Houston lawyers claim Harris County judge violates defendants’ rights

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HOUSTON – A group of Houston defense attorneys claim Harris County Judge Mike Fields isn’t properly informing defendants of their rights.

“They’re pleading guilty without an attorney, which can have long-term consequences,” said Carmen Roe, president of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association.

In response, members of the association are handing informational cards to defendants.

“Whether he gives them that admonishment or not we’re providing it to them,” Roe said.

Judge Fields, however, denies the accusations.

“I’m doing exactly what the law requires,” Fields said, “and that is ensuring that people understand their rights, that they have the right to an attorney, and that they freely, knowingly, voluntarily waive that right.”

Fields provided transcripts from his courtroom to show he performed his legal duties.

But the attorneys aren’t buying it.

“Simply because he’s changed it today doesn’t mean it wasn’t happening yesterday, and that it won’t happen tomorrow,” Roe said.

So who should we trust? Good question…

“We start at 8:30 a.m. every morning and I invite anyone in the Harris County public to come and watch what I do,” Fields said.

Looks like the invitation’s open for you to head to the courtroom and decide on your own verdict.