In an effort to slash $4 million in Houston police overtime, officers have been ordered to ignore subpoenas for morning appearances in municipal court, a policy change that has infuriated citizens, riled defense attorneys and angered police union officials.Kennedy reminds the mayor and city attorney in an open "Memo" that:
Houston police have been ordered by Police Chief Charles McClelland to appear in court at 1 p.m., even if they have been subpoenaed to a trial at 8 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. by the seven municipal courts that hear jury trials. Citizens who show up for their trials are not allowed to leave the courtroom — except for restroom breaks or to put money in parking meters — resulting in a wait of up to five hours before their cases begin. ...
"The city wants to save on (overtime) money they pay officers, and they want to force citizens into pleading guilty by having them sit on these hard benches," said Houston attorney Paul Kubosh.
The motorist also has a right to confront the witnesses against him - even if the City of Houston is going to have to shell out some overtime money for the officers.How infuriating that would be for those involved! If police can ignore the summons, would it be okay if drivers ignored the morning docket call and everyone showed up after lunch? Perhaps they could tell the judge the Mayor said "Trials don't start until 1 in the afternoon." And since when did cities begin looking to find budget savings by ignoring routine court orders?
The motorist is issued a notice informing him of where and when he is to appear for his trial. The officer who issued the citation is served with a summons to appear at the same time in the same place. If the motorist is not sitting in the courtroom when his name is called, the judge will have a warrant issued for his arrest. If the officer isn't present, the case is dismissed. But now y'all have decided that the law doesn't apply to the city and that officers don't have to be in court for the morning docket call.
It's the government who's attempting to take money out of the motorist's pocket. It's the motorist's money. It's the motorist's time. If the government wants to infringe on someone's liberty then it's the government who needs to deal with these messy inconveniences of our criminal justice system, not the motorist. Yet it's the government who decides to make innocent people sit in a courtroom for hours waiting for their accusers to show up in court. The state may have the burden of proof, but I guess the citizenry have the burden of exercising their rights.