A new tool has gone into effect to try to make the bail bond process in Harris County more fair to defendants who cannot afford to post bail. Read More
The Arnold tool, which went into effect July 29, is designed to measure the pretrial risk level of defendants unable to post bail, focusing on whether the individual is a threat to the public and how likely he or she is to show up for trial. It applies to defendants who have committed felonies as well as Class A and Class B misdemeanors.
"The Arnold tool does not base (decisions) upon wealth or poverty; it deals with justice and fairness for all," Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle said at an Aug. 1 commissioners court meeting.
HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - While Harris County is battling a federal lawsuit over what some claim is an unfair, unconstitutional bail system, wholesale changes are going into effect.
However, county officials said these changes were in the works long before the lawsuit was filed.
“This is very different than what we’re used to," said Harris County criminal court Judge Robin Brown.
Harris County is the first in Texas to start using The Public Safety Assessment. This is a tool that helps judges assess someone’s risk of not showing up for court or committing another crime before they go to trial. Risk is a key factor in determining how high a person's bail should be set.
The tool applies to felonies and Class A and B misdemeanors. This assessment replaces the old assessment tool that Brown and Judge Susan Brown called "outdated." Both said the old system assessed risk based on questions like, ‘do you have a home phone number?’ Read More
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan has obtained two court orders against three unlicensed, after-hours bars. The Envy Lounge and Climax Lounge, in southwest Houston, and the Palacios After-Hours bar, in north Houston, have all closed since the lawsuits were filed.
Judge Larry Weiman of the 80th District Court signed a temporary restraining order against the owners of Palacios After-Hours bar at 414 North Sam Houston Parkway East, ordering them to cease selling or serving alcohol at the bar or any other location without a valid liquor license. The owners are also ordered to cease allowing patrons to consume alcohol after 2 a.m., which is illegal in Texas. The bar advertised on social media that it is “Houston’s Premiere After-Hours Nightclub,” open from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m.
According to the lawsuit, on July 7, 2017, undercover vice officers with the Houston Police Department entered the club and purchased two tequila shots and Amaretto from two bartenders, even though the club had no license. The bartenders were arrested for selling liquor without a license. Since the County’s lawsuit was filed, the Palacios club has closed. Read More
The Fifth Circuit has affirmed a judgment in favor of Harris County and three deputy constables in a civil rights lawsuit filed by a groom and his guest who was arrested during a wedding reception.
During the reception the groom’s father began loudly complaining when the bartender decided to stop serving alcohol because the bartender “noticed a significant number of guests who were dressed slopp[ily], slurring their words and stumbling.” According to witnesses the groom’s father “struck or pushed” a plain clothes deputy constable who was working security at the event. When a uniformed deputy constable who was also working off duty began escorting the father from the room his son, a deputy sheriff, came to his aid along with thirty to forty other people. The constable ordered party goers to move away and to leave the premises. A guest who was also a deputy sheriff refused to leave. Read More
The Harris County Attorney's Office is seeking a permanent injunction against a southwest Houston after-hours strip club prosecutors say is selling liquor without a license.
According to a petition filed in Harris County District Court Monday against Paradise City Southwest (9870 Westpark Drive), undercover Houston Police Department vice officers bought vodka-cranberry cocktails from bartender Andrea Dancy and manager Arthur Cisneros, who were subsequently charged with misdemeanor liquor violations. (The club otherwise advertises as a "BYOB" establishment.) Read More
“El SB4 dañará a nuestros niños,” dice Ryan, el Abogado del Condado
Declarando que el Senate Bill 4 podría dañar a los niños de Texas en forma significativa, Vince Ryan, el Abogado del Condado de Harris, ha introducido un escrito “amigo de la corte” en la demanda judicial que busca impedir que esa legislación se convierta en ley.
El SB 4 prohíbe una política, patrón o práctica que prohíba o limite el cumplimiento de las leyes de inmigración. Ryan sostiene que la ley propuesta está en conflicto con la responsabilidad de los abogados del condado de servir a los niños de Texas. Read More
"Bill will harm our children" says County Attorney Ryan
Declaring that Senate Bill 4 could significantly harm Texas’ children, Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan has filed a “friend of the court” brief in the lawsuit seeking to stop this bill from becoming law.
SB 4 prohibits a policy, pattern or practice that would prohibit or limit the enforcement of immigration laws. Ryan contends that the proposed law conflicts with the responsibility of county attorneys to serve Texas children. Read More
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan has obtained a court order shutting down an unlicensed, after-hours bar known as Las Palmas in a strip center near Almeda Genoa and the Gulf Freeway.
Judge Elaine Palmer of the 215th District Court of Harris County entered a temporary restraining order closing the bar at 9960 Kleckley Drive, Suite B, and ordering it to remain closed until a valid liquor license is obtained. It is a crime to sell alcohol in Texas without a license. Las Palmas was even advertising on social media that it is an after-hours bar, open from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. Read More
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan obtained a court order shutting down an unlicensed, after-hours bar known as Insomnia at the corner of Bissonnet Street and the Southwest Freeway.
Judge Elaine Plamer of the 215th District Court of Harris County entered a temporary retraining order closing the bar at 9301 Bissonnet Street and ordering it to remain closed until a valid liquor license is obtained. The bar advertises on social media that is an after-hours bar, open from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., which is illegal in Texas. Read More
Harris County launched the Senior Justice Assessment Center today, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, at 2525 Murworth in the Medical Center area. The Center is designed to better investigate and prosecute elder abuse in Harris County.
The Center, the first of its kind in Texas, will be similar to the county's Children's Assessment Center, pulling together experts in geriatric medicine, protective services, civil and criminal prosecution and law enforcement.
“I think this is a tremendous step forward,” Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan said at this morning’s program launch. “This [partnership] is another statement by Harris County that we care and want to do something about it.” Read More
Joseph D. Lawson, Deputy Director at Harris County’s Law Library, has been named as a recipient of an Emerging Leader Award by the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL).
The Emerging Leader Award recognizes newer AALL members who have made significant contributions to the Association and/or law librarianship and who have demonstrated potential for leadership and continuing service.
“I am honored to receive this year’s Emerging Leader Award,” Lawson said. “AALL membership is essential to my professional success and I look forward to contributing more to the organization, my law library and my community for years to come.” Read More
By: Vince Ryan
Harris County Attorney
Hurricane season has just begun. We’ve all heard about being prepared with bottled water, batteries and other necessities for riding out a storm. But is your legal paperwork safe and secure? Read More
If your home floods, will your important documents be safe? If you have to evacuate, could you quickly put your hands on medical records? If you file insurance claims, would you be able to provide your policy and records of your possessions?
The Texas Bar Foundation awarded the Harris County Law Library a $23,000 grant in its first round of charitable giving in 2017. The funding will be used to purchase equipment for the Law Library’s Hands-on Legal Tech Training Program.
The Law Library currently offers programs on legal technology through its Legal Tech Institute that are free and open to all. Training sessions focus on technologies that attorneys, self-represented litigants and members of the public need to understand to access the court system and accomplish legal tasks. The Hands-on Legal Tech Training Program provides experiential learning opportunities for participants who use a computer and software during trainings to apply skills learned in real-time. Read More
Harris County Vince Ryan’s Office has obtained a summary judgment in favor of Harris County and a Sheriff’s deputy in a lawsuit filed by a man who claimed he was wrongfully arrested when he returned to the Red River Dance Hall and Saloon in Tomball after being banned from the bar.
Michael Bradshaw claimed he was arrested in retaliation for a Facebook Messenger conversation he had with an employee of the bar that occurred the night he was banned from the bar in July 2013. In the profanity laden Facebook exchange Bradshaw described his encounter with the deputy, accusing the deputy of being a coward and calling him a “Barney Fife buddy” of the employee. Read More
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan obtained a court order on Friday shutting down Avani Lounge, an unlicensed bar in Southwest Houston. When Houston Police officers served the court order early Sunday morning, they found 600 patrons inside the bar with alcoholic drinks. Read More
Judge Michael Landrum of the 113th District Court of Harris County entered a temporary restraining order on May 12 closing the bar at 6603 Harwin Drive and ordering it to remain closed until a valid liquor license is obtained. Avani Lounge operates as an after-hours bar, serving alcohol after 2 a.m., but does not have a permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan won a restraining order and asset freeze against the owners of two smoke shops and their supplier to stop the sale of synthetic marijuana, an illegal drug known on the streets as “kush.” .The lawsuit stemmed from a lengthy investigation by the Drug Enforcement Agency, Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Harris County Constable Precinct 4, Conroe Police Department, and Houston Police Department to target the distributors of synthetic marijuana.
The restraining order prohibits the owners of Discount Smoke & Gift Shop at 11106 Veterans Memorial and Mr. Smoke & Gift Shop at 2946 Gears Road from selling kush and other illegal substances. Narcotics officers executed a federal search warrant and retrieved large quantities of kush, as well as hashish, ecstasy, marijuana, hydrocodone, and other controlled substances, which were hidden throughout the stores. Read More
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan is taking steps to shut down a store that was believed to be illegally selling synthetic marijuana.Ryan obtained a restraining order Wednesday against the owners of the Smoke & Tote Shop at 12127 Bissonnett Street.
They were told to cease operations. Investigators said the store was participating in criminal activity. Ryan also ordered the Lock Lim Management Trust, the owner of the shopping center in which the store is located, to take steps to close the store immediately. Read More
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan won a restraining order Wednesday from a Harris County civil district court against the owners of an Alief shopping center and their tenant to close the store and stop the sale of synthetic marijuana.
Judge Randy Wilson, of the 157th Civil District Court of Harris County, ordered the owners of the Smoke & Tote Shop located at 12127 Bissonnet to cease operations, finding the store participated in criminal activity. He also ordered the Lock Lim Management Trust, the owner of the shopping center, to take measures to close the store immediately. Read More