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Judge, County Criminal Court at Law No. 02

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    Ronnisha Bowman (Dem) Attorney

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    Harold J. Landreneau (Dem) Criminal Defense Attorney

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Biographical Information

What are the most critical administration of justice issues facing the court for which you seek election as judge?

What criteria will you use when making the final decision about assigning attorneys to represent indigent defendants? Please discuss selecting attorneys from the Public Defender’s Office vs. the selection of private attorneys.

A large percentage of inmates in the Harris County jail are pre-trial detainees. Other large metropolitan areas in Texas are increasingly using no-cost personal bonds for defendants who are accused of non-violent crimes but pose little flight risk; thereby, enabling them to be released while awaiting trial. Do you support the use of personal bonds and Harris County’s Pretrial Services Department for defendants awaiting trial? Why or why not?

Education/Degrees Texas Southern University, B.S. in Public Affairs and Juris Doctorate
Professional Experience Attorney practicing Criminal Law since 2012 and former Adjunct Professor of Political Science
Community Involvement Pro bono work for Houston Volunteer Lawyers and Mentor students with Change Happens (formerly FUUSA)
Campaign Phone (832) 335-9695
The Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 2 needs unbiased justice that rules on the basis of law and facts as presented regardless of the defendants race, religion or sexual orientation. The court also needs a fresh face that is not entitled to the bench. Judiciary should relate to all defendants and reflect that being prosecuted does not make the defendant “a lost cause”. Hence sentencing should be proportionate. Defense attorneys and Prosecutors should be treated equally. First time offenders and young people should be introduced to deterring programs that revitalize them to being good citizens in the community.
Zealous representation is the final criteria for assigning attorneys to represent indigent defendants. All attorneys must give uncompromised zealous representation to clients whether they are pro bono, court appointed or retained. I will appoint private attorneys and public defenders who exhibit zealous representation of all clients to ensure that client’s criminal and civil rights are protected. I will consider that the public defender’s office works on court appointments only, and are well trained and qualified. The public defender’s office has a staff of trial and appeal attorneys in house to support each other, and sponsor CLEs for all attorneys.
If a nonviolent defendant poses no flight risk then the defendant should be allowed to be released from jail with a personal bond. There are measures to gauge the person’s likelihood to abscond, and creative bond conditions that ensure the defendant is doing the right things while out on bond. The paid bond is just one factor to increase the likelihood that a person would show up for a court appearance, therefore bonds become tools to keep poor people in jail, and that is not the purpose of a bond. A bond is to ensure that a person shows up for court. Bonds are set very arbitrarily set and all factors should be considered when setting a person’s bond.
Education/Degrees J.D.- South Texas College of Law Houston, B.A. Political Science- University of Houston, Trained Mediator- Fred Evans Center for Conflict Resolution
Professional Experience 12 year Lawyer, tried 400+ criminal jury trials, defending Misdemeanors and Felonies in County and District Court. Experience with DWIs, FSGI, Drugs, Evading Arrest, Prostitution & Theft. Justice and Municipal Court CDL cases, DWLI and ALR hearings
Community Involvement Eagle Scout, Lector & Eucharistic Minister-Christ the King Catholic Church, Harris County Criminal Lawyers Assn, Harris County Municipal Justice Bar Assn, Gladney Family Assn, UH Alumni, Hou Heights Assn, Girl Scout and Cub Scout Parent and volunteer
Campaign Website
Campaign Address 1619 Blount
Houston, TX 77008
Campaign Phone (281) 312-9452
Twitter @HLandreneau
As Judge I will start work early each day, treat people with dignity and respect, follow the law and be fair and impartial. I will make sure taxpayer money is spent wisely, eliminate the backlog in this Court and maintain a strict adherence to fairness and impartiality which is so critical in our Justice System. Currently this Court starts late every day, 11:00am or later. Who is in charge here? What is the Judge doing each day to earn his salary while the defendants with cases in Court 2 take off from work to wait for him outside Court for the doors to open? The Judge is known for not being fair and impartial and he coaches the Prosecution in Court. His courtroom behavior was the subject of an official complaint to the Texas Judicial Conduct Commission which was upheld in a private reprimand and reported on by the Houston Chronicle on Feb 26, 2016. I will be a Judge who shows up on time, follows the rules and works FOR the people not against them. I will turn this Court around.
All persons who cannot afford and who otherwise qualify for free legal assistance will receive it in my Court. I will continue to appoint private attorneys while also seeking to making use of the Public Defender’s office which does a great job as well. There will be a signup sheet or other method whereby every qualified attorney who wants an appointment will receive one. Too often now the same attorneys receive appointments in the same Courts and this will change in Court 2.
I support greater use of PR Bonds as an important tool in Criminal Case management. In non-violent cases, NO person without the resources to pay for a bond should be kept in jail indefinitely, simply because they cannot afford to bond out. A U.S. Federal Judge recently declared the bonding practices of the 15 Republican Incumbent County Court Judges as Unconstitutional, after a Federal Lawsuit was filed against Harris County. Requiring everyone to pay to be released from Jail is wrong, not everyone can afford a bond. Bail is supposed to be used to secure the reappearance of the accused, not as a punishment. A PR bond makes the accused person personally responsible for their appearance. Each case is different, but releasing a person accused of a non-violent crime who cannot afford to pay for a bond that has established roots in the community and who promises to return on their own would be a good use of a PR bond. Clients with PR bonds are able to go back to work and save their jobs.