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Posts Tagged ‘Rodney Ellis’

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. […]

Commissioners get testy over bail practices lawsuit

Let’s hash it all out. Tensions flared at Harris County Commissioners Court Tuesday after new Commissioner Rodney Ellis filed legal papers supporting civil rights groups in their high-profile federal lawsuit against the county and its bail system. In a rare public argument before dozens of onlookers at the meeting Tuesday, Ellis’ colleagues — all Republicans […]

County will use public defenders at bail hearings

Good. Harris County commissioners on Tuesday approved a pilot program to make public defenders available at bail hearings, a step aimed at retooling a criminal justice system that has increasingly drawn criticism for jailing thousands of poor, low-risk offenders. Within months, county officials anticipate that two public defenders will be present at bail hearings for […]

Once again with driverless car legislation

Third time’s the charm, right? State Rep. Charlie Geren isn’t about to let Texas get left in the dust when driverless vehicles start easing their way into everyday life. Especially since car manufacturers need somewhere to test them and could one day need someplace to mass produce them. “I don’t want General Motors, or Ford, […]

County approves defense attorneys for bail hearings

Long overdue. Harris County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to develop a pilot program that would make public defenders present at bail hearings, a move aimed at reducing what officials say is the unnecessary jailing of thousands of defendants because they can’t afford bail or are unfamiliar with the legal process. The pilot could lead to […]

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 […]

More on the Whitmire Astrodome bill

I still don’t care for this. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett voiced concern Tuesday that a bill filed by a veteran state senator jeopardizes the county’s plan to revitalize the Astrodome, adding that county representatives would continue to try to persuade legislators to support the $105 million project. Emmett said state Sen. John Whitmire’s bill, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Commissioner Locke’s last day

He served well, and did a lot in his short time in office. Gene Locke, who was appointed Harris County commissioner nearly a year ago after the death of longtime Commissioner El Franco Lee, was praised for his effectiveness during a meeting Tuesday at which he cast his final vote. The former city attorney and […]

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 […]

Once more on HD146

Christopher Hooks from the Observer was at Saturday’s festivities, and he files his report. And on Saturday, 24 precinct chairs met in a small room full of folding chairs at the Sunnyside Multi-Service Center in south Houston to pick Miles’ replacement. They adjudicated a fierce contest between [Shawn] Thierry and Erica Lee Carter, member of […]

More on the jailed rape victim

The Chron pens a harsh editorial. Although a spokesman for the district attorney’s office has admitted this miscarriage of justice should never have happened, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson defends the prosecutor involved in the case. She says the prosecutor tried to find a suitable place for the sexual assault survivor to stay after […]

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 […]

Miles wins SD13 nomination

And so we gathered again to pick a nominee to fill an open slot on the ballot, though at least this time the “we” who did the actual picking did not include me. I went to observe, say Hi, gather intelligence, and just generally enjoy the process. if you didn’t know anything about that process […]

Today’s the day for SD13

Feels like we’ve been here before, doesn’t it? Today is the day for the Senate precinct convention in SD13, in which a nominee for that office to replace Sen. Rodney Ellis will be chosen. There are 96 precinct chairs in total across Harris and Fort Bend Counties, and we know the basic process by now. […]

Chron overview of SD13

Not much new here. Amid frantic wooing of Democratic precinct chairs, the unconventional sprint to succeed state Sen. Rodney Ellis is boiling down to an argument over tenure: Is it better to move a seasoned legislator to the Senate, or preserve House experience by sending a relative newcomer to the upper chamber? State Rep. Senfronia […]

Endorsement watch: The Chron for Rep. Thompson

The Chron endorses Rep. Senfronia Thompson in SD13, though they spend most of their time attacking Rep. Borris Miles. In 2008 [Rep. Miles] was indicted (and later acquitted) for deadly conduct in a bizarre scenario that had him accused of crashing a holiday party at the St. Regis Hotel flashing a gun, threatening the host, […]

Endorsement watch: Labor for Thompson, the Mayor for Miles

From the inbox: The Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO today announced their support of Senfronia Thompson for State Senator District 13. “Our unions screened two candidates for Senate District 13 — Representatives Senfronia Thompson and Borris Miles,” said Zeph Capo, President of the Area Labor Federation. “Both candidates have been steadfast allies in […]

More on the SD13 race

From the Trib: In the span of a month, a Texas Senate seat will have been vacated and effectively filled, an unconventional turn of events that has Houston Democrats scrambling to replace one of their most venerated legislators. The highly abbreviated contest is unfolding in Senate District 13, where Rodney Ellis is vacating his seat […]

SD13 nomination process update

Two possible candidates have taken themselves out of the running. State Rep. Garnet Coleman and former City Councilman C.O. Bradford have decided not to run for Rodney Ellis’ state Senate seat, citing a desire to retain seniority in the state House and concerns about the electoral process, respectively. That leaves state Reps. Senfronia Thompson and […]

Here come the candidates for SD13

Here we go again. State Rep. Borris Miles came prepared with signs Saturday when Rodney Ellis all but secured a seat on Harris County’s Commissioners Court – not in support of Ellis, but to launch his own campaign. Ellis’ selection as the Democratic Party’s nominee to replace late Precinct 1 Commissioner El Franco Lee has […]

Ellis wins Precinct 1 nomination

In the end, it wasn’t close. State Sen. Rodney Ellis on Saturday won the Democratic nomination for Precinct 1 Commissioner, effectively guaranteeing the veteran lawmaker the office. Ellis will be sacrificing 26 years in the Texas senate to become the next commissioner, an often overlooked but powerful local office. He will take over from current […]

Today’s the day for the Commissioners Court selection process

I’m sure we’re all ready for it to be over. Just last week, state Sen. Rodney Ellis claimed he had enough support from Democratic Party chairs to become the next Harris County commissioner for Precinct 1. Not that he’s resting easy in a race as unusual as this one. “I do wake up in the […]

Commissioners Court candidate questionnaire responses

Last week, the HCDP sent out a questionnaire to the candidates who had expressed an interest in the nomination for Commissioners Court in Precinct 1. You can see the responses that they got here. Only four candidates submitted answers: Sen. Rodney Ellis, Georgia Provost, Rickey Tezino, and someone named Vernell Jessie, about whom I know […]

Endorsement watch: Chron for Ellis

I had wondered if the Chron was going to weigh in on any of the candidate-selection processes that will be going on over the next two weeks. I even sent an email to a couple of their editorial board members on Saturday morning to ask about it. Turns out, I needn’t have wondered, they were […]

Update on the nomination selection processes

In six days, Democratic precinct chairs in County Commissioners Court Precinct 1 will select a nominee to replace the late El Franco Lee on the November ballot. In 11 days, all Democratic precinct chairs will select nominees for the 507th Family Court and the County Criminal Court at Law #16. This is a brief update […]

Sen. Ellis claims a majority of Precinct 1 endorsements

This may end the suspense for the June 25 precinct convention. Senator Rodney Ellis has won the public support of 65 of the 125 Precinct One precinct chairs eligible to vote in the June 25 selection process for the Democratic nominee for Harris County Commissioner, Precinct One. Today’s announcement followed the endorsement of Ellis last […]

What do you want in the next Precinct 1 County Commissioner?

Here’s one way to figure it out if you’re not sure. Harris County Democrats have sent a questionnaire to Precinct 1 commissioners candidates, setting up one of the few instances in an unusual race where the public can compare candidates’ political and policy stances. The questionnaire covers topics including how candidates propose to prioritize funds […]

Endorsement watch: Rodney racks ’em up

One more to a long list. The widow of the late Harris County Commissioner El Franco Lee has endorsed state Sen. Rodney Ellis for the seat that her husband held for decades, the senator said Friday. A letter dated Tuesday and signed by Kaye Lee urges Democratic party district chairs to select Ellis, the longtime […]

Ellis v. Radack

From the inbox: On Tuesday, Commissioner Steve Radack said during a public session of the Harris County Commissioner’s Court that Senator Rodney Ellis should “shut up” about criminal justice reform. Click here and scroll to the 30 second mark of the Executive Session. Today, Senator Ellis offers the following response: “In an outburst more in […]

The Commissioners Court candidates forum

On Sunday, I attended the candidate forum held by the HCDP for the people who are interested in being named to replace the late El Franco Lee on the ballot this November. The Chron has a report on it here, but I’m just going to give you my impressions of the event and the candidates. […]

Overview of the Commissioners Court Precinct 1 “race”

I put “race” in quotes because it’s not like any other race you’v ever seen. The campaign for the next Harris County Precinct 1 commissioner appears in many ways like any other: candidates are raising money, seeking endorsements and sending out targeted mailers touting their credentials. But this is not a typical election, and voters […]