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. 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 […]