William Lee Hon will Improve and Bring Respectability to the Court.
End “Revolving Door” Bond Practices
Harris County has been plagued in the last several years with numerous instances of murders committed by offenders who were already out on felony bonds. If elected, that will not be the practice in my court. It is the current practice in the 258th District Court to use an arbitrary preset bond schedule for felony offenses that does not take into consideration the unique circumstances of the offense, the criminal background of the offender and the safety of the community. If elected judge I will immediately discontinue this practice. Every bond decision will take into account the circumstances of the case, a risk assessment including the criminal background of the defendant, and an evaluation of the potential risk to the community. The safety of the community will always be a paramount consideration.
Veterans Treatment Court
In 2019, the Commissioners Courts of Polk, San Jacinto and Trinity Counties passed resolutions authorizing the creation of a Veterans Treatment Court. The 258th District Court was to be the venue for all eligible cases involving veterans. In September of 2019, all key stakeholders including the district attorneys and judges of all three counties entered into a memorandum of understanding regarding the operation of the court. State veterans court officials have assured the counties that multiple grants have been available to cover the administration and costs of a veteran’s court. Yet for reasons unclear to me, the 258th District Court has not obtained any grant funding to launch the program. With many veterans returning home from the Middle East and most recently Afghanistan, my first priority will be to obtain the necessary grant funding to enable me to launch a Veterans Treatment Court on day one.
Ultimately, the District Judges oversee every person placed on felony probation. They hire the director of the probation department and, largely, set the policies for ensuring that probationers comply with the terms of their probation. Drug offenders are unique. Statistics show that for drug offenders, the first few months of their probation will determine the likelihood of their success or failure. If elected, I will establish a monthly night court for the three counties using Zoom video technology to review the progress of drug probationers during the first three months of their probation. They will know that their judge is involved in their probation and expects them to comply with the requirements.
I believe people are responsible for their actions and the consequences of the bad choices that they make. In the criminal justice system, some individuals warrant a second chance. Probation is a second chance. However, probation is also a contract between the defendant and the court that the defendant will not commit new crimes or engage in bad behavior. If elected, probationers in my court will understand clearly that probation is their second chance, but not a third, fourth or fifth chance. They will be expected to live up to the terms of their agreement.
No Involvement in Plea-Bargaining
I do not believe a judge should be involved in plea negotiations between prosecutors and defendants. However, it is currently required by the judge of the 258th District Court that every defense attorney furnish the client a publication distributed by the judge’s office and written by criminal defense attorneys regarding life in prison. This publication contains numerous disparaging comments about correctional officers who on a daily basis put themselves in harm’s way to protect society. The publication also encourages inmates not to cooperate in the investigation of prison crimes, effectively hindering prison investigations. There is no legal requirement or authority under Texas law for a judge to require any defense attorney to provide such information to his or her clients, especially under the directive and authority of a district judge. I know there are many brave correctional officers who live in Polk, San Jacinto and Trinity Counties. I respect the work that they do. If elected, I will discontinue this policy immediately.
Prioritization of Child Abuse Cases
Under Texas law, defendants awaiting trial in jail must be given priority trial settings. After that, judges are free to control their docket and schedule cases for trial as they see fit. As district attorney, I have always prioritized cases involving physical or sexual abuse of young children. If elected district judge, child abuse cases will be given a priority status on my trial dockets.
Respect for the Rights of Crime Victims
Under Texas law, victims have a right to be informed of the status of the cases they are concerned with and, in many instances, a right to be heard regarding the sentence to the offender and disposition of the case. If elected district judge, I will always be mindful of the rights of victims and the fact that they have a voice, which is entitled to heard.