Friday, February 17, 2006

Mentally Ill Languishing in Jail

Update: Six months and counting since Fredrick Harris was locked up. Almost 4 1/2 months since he was declared incompetent and ordered to be transferred to the state hospital. This is inexcusable, and an absolute disgrace.

Update: Mr. Harris is still in jail. He has now been held for over 5 1/2 months, with almost four of those months waiting to go to the state hospital after being found incompetent to stand trial. Grits for Breakfast picks up the larger story here.
Original post:

Meet Fredrick Harris. He is my client. He was found incompetent to stand trial on October 6, 2005. He was ordered transferred to the state mental hospital for treatment. It's December 24, 2005, and Mr. Harris, like many others in the Dallas County Jail, is still waiting to go.

Alaskablawg Rocks!

In case you didn't know, fellow blogger Alaskablawg had a fabulous outcome in a media-intense--it was covered by CourtTV--murder trial this week. The jury hung 10-2 for acquittal. Congratulations!

Criminals are Ugly

Massive Update

So, the murder trial ended badly. Guilty. Life. It was never a punishment case. If the jury believed he was guilty, they were going to give him the max. If we were going to win, it was at guilt-innocence, and we didn't.

Then, just a week later, I was back in another jury trial. This time it was a drug case--possession with intent to deliver, another first degree felony. After a long and twisting trial, we finally sent it to the jury on Monday morning. They deliberated all day, and then deadlocked 11-1 in favor of acquittal. Yay! And dammit!

And now, the big news. I gave my notice to my bosses this week. I'm definitely moving to Washington. I don't have a job yet. I don't have a law license there yet. But, I'll figure it out. It's kind of exciting actually.

I am sad to be leaving my job here, though. I have absolutely loved the work that I've had the chance to do here, and I love so many of the people that I work with. I have learned more than I could ever have imagined. And I have only become more passionate about my belief that the indigent accused need to be zealously represented.