devon Anderson PAC Kim Ogg Name Raised Spent Loans On Hand ================================================ Anderson 253,670 55,392 0 368,907 Ogg 143,311 34,417 69,669 108,872 […]

Appeals court upholds Wilson residency ruling

No surprise. A state appeals court has sided with Houston Community College Trustee Dave Wilson in a lengthy legal fight over whether he lives in the district he represents. Ever since Wilson was elected to the HCC board in 2013, the Harris County Attorney’s office has argued that he did not actually live in the […]

2016 primaries: Harris County

Though this will be the first entry published in the morning, it was the last one I wrote last night, and I’m super tired. So, I’m going to make this brief. Harris County Dem results – Harris County GOP results Democratic races of interest, with about 86% of precincts reporting District Attorney: Kim Ogg with […]

Questioning CM Le’s residency

This sort of thing is practically a tradition in District F. Houston City Councilman Steve Le last month became the fourth man to represent District F in the last seven years, and the third to face questions over whether he actually lives in the Alief-area district. Houston’s city charter requires district council members to have […]

Republican filing deadline highlights

As a followup to this, here’s a look at who filed for what in the Republican primary here in Harris County. Set your phasers to “snark” and come on in with me. Congress There are nine Congressional districts partially or wholly within Harris County. Republicans have incumbents in six of them, and they are running […]