The Houston Chronicle reports that Judge Denise Pratt, a family District Judge that had been investigated for wrongdoing, was officially cleared after a grand jury declined to indict her. Back in October, a frontpage article lambasted Judge Pratt for allegedly altering timestamps on her records after falling behind on court records. Shortly thereafter, the Houston Bar Association berated her for the issue, among others.
Judge Pratt has drawn a Democratic opponent next year. Sherri Cothrun, an attorney who previously run for Judge in 2010, will seek the post. Additionally, Pratt drew four Republican challengers in the primary: Donna Detamore, Alicia Franklin, Anthony Magdaleno and Philip Placzek. You see, the Republicans actually understand how elections work and are not so lazy as to pass the buck to others, but I digress.
The Republican Party had been considering kicking Judge Pratt off the ballot if charges went forward on the corruption, but since this ultimately did not happen, she will be free to continue in a grueling knifefight for the party’s nomination. As differences between parties go, Democrats are too chicken to do anything productive, and Republicans are far too caustic to play nicely. Accordingly, even though official criminal wrongdoing has been ruled out, do not expect her political opponents to ease up any time soon. To do so would be extraordinarily naive.
Back in October, I quoted from the pertinent Chronicle article:
“Marcia Zimmerman, a 30-year veteran family lawyer based in Clear Lake, said she resorted to filing a motion after waiting for months on a ruling from Pratt. When the ruling finally came in, she was surprised to see the date listed was months before she had filed her motion.
‘I don’t think any of us believed the ruling was actually made before the petition for writ of mandamus because, why would she rule and not tell anybody?’ Zimmerman said, noting that Pratt also missed two scheduled hearings.
Family lawyer Robert Clark said he had a similar experience, arguing a case in January and then waiting five months for a ruling from Pratt that the official court record now says was issued on Jan. 30, the day before the two-day trial actually ended.”
Messing with the timestamps and retroactively issuing rulings ARE NOT victimless crimes. This has already led to the resignation of Judge Pratt’s clerk. That being said, the grand jury declined to indict Judge Pratt for these alleged offenses. Make of it what you will.