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Harris County Criminal Judges Have Abused the Accused Who Have Made Bond


For decades, far too many Harris County criminal judges have abused the accused who have made bond. The latest abuses are repeating bad conduct that we have seen in the past.

Harris County, Criminal Court Judges, continue to hold meaningless dockets unnecessarily. The accused are made to come to court for one reason: to wear them down so that they plead guilty. Defendants who work for a living can only take so many days off to attend court before their job is in jeopardy. Many courts use this pressure to essentially coerce pleas out of the working accused, who are made to come to court every month.

I practice quite a bit in federal court. As a general rule, the federal judiciary is highly regarded for its ability to manage thousands of complex civil and criminal cases. There is not one federal judge who routinely and unnecessarily requires the accused to come to court. It does not happen. Consequently, those accused in federal court do not have to miss work needlessly. Rather than causing the accused to risk their jobs, federal courts do everything they can to encourage the accused to keep and maintain employment.

The Harris County district and county court judges who require needless appearances do it to coerce pleas and move their almighty docket. In federal court, statistically, 90% of those accused plead guilty. They don’t plead guilty In federal court because they have been coerced by having to come to the courthouse for needless settings. In federal court, for the most part, the accused plead guilty because after reviewing the evidence with counsel they determine a plea of guilty is their best option.

Harris county judges should follow the example of their federal colleagues and stop requiring these needless settings. Stopping the needless settings would allow the accused to maintain employment while dealing with their cases. It would also eliminate the ridiculous long lines and overcrowding of the state court. Eliminating needless settings is just one example of how the aptly named Harris County “Criminal” Justice system can be more just and less criminal.


Robb Fickman
Houston, Texas

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