We have all heard this story before, right? Back in October, prominent Galveston county attorney Greg Enos filed a major complaint against Judge Denise Pratt, a local Republican representing the 311th District Court (Family cases). The complaint alleged that Judge Pratt altered time stamps on documents and committed other wrongdoings that necessitated removal from the bench. By December, however, a grand jury no-billed her and the controversy seemed dead, for the time being. However, just a few days later, Judge Pratt dismissed literally hundreds of cases for no reason –many of which, the cases of the attorneys who had publicly berated her. This led Enos to file yet another complaint about Judge Pratt.
Today, the Houston Chronicle reports that Enos has filed the third one. This complaint pertains to a specific one of the recent cases (there were 631, to be exact) that Judge Pratt dismissed, specifically alleging she illegally backdated order, including in open court. This time, according to the Chronicle article, Enos alleges two individuals have signed sworn affidavits attesting to this fact. Judge Pratt, for her part, is throwing her clerks under the bus, as she has done in all the previous complaints, alleging they –and they alone– were the ones complicit in the errors.
“The last time was circumstantial. She was blaming the clerks. If these two witnesses are willing to go into a grand jury and the District Clerk’s records back up what they say, I don’t know how she would not get indicted for this,” Enos said.
Judge Pratt, as a member of the Family Bench, oversees countless important cases with sensitive time schedules. Dismissing a case, thus starting the process all over again, is not just financially tedious, it has real life-and-death implications. Accordingly, this entire process is frustrating to no end for those wanting an impartial and fair judiciary.
Among those perhaps leading the charge for Judge Pratt’s resignation from office are her fellow Republicans. My colleague David Jennings at the conservative blog Big Jolly Politics has been quite straightforward in his personal qualms with Judge Pratt. In fact, the site’s headline article for many days now has been one by Jennings chronicling the Judge’s alleged “juvenile antics.” Accordingly, perhaps it is not a surprise that this bombshell complaint comes just a few days before the start of early voting in the primaries.
In the 2014 election, Judge Pratt is up for re-election. While she has drawn one Democratic challenger for the November election, her far harder challenge is a Republican primary next month featuring four other candidates. All agree it is time for Judge Pratt to go. One wonders if the general populous agrees.