PEOPLE STILL WAITING HOURS AT MUNICIPAL COURT!

THE CITY: WE’RE SORRY BUT WE HAVE TO SAVE MONEY!

The Insite is still getting calls from angry Houstonians. They say they have to wait hours in Municipal court before their traffic case is heard. This comes just three weeks after Mayor Annise Parker’s administration sanctioned a plan that would help cut overtime from some Houston police officers. In the past officers would arrive in court at 8 am. During that time defendants would know if the cop who wrote their citation was there and ready to go to trial. Now those defendants who say their losing money at work and using vacation days just have to wait and wait and wait. They’re waiting because now cops aren’t allowed to show up in some cases until 1pm in the afternoon. Houston defense attorney Paul Kubosh says it’s an outrage and a slap in the face to the public. So far the Parker administration has not budged on the issue. The public continues to wait hours and hours in order to save money on the back end. Here’s the initial memo that was issued that kicked off the controversy:


C i r c u l a r

Houston Police Department
July 23, 2010 / Circular # 10-0723-155

SUBJECT: NEW PROCEDURE FOR MUNICIPAL COURT SUBPOENAS – OFFICER’S
APPEARANCE TIME
(After-Hours Distribution Supersedes Circular # 10-0723-154)

This issuance of this Circular shall supersede Circular 10-0723-154,
Officer’s Municipal Court Subpoenas – Appearance Time, that was issued
Friday afternoon, July 23, 2010.

Accordingly, the Office of the City Attorney has implemented a new
procedure in the City of Houston Municipal Courts. Beginning Monday,
July 26, 2010, if an officer is subpoenaed to appear at 8 a.m. or 10:30
a.m. for a trial in any of the following City of Houston
Municipal
Courts, the Office of the City Attorney has asked that the subpoenaed
officer appear at 1 p.m.:

Municipal Court #1
Municipal Court #2
Municipal Court #3
Municipal Court #6
Municipal Court #8
Municipal Court #11
Municipal Court #12

When the officer appears at 1 p.m., the officer shall check in with the
HPD Court Liaison’s Office and then check in with the appropriate
court(s) as he/she has previously done in the past. If the officer has
cases pending in a court, the officer shall remain until released by the
court. If the officer does not have cases pending, he/she shall be free
to return to duty or go to an off-duty status.

The change in appearance time does not apply to non-jury trials. If an
officer is subpoenaed to appear at 8 a.m. for a trial in the following
City of Houston Municipal Courts, the officer shall continue to appear
at the time specified in the subpoena:

Municipal Court #4
Municipal Court #14
Municipal Court #18
Municipal Court #20

If an officer receives a City of Houston Municipal Court subpoena
designating that the case is set for trial because the defendant is in
jail – commonly called a “Hot List Subpoena” – the officer shall appear
in the court at the time specified on the subpoena.

For questions or concerns about this new procedure, please contact the
City of Houston Municipal Court Prosecutor’s Office at 713-247-5474.

Charles A. McClelland, Jr.
Chief of Police