What You Should Know about Texas’s Capital Murder Charge
Capital murder is the most severe charge in Texas and can carry the death penalty. A recent story from Lubbock Online highliRead More
Harris County Officials are attempting to win a grant related to the administration of the criminal justice system. I believe the grant will be awarded to the government entity that is doing something innovative.
The question is posed: if the judges in Harris County began to systematically grant PR bonds would that be “innovative”? I believe that it would be far more than innovative.
The judiciary purposely denies PR bonds. They do this with the knowledge the accused will face the Hobson’s choice of pleading guilty to get out of jail or pleading not guilty and staying in jail.
The judiciary knows very well that by denying PR bonds the majority of accused will plead guilty. The judiciary purposely denies PR Bonds to move their dockets. For years the judiciary has placed expediency over justice. They have for years perpetuated a system that is a farce. They have for years perpetuated a system that saddled tens of thousands of our fellow Houstonians with unnecessary criminal records. Based on any objective standard, the judiciary’s concerted conduct is nothing short of criminal. Indeed the county court judges have conspired to coerce pleas with the aid of others.
While it might not be “innovative”, the systematic granting of PR bonds would represent a seismic change in our corrupt system.
Currently the county judges grant PR BONDS to ~ 9% of the accused while the district courts grants PR bonds to only 1% of the accused.
Based on Pretrial services own risk assessment calculations the county court judges should be granting at least 3 times the PR bonds they are currently granting. If the judges granted PR BONDS to 27-30% of those accused of misdemeanor offenses there would be a dramatic improvement in the quality of justice afforded the poor.
Rather than being forced to plead guilty, released on a PR bond, the poor could fight their cases. Many of these cases would be dismissed and many would win at trial. The Plea Mill as we know it would come to a halt.
While it might not be “innovative” for the judges to grant PR bonds, I can assure you that it would be one of the most positive and dramatic changes in our system in the last 30 years.
Regrettably, I do not believe this change is coming. I believe it is far more likely that the judges will talk about change but not truly implement it.
The judges mistakenly rate themselves based on the size of their docket. That’s a mistake because they should rate themselves on the quality of justice afforded in their court.
In the judges’ minds the smaller the docket the better they are doing. The judges rely on the Plea mill to keep their dockets small. In fact Harris County’s shameful history shows that the judiciary would rather deny PR BONDS and sacrifice poor people to maintain the plea mill, than do the right thing.
Perhaps the judges will turn over a new leaf. After watching them crush the poor for three decades, I would be pleased if they finally saw the light.
Robb Fickman, Houston
Client charged in Federal Indictment In “Operation Wrecking Ball” with 55 named co-defendants. Client faced seven charges. Client was charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine and Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering. Client was also charged with four counts of Distribution of Cocaine and one count of Money laundering.
Allegations involved client’s alleged use of his home to distribute cocaine. Government’s lengthy investigation involved numerous wiretaps, surveillance, video, pole cams, search warrants, vehicle stops and use of cooperating co-defendants.
Client went to trial with four remaining defendants. After a two-week trial, Judge granted Motion for Acquittal on four of the seven charges. Jury found Client Not Guilty of remaining three charges.
Client charged in Federal Court with two counts of Wire Fraud related to Five SBA EIDL loan applications. The Government alleged the client, a Houston professional, defrauded the Small Business Administration out of over $150,000. The Client faced up to 20 years in prison on each count. The Defense investigated the case and negotiated a deal that included the Government not opposing a probation. The Federal Guideline calculation was for a prison sentence and the Probation Department recommended a prison sentence. Attorney Fickman submitted a 90 page Defense Sentencing Memorandum asking for Probation.
Client was retired professional. Client was accused of being involved in a road rage incident in 1960 Area. Defense put together a 100 page memorandum that demonstrated complainant was actual aggressor.
Client was accused of touching child. Case involved thousands of pages of psychiatric and Child Protective Services records as well as investigations by multiple police departments. After three- year fight, case dismissed.
Client accused of shoving and knocking down family member causing injury. After investigation, charges were dismissed.
Client was accused of knocking disruptive student against the wall. Videotape of incident was obtained. Witnessed located and interviewed. On the day of trial, case was dismissed
Client was nurse at mental hospital. Client accused of assaulting fellow employee who was being rough with patient.
Louisiana businessman accused of assaulting co-worker in drunken bar fight.
Client was accused of shoving date out of vehicle and breakings date’s property. Investigation showed allegations were false.
Client was accused of producing and using fraudulent temporary tags in sale of vehicles.
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