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Updated: Feb 27, 2024 @ 7:45 pm

How Delays of Justice Hurt Houston Defendants

For a person charged with a crime in Texas, time can prove to be either an ally or an adversary. For criminal defendants in Harris County, the clock doesn’t simply tick—it resounds like a drum, punctuating the wait for a fair day in court.

Delays in justice can wreak havoc on the lives of these individuals. Let’s review the devastating consequences that such delays impose on criminal defendants in Harris County and, to a greater extent, Texas.

Charged with a crime? Call Tad.

A Strained System

The Harris County Criminal Justice Center is no stranger to case backlog. Understaffed and overworked, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office runs its operation on the margins. This includes the additional pressure of a growing population.

Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 32.01 mandates a defendant’s right to a speedy trial, aligning with the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Despite this, extended delays in the justice system continue to exacerbate the situation for those waiting for their day in court.

Human Toll

A Life on Hold

Imagine a life suspended in anticipation due to an unresolved legal case.

For some defendants, these delays are more than slight inconveniences. They can be life-altering. Careers can dangle in uncertainty, family relationships can be strained, and the psychological impact of being in limbo isn’t a walk in the park either.

Financial Ruin

Bail and Beyond

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 17.15, maintains that bail should not be used as an instrument of oppression. Yet the prolonged pretrial process frequently results in defendants remaining in custody or struggling under the weight of steep bail costs. This financial strain doesn’t discriminate. It challenges families throughout Greater Houston and Galveston.

The Domino Effect

Courtroom Consequences

Delays perpetuate the cycle of courtroom congestion. This can lead to rushed judgments, which carry the risk of potential miscarriages of justice.

When courts are backed up, the stakes for defendants rise considerably.

Public defenders are pressured to churn through cases. As seasoned professionals like Attorneys Tad Nelson & Amber Spurlock can attest, this is a perilous situation for any defendant seeking a fair, diligent defense.

For this reason, it’s always best to hire a defense attorney as opposed to trying to qualify for indigent defense (court-appointed lawyers). If you’re appointed a lawyer by the court, the lawyer will likely do everything but attempt to stage a sound defense for you.

It’s in their interest to get your case closed as soon as possible.

This usually results in a plea deal. In other words, the defendants in these cases usually enter guilty pleas to qualify for time served or a probationary agreement. As we say in our law firm, “That ain’t a defense.”

The Vanishing Sixth Amendment

In theory, the Constitution of the United States promises a speedy trial, a fundamental right echoed in the Texas Constitution. However, the chronic delays observed across Texas courts have called the practical application of this constitutional right into question.

Is the Sixth Amendment eroding under the weight of a burdened system?

For defendants in Harris County and, to a lesser extent, Galveston County, it’s not a rhetorical question—it’s a daily reality.

Presumed Innocent

Yet Suffering As The Guilty

Delays in justice are not neutral; they make casualties out of people that the law is supposed to presume as innocent until proven guilty.

Extended periods of uncertainty are like punishment in itself. This defies the very bedrock of our justice system as outlined in Chapter 11 “Habeas Corpus” of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.

A Cry for Reform

The Legal Perspective

For criminal justice lawyers dedicated to protecting the rights of the accused, like Attorneys Tad Nelson & Amber Spurlock, the call for reform is not just professional—it’s personal.

We know how delays corrode the promise of justice. The Law Office of Tad Nelson & Associates has joined the good fight for a future where the scales are balanced and fair for all defendants.

Affirm Your Rights

Contact a Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer Today!

When the system itself seems pitted against you, finding an experienced and compassionate advocate is important.

If you’re looking for legal representation, The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates is interested in hearing from you.

We’re known and respected for serving as a steadfast lighthouse for our clients. We have excellent reviews from our clients, which can be found all over the internet. Having never been subjected to disciplinary hearings, we’ve always maintained a good standing with the State Bar of Texas.

If you need our help, call us at 713-659-0909.

Houston criminal defense attorney Tad Nelson is Board Certified® in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Houston criminal lawyer Tad Nelson

How Delays of Justice Hurt Houston Defendants

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How Delays of Justice Hurt Houston Defendants
How Delays of Justice Hurt Houston Defendants
How Delays of Justice Hurt Houston Defendants
How Delays of Justice Hurt Houston Defendants
How Delays of Justice Hurt Houston Defendants
How Delays of Justice Hurt Houston Defendants