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General Court Policies

Policies for the 232nd District Court of Harris County, Texas:

  1. Docket begins at 9:30am.  The Court is available earlier if needed.  Lawyers may email the Court as long as both sides are copied on the communication for matters that are not legally required to take place in a designated Courthouse – there will be no ex parte communications.  If there is a motion pending on any specific issue, parties are required to approach the Court in person or on Zoom.

  2. If both sides agree that a reset is appropriate on a case, there is no need to approach or involve the Court; the parties can notify the coordinator directly to get a new date.  In unique circumstances, the Court will contact all parties if it is necessary to approach prior to getting a reset date.  If the parties wish to address the Court before resetting a case (bond conditions, bail amounts, “without an agreed recommendation” pleas, etc.), they may do so in person, on Zoom, or for matters that are not urgent, by email (as long as all parties are copied on the email).

  3. Lawyers do not need to appear in person unless specifically notified otherwise by the Court.

  4. Any Defendant who can safely do so is always welcome to appear in Court in person or on Zoom.  Defendants represented by counsel generally do not need to appear in person unless they wish to or unless they are specifically notified by the Court, Pretrial Services, the Probation Department, or their counsel that their physical presence is necessary.  If it is alleged that conditions of bond have been violated, counsel should contact the Court to determine if the Defendant’s presence is necessary.  If a Defendant’s physical presence is not necessary, counsel should have the Defendant available to Zoom in to Court.  There is no need for a Defendant to wait on Zoom during docket call, counsel should simply have the Defendant available in the event that the Court requests a remote presence.

  5. Defendants who are not yet represented by counsel, or who wish to proceed pro se, must appear in person.  If an unrepresented Defendant believes there is good reason to not appear, the Defendant should contact the Court to see if arrangements can be made to reschedule the Court date.

  6. In regards to issues about bail, parties may approach the Court (in person, on Zoom, or by email with all sides copied) whenever relevant information becomes available, even if they have approached previously.  Criminal proceedings are unique and dynamic, and circumstances change rapidly, so what was once appropriate may no longer be so.  Unless the case presents a unique set of circumstances, walk-through bonds are permitted by the Court if the appropriate arrangements are made with a bail bonding company.  If either side wishes to discuss matters regarding bail in person or on Zoom (including a walk-through), they should contact opposing counsel ahead of time so that everyone can be properly prepared to discuss the matter.  For email communications regarding bail, bond conditions, walk-throughs, etc., all parties must be copied and should be aware that responses may not be immediate.  If a party wishes to have an evidentiary hearing on the record regarding bail or bond conditions, that party should contact the Court and opposing counsel so that the appropriate arrangements can be made quickly.

  7. Generally, the following policy for the 232nd always stands:  If anyone believes for good reason that their health or safety would be compromised by trying to get to Court, that person should stay home and make some attempt to contact the Court to reschedule as soon as practical.  Any lawyer on any case can always request an off-docket reset or to waive a client's appearance, regardless of health, natural disaster, or safety scares.  Parties can email or call the coordinator for any resets.  In an emergency situation, any lawyer can always email, text, or call the Court by cell phone if all parties are copied or are on the call for matters that aren’t required to be conducted in a designated Courthouse – there will be no ex parte communications through email or phone conference.

  8. If there are any questions about any of the policies of the 232nd District Court of Harris County, Texas, please contact the Court for clarification.

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