Harvey causes damage to Harris Co. court and prompts shift in cases

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Damage to the Harris County criminal court building caused by Harvey will cause a shift to thousands of pending court cases.

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, court officials discussed this morning where cases will be taking place after the storm damaged the Harris County Criminal Justice Center at 1201 Franklin St. in downtown Houston.

According to officials, all felony cases are being temporarily shifted to the Civil Courthouse at 201 Caroline St. and the Juvenile Justice Center at 1200 Congress Ave. Misdemeanor cases will move to the Family Law Center at 1115 Congress.

In addition, civil district, family district and county probate courts are being combined to accommodate criminal hearings.

Justices also addressed or plan to address other aspects of court that were affected by Harvey:

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."

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