Directory of Criminal Courts
for Harris County, Texas
for Professor Moses' Criminal Law & Trial Advocacy Classes
copyright © ray moses 2001 - 2014

CONTENTS:

CHART OF TEXAS COURT STRUCTURE  (1)
BASIC INFORMATION FOR DEFENDANTS
STATE COURTS OF HARRIS COUNTY
CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURTS OF HARRIS COUNTY
COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTS AT LAW OF HARRIS COUNTY
JUVENILE COURTS OF HARRIS COUNTY
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE OF HARRIS COUNTY
HARRIS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY
MUNICIPAL (CORPORATION) COURTS
FEDERAL COURTS, SOUTHERN DISTRICT , HOUSTON DIV.
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY


Basic Information for Defendants

CONFUSED ABOUT YOUR CASE: INDIGENT ACCUSED PERSONS WHO HAVE BEEN ASSIGNED A COURT-APPOINTED LAWYER BY LOCAL STATE JUDGES, UNDER THE SOMEWHAT ARCHAIC COURT-APPOINTED LAWYER SYSTEM USED IN HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS, MAY FIND SOME ANSWERS TO THEIR MOST BASIC QUESTIONS IN THIS 24-PAGE MANUAL: 
"FINDING HELP WHEN YOU'RE IN TROUBLE WITH THE LOCAL LAW."
(Note: For general information about the criminal justice process look at this guide from the American Bar Association. A New York lawyer wrote a handbook,  "What You Should Know If You Are
Accused of a Crime" for use by folks in New York. You might find parts of it useful.
If you are an indigent charged with a federal crime and want to know something about
the federal criminal justice system, look at this handbook from the WVN Federal PD. )

INFORMATION ABOUT HARRIS COUNTY COURT SYSTEM.

THIS WEB SITE PROVIDES INFORMATION TO DEFENDANTS CHARGED IN COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTS AT LAW WITH JAIL TIME (CLASS A & B) MISDEMEANORS.
THIS REPORT EXPLAINS THE WAY HARRIS COUNTY  CRIMINAL COURTS AT LAW DETERMINE WHETHER A DEFENDANT IS ENTITILED TO COURT-APPOINTED COUNSEL AND HOW COURT-APPOINTED COUNSEL ARE ASSIGNED AND PAID.

+ IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOUR RIGHTS ARE WHEN DEALING WITH THE POLICE,
DOWNLOAD THIS CARD THAT TELLS YOU
"WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU'RE STOPPED BY THE POLICE"
AND PUT IT IN YOUR WALLET OR PURSE.
(The manual and the card are in PDF format which requires that your computer
have a free downloadable Adobe Acrobat Reader.)
+ WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF THE POLICE WANT TO TALK TO YOU?
HERE'S ADVICE FROM A LAW PROFESSOR  (1) See SIDEBAR VIDEO
AND A COP (1) See SIDEBAR VIDEO
+ IF THE POLICE ASK YOU TO  CONSENT TO THEM SEARCHING
THE TRUNK OR PASSENGER COMPARTMENT OF YOUR CAR:
POLICE: I'D LIKE TO TAKE A LOOK IN THE TRUNK OF YOUR CAR.
YOU: ARE YOU REQUESTING OR DEMANDING?
SCENARIO ONE - POLICE: REQUESTING.
YOU: I REFUSE TO CONSENT TO ANY WARRANTLESS AND UNREASONABLE SEARCH.
SCENARIO TWO - POLICE: DEMANDING.
YOU: I DON'T CONSENT TO ANY WARRANTLESS AND UNREASONABLE SEARCH.
BUT I'M NOT GOING TO PHYSICALLY RESIST.
+ IF THE POLICE ASK YOU TO SIGN A WRITTEN CONSENT TO SEARCH,
YOUR ANSWER SHOULD BE THE SAME AS SCENARIO ONE ABOVE.

HERE IS WHAT THE U.S. AND TEXAS CONSTITUTIONS SAY ABOUT
EVERY AMERICAN'S BILL OF RIGHTS  

HERE'S INFORMATION ABOUT CRIMINAL CASES THAT HAVE BEEN FILED IN HARRIS COUNTY.

HERE IS A GROUP OF SHORT ARTICLES THAT MAY HELP YOU UNDERSTAND
BASIC CRIMINAL LAW AND THE WAY IT WORKS.

HERE'S A GUIDE TO FINDING A LAWYER AND SOME QUESTIONS (1) THAT CLIENTS
MAY WANT TO ASK WHEN SHOPPING FOR A LAWYER TO HIRE TO REPRESENT THEM.
YOU CAN CHECK YOUR LAWYER'S RATING BY OTHER LAWYERS IN THE
MARTINDALE-HUBBELL DIRECTORY. THE HIGHEST RATING IN "AV."
DON'T BE SURPRISED IF YOUR LAWYER HAS A LOWER RATING.
A LAWYER MUST PRACTICE FOR 10 YEARS TO EVEN BE ELIGIBLE FOR "AV."

FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE STATUS OF A CRIMINAL CASE IN HARRIS COUNTY, CRIMINAL RECORDS SEACHES,  & MANY OTHER FAQ ABOUT HARRIS COUNTY CRIMINAL CASES, 
CHECK WITH: THE HARRIS COUNTY DISTRICT CLERK AND JIMS AND
THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S "FIND YOUR CASE" PAGE
(YOU'LL NEED THE CAUSE NUMBER OF THE CASE TO USE THE DA'S PAGE ABOVE.)

FOR LOCAL RULES OF THE CLASS A &B MISDEMEANOR COURTS - (COUNTY CRIMINAL
COURTS AT LAW), MISDEMEANOR BAIL (1) SCHEDULES, INFORMATION ON FREE
LAWYERS FOR THOSE UNABLE TO AFFORD A LAWYER, PETITIONS FOR
NON-DISCLOSURE OF A DEFERRED ADJUDICATION, ETC. , GO TO THIS WEB SITE.

IF YOU ARE CHARGED WITH A TRAFFIC OFFENSE (CLASS C - FINEABLE ONLY OFFENSE), YOUR CASE WILL  BE IN A MUNICIPAL OR JUSTICE OF THE PEACE COURT. THE REST OF THIS WEB SITE WON'T HELP YOU, BUT HERE IS A LIST OF THE LOCATION AND PHONE NUMBERS OF ALL
TRAFFIC COURTS IN HARRIS COUNTY AND SURROUDING AREAS

UNDERSTANDING LAWYER-TALK:THOSE WHO ARE CONFUSED BY SOME OF THE LEGAL
MUMBO-JUMBO WORDS USED DOWN AT THE COURTHOUSE MAY GET SOME
HELP FROM THIS GLOSSARY (1) OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE TERMS.

INFORMATION ABOUT TEXAS COURTS

THE NATIONAL VICTIM  NOTIFICATION NETWORK

IF YOU ARE A VICTIM (COMPLAINANT), THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE HAS PREPARED
THIS INFORMATION PAGE THAT ANSWERS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS.


COURT WATCHERS & MY  LAW STUDENTS: DA'S LOCAL TRIALS TO WATCH
The ODA Trials to Watch page provides you with a list of the most interesting jury
trials currently taking place at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center.
The interim District Attorney, Ken Magidson, now United States Attorney for the
Southern District, added this page to the DA's web site in November of 2008.
This useful tool was continued by Pat Lykos and her successor Mike Anderson.
Law students who are required to visit the courthouse to observe proceedings
may be able to find an interesting trial to watch on the Trials to Watch link.

There are other leads to interesting local trials. The Chronicle newspaper reports daily
on one or two of the juiciest trials. You can also ask the people on duty on the
first floor of the courthouse if they know of any interesting trials to watch.
Or you can just wander around from court to court 'til something strikes your fancy.
If you want to observe a specific trial, you may
wish to call the court beforehand and verify that the trial is still underway before
making a trip. To do so: Dial (713) 755 and the extension number beside 
(not the number in parenthesis) the judge's name
from the list of courts set out  below.

DRESSING FOR COURT: STUDENT COURTWATCHERS SHOULD DRESS COMFORTABLY BUT WITH APPROPRIATE RESPECT FOR THE COURT.
NEVER WEAR SHORTS, TANK TOPS OR FLIP-FLOP SANDALS;
AVOID T-SHIRTS WITH DEROGATORY MESSAGES OR SALACIOUS IMAGES.

FINDING THE CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE:
CRIMINAL CASES ARE HANDLED IS A BUILDING CALLED
THE HARRIS COUNTY CRIMINAL JUSTICE CENTER
THE DESTINATION ADDRESS IS:
1201 FRANKLIN
HOUSTON, TX 77002-1900

DRIVING DIRECTIONS: IF YOU NEED DRIVING DIRECTIONS FROM YOUR HOME OR PLACE OF WORK TO THE HARRIS COUNTY CRIMINAL JUSTICE CENTER, PRESS Google, Maps, Yahoo, Mapquest, MapsOnUs, or Rand McNally. PUT YOUR LOCATION IN AS TO YOUR STARTING PLACE AND PUT THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE CENTER ADDRESS "1201 Franklin, Houston, TX. 77002" AS YOUR DESTINATION ADDRESS, OR GET DRIVING DIRECTIONS BY PUNCHING ANY STREET ADDRESS INTO THE GOOGLE SEARCH BOX ON YOUR COMPUTER.
HERE IS CURRENT INFORMATION ABOUT ROAD CONSTRUCTION AND CLOSURES.

COURTHOUSE PARKING: THERE IS NO FREE PARKING. DO NOT PARK AT THE STREET METERS; YOU RISK AN EXPENSIVE  PARKING TICKET IF YOU DON'T FEED THE METER. PARKING AROUND THE COURTHOUSE RUNS FROM $2 TO $14 A DAY. TIP:  IF YOU CAN ARRIVE BEFORE 8:00 A.M., THERE IS $4-A-DAY PUBLIC PARKING IN THE HARRIS COUNTY PARKING GARAGE AT THE INTERSECTION OF FRANKLIN AND AUSTIN STREETS NEAR THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE CENTER; IT OFFERS COVERED PARKING AND TUNNEL CONNECTIONS TO THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE CENTER AND THE FAMILY AND CIVIL COURTHOUSES AS WELL.

BY BUS OR RAIL: FOR ROUTE INFORMATION RE METRO RAIL OR BUS - WWW.RIDEMETRO.ORG OR CALL (713) 635-4000.

FINDING THE COURTROOM: HERE'S A HANDY GUIDE TO THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE CENTER THAT TELLS YOU HOW THE STRANGE ELEVATOR SYSTEM WORKS AND WHAT FLOOR THE COURTROOM YOU ARE LOOKING FOR IS ON. 















State Courts of Harris County

The integrity of our judicial systerm rests  on both
the reality and the appearance of propriety.

Note to law students: I encourage criminal law students to visit a felony (capital murder, 1st degree, 2nd degree, 3rd degree or state jail felony) or jail-time (class A and B) misdemeanor  criminal trial. See Local Trials to Watch.  All courts are open to the public. Except for the occasional high-profile trial, you will never have trouble finding a seat. In fact, you may be the only spectator in attendance. Don't be shy about entering the courtroom. Every court has a vestibule with gunslit  windows that allow you to observe whether anything is happening in the courtroom before you enter. When you enter during a trial, don't be surprised if a bailiff approaches you. S/he is just going to ask whether you are a witness.

Directions to the Criminal Justice Center, 1201 Franklin, in downtown Houston, TX, 77002, are contained on the "Announcements" page of the criminal law web site. If you are planning a trip to the local Harris County Criminal Justice Center to watch a particular trial, you may want to check with that court to determine if the trial is under way. On the list of courts below,  I will include the phone number of each trial court and my most current information re the name of the court coordinator for each court.

Most trials occur in the afternoon, after the court has completed its morning docket call. If you want to watch some of the better (not afraid to go to trial) criminal trial advocates at work, check the newspapers for crime stories of current trials. The trials reported in the press are typically the juiciest and often involve the most talented prosecution and defense advocates. The trial court prosecutor in Texas is an Assistant District Attorney (Assistant State's Attorney in some states). In Harris County, the defense lawyers are either "retained" (hired) for those defendants with money or "appointed" by the court for those without money, i.e., indigents. [Note: Harris County has been the subject of national attention as the "Death Penalty Capital of the U.S." - it contains roughly 1 percent of the U.S. population but is responsible for nearly 10 percent of the country's executions since 1976. There has also been continued concern regarding propriety of practices by the Houston Police Crime Lab (1) Justice in Harris County, Texas, for those who can't afford to pay
for it, may be a bit undercooked. To some indigent defendants, it may seem downright raw.] 

We must ask ourselves whether our system of criminal justice ensures fundamental fairness to accused criminals who cannot afford to hire a lawyer to defend themselves against accusations filed by the government. With its archaic system of appointing attorneys for indigents, until 2011 Harris County remained the last major metropolitan area (compare NY and the federal defender services - 1) of the United States without an organized public defender office (1) (2 - ABA Guidelines for Public Dense). Starting in 2011, there is a pilot public defender program for a Harris County Public Defender that will phase in on a graduated basis. [Note: Despite periodic sound and fury rumblings, the local political powers had been resistant to actual change in delivery of legal aid to indigent defendants. (1)] If you wonder about the efficacy of a public defender system, think of a process where we had court-appointed prosecutors in every case, instead of our DA's office of highly-trained devoted career public prosecutors. If the idea of a public defender seems to makes no sense, why does it make sense to have an ad hoc system of oft ill-trained, underpaid, court-appointed defense attorneys, instead of an organized office of dedicated adequately trained public defenders? Does the ad hoc system foster a culture of "meet 'em, greet 'em and plead 'em" defenders? Why didn't we have a public defender system in Houston? Possible Answer: Maybe it was just local partisan politics, imbued with motives of power and control over the administrative process. Maybe not. Some people suggest that the indigent defense function is still not free from undue political influence of the judiciary. It is a fact that the candidates for Harris County District Attorney in 2008 all professed to support the system of court-appointed counsel for indigent accuseds. One problem with court-appointed attorneys (1) - they sometimes contribute to the campaign coffers of the judges who appoint them. (1-Ethics) Another problem is that the Harris County system has been gamed by individual lawyers for several hundred thousand dollars a
year each in court-appointment fees. Nationwide stats indicate that defendants represented by PD's or retained counsel come out better than those represented by court-appointed lawyers.

[Note: Of course, a typical public defender system still doesn't provide the sort of defense
that a well-heeled defendant can obtain from a privately employed lawyer. Public defenders, typically appointed rather than being popularly elected (Florida and Tennessee being two
notable exceptions), always face the specter of increased caseloads (1), declining state appropriations leading to lower salaries, and ethical pressures associated with crushing
caseloads that preclude quality representation. Public defender systems also face high
turnover as experienced defenders defect for private practice, assuming there has been
no emphasis placed on long-term retention. Another major issue is who manages the
public defender system: the executive or an independent commission? Do judges have
power to order the legislature to fund a public defender system?  See Hoffman, et al,
An Empirical Study of Public Defender Effectiveness: Self-Selection by the
"Marginally Indigent", 3 Ohio St. J. Crim. L. 223 (2005). Fortunately, the Harris County  Commissioner's Court chose a superb defense lawyer, Alex Bunin, see the
sidebar, as Harris County's first Public Defender.]

NOTE: If you are interested in learning how the various counties throughout the State of Texas provide lawyers for indigent persons accused of crime, check out this web site containing each county's indigent defense plan and payment schedule. (1 - Attorney Fee Schedule) Unlike the rest of the country, where public defenders are the overwhelmingly popular choice for providing defense services to indigents, the three branches of Texas government with oversight have managed to thwart this method while publicly claiming to have deep concern
about delivery of legal service to indigent defendants. If you want a bit more information about the right to
counsel and public vs. private defenders, see Assignment Fifteen in Bushrod's Notes II






The information collected below regarding courtroom assignment of prosecutors is current as of:  
January 27, 2014 

Criminal District Courts of Harris County
All numbers are Area Code 713  Prefix 755
The year the judge was first elected follows the judge's name.
Name of Court Coordinator is below judge's name.
Three prosecutors (last names, chief first) are typically assigned to each court.
Floor location in the Criminal Justice Center is in (__th).
LOCAL RULES FOR DISTRICT COURTS TRYING CRIMINAL CASES
BAIL BOND SCHEDULE
[A substantial number of the local District Judges are ex-prosecutors. Some of the judges have had experience as practicing lawyers. Some have only seen practice from the prosecution side.]
Jurisdiction: Felonies (crimes that carry possible pen or state jail time), misdemeanors involving official misconduct, and jail time misdemeanors transferred from a Constitutional County Court staffed with a non-lawyer judge. See Arts. 4.05, 4.17 CCP. There are roughly 440 District Judges in the State.
Names in red are outstanding judges and prosecutors who are STCL grads.

174th District Court - Judge Rueben Guerro (January 2009) - 6324
Diane Madrid (19th)
Prosecutors: 6106 (Flader, Gaido, Acklin)

176th District Court - Judge Stacey W. Bond (January 2013) - 6328
Janet Warner (19th)
Prosecutors: 6908 (Fuller, Paaso, Socias)

177th District Court - Judge Ryan Patrick (August 2012) - 6332
Vickie Long (19th)
Prosecutors: 6912 (Magness, Faiaz, Locasio)

178th District Court - Judge David Mendoza (January 2009) - 6336
(previously an outstanding County Criminal Court at Law judge)
Mary Leal (19th)
Prosecutors: 6916 (Antu, Abrams, Ladner)

179th District Court - Judge Kristin Guiney (January 2013) - 6340
John King (18th)
Prosecutors: 6957 (Exley, Burton, Peterson)

180th District Court -  Judge Catherine Evans (October  2013) - 6344
Annette Manuel (18th)
Prosecutors: 6970 (McFaden, Nelson, Stott)

182nd District Court - Judge Jeannine Barr (January 1995) - 6350
Diane Hasler (18th)
Prosecutors: 6144 (Byrom, Lewis, Shaikh)

183rd District Court - Judge Vanessa Velasquez (December 2005) - 6354
Eloisa Sanchez (18th)
Prosecutors: 6150 (Harvey, Collins, Finch)

184th District Court - Judge Jan Krocker (January 1995)- 6358
Norma Lopez (17th)
Prosecutors: 6154 (T. Johnson, Robinson, Volkmer)

185th District Court - Judge Susan Brown (January 1999) - 6362
Marian Trammell (17th)
Prosecutors: 6162 (Dozier, Manning, Stabe)

208th District Court - Judge Denise Collins (December 1992)- 6374
Mona Natemeyer (17th)
Prosecutors: 6162 (Calligan, Brodsky, Crump)

209th District Court  - Judge Michael McSpadden (January 1982)- 6378
(very welcoming to law students - the Senior District Judge)
(many lawyers would agree he's the best of the coterie)
Kathy Joachim (17th)
Prosecutors: 6166 (Moss, Buess, Vohra)

228th District Court - Judge Mark Carter (November 2003)- 6650
Vanessa Guerrero (16th)
Prosecutors: 6132 (Fortenberry, Mitchell, Radom)

230th District Court - Judge Brad Hart (March 1997)- 6782
  Quinesha Ross  (16th)
Prosecutors: 6136 (Warren, Bard, Nettles)

232nd District Court - Judge Mary Lou Keel (January 1995)- 6778
Eddie Rodriquez (16th)
Prosecutors: 6140 (McDaniel, Stroud, Koch)

248th District Court - Judge Katherine Cabiness (February 2013)- 7094
Wood, Wakefield, Wurzer (16th)
Prosecutors: 6128 (Wood, White, Chapman)

262nd District Court - Judge Denise Bradley (January 2010) - 6961
Virginia Almanza-Cerda (15th)
Prosecutors: 6173 (K. Johnson, Burro, O'Donnell)

263rd District Court - Judge Jim Wallace (January 1995) - 6944
Erica Thomas-Brice (15th)
Prosecutors: 7050 (Peneguy, Ballengee, Bernard)

337th District Court -  Judge Renee Magee (January 2013) - 7746
Joseph Debruyn (15th)
Prosecutors: 5605 (Falk, Mickelson, Godha)

338th District Court - Judge Brock Thomas (January 2009)- 7774
Norma Lopez  (15th)
Prosecutors: 5609 (Jordan, Drehner, Overhuls)

339th District Court - Judge Maria T. Jackson (January 2009)- 7784
Cynthia Bates  (14th)
Prosecutors: 5613 (Logan, Phanco, Adeyiga)

351st District Court - Judge Mark Ellis (January 1997)- 5620
Pete Zama (14th)
Prosecutors: 7252 (Emmons, Burdette, Clemons)

Impact Court - 5605
Felicia, Brodrick






County Criminal Courts at Law of Harris County
All numbers are Area Code 713  Prefix 755
The year the judge was first elected follows the judge's name.
Name of Court Coordinator is below judge's name.
Two or three prosecutors (last names, chief first) are assigned to each court.
Floor location in the Criminal Justice Center is in (__th).
LOCAL RULES
Case Records Online
BAIL SCHEDULES (Class "A"and "B" Misdemeanors)
Venue and Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction: There are two types of county courts.
First, there is the constitutional county court
created by the Texas Constitution but whose jurisdiction is defined by statute.
See Tex. Const., Art. V, Section 16 and Section 26.041 Gov't Code.
There is a county court in every one of Texas' 254 counties.
Next, there is the statutory county court at law created by the Legislature
pursuant to Art. V, Section 1 of the Texas Constitution.
There are roughly 225 county courts at law in various counties in Texas.
Constitutional county courts  and county courts at law have appellate criminal
jurisdiction over cases in which justices of the peace have original criminal jurisdiction.
See Art. 4.08 CCP and Section 26.046 Gov't Code
Both courts have original jurisdiction over jail-time (Class A & B) misdemeanors. See Art. 4.07 CCP .

CCCL #1 - Judge Paula Goodhart (1) (March  2010) - 6180
(This judge does not list her court coordinator's name.) (8th)
Prosecutors: 5847 (Handley, De La Garza, Goodman)

CCCL #2 - Judge Bill Harmon (January 2007*) - 6184
(*Note: Bill Harmon served for many years as a District Court judge.)
(very welcoming to law students)
Rosario Khalaf (8th)
Prosecutors: 5850 (Vanik, Dunagan, Ionescu, Condon)

CCCL#3 - Judge Natalie Fleming (1) (April 2009) - 6188
Carol Cummings (8th)
Prosecutors: 5853 (Chapman, Bacy, Urrea, Robinson)

CCCL#4 - Judge John Clinton (January 2011)- 6192
Yolanda Florido (8th)
Prosecutors: 5856 (Krnaich, Glenn, Haynes, Rosen)

CCCL#5 - Judge Margaret Stewart Harris (January 2003) - 6196
Cathy Perry (9th)
Prosecutors: 5859 (Gagliardi, Powers, Houston, Clark)

CCCL#6 - Judge Larry Standley (January 1999) - 6200
(very welcoming to law students)
Carmen Vasquez (9th)
Prosecutors: 5862 (Altmiller, Ramirez, Gilliam, Rogers)

CCCL#7 - Judge Pam Derbyshire (January 1999) - 6204
(welcoming to law students)
Peggy Gunder (9th)
Prosecutors: 5865 (Morneau, Graham, Williamson, Sawtelle)

CCCL#8 - Judge Jay Karahan (January 2003)- 6208
(very welcoming to law students)
(previously an outstanding federal and state prosecutor and defense lawyer)
Donna Ramos (9th)
Prosecutors: 5868 (Massa, Kratochvil, McLean, Trask)

CCCL#9 - Judge Analia Wilkerson (January 1995) - 6212
Sheri Gilbert (10th)
Prosecutors: 5871 (Tallichet, Blacklock, Murphy)

CCCL#10 - Judge Sherman Ross (November 1981)- 6216
Cindy Bernd (10th)
Prosecutors: 7086 (Cowardin, White, Hansel, Simons)

CCCL#11 - Judge Diane Bull (January 1995) - 7780
Rachel Ferrel (10th)
Prosecutors: 7693 (Capone, Waddle, Aaron, Bramanti)

CCCL#12 - Judge Robin Brown (January 1995) - 7738
Stephanie Spears (10th)
Prosecutors: 7696 (Hung, Fass, Tyree, Nguyen)

CCCL#13 - Judge Don Smyth (January 2011) - 7950
Mary Smith ( 11th)
Prosecutors: 8321 (Watkins, Iyoho, Pierce,  Reeder)

CCCL#14 - Judge Michael Fields (January 1999) - 5683
Aileen Walker (11th)
Prosecutors: 8327 (Ackers, Downing, Benavides)

CCCL#15 - Judge Jean Spradling Hughes (November 1995) - 4760
Laura Conte (11th)
Prosecutors: 4745 (Munoz, McLearen, Marfin)



Juvenile Courts
All numbers are Area Code 713 Prefix 755
Located in the Family Law Center , 1115 Congress Avenue
Floor location in the Family Law Center is in (__th).
Jurisdiction: The Government Code provides that each district court, county court, and statutory county court exercising any of the constitutional jurisdiction of either a county court or a district court has jurisdiction over juvenile matters and may be designated a juvenile court. See Section 23.001.

313th - Judge Glenn Devlin (2010) - 713 222- 4900
Prosecutors: 5713 (Longoria, Somers, Krugh, Chester)

314th - Judge John Phillips (2003) - 713 222- 4910
Prosecutors: 5714 (McCollum, Leslie, Little, Schwartz)

315 - Judge Michael Schneider, Jr. (2006)- 713 222- 4950
Prosecutors: 5712 (Neilson, Cole, Assaad, Glenn)

Truancy Division   713 368-3923
Anderson

Detention Court 713 222-4880


Justices of the Peace
Names  and phones of Harris County JP's are listed below.
Year that the JP was first elected follows the JP's name.\
INFORMATION
JP Courts are located throughout Harris County.
Jurisdiction: Justices of the peace have original jurisdiction in criminal cases
punishable by fine only or punishable by a fine (fineable misdemeanors)  and as
authorized by statute, a sanction not consisting of confinement or imprisonment;
or arising under Chapter 106, Alcoholic Beverage Code, that do not
include confinement as an authorized sanction.
See Art. 4.11 CCP; Tex. Const., Art. V, Section 28(b).
See also Section 26.042(e) Gov't Code regarding appeal from justice court.

The Texas Constitution, Art. V, Section 18 requires that each county in the State establish
between one and eight justice of the peace precincts, depending upon the population
of the county. Also, depending on the population of the precinct, either one or two
justice of the peace courts are to be established in each precinct.
There are more than 820 justice of the peace courts in Texas.
Statewide, about one in twenty JP's is a licensed lawyer.
Every county in Texas has at least one justice of the peace,
but some populous counties, e.g., Harris with the maximum of 16, have more.

Dale M. Gorczynski - Pct. 1, Place 1  (January 1993) - 713 697 1224
David Patronella - Pct. 1, Place 2 (January 1989) - 713 755 5125
Jo Ann Delgado - Pct. 2, Place 1 (January 2000) - 281 481 9630
George Risner - Pct. 2, Place 2 (January 1987) - 713 920 1828
Mike Parrott - Pct. 3, Place 1  (January 1993) - 713 450 2409
Don Coffey, Pct. 3, Place 2 (January 2011) - 281 427 7449
J. Kent Adams - Pct. 4, Place 1  (March 2001) -  281 376 5512
Tom Lawrence - Pct. 4, Place 2 (January  1983) - 281 446 7191
Russ Ridgway - Pct. 5, Place 1  (June 2003)- 713 661 2276
Jeff Williams, Pct. 5, Place 2 (January  2011) -  281 463 2341
Richard C. Vara - Pct. 6, Place 1  (June 1974) - 713 921 1576
Armando Rodriquez - Pct. 6, Place 2 (June 1973) - 713 921 6141
Hillary Green - Pct. 7, Place 1  (June 2007) - 713 747 3553
Zinetta Burney -  Pct. 7, Place 2  (January 2005) - 713 643 1512
Holly Williamson - Pct. 8, Place 1) (January  2009) -  281 479 6900
Louie Ditta - Pct. 8, Place 2  (September 1997) - 281 488 8780

Justice of the Peace Court Prosecutors: 5930
Craft (Chief),
(Fielder, Holtz, Honeycutt, Milfort, Mayes, Ramirez, Von Quintus, Sanchez, Adjei)




Harris County District Attorney
4th Floor , Harris County Criminal Justice Center
Information Web Site: www.co.harris.tx.us/da or
www.hctx.net/da - on this site, you will find general information
about the local DA's Office and answers to many F.A.Q's about
the law, e.g., links to individual courts and staff, non-disclosure
procedures and a downloadable form petition for non-disclosure,
drug courts eligibility under "courts," etc. 
(Current as of:  January 31, 2011)
Area Code 713  Prefix 755
District Attorney's Office - Information - 5800

District Attorney:  Devon Anderson (Former District Judge, veteran prosecutor,
and STCL alum Mike Anderson took office as DA in January 2013.
On August 30, 2013, cancer took Mike, an esteemed friend. (1)
Mike's widow, Devon Anderson, an experienced prosecutor and former Distict Judge was
appointed to fill Mike's position, She is now running as a candidate for the position.


First Assistant: Belinda Hill -  5814
General Counsel: Dick Bax - 5826
Special Victims Bureau Chief: Jane Waters
Special Crimes Bureau Chief: Connie Spence  - 8333
Public Service Bureau Chief: Karen Morris
Legal Services Bureau  Chief: Roe Wilson
Felony Trial Bureau Chief: Maria McAnulty - 5822
Felony Division Chiefs: (A) Natalie Tise 6916; (B) Marie Primm -  6166;
(C) Lance Long - 6140 (D) Kari Allen 7050 (E) Craig Goodhart 5613
Juvenile Division Chief: Terrance Windham - 5874
Civil Rights Division Chief: Julian Ramirez
Carter, Byrne
Public Integrity Division Chief: Terese Buess - 8330
Oncken, Weltin, Muldrow, Means
Grand Jury Division Chief: John Brewer - 6170 or 6924
DeAngelo, Mance, Mejia, Dunlap
Misdemeanor Division Chief: Kate Dolan - 5846
Deputy  Chief: Britni Cooper
Child Abuse Division Chief: Sunni Mitchell - 5546
Dupree, Epley, Houlton, Larsen, McCauley, Smith
Family Criminal Law Division Chief: Lisa Porter - 5892
Aslett, Barron, Dickson, Fletcher, Harding, Otto, Anastasio, Morrison, Sanchez, Vu
Intake Division Chief: Bill Moore - 6101
Major Fraud Division Chief: Lynne Parsons - 5840
Reyna, Palmer, Nichols, Blizzard
Major Offender Division Chief: Tammy Thomas - 6178
B. Exley, Calligan, Rucker, Davis, Bolletino
Major Narcotics Division Chief: Marcy McCorvy
Keiter, Hennigan, Allard
Organized Crime - Chief Ed McClees - 6178
Folterman
Check Fraud Division Chief: John Boone - 7883
Haby
Environmental Crimes Division Chief: Roger Haseman - 5834
Bily
Public Assistance Fraud: - 5277
Hawkins
Bond Forfeiture Division Chief: Kathy Braddock - 5824
Butera, Conrad
General Litigation Division Chief: Scott Durfee - 5816
Rose, Klibert, Milligan, Scott
Appellate Division Chief: Alan Curry - 5826
Section  A:  McCrory, Cameron, Holloway, Hudson, Dessauer, Keating
Section B:  Kugler, Caird, Newell, Rogers, Akins, Hervey, Morgan,
Asset Forfeiture Division Chief: Kaylynn Williford - 5461
Keith, Beavers, Brown
Post-Conviction Writs Division Chief: Lynn Hardaway - 6657
A. Smith, Garcia, Reiss, Flores, Chu, Chin, A. Benavides, Matinez, Gallagher
Mental Health Division Chief: Denise Oncken
Badger-Carter, Crockard
Consumer Fraud Chief: Paula Hartman - 5836
Turner, Leonard, Mason
Vehicular Crimes Section Chief: Allison Baimbridge - 3286
Werlinger,  Oswald
Child Exploitation Section Chief: Kathryn Kahle - 5546 
Driver
Intake Hearing Court: Meriwether - 6103
Human Trafficking Specialist - Ann Johnson - 5546
Animal Cruelty Specialist - Dickson, Milligan
Justice Court Chief: Johanna Craft - 5930
Fiedler Holtz, Honeycutt, Milfort, Mayes, Ramirez, Von Quintus. Sanchez, Adjei
Chief Investigator: Richard Holland - 5813
Victim Witness Division- 6655
County Switchboard Information: 713 755 -  5000
DA address: 1201 Franklin, Suite 600, Houston, TX 77002-1923


Harris County has one elected District Attorney. There are roughly 270
Assistant District Attorneys in Harris County - a relatively small number
for the fourth largest city in the U.S.,  particularly when compared to
Los Angeles, California, where, even after recent budget cuts, there
are over 1000 Deputy D.A.'s. (about 600 doing criminal prosecution),
Chicago (Cook County), Illinois - which has almost 1000 Assistant State
Attorneys, and the Bronx area of New York City - which has almost 400
Assistant District Attorneys.

Note to Criminal Law Students: The Harris County District Attorney offers a paid
DA Internship to qualified law students. If you are interested, you may wish to apply



Municipal (Corporation) Courts - Not Courts of Harris County

As one might expect, there are two types of municipal courts in Texas. Section 29.002 of the TX Government Code provides for the establishment of at least one statutory municipal court in each incorporated city in Texas. If the legislative body of the municipality determines that more courts are needed, the municipality can create a municipal courts of record in addition to the statutory municipal court. See Gov't Code Sections 30.00002(2), 30.00003(a). The qualifications of judges of statutory municipal courts are set by municipal ordinance, see Gov't Code Sections 29.004(b), 29.101(d)(1), 29.102(d)(1), 29.103(d)(1). However, judges of municipal courts of record must be licensed attorneys with two or more years of experience in Texas practice. See Gov't Code Section 30.00006. Statutory municipal courts have exclusive original jurisdiction over criminal cases that are; (1) punishable by a fine not to exceed $2000 in all cases arising under municipal ordinances that govern fire safety, zoning, or public health and sanitation, (2) punishable by a fine not to exceed $500 in all other cases arising under municipal ordinance or joint board rule, and cognizant under municipal ordinance or joint board rules regarding the operation of an airport under Section 22.074 of the Transportation Code. Gov't Code Section 29.003(a). A statutory municipal court has concurrent jurisdiction with the justice of the peace court of a precinct in which the municipality is located in all criminal cases arising under state law within the territorial limits of the municipality and punishable by fine only. Gov't Code Section 29.003(b). Municipal courts of record have jurisdiction under the general law for municipal courts and also under the Local Government Code. See Gov't Code Section 30.00005(a) & (b). The legislative body of a municipality may also provide that the municipal court of record has concurrent jurisdiction with a justice court in criminal cases that arise within the territorial limits of the municipality and that are punishable by fine. Gov't. Code Section 30.00005(c).
NOTE: Here's information on locations and phone numbers of  Harris County Traffic Courts.
Here's some information on City of Houston Municipal Courts.



Federal Courts in the Houston Area

Note: There are 9 federal judges (listed below) and 5 federal magistrates (also listed below) in the local Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas. The federal courts regularly hold criminal trials, but nowhere near the number that are held in the state courts. Federal trials are more likely to involve white-collar corporate criminals and high-dollar retained lawyers, though the somewhat draconian federal drug laws yield many defendants. The prosecutors are Assistant  U.S. Attorneys. The defenders may be retained, appointed CJA panel members, or lawyers employed by the quite competent Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of Texas

If you want to observe a federal trial, you may walk (above ground or by tunnel) 8 blocks from the school to the federal courthouse. All courtrooms are open to the public. Compared to the bedlam of the state courthouse, you may find the atmosphere in federal court akin to a very ritzy funeral parlor.
The address is listed below. Happy hunting!


UNITED STATES COURTHOUSE
515 Rusk
Houston, Texas 77002

Southern District of Texas

Local Rules for the Southern District of Texas

Pattern Jury Instructions for Fifth Circuit

United States District Judges
for the Houston Division
(Month and Year Judge Began Service on Current Court)
The Area Code is 713 Prefix 250

NANCY F. ATLAS (August 1995) 
(713) 250-5990
KEITH P. ELLISON (February 2005)
(713) 250-5806 
VANESSA GILMORE  (June 1994)
(713) 250-5512
MELINDA HARMON (June 1989)
(713) 250-5518
DAVID HITTNER (June 1986) (Senior Status)
(713) 250-5511
KENNETH M. HOYT (April 1988)
(713) 250-5515
LYNN N. HUGHES  (October 1985)
(713) 250-5516
SIMEON LAKE  (September 1988)
713) 250-5177
GRAY H. MILLER (April 2006)
(713) 250-5377
LEE H. ROSENTHAL (July 1992)
(713) 250-5517

Federal Magistrates
for the Houston Division
(Month and Year Magistrate Began Serving on Current Court)
The Area Code is 713, Prefix 250
Local Rules

MARY MILLOY (October 1992)
(713) 250-5860
FRANCES H. STACY  (February 1990)
(713) 250-5681
NANCY K. JOHNSON  (January 1982)
(713) 250-5375
STEPHEN WM. SMITH  (July 2004)
(713) 250-5100
GEORGE C. HANKS (September 2010)
(713) 250-5757

United States Attorney for Southern District of Texas
713 567 9000
FAX: 713-718-3300

The current U.S. Attorney is Ken Magidson, a STCL alum.

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Texas
P.O. Box 61129
Houston, TX 77208

EMAIL: usatxs.atty@usdoj.gov 

Unpaid Law Student Intern Program

BACK TO HOME
TOP  










































Whether to talk to the police without consulting a lawyer -  a crim law professor's advice (20 mins.). This clip is from televangelist Pat Roberson's  Regent Law School, a lower tier institution that was a real favorite of the Bush2 administration.
[Note: The last time I encountered anyone this voluble, I bought two sets of knives and a cheese-slicer.]
SIDEBAR
TEXAS CODES

TEXAS PENAL CODE

TEXAS CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

FAMILY CODE

HEALTH & SAFETY CODE

TRANSPORTATION CODE

PARKS & WILDLIFE CODE

GOVERNMENT CODE

ALCOHOL BEVERAGE CODE

INSURANCE CODE

TEXAS CONSTITUTION

TEXAS CONSTITUTION

RULES OF EVIDENCE

TEXAS RULES OF EVIDENCE

FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE

FEDERAL CRIMES & PROCEDURE

TITLE 18 USC

FED. R. CRIM. PROC.

If you are trying to find a case and know the style (names of the parties, e.g. Miranda v. Arizona) or the citation (the volume and page number of a reporter, e.g., 367 U.S. 643) go to GOOGLE SCHOLAR, click "legal opinions and journals," and enter the case style or citation and the full text of the case will magically appear.

Here's a web site that gives some advice to the layperson who is trying to research a legal problem.

Whether to talk to the police without consulting a lawyer - a police officer's advice (20 min's.) The cop is apparently a law student at Regent and conceivably a student in the fast-talking professor's class. Otherwise, why would he rat out the constabulary?


C-SPAN
Discussion re the Use of a
Public Defender System

Though indigents comprise approximately 10 -20% of the population, they make up some 75% of the felony defendants.

The three basic systems that are used for providing legal counsel for indigent criminal defendants are (1)  public defender programs(+-70% of counties); (2) court-appointed counsel (+- 20% of counties); and (3) contract criminal defense programs (+-10% of counties).

The indigent defendant is not allowed to choose his own lawyer in any of the three systems.

In all of the systems, the entity that is prosecuting the indigent defendant, i.e., the government, is also footing the bill for his/her criminal defense lawyer, be it private counsel or a public defender.

In public defender systems, the chief defender is typically appointed by county officials, e.g., the County Commissioners or Board of Supervisors. In some jurisdictions the chief defender is appointed by a committee of the bar or judges. In a few jurisdictions,e.g., Florida, the public defender is elected. (1)

See Schulhofer & Freidman, Rethinking Indigent Defense: Promoting Effective Representation Through Consumer Sovereignty and Freedom of Choice for All Criminal Defendants, American Criminal Law Review, Vol. 1, page 73 (1993).

Here is an excellent 308-page 2011 ABA-sponsored pdf analysis by Norman Lefstein titled Securing Reasonable Caseloads: Ethics and Law in Public Defense



What to do when the PD's caseload exceeds capacity - the Missouri experience.


The inadequacy of the court appointment system.










FEMALE JUDGES

Nationwide in 2010, 26% of the judges in the various states were female, while  22% of federal judges were female.

Harris County, TX, in 2013, boasts of 12 female criminal district (felony) court judges out of 22 courts and 8 female county criminal court at law (misdemeanor) judges out of 15 courts.

The elected DA 2009 -2012 was also a female. She was voted out of office in one term.
In a landslide election, she was replaced by the voters with a former District Judge and   seasoned prosecutor who promised to restore integrity to the DA's Office. 

The National Legal Aid and Defender Association has evaluated a tiny number of the indigent defense programs in the US. They need to do a lot more before they toot their horn.

Much respected
Harris County Public Defender Alex Bunin discusses his new job.
One of his interrogators is said to have earned in 2011 more than $372,000 in legal fees from court appointments, more than any other local attorney.
BTW, he's the former chair of the local Republican Party. (Is that the aroma of  natural fertilizer?)
Would you expect some bias from this chap and other highly paid court-appointed lawyers with excessive indigent caseloads.?

Harris County Public Defender Alex Bunin, an able lawyer, talks about his background during an interview with a couple of local criminal defense lawyers. Wouldn't you rather have Mr. Bunin as your lawyer?