Defending Against Texas DWI Charges: Strategies to Protect Your Rights
Facing driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges in Texas can be a distressing and overwhelming experience. A DWI conviction cRead More
Friends-For years Harris County created its own jail overcrowding problem. Part of this problem was created by the Harris County Criminal courts’ systematic denial of PR bonds.
Harris County has never been shy about locking up as many Pretrial detainees as possible. When we ran out of jail space in Harris county we sent prisoners to Louisiana to be housed. When that wasn’t enough, the County tried, but failed, to persuade the voters to build even more jails.
Notwithstanding the fact Harris county created its own jail overcrowding problem, The County, cynically applied for a 2 million dollar MacArthur Grant -to solve its jail overcrowding problem. And Harris County won the grant. Thus, Harris County was paid grant money to solve a problem that Harris County created. If ever there was a case of rewarding bad behavior, this was it. And If that wasn’t bad enough, the county took the grant money, apparently with absolutely no intention of ever solving its jail overcrowding. To the contrary, the county has done everything in its power to maintain its jail overcrowding.
While Harris County maintained its jail overcrowding, A federal lawsuit was filed to force the county criminal judges to grant PR bonds.The Honorable Lee Rosenthal did the right thing and ruled for the plaintiffs. The result was the County was ordered to grant PR bonds to the poor on some misdemeanors. Judge Rosenthal’s Federal order apparently did not sit well with the good ole boys who run this county. Harris County Judges made no secret that they didnt want some Federal Judge mucking around in their system. Harris County didnt want some federal judge slowing down its well-oiled wheels of injustice. Screw the federal judge, the county would have the last word.
On June 8, 2017, just after Judge Rosenthal’s order went into effect, this disgraceful, vindictive, retaliatory, punitive, unsupported new felony bond schedule went into effect. ( See New Bond Schedule Below) In Bold print, this new Felony Bond Schedule announces, ” We are Harris County and we Will Not Be forced to be just! We prefer to be small-minded and mean”
Upon reflection, There are perhaps three motivations for this new Bond Schedule and it’s timing.
First, make no mistake, this is Harris County Courts saying “Screw You” to the Honorable Lee Rosenthal. It’s the Courts’ way of saying, “the Good ole Boys still run the show over here.” It’s their way of once again demonstrating that no matter how intelligent they may be, they will not be enlightened.
Second, this is the Harris County Courts way of keeping the accused in jail. Why will the accused be stuck in jail ? Well, just look at the outrageous new bond amounts. Many people, accused of felonies will not have the money to post bond. What becomes of these presumptively innocent accused citizens? What always happens when people are locked up and given an opportunity to get out if they will plead guilty? What happens is people will plead guilty to obtain their liberty without regard to whether or not they actually are guilty. I have said it before and I will say it again, It’s a sick system that coerces potentially innocent people into pleading guilty to obtain their liberty. Thus, the detestable Harris County Plea Mill is not dead; the Plea Mill has just moved upstairs to the District Courts. Frankly, this is far worse than what we had before. Now, more people will plead guilty to felonies to obtain their liberty. That means, thanks to this miserable new bond schedule, the odds have increased that more innocent people will plead guilty to felonies, just to get out of jail.
Third, this is speculative, but there are cozy relations between some judges and some bondsmen. Perhaps, the new felony bond schedule is a “bondsmens’ relief fund”. Perhaps It’s meant to make up for the $ the bondsmen might, but won’t lose as a result of the court ordered misdemeanor PR bonds. With the new bond schedule The bondsmen won’t lose money because their fees on felonies have all mostly doubled. Either way, Raising Bond amounts to keep bondsmen flush is not a valid reason to raise bonds.
Who will be victimized by this ham-handed, vindictive mean-spirited, baseless new Bond Schedule? Who do you think? The presumptively innocent, will be the victims of this new bond schedule. More innocent men and women will be detained.
Shame on Harris County’s latest attack on liberty and justice. I hope the Federal Court deals with this and forces Harris County Judges to do the right thing. Bond is to ensure attendance at court. It is not to be used in a punitive manner. You would NEVER know that in Harris County Texas.
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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