March 29, 2014

Denise Pratt Resigns -- Good News And Bad News For Harris County

I've written several times about Judge Denise Pratt, her malfeasance, misfeasance, nonfeasance, and general incompetence as a judge. I've vocally opposed her reelection as judge of the 311th Family Court, going so far as to vow to endorse and campaign for the Democrat nominee if Pratt were nominated for a second term. Well, yesterday evening, we got some good news here in Harris County -- Pratt has resigned her bench and suspended her campaign.

Now let's take a look at Pratt's self-serving statement.

HOUSTON – Denise Pratt, Judge of the 311th Family District Court, announced her resignation today. She released the following statement:

“The relentless attacks by my political opponents have become a distraction to the work of the Court, and to the Republican Party in Harris County. I cannot, in good conscience, allow it to continue.

“My goal has always been to serve the children and families of Harris County, but I won’t sacrifice my family’s well-being any longer to continue to serve as Judge.

“I am suspending my campaign as well. The harassment by my opponents will continue as long as I remain on the bench.

“I have worked to elect Republican candidates for over two decades. I have served as a Precinct Chairman, Election Judge and President of a local Republican Club. I don’t want to see my Party, which I have worked to build, dragged down by the media circus that has surrounded this whole affair.

“I didn’t run for office for personal aggrandizement; I ran to make a difference. While sitting on the bench I witnessed the family unit being torn apart, with children usually paying the biggest price. I am proud of the work I did while I served. I hope I made a difference in the lives of the families that appeared in the 311th Family District Court.”

I'd like to clarify a few things here.

One of the problems with Judge Pratt is that she has not been doing the work of the court -- she rarely appears in her courtroom, has been reluctant to issue rulings and engaged in various and sundry practices that are of questionable ethics and legality. The problem has not been the attacks of her opponents -- it has been that she is guilty of practices that left her open to attacks by anyone who believes in properly functioning courts. And what Pratt calls "harassment" is the filing of ethics complaints, criminal complaints, and legally permissible legal motions. Oh, yeah -- and campaigning against her in her effort to secure a second term.

The interesting thing is that Pratt chose to wait until March 28 to resign and suspend her campaign. That is where we get the bad news for Harris County voters. As Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart noted, Prat had until March 12 to remove herself from the ballot -- thus she could theoretically still be renominated after the May runoff. What's more, Pratt's decision to seek renomination in the first place deprived Harris County Republicans of the opportunity to choose between her opponent, Alicia Franklin, and either Anthony Magdaleno or Donna Detamore in the runoff. Instead, Pratt has deprived us of any choice in the runoff. Consider that one more example of Pratt putting herself before the people.

UPDATE: A little bird (who I've agreed to keep anonymous) sent me a note about this yesterday evening that I did not see until this morning:

Bad situation all the way around. Gunshots reported fired at her home last night [note: Thursday, March 27] and one of her dogs was killed. Her family threatened.

Now the source cites an individual who has been a Pratt ally up to this point for these claims. I've been unable to verify that these things did, in fact, happen -- they are not on the Baytown police blotter at the city website. Assuming these claims are, in fact, true, then I want to condemn those responsible in the harshest terms. Political terrorism is contrary to Republican values and has historically been the method of the Democrats. As much as I wished to see Pratt driven from office in disgrace, victimizing her, her family, and her pets is something totally beyond the pale.

Of course, any of the interested parties in the 630 cases that Pratt summarily dismissed for no apparent reason at the end of December could also be considered a suspect, without implicating a single political opponent...

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