Looking at one of Judge Denise Pratt’s cases

Denise Pratt
Denise Pratt

The other day I received an email from Burt Levine, a sort of shadow paid campaign surrogate for various candidates, admonishing me for writing that Judge Denise Pratt needed to remove her name from the ballot. I called him and asked what that was about and he said that his client, Denise Pratt, told him to email me. So I said, earn your money and post it as a comment. Which he did, so now the whole world can see what you get for your money when you pay Burt Levine. Just click here.

Pratt’s campaign sent an email to precinct chairs and other Republicans defending her time on the court:

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your work as a precinct chair. Having been a precinct chair in Baytown, I know the time, work and effort it requires, as well as the responsibility that comes with such an important grassroots position.

I’m sure you have heard the rumors that are being spread by the Democrats and the liberal media. I wanted to take this time to let you know that the allegations brought against me by the Democratic faction are false. I am a conservative Judge and because of my principles I am being attacked. I have already filed to run for re-election as judge of the 311th Family District Court, and will not let the underhanded political tactics by the Democrats keep me from doing my job.

I was uniquely qualified to take this bench in 2011 and have furthered my training, as set out in my current pushcard and soon-to-air website.

I have been a Republican my entire life, having been one of the few members of the original Young Conservatives of Texas started by Steve Munisteri as far back as 1980 at the University of Texas. I can assure you that my commitment to conservative values are unwavering, despite personal and professional attack.

I want to thank you for your support in the past, and hope that I can count on your support through this upcoming election process.

I would be happy to discuss any concerns you might have.

Denise Pratt
Judge, 311th Family District Court
cell 832-892-9023

Now that is rich. “Democrats” and “liberal media” are spreading these lies, eh? Look, when Jared Woodfill and Gary Polland try to distance themselves from you, it ain’t a whole bunch of “Democrats” and “liberal media” spreading lies, okay?

Her “unique qualifications” were that she bought the right endorsements.

Let’s take a look at a just one of the mishandled cases in Pratt’s court.

The Fourteenth Court of Appeals case # 14-13-00347-CV.

The trial court has a reasonable time within which to perform its ministerial duty to rule on a pending motion.

The necessity for a prompt ruling is important in cases such as this that concern parental rights and the best interest of children. We conclude that the delay in this case is unreasonable. A parent’s right to visitation with his child is at issue. Relator’s motion has been pending a decision for over ten months.

According to the record before us, it appears that relator has not had regular visits with his oldest child in over a year. It is the public policy of this state to assure that children have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in their best interest, and to encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their children after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage.

A parent’s right to access to his child is a fundamental liberty interest more precious than property rights.

A parent’s entitlement to periodic visitation with his child “cannot be denied except in extreme circumstances.”

We hold that respondent has abused her discretion in failing to timely render a decision on relator’s pending motion for enforcement of his right to possession or access to his child.

Accordingly, we conditionally grant the petition for a writ of mandamus and direct the trial court to rule on relator’s pending motion within fifteen days of the date of this opinion.

How would you like to not see your child for over a year simply because the judge in the case hasn’t gotten around to making a ruling?

But in paid surrogate Burt Levine’s email, as he was directed to write by Judge Denise Pratt, the Appeals Court’s order “she was asked to hurry up with a deicison” (sic).

No, she was ordered to render a decision because the court recognized that the excessive delay was hurting a family.

There are many, many other instances that will be brought out in the campaign in which Judge Pratt needed to “hurry up” because children couldn’t see their parents for months at a time.

As I said earlier, Denise is a fine person with many admirable qualities. Being a judge isn’t one of them.


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  1. Tom Moran says

    For what it’s worth, and I don’t know Judge Pratt, do not practice family law and know nothing about any cases in her court other than what I read in the newspapers, a writ of mandamus is an order from a court to a public official to perform what we lawyers call a “ministerial” act. A ministerial act is one which the public official must perform and which he or she has no discretion not to perform.
    So, in the case quoted above, the court of appeals ordered Judge Pratt to rule on the motion. It did not order her to rule one way or another because how she rules is a discetionary act. But she has a duty to rule.
    I hope that clears up what a mandamus is.

    • David Jennings says

      Tom, that is exactly why I used the quotes that I did. The Court of Appeals ordered her to DO SOMETHING. Anything. You will find that this issue is going to bury her by a thousand deaths.

  2. Ross says

    Pratt makes the mistake of thinking that the mere fact she is a Republican somehow makes her qualified to be a judge. She is wrong. If she is in the general election, I will vote for her opponent.

  3. says

    I have her email missive; it says nothing of substance and her paean to pct chairpersons falls on my deaf ear as that position, considering today’s R party’s proclivities, is worth about a pot of lukewarm pee.
    So long Denise, get a real job.
    Just saying you are a ‘conservative’ judge (define please) with ‘principles’ (examples?) accrues no expectation of my vote.
    Tired Dog

  4. bob42 says

    The 311th heard my divorce in 2004, and my motion to modify (get custody) in 2006, which was contested. In the later, after I had jumped through all the standard hoops, and my ex’s attorney had already reset the trial date twice, he showed up in the courtroom and attempted to explain that my ex could not appear that day either, and requested another reset. I wish I could remember the the judge’s exact words, but suffice it to say he was visibly peeved.

    After a three hour recess to give her time to get there, my case was carefully, fairly, and professionally adjudicated. It took around 10 weeks from filing the motion to receiving the final orders.

    For a case involving the interests of children to be delayed 10 months there should be a darn good reason. I’m glad the 311th judge that heard my case was not Denise Pratt.

  5. Stuart Mayper says

    The Harris County Grand Jury system exonerated Denise Pratt of all wrong doing . This ISSUE is OVER. Overnight Republicans are running against her. We want Republicans to run in the Republican Party.

    • David Jennings says

      Nonsense Stuart. I’m glad that Denise was no-billed but that has nothing to do with her lack of ability to be a judge. She must be be defeated in the primary.

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