Monday, December 19, 2016

Harris County Bail Case

The bail insurance companies have been traveling around the country trying to convince people that their briefs in the 11th Circuit show how the law is on their side in these federal lawsuits.

Three days ago, though, the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas filed a memorandum and opinion in a suit against Harris County over its bail practices. In that 78 page opinion, the Chief Judge disagreed with several of the same claims you'll find in the 11th Circuit briefs. Rational basis instead of strict scrutiny? Dead! Use 8th Amendment analysis rather than Equal Protection? Dead! Younger abstention? Dead! Neidermeyer . . . ?   You get the gist.

Next up is a motion for preliminary injunction in the Harris County case -- you know, the thing the plaintiffs won in the 11th Circuit that forms the basis of that interlocutory appeal.

The insurance company lobbyists like to claim that all the previous settlements are due to the small jurisdictions begin overwhelmed, but you wait and see. Once plaintiff's attorneys start deposing the defendants, including judges, even a big place like Harris County is going to find settling simply to follow the law much more palatable.