A new order from Police Chief Charles McClelland has Houston police officers ignoring subpoena times and leaving citizens hanging. The order is said to have been issued to save the department from paying overtime—suggesting officers not show up at court until after 1pm regardless of the time on their subpoenas.
So, what’s the problem? Citizens cited to municipal court have to be on time. The court can’t process their case until the police officer shows up. This means citizens are waiting around the courtrooms all day without the option of “ignoring” the time indicated by the court.
Citizens are only allowed to leave to use the restroom or feed their parking meter. Because trials start at around 8am, according to the Houston Chronicle, this new order results in some people having to wait for more than 5 hours.
While waiting, they citizens are offered a plea from the prosecution. A plea bargain requires the citizen to admit to some aspect of guilt. While no one wants to admit to something they didn’t do, a wait time of 6 hours might be all that’s needed for someone to waive their right to trial and move ahead with a plea they wouldn’t normally have taken.
This is the issue that has defendants and defense attorneys alike up in arms. The police order simply isn’t fair. However, the Mayor, Police Chief, and others seem too occupied with cutting overtime costs to recognize the injustice at hand.
Although most criminal cases end in a plea agreement, that doesn’t mean they’re always the best option—particularly when the motivation behind them is a shorter wait time or a little bit of monetary savings for the local courts. While this story only refers to the municipal courts, plea agreements play an important role at every level of the criminal courts.
There are instances where a plea bargain is the best option. If you are facing criminal charges and a conviction is imminent, a plea agreement can reduce the potential sentence you face and even potentially save you from serving jail time altogether.
In order to truly know if a plea bargain is in your best interest, a consultation with a defense attorney is needed. Contact me today to discuss the details of your case. If the case against you is flimsy and you want to fight it at trial—I will be there to tirelessly defend you.
No matter what charges you are facing, I am interested in helping. Contact me today.