Grand Jury No-Bills Judge Denise Pratt
A Harris County grand jury has declined to indict Family Court Judge Denise Pratt, the subject of a records-tampering probe, according to her attorney.
Lawyer Terry W. Yates stated in a press release, "We are pleased that the grand jury agrees with us that there's absolutely no evidence that Judge Pratt tampered with court documents or did anything illegal."
The Harris County District Attorney Office's probe of Pratt was triggered by Webster attorney Greg Enos's October complaint accusing her of creating and backdating rulings on custody cases she had let languish for months.
Enos said Pratt rushed the backdated rulings after a three-judge panel of the 14th Court of Appeals chided Pratt for not deciding on a visitation issue after ten months, stating in an opinion that "a parent's right to access to his child is a fundamental liberty interest more precious than property rights."
Thirty-two family law attorneys in Houston signed a letter calling for Pratt's resignation in November. The Harris County District Clerk's Office had also conducted its own investigation, resulting in the resignation of Pratt's lead clerk, a 25-year-veteran.
Yates stated in Friday's press release, "The problems with the court documents emanated from the number of deputy clerks that were assigned to this court; more than 20 in the last three years. Some of these clerks were not properly trained and were otherwise unqualified for the position of deputy clerk. Judge Pratt is very relieved that this matter is behind her, and she is working hard to serve the citizens of Harris County."
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