A Nice Day at the Harris County Court nov11


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A Nice Day at the Harris County Court

Don’t worry I have not been arrested. I call it a nice day for a good reason. Yetserday I joined with the Outpost outing to Harris County Civil Court and got a tour by one of the judges. She did a nice job enlightening us about the U.S. justice system with juries and all kind of appeal courts. She also told us that she was re-elected last Tuesday. I already knew judges get chosen, but I didn’t know that is specific for Texas. Not all states elect their judges. Also if you want to be a lawyer and pass the bar exam in Texas, if you move to another state you may not be allowed to practice law. So it seems to me you are never an American lawyer, but a Texas lawyer or a California lawyer or an Illinois lawyer.

From the Civil Court we watched the skyline of Houston on both sides and judge Sylvia Matthews explained the landmark buildings. Most of them not that old as she admitted with some regret. One of the older buildings (1910 to put it in perspective) is the 1910 Court House, in which all the courts were crammed before moving to the new building on 201 Caroline Street. That was also the one we were heading for, still with Judge Matthews as our tour guide.

The building was restored after some old photographs, similar Court buildings in other city, they all tended to copy each other. And by researching the old building itself. The result is quite impressive. Not something you would like in your own house I guess. Not really refined but with some nice details as well as some less heroic history. Like the balcony in what is now one of the appeal courts of Texas. The balcony would give more space for audience, but also allowed to segregate that audience. Whites below and non-whites up on the balcony. After the tour we went for an outdoor lunch at Market Square. As I said a nice day.

– to be continued.