The Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Board filed an amicus arguing that certain provisions of the proposed Consent Decree allow defendants to manipulate the Criminal Justice System and to further terrorize their victims. You can download or review the amicus brief by CLICKING HERE.
First, the Domestic Violence Coordinating board objects to the portion of the consent decree that allows defendants to not appear for certain court hearings even though they are required to appear under Texas law. Second, the amicus objects to the portion of the proposed Consent Decree that allows the defendant to miss a certain number of court hearings and no punitive action can be taken against the defendant. Third, the amicus objects to the portion of the proposed consent decree that limits or prohibits a trial court from issuing warrants for the defendants failure to appear. Fourth, the amicus objects to the new rules set out in the proposed Consent Decree that requires certain notices be given to the defendant and proof that the defendant received them and had no good faith in failing to appear before a failure to appear can be issued.
The amicus documents that shelters in Harris County turn away approximately 77.5% of the victims who approach them because they are full. A victim on average stays 41 days at a shelter.
By and large the arguments raised by this amicus focus solely on the public safety concerns that are raised by numerous amicus briefs. This amicus raises issues that touch on whether they violate Texas law, but this brief does not go the next step. The brief does not cite any law in support of its arguments. Therefore, the brief is on policy alone.