What to do if you have business at a closed Harris County court

HOUSTON – Harris County officials provided an update Wednesday morning in regards to the closure of significant Harris County buildings, including the Criminal Justice Center.

According to Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and County Engineer John Blount, the Harris County Civil Courthouse at 201 Caroline is fully functional following Hurricane Harvey.

The Harris County Criminal Justice Center (CJC) at 1201 Franklin will remain closed indefinitely due to flooding and other related damage. This affects all cases in the county’s criminal district courts trying felonies and the county criminal courts-at-law that handle Class A or B misdemeanors.

Those courts will be temporarily relocated and people with cases pending are expected to appear in the locations below.

Harris County is assessing the Juvenile Justice Center and will announce the location of regular juvenile and CPS dockets as soon as possible.

Juveniles on probation should contact their probation officers. Juvenile detention hearings and CPS emergency hearings will be conducted in the detention courtroom on the first floor of the Juvenile Justice Center at 1200 Congress.

Temporary Criminal Court Locations

Criminal district courts will move from the CJC to the Civil Courthouse at 201 Caroline and the Juvenile Justice Center at 1200 Congress. The civil district, family district and county probate courts will combine courtrooms to make room for the criminal district courts. The county’s misdemeanor courts will move from the CJC to the Family Law Center at 1115 Congress.

Jury Service

Jury duty has been cancelled through Sept. 15. People summoned before Sept. 15 do not need to appear and do not need to reschedule. Jury service will resume as soon as possible and jurors summoned after Sept. 15 should contact the District Clerk’s Office or go online to confirm their summons (832-927-5800; www.hcdistrictclerk.com).

Docket Schedules and Court Dates

Dockets for people in jail charged with a Class A or B misdemeanor or a felony will continue to be held in the jail at 49 San Jacinto but will soon move to 1307 Baker St. for male defendants and 1200 Baker St. for female defendants. Contact the District Clerk’s Office or go online for docket information (832-927-5800; www.hcdistrictclerk.com).

Dockets for people on bond charged with a misdemeanor or felony will resume Sept. 11 at the locations listed above. Specific locations – court numbers and floors – will be posted as soon as possible on the following websites or social media outlets: (1) attyportal.harriscountytx.gov, (2) www.justex.net, (3) www.ccl.hctx.net/criminal, (4) The Harris County District Courts Facebook Page and (5) The Harris County Criminal District Courts Facebook Page.

Defendants who cannot appear for a scheduled court date due to hurricane-related issues should contact the court where their case is pending, their attorney and, if applicable, Harris County Pretrial Services and their bonding company. The courts will address such circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

Bonds

Courts will not forfeit bonds based on a person’s failure to appear for a court date from Aug. 28 through Sept. 8th. For information about bond conditions, contact your attorney or Harris County Pretrial Services (713-755-8700 or 713-274-0920; www.pretrial.harriscountytx.gov). Your private bonding company may also have information concerning surety bond conditions.

Trials

Jury trials will be rescheduled as soon as the District Clerk can secure an appropriate venue to assemble jurors and courts can properly notice parties. Jury trials in criminal bond, juvenile and family cases will resume as soon as possible after Oct. 1. Jury trials in civil and probate cases have been postponed until after Nov. 1.

Criminal trials for defendants in custody and juvenile trials for detained respondents will immediately resume when the clerk can provide jurors and attorneys are properly noticed.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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