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Trials & Litigation

Judge didn’t give notice before dismissing cases, lawyer says in complaint

Posted Jan 17, 2014 12:29 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A lawyer has made a complaint against a Texas judge, contending in an email sent to the Harris County District Attorney's public integrity unit that family court judge Denise Pratt failed to give notice before dismissing hundreds of cases last month, as required by court procedural rules.

In fact, says attorney Greg Enos, a family practitioner in Webster, family court judge Denise Pratt didn't even have dismissal hearings scheduled on Dec. 30 and Dec. 31, the days she signed most of the orders, reports the Houston Chronicle.

"It's like a preacher who signs [a] marriage license and says 'I married these 631 couples when no one was in his church,'" he told the newspaper. In his complaint, Enos said Pratt violated a state criminal law that prohibits making a "false entry" on a government record by stating on dismissal orders that the parties had been notified in advance.

Pratt, through a lawyer who is representing her, said some hearing notices weren't sent due to an issue with a new computer system at the Harris County District Clerk's office.

Related coverage:

Houston Chronicle: "Grand jury no-bills judge over backdating complaints"

Houston Politics (Houston Chronicle): "Conservative bloggers call on Pratt to resign, but party not budging"

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