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Harris County Criminal Justice officials have recently announced the coming of some long over-due reforms. They have been more than a little vague on what those reforms will be.
Da Devon Anderson has announced one reform, plans for more diversions; an outcome where low risk offenders are kept out of jail and given a second chance. DA Anderson should be commended for her commitment toward more diversions. This is a tangible reform.
But more diversions from the DA will not solve the primary problems in our criminal justice system. So long as the Harris County judiciary systematically denies PR bonds, there will be no justice in Harris County.
It’s real simple. So long as the judges systematically deny PR bonds, the poor will remain in jail. The poor will continue to be forced to plead guilty to obtain their liberty.
The judges now uniformly say they would grant more PR bonds but they lack a good tool to evaluate risk. This is False. The risk assessment tool already in place is more than adequate to make an informed decision on whether to grant a PR bond.
The claimed lack of an adequate Risk Assessment tool is smoke utilized by the judiciary in an attempt to justify their unjustifiable denial of PR BONDS.
When a person makes a surety bond, there is no risk assessment. If a person can afford to hire a bondsman they can be charged with murder and walk right out of jail. But a poor person who cannot afford a bond who is charged with trespass stays in jail because the judges falsely claim they can’t adequately access his risk of coming back to court. The judiciary speaks with a giant forked tongue.
In Harris County, If you have money and can hire a bondsman, you don’t need a risk assessment. It’s of no concern. But if you are poor and in the county’s clutches, you will stay in jail because the judges claim they can’t make a risk assessment.
The truth is, the judiciary can make the risk assessment. Risk assessment is simply the latest lame judicial excuse, in a long line of lame judicial excuses, utilized to justify the systematic denial of PR bonds.
The judges systematic denial of PR BONDS is not caused by an inadequate Risk Assessment tool. The judiciary’s systematic denial of PR BONDS is driven by the judiciary’s shared desire to perpetuate the County’s evil Plea Mill. This is most evident in the County courts.
This double standard, this blatant denial of Equal Protection is precisely what will get Harris County sued in Federal Court. So long As the judiciary continues to systematically deny PR bonds, there will be no justice in Harris County.
The county officials talk of reform and pat themselves on the back. They should not pat themselves on the back so hard as to knock themselves down. In fact they should not pat themselves on the back at all. The county has perpetuated the systematic abuse of the poor and minorities for decades. The county should not now engage in self praise for making minor adjustments to an otherwise abusive system that they continue to daily perpetuate.
Robb Fickman, Houston
The client believed to be facing potential Wire Fraud Charges related to SBA PPP loan applications. Investigation of applications for PPP loans and PPP forgiveness demonstrated that the Client had at all times acted in a lawful manner. Investigation demonstrated no fraud was committed by the client. Case closed.
Client was charged by Federal Indictment with making a social media post that threatened Malicious Damage and Destruction of a Building by Means of Fire and Explosives in violation of Federal law. The Defense showed that Client was a law-abiding citizen. The Defense further showed that the alleged threat was not made with any criminal intent.
The client, a public official with a long history of public service, was accused by a former girlfriend of engaging in non-consensual sexual relations. The Defense investigation and analysis showed through a detailed timeline that the allegation made absolutely no sense. Phone records, including calls and texts, were relied on to help establish an accurate timeline. The Defense met with law enforcement and reviewed a detailed package that exonerated the accused.
Client, a Houston area professional who frequently travels for work, was accused by his wife of assaulting her in his family home. Defense showed that wife’s story lacked credibility and there was no physical evidence in support of the wife’s allegation.
The client, a young Black male, was driving his car when police pulled him over for no apparent reason. It looked to be a profile stop. The client was accused of possessing a controlled substance in his vehicle. The Defense showed that there was no lawful basis for the police to stop the Client’s car. The Defense also showed that there was no lawful basis for the search of the Client’s car. It was a bad search, so the seized evidence was not admissible.
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 Government also found the intended loss was over half a million dollars. 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.
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