Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What's wrong with this picture?

This is one of the lines to get into the Harris County Criminal (In)justice Center at about 8:30 this morning. It was just as bad on the other side of the building. The lines (throng? crowd?) in the elevator lobby was equally bad.

This morning was a beautiful sunny Spring morning. Just imagine standing in this line in the middle of January. Or July. Or in the rain.

The problem is there are too many people trying to get through too small a space at the same time every morning. Security measures have become draconian to the point of ridiculousness. The elevator system was obsolete the day the courthouse opened and the stairs are damn near inaccessible.

Here's an idea: stagger the dockets. Have docket calls in odd-numbered courts at 9am and in even-numbered courts at 10am, or the other way around. Rotate it from week-to-week or month-to-month. Judge Larry Standley in County Court No. 6 has the right idea -- his docket call is at 9:30am and gives everyone a little breathing room in the morning.

I'm just glad I have a badge from the county that lets me skip the procession through security. Maybe that's the problem, though. If judges, prosecutors and attorneys all had to wait in these lines every morning the way the building operates would change.

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