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Posts Tagged ‘Harris County Sheriff’

Law enforcement against the bathroom bill

Add another group to an ever-expanding list. Police chiefs from three of the five biggest cities in the state gathered at the Texas Capitol on Tuesday to spurn proponents’ claims that such legislation is needed to protect privacy, arguing that proposals being considered by the Legislature are discriminatory, won’t keep people safe and would divert […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences officially opens

Excellent news. The greater Houston region now has a sophisticated asset to investigate and solve crimes with the official opening of the new Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences (HCIFS). Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and other dignitaries, including Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, attended a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new facility on Thursday […]

“Sanctuary cities” bill modified by House committee

It’s less bad than the Senate version, but it’s still not good. A Texas House committee on Wednesday began debate on the lower chamber’s version of the controversial proposal to outlaw “sanctuary” jurisdictions, making few but significant changes to the bill the Senate passed out last month. Outlawing “sanctuary” entities, the common term for state […]

Two unsatisfying articles about the 2016 Democratic sweep in Harris County

The Democratic sweep in Harris County has drawn some national attention, as writers from the left and right try to analyze what happened here last year and why Hillary Clinton carried the county by such a large margin. Unfortunately, as is often the case with stories about Texas by people not from Texas, the results […]

Sheriff Gonzalez testifies in bail practices trial

He says on the stand what he has been saying elsewhere. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez took the witness stand for an hour Wednesday afternoon in a closely watched federal civil rights case that is challenging whether it is constitutional to impose monetary bail on people arrested for minor offenses if they cannot afford to […]

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 […]

Ogg sides with bail reformers

As well she should. District Attorney Kim Ogg on Friday filed a brief supporting bail reform in the lawsuit brought against Harris County’s misdemeanor judges to change the bail system. The civil rights lawsuit, filed in federal court, is expected to begin a three-day hearing on Monday about whether the judge should issue an injunction. […]

Cutting ICE

Another campaign promise gets fulfilled. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez has ended a controversial partnership with federal immigration authorities that trained a team of county deputies to determine the immigration status of jailed suspects and hold those selected for deportation. Gonzalez, a Democrat who took office in January, said he will reassign 10 deputies trained […]

Ogg launches her pot prosecution reform program

We’ve been waiting for this. The Harris County district attorney’s plan to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana drew reactions swift and strong Thursday from both sides of the debate. District Attorney Kim Ogg made the announced Thursday backed by a bevy of local officials, including Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, Sheriff […]

Sheriff Hernandez not backing down

Good for her. Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez indicated Thursday she is not backing away from her recently introduced “sanctuary” policy. Her comments came a day after Gov. Greg Abbott proposed the removal of Hernandez, who announced Friday she would reduce her department’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities when they request an inmate be flagged […]

Abbott goes authoritarian

I suppose this shouldn’t surprise me, but it is still shocking, even in the world we now inhabit. Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that he and state lawmakers will pursue legislation that would “remove from office any officeholder who promotes sanctuary cities,” raising a new consequence as Republicans crack down on local officials who do […]

Abbott versus Travis County

This could get ugly. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is formally demanding that Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez reverse her new policy on cooperation with federal immigration authorities or lose state dollars, further escalating a showdown over “sanctuary cities” that have been in the crosshairs of Republican officials. “This is not a pronouncement of sound public […]

Sheriff Gonzalez’s staff

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez combines diversity with experience in his braintrust. New Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez has tapped a diverse wave of law enforcement veterans to fill his top command staff, sharply increasing the number of minority leaders and naming the first female assistant chief ever in the sheriff’s office. In his first week as […]

Chron favors a jail administrator

I remain unconvinced. Next month, we’ll have a new sheriff in town. Ed Gonzalez will take command of the largest sheriff’s office in Texas, the third-largest in the nation, with more than 4,600 employees responsible for serving and protecting the estimated 4.5 million people who call Harris County home. It would be nice if our […]

Here come the Dems

All the newly-elected county officials have now been sworn in. The new Harris County officials sworn in New Year’s Day had something in common: They were all Democrats. The swearing-in ceremony at 2 p.m. Sunday followed the Democratic Party’s sweep of every countywide office in November’s general election, including closely watched contests against incumbent Republicans […]

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 […]

The new Sheriff in town

Sheriff-elect Ed Gonzalez has his work cut out for him. When newly elected Sheriff Ed Gonzalez takes office on Jan. 1, he will face a tangle of budget, staffing and jail inmate safety issues inherited from more than a decade of struggles at the nation’s third-largest sheriff’s department. Staff shortages at the troubled jail operation […]

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 […]

Time once again to discuss Latino political participation

Let’s jump right in. The long wait continues for Houston and Harris County residents eager for a steep uptick in elected Latino representation. Hispanic residents last year were 42 percent of the county population, up from 23 percent in 1990, yet Houston has yet to elect a Latino mayor, and no at-large City Council members […]

Precinct analysis: Gonzalez v Hickman

Ed Gonzalez scored a solid win for Sheriff, knocking out incumbent Ron Hickman to win the office back for Democrats. Let’s break it down. Dist Hickman Gonzalez Hickman% Gonzalez% ============================================= CD02 162,915 111,689 59.33% 40.67% CD07 139,292 113,853 55.02% 44.98% CD09 26,869 106,301 20.18% 79.82% CD10 81,824 36,293 69.27% 30.73% CD18 48,766 153,342 24.13% 75.87% […]

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 […]

Checking in with Ed Gonzalez

Also known as Harris County Sheriff-elect Ed Gonzalez. Ed Gonzalez will have a lot to do when he assumes the position of the county’s top cop in January. He’ll have to rein in overtime pay, manage the Harris County jail population and win over the thousands of employees who backed his opponent in Tuesday’s election. […]

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 […]

The answer is to always cram more people in the jails

Seriously? Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman is asking the state jail commission to let nearly 200 inmates sleep on plastic cots on the floor of the already overcrowded county jail system, a request challenged by more than a dozen Houston-area lawmakers. The lawmakers note that county officials have not fully followed the advice of their […]

UH Hobby School (Harris County only): Clinton 43, Trump 36

More polling locally. A new survey released Thursday by the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs shows Democratic challengers for county wide office rising sharply against Republican incumbents. It also showed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with a seven-point lead over Republican Donald Trump, which Hobby research associate and poll author Bob Stein […]

Overview of the Harris County Sheriff race

The Chron takes a good look at the race for Sheriff. Policing Texas’ most populous county is just one item on a laundry list of challenges facing Harris County’s next sheriff. Voters next month will choose between the appointed Republican sheriff, Ron Hickman, a career cop who formerly served as Precinct 4 Constable, and Democratic […]

Endorsement watch: First, reform the office

The Chron has almost as much to say about the office of Constable as it does about the candidates for Constable that they prefer. Harris County needs to bring these law enforcement fiefdoms in line: Update precincts to equalize populations, reduce the competing bureaucracies, centralize the evidence room and put county law enforcement responsibility in […]