Shifted cases causing confusion on first court day since Harvey

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The mess that Hurricane Harvey caused with Harris County courts proved to be beyond structural.

On the first day of docket calls since the storm significantly damaged Harris County Criminal Justice Court, confusion reigned when people tried to find the appropriate place and time for cases.

Criminal Justice Center at 1201 Franklin St. in downtown Houston was damaged from last month's storm. Those cases are being heard at the Civil Courthouse at 201 Caroline St. and the Juvenile Justice Center at 1200 Congress Ave.

On Monday morning, constables were prepared to direct people to the appropriate court.

Still, some who thought they were supposed to show up for the morning docket call found themselves at court at the wrong time.

Morning and afternoon docket calls and every criminal court is in a different place.

On top of felony cases, misdemeanors are being move to the Family Law Center at 1115 Congress.

The criminal courthouse is expected to stay closed for the next six to nine months. Civil district, family district and county probate courts are being combined to accommodate criminal hearings.

Other aspects of court are also being affected:

Jury service: Jury duty has been canceled through Sept. 15. People summoned before that date will not need to appear and will not need to reschedule. There's no word on when jury duty service will resume, and people who are being summoned after Sept. 15 will have to call the Harris County District Clerk's Office at 832-927-5800 or go online to confirm service.

Court dates: Dockets for people in jail charged with a Class A or B misdemeanor or a felony will continue to be held in the jail at 49 San Jacinto, but will soon move to 1307 Baker Street for male defendants and 1200 Baker Street for female defendants. Contact the District Clerk's Office at 832-927-5800 or go online for docket information.

Bonds: Bonds will not be forfeited for anyone who failed to appear in court between Aug. 28 and Sept. 8. Information on bond conditions can be found with the Harris County Pretrial Services at 713-755-8700, 713-274-0920, or online.

Trials: Jury trials will be rescheduled as soon as possible. The court hoped to have jury trials in criminal bond, juvenile and family cases to resume after Oct. 1. Civil and probate cases have been postponed until after Nov. 1. Criminal trials will immediately resume when "jurors and attorneys are properly noticed."

Officials warned not all court phone lines are up and running. They are still being lenient for people, especially those who have flooded. They urged people to contact the court and let them know of your issues as soon as possible.

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