Earlier this year when the Harris County District Attorney's Office started the DIVERT program for first time DWI defendants Judge Mike Fields was one of two Harris County, Texas misdemeanor judges that would not participate with the program. This caused me concern since that meant I would have to explain to a client why someone in one of the other 13 misdemeanor courts would be eligible for the DIVERT program, while they would not be because their DWI case landed in one of the two formidable courts.
I was hopeful that this would be a temporary arrangement by these judges. Not surprisingly, Judge Fields was clear to state that he would grant traditional pretrial diversion for defendants in his court, but would not follow the DIVERT program as presented to him. Despite his position as a lawyer in ourt I hold out hope that he would change his mind particularly when it concerned a specific client. Luckily, I was recently alerted to the fact that Judge Fields had changed his mind towards the program. Today, my optimism was rewarded by having him grant my client the opportunity to enter the DIVERT program. By allowing him this opportunity Judge Fields saved my client's business and allowed all my client's employees to rest easier this holiday season. I do not know what changed the Judge's mind, but he made several people overjoyed by his shift in opinion.
I think it is feasible that Judge Bill Harmon will also change his position and start allowing the DIVERT program in his court in the near future. The citizens of Harris County, Texas deserve uniformity by the misdemeanor judges on this issue.
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