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September 10, 2014

Speaking Of Non-Scandals In The Harris County Courts

Today's Houston Chronicle contains an attack on Judge Lynn Bradshaw Hull, a respected jurist here in the county with whom I've crossed swords a couple of times politically. I may have disagreed with her in the past, but I find this attack to be outrageous.

The number of protective orders issued in Harris County has dropped by more than a third since 2011, leading the district attorney's office to seek fewer orders and sparking concern among local domestic violence advocates.

Some private lawyers said winning protective orders from the 280th District Court has become so hard that they now try to avoid the court altogether, instead seeking less weighty temporary restraining orders from the county's nine family courts. Unlike protective orders, restraining orders cannot be enforced by police.

"We're getting more relief from the nine sitting judges than we are from the protective order court," said Houston family lawyer Lynn Kamin. "You're seeing fewer" applications "because people don't want to go there."

* * *

Most of the report's recommendations for improvement, however, are aimed at the 280th District Court and Judge Lynn Bradshaw-Hull, who took the bench in January 2010. The report depicts the freshman jurist as uncompassionate and demeaning to women applying for protective orders, saying she often accuses them of trying to use the orders to increase their chances of winning custody of children in divorce cases. It also says she frequently denies requests to include children in protective orders, even when evidence presented suggests they should be.

Basically, the complaint by those with a vested interest interest in getting these orders is that the judge is not rubber stamping the requests for those protective, and that she is actually providing due process for those against whom the orders are requested. Consider this complaint coming out of the DA's office here in Harris County.

According to its own review, the district attorney's office has seen a dramatic decrease in the number of protective orders granted after hearings in which the respondent - usually a husband, ex-husband or boyfriend - has contested the application.

Yeah -- isn't that just terrible. We have a judge on a court designed to specialize in the issuance of protective orders actually listening to the evidence, asking hard questions, and giving weight to the testimony of someone who is accused of being dangerous by a former partner who may just have something to gain in another court proceeding if they can get the other part adjudicated as somehow dangerous! You know, especially since there are multiple legal consequences to being named in a protective order -- among those being severe limitations on one's constitutional right to keep and bear arms. I would hope that a judge would be a neutral fact-finder rather than a rubber stamp for those seeking an order with such ramifications -- you know, providing due process of law for both sides rather than tipping the balance towards one side and against the other because it is politically correct to do so.





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A divorce lawyer friend of mine admitted that in every case he tells the female client to request a RO and to claim domestic violence. He also admitted that in big money cases he will ask the female client to claim the spouse committed child abuse. He said that in most cases if the client refuses he won't take their case. Being naive and thinking back then the legal system was about justice I asked, why? His straight faced response was because the man can't effectively fight a divorce judgement that heavily favors the woman with those charges against him.

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