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:
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. ) 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
AND PUT IT IN YOUR WALLET OR PURSE.
(The manual and the card are in PDF format which requires that your computer
+ WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF THE POLICE WANT TO TALK TO YOU?
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 BASIC CRIMINAL LAW AND THE WAY IT WORKS.
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
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,
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
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.
IF YOU ARE A VICTIM (COMPLAINANT), THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE HAS PREPARED
LAW STUDENTS AND OTHER COURT WATCHERS
The current Harris County DA has shut down public access to the former web page
Trials to Watch that provided interested citizens with a list of the most intriguing 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. For
whatever reason, maybe because prosecutors don't like folks knowing what they
are doing, the current DA makes the information on Trials to Watch available only
to members of her staff. Law students who want to visit the courthouse to observe
proceedings in interesting criminal cases are no longer be able to find a good trial
to watch on the now defunct 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:
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.
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.
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,
"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
The information collected below regarding courtroom assignment of prosecutors
is thought to be relatively current as of: June 6, 2016
All numbers are Area Code 713 Prefix 274
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).
[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.
Diane Madrid (19th)
Prosecutors: 6106 (Calligan, Drehner, Reeder)
Janet Warner (19th)
Prosecutors: 6908 (Uher, O'Donnell, Bailey)
Cahndra Boyston (19th)
Prosecutors: 6912 (Fuller, Nelson, Sawtelle, Robinson)
(previously an outstanding County Criminal Court at Law judge)
Mary Leal (19th)
Prosecutors: 6916 (Weltin, Ballengee, Tyree)
John King (18th)
Prosecutors: 6957 (Kahle, Robinson, Jackson)
Annette Manuel (18th)
Prosecutors: 6970 (Burdette, Okorator, Brucker)
Diane Hasler (18th)
Prosecutors: 6144 (Moseley, Morrison, Wallace)
Esmeralda Ortiz (18th)
Prosecutors: 6150 (Handley, Munoz, Roundtree)
Deberely Ruth (17th)
Prosecutors: 6154 (Keiter, Watkins, Russell, Roberson)
Sherila Johnson (17th)
Prosecutors: 6162 (Lewis, Houlton, Beall)
Mona Natemeyer (17th)
Prosecutors: 6162 (Kneht,Mejia, Shaw)
(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 (Byrne, Allard, Simons)
Vanessa Guerrero (16th)
Prosecutors: 6132 (Meriwether, Gilliam, Rehg)
Quinesha Ross (16th)
Prosecutors: 6136 (Calligan, Tallichet, Little)
Eddie Rodriquez (16th)
Prosecutors: 6140 (McDaniel, White, Stewart)
Genetha Kimbrough (16th)
Prosecutors: 6128 (L. Johnson, Manning, Aaron)
Virginia Almanza-Cerda (15th)
Prosecutors: 6173 (Flader, Otto, Jones)
Erica Thomas-Brice (15th)
Prosecutors: 7050 (Hennigan, Buess, Esparza)
Leah Callis (15th)
Prosecutors: 5605 (Seely, Williamson, Scheffer)
Norma Lopez (15th)
Prosecutors: 5609 (Cooper, Phanco, McLearen)
Cynthia Bates (14th)
Prosecutors: 5613 (K. Johnson, Socias, Hovland)
Tramesha Randall (14th)
Prosecutors: 7252 (Bard, Shaikh, M. Jones)
Veterans Court 4610
Impact Court - 5021
All numbers are Area Code 713 Prefix 274
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).
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.
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
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.
Karen Harrison (8th)
Prosecutors: 5847 (Condon, Baty )
(*Note: Bill Harmon served for many years as a District Court judge.)
(very welcoming to law students)
Rosario Khalaf (8th)
Prosecutors: 5850 (Honeycutt, Gonzalez, Jamaleddine, Anderson)
Carol Cummings (8th)
Prosecutors: 5853 (Rogers, Langan, Tanzillo)
Yolanda Florido (8th)
Prosecutors: 5856 (Urrea, Williams, Beilman, Hogue)
Delores Phillips (9th)
Prosecutors: 5859 (Pierce, Ellis, McColgan, Platter)
(very welcoming to law students)
Carmen Vasquez (9th)
Prosecutors: 5862 (Adjei, O'Maley, Miskell, Dillon)
(welcoming to law students)
Peggy Gunder (9th)
Prosecutors: 5865 (Goodman, Raygor, Kunnathusseril, Serrano)
(very welcoming to law students)
(previously an outstanding federal and state prosecutor and defense lawyer)
Donna Ramos (9th)
Prosecutors: 5868 (Rosen, de los Reyes, Miller, Lindsey)
Sheri Gilbert (10th)
Prosecutors: 5871 (TYrask, Walsh, Batchelor)
Marvin Rodriquez (10th)
Prosecutors: 7086 (Sanchez, P. White, Lex)
Rachel Ferrel (10th)
Prosecutors: 7693 (Iyoho, Alderson, Comley)
Stephanie Spears (10th)
Prosecutors: 7696 (Milfort, Raine, Ciconetti)
Mary Smith ( 11th)
Prosecutors: 8321 (Sharma, Daniel, Morales)
Gabriel Montero (11th)
Prosecutors: 8327 (Guice, Harrison, Ghutzman)
Laura Conte (11th)
Prosecutors: 4745 (Waddle, Wood, Cleggett)
Leticia Manning (11th)
Prosecutors: 0516 (Nguyen, Kimbrough, Leiper, Smith)
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.
Prosecutors: 5713 (Longoria, Vasquez, Phillips, Belt)
Prosecutors: 5714 (Nielsen, Abuyeka, Nichols)
Prosecutors: 5712 (Bruchmiller, Powers, Mangum, Lu)
Truancy Division 713 368-3923
Detention Court 713 222-4880
Names and phones of Harris County JP's are listed below.
Year that the JP was first elected follows the JP's name.\
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;
include confinement as an authorized sanction.
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
(Bailey, Condon, Goodman, McCarthy, Nguyen, Robinson, Simons)
4th Floor , Harris County Criminal Justice Center
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.
Area Code 713 Prefix 274
District Attorney's Office - Information - 713 - 274- 5800
District Attorney: Devon Anderson [An experienced prosecutor and former Distict Judge,
Ms. Anderson was appointed to fill the position of District Attorney vacated when her
husband Mike was taken by cancer. She won the general election in 2014.
Mike Anderson had become DA in January 2013. He passed away on August 30, 2013;
Mike was a highly esteemed public servant, skilled prosecutor, and revered District Judge. (1)]
First Assistant: Belinda Hill - 5814
Of Counsel: Bert Graham - 0126
General Counsel: Dick Bax - 5816
Chief of Staff: Kathy Braddock -5825
Special Victims Bureau Chief: Jane Waters - 0210
Misdemeanor and Juvenile Justice Bureau Chief: Terrance Windham - 6037
Trial Bureau Chief: Craig Goodhart - 0460
Special Crimes Bureau Chief: Maria McNulty - 5588
Public Service Bureau Chief: Karen Morris 5828
Legal Services Bureau Chief: Roe Wilson - 6657
Felony Division Chiefs: (A) Terese Buess 0300; (B) Marie Primm - 0340;
(C) Marcy McCorvey - 0366 (D) Sunni Mitchell - 0410 (E) Kaylann Williford - 0020
Civil Rights Division Chief: Julian Ramirez - 5910
Public Integrity Division Chief: Natalie Tise - 5911
T. Johnson, Antu, Morneau, Assad
Grand Jury Division Chief: John Jordan -0200
Acklin, Burton, Dickson, Matovich, Schwartz
Misdemeanor Division Chief: Michele Oncken
Chief: Jamie Felicia Deputy Chief: Luis Batarse
Child Abuse Division Chief: Connie Spence - 0150
Durpee, Warren, Oswald, Stabe, Stayton, Volkmer, Werlinger
Family Criminal Law Division Chief: Lisa Porter - 5892
Exley, J. Sanchez, Von Quintus, Crump, Murphy, Fiedler, Domingo, Falvin, Harkness, Tubb
Intake Division Chief: Traci Bennett - 0220
Major Fraud Division Chief: Bill Moore - 5600
Reyna, Chapman, Cowardin, Nichols
Major Offender Division Chief: Tammy Thomas - 5640
Emmons, Peneguy, Moss, Wood
Major Narcotics Division Chief: Lance Long
Fortenberry, Grandt, Overhuls
Organized Crime - Chief Caroline Dozier - 5644
Bolletino, Handley, Leslie
Check Fraud Division Chief: Bernadette Haby - 0010
Environmental Crimes Division Chief: Roger Haseman - 5580
Bond Forfeiture Division Chief: Butera - 0260
Asset Forfeiture Division Chief: Bill Exley - 5570
Beavers, Keith, Roberts, Greer
General Litigation Division Chief: Scott Durfee - 5816
Stevens, Rose, Scott, Falls
Appellate Division Chief: Alan Curry - 5826
Section A: McCrory, Holloway, Hudson, Gagliardi, McLean, Wurzer, Conrad
Section B: Kugler, Caird, Stelter, Davis, Akins, Hervey, Morgan
Post-Conviction Writs Division Chief: Lynn Hardaway - 5590
A. Smith, Haynes, Reiss, Vohra, Chin, Burdette, Faiaz Passo, DeAngelo, Hansel
Mental Health Division Chief: Denise Oncken
Hartman, Means, Crockard, Tucker
Money Laundering Dection Chief: Lester Blizzard - 5600
Consumer Fraud Section Chief: John Wakefield - 5555
Turner, Mejia, Mason
Vehicular Crimes Section Chief: Allison Baimbridge - 5656
Stott, McKinney, Clemons
Elder Exploitation Section: Mary McFadden
Child Exploitation Section Chief: Stephen Driver, Dunlap
Intake Hearing Court: Collins - 0526
Human Trafficking Specialist - Ann Johnson - 0150
Martinez, Ansari, McTorry
Public Assistance Fraud: Hawkins - 5277
Animal Cruelty Specialist - Milligan, Crump
Justice Court Chief: Johanna Craft - 0490
Gordon, Ikegbunam, C. Johnson, Kaufman, Neylan, Patton, E. Ramirez, G. Ramirez
Chief Investigator: Richard Holland - 5813
Victim Witness Division- 6655
County Switchboard Information: 713 274 - 5800
DA address: 1201 Franklin, Suite 600, Houston, TX 77002-1923
Harris County has one elected District Attorney. There are almost 300
Assistant District Attorneys in Harris County - a relatively small number
for the fourth largest city in the U.S., particularly when compared to
are over 1000 Deputy D.A.'s. (about 600 doing criminal prosecution),
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: 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
Houston, Texas 77002
(Month and Year Judge Began Service on Current Court)
The Area Code is 713 Prefix 250
for the Houston Division
(Month and Year Magistrate Began Serving on Current Court)
The Area Code is 713, Prefix 250
713 567 9000
U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Texas
P.O. Box 61129
Houston, TX 77208