Google
 
Web rhymeswithright.mu.nu

May 04, 2014

Malfeasance, Misfeasance, And Nonfeasance -- Denise Pratt Redux

You may recall my focus on the failures of former Family Court Judge Denise Pratt, her resignation under fire, and the mess she left behind. Well, the Houston Chronicle's Kiah Collier is doing a public service with this first piece in a multi-part series on Pratt's failings and the harm she did to the families of Harris County.

judge-denise-pratt-resigned[1].jpg
Denise Pratt
Disgraced Former Judge
311th Family District Court

For Kevin Bates, landing in Judge Denise Pratt's court meant not seeing his 16-year-old daughter for nearly a year while he waited on a contempt ruling to force his ex-wife to surrender the teen for weekend visits.

For Katrina Fischer, it meant being forced from her home on Thursday evenings and every other weekend after the freshman jurist said she was banning her from being around her fiancé's three children from a previous marriage.

For Lance Ellington, it meant spending more than $44,000 fighting his ex-wife's decision to home-school their daughters only to find out that Pratt had dismissed the unresolved case without letting either side know.

In the weeks following the Pratt's surprise resignation on March 28, the human toll the family court judge's decisions took on Houston-area families in her three-plus years on the bench is coming into sharp focus. While it is difficult to objectively quantify wrongdoing in the high-drama family courts, interviews with dozens of families and lawyers make clear that her actions exacerbated situations for people already in the midst of the worst times in their lives.

Many of the complaints lodged against Pratt in recent months have centered on administrative issues, but lawyers also say her rulings sometimes strayed beyond the bounds of the law.

Pratt was out of control, imposing blanket rules that played havoc with families. Take, for example, this rule.

"When someone files for divorce who has children and they request a temporary restraining order that orders that the parents not have their children around their girlfriend, boyfriend, lover or paramour from 10 p.m to 8 a.m., we changed that to read: You are not to have your children around your girlfriend, boyfriend, lover or paramour at all," Pratt said in a campaign video.

In other words, not only was cohabitation while the children were present forbidden (a policy that one can argue either way about), but children were forbidden to even meet a future step-parent until after a wedding took place. Clearly that was not in the best interests of the children -- but it somehow fulfilled Pratt's own warped sense of morality.

And then there was this silly provision put in at least one order.

Some of Pratt's decisions, apparently guided by her personal philosophy, complicated Fischer's life in other ways. In a handwritten rendition dictating the terms of the temporary order, the judge ordered Fischer's soon-to-be husband and his ex-wife to meet every week to talk while the children attended Sunday school. She also said the children were not allowed to ride in an automobile with anyone except their biological parents, which meant they no longer could ride a bus to school.

No school bus. No car pools. No trips to the movies or swimming pool with friends where the friends' parents drove. The order is absurd -- but Pratt abused her discretion to impose a completely illogical provision. And for that matter, it appears that Pratt's order REQUIRED that the children attend Sunday School -- a clear violation of the First Amendment.

And don't forget the parade of horrors that resulted from Pratt's mass dismissal of cases at the end of 2013 -- a move that appeared based upon a desire to improve her efficiency statistics than upon a desire to more the wheels of justice.

In one of the cases, Pratt's dismissal allowed a soon-to-be ex-wife to return to the family home and demand to move back in. In another, a mother who had lost custody of her young son when she married a convicted sex offender, showed up to a supervised visitation site and demanded to take him back. Pratt had, according to court documents, found that "for the child to remain in the home of the mother is contrary to the welfare of the child."

"We had no choice but to turn him over," said Marinelle Timmons, executive director of the Victim Assistance Centre, which runs a decades-old court supervised visitation program, noting the new husband had been accused of holding a knife to the little boy's throat. "I went to the office and I called CPS and made a report and was begging them, practically, to see if there was any intervention they could do."

The sad thing in all of this? Despite Pratt's malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance in office, she remains completely immune from being held to account for the damage she has done to thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) of people here in Harris County. As a judge, she has a virtually unassailable immunity from civil damages, meaning she will never be held personally accountable for the hundreds of thousands of dollars (perhaps even millions) in unnecessary and duplicate legal fees that she caused to those who appeared in her courtroom over the course of three years. Those folks will never be made whole financially -- and we won't even get into the human toll that no dollar amount could ever fully remedy. We can only hope for criminal charges and sanctions that strip her of her ability to practice law and, consequently, to be a judge. Perhaps, if the Department of Justice were to pay attention to protecting the people rather than covering up the failures of Barack Obama, the federal government might take an interest in what went on in Pratt's court.

Picture-173-ret-1-214x300[1].jpg
Alicia Franklin for Judge
311th Family District Court

In the mean time, we have to remember to get out to vote in the May 27 runoff election, to make sure that Alicia Franklin wins the GOP nomination in the race for the 311th Court rather than the derelict vessel that is the Pratt candidacy.

Untitled[1].jpg
M.L. "Meca" Walker for Judge
247th Family District Court

And while we are at it, it is important that in the runoff for the 247th Court that we nominate Associate Judge Meca Walker as our candidate for presiding judge of that court rather than her opponent, John Schmude. After all, Walker has years of experience as a Family Court judge while Schmude barely meets the legal requirements to be elected -- and is backed by the same slate-makers who assured Harris County Republicans that Denise Pratt was superbly qualified to be a judge and the same donors who were giving money to the Pratt campaign right up until the day she resigned. Because justice and competence -- especially in our Family Courts -- matters.





|| Greg, 12:19 PM || Permalink || Comments (0) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Trackback Information for Malfeasance, Misfeasance, And Nonfeasance -- Denise Pratt Redux

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://blog2.mu.nu/cgi/trackback.cgi/285096
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference 'Malfeasance, Misfeasance, And Nonfeasance -- Denise Pratt Redux'.

Comments on Malfeasance, Misfeasance, And Nonfeasance -- Denise Pratt Redux

Post a comment

Remember personal info?


 

 





AnotherMunublogSmall.jpg






Winner - 2013 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2012 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2011 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2010 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2009 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Posts by Category

Announcements (posts: 13)
Blogging (posts: 182)
Border Issues & Immigration (posts: 412)
deferred (posts: 4)
Education (posts: 673)
Entertainment & Sports (posts: 480)
Guns & Gun Control (posts: 65)
History (posts: 329)
Humor (posts: 86)
Israel/Middle East (posts: 44)
Medical News (posts: 54)
Military (posts: 272)
News (posts: 1556)
Paid Advertising (posts: 234)
Personal (posts: 107)
Politics (posts: 5143)
Race & Racism (posts: 276)
Religion (posts: 804)
Terrorism (posts: 858)
Texas GOP Platform Reform Project (posts: 3)
The Courts (posts: 309)
Watcher's Council (posts: 447)
World Affairs (posts: 341)

Archives

November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
December 0000



MuNuviana



Licensing

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Powered By

Powered by
Movable Type 2.64
AnotherMunublogSmall.jpg

Administrative Stuff

Email Me
Syndicate this site (XML)

Advertising Disclosure

adpolicy.gif

About Me

NAME: Greg
AGE: 50-ish
SEX: Male
MARITAL STATUS: Married
OCCUPATION: Social Studies Teacher
LOCATION: Seabrook, TX
DISCLAIMER: All posts reflect my views alone, and not the view of my wife, my dogs, my employer, or anyone else. All comments reflect the view of the commenter, and permitting a comment to remain on this site in no way indicates my support for the ideas expressed in the comment.

Search This Site


Support This Site



Recent Entries

Mexico Demands Entrance Fee From Foreigners!
If Bill Cosby Allegations Are Career Ending, How Can Bill Clinton Campaign For Candidates Or Become First Husband
Look At Which Convicted Criminals Get To Stay Under The Despot-In-Chief's Imperial Decree Granting Obamnesty To Illegals
Bar Obama From Addressing Congress For State Of The Union!
Some Nights We Need A Happy Ending
Somebody Tell Obama He Needs To Know His Role
Obama Prepares To Rip Up Constitution!
Democrats Declare Mary Landrieu To Be Toast In Louisiana Senate Runoff, Vote To Stop Americans From Getting Cheap Oil And High-Paying Jobs By Stopping Keystone XL Pipeline
Outrage In Jerusalem
An Observation On “Net Neutrality”

Blogroll


Watchers Council
  • Ask Marion
  • Bookworm Room
  • The Colossus of Rhodey
  • The Glittering Eye
  • GrEaT sAtAn"S gIrLfRiEnD
  • The Independent Sentinel
  • JoshuaPundit
  • Liberty's Spirit
  • New Zeal
  • Nice Deb
  • The Noisy Room
  • The Razor
  • Rhymes With Right
  • The Right Planet
  • Simply Jews
  • Virginia Right!
  • Watcher Of Weasels

  • Political & Religious Blogs