I have filed another,third criminal complaint against Denise Pratt and this is surely the one to get her indicted. This time there are two eye witnesses to Pratt backdating a court order and the District Clerk’s records back up their stories. I have two sworn affidavits from the eye witnesses.
Click this link to download my criminal complaint and see Exhibits 1 – 6, including the sworn affidavits of the witnesses, the order Pratt backdated and proof from the District Clerk website that Pratt backdated the order: Feb 2014 Criminal Complaint re Karen Hyde – part 1
Click this link to see Exhibits 6 – 12 of my criminal complaint: Feb 2014 Criminal Complaint re Karen Hyde – part 2
Here is proof Judge Pratt Intentionally Backdated a Court Order:
The Osborn – Hyde child custody modification case (2008-40895) has been pending in the 311th Family District Court of Harris County since July 2012. The mother in this case, Karen Hyde, is representing herself and is pro se. On February 1, 2013, Karen Hyde filed a Motion to Enforce asking the court to hold her ex-husband in contempt for violating orders regarding child support and possession of their daughter. A hearing was scheduled for March 5, 2013 but only Karen Hyde appeared and the Amicus attorney but not Mr. Osborne. The Associate Judge refused to conduct a hearing because he said Mr. Osborn had not been served properly. So, Karen Hyde tried again and got a hearing on her motion set for April 25.
On April 25, 2013, Mr. Osborn again did not appear in court. Karen Hyde and her new husband waited from 9:30 a.m. until about 3:30 p.m. until they were the last people in the court before Judge Pratt called them to the bench and discussed the case. Judge Denise Pratt on April 25, 2013 backdated an “Order for Capias for Arrest of Respondent” and wrote the date of March 5 on the order in open court before Karen Hyde and her husband. Judge Pratt told the Hydes,“I am backdating this order to March 5.” The Order for Capias for Arrest of Respondent is attached as Exhibit 1. Karen Hyde’s sworn affidavit is attached as Exhibit 2. The affidavit of Wes Hyde is attached as Exhibit 3. The District Clerk web site printout which verifies that the capias order was issued on April 25, 2013 (not March 5, 2013) is attached as Exhibit 4.
The capias order probably should never have been issued in the first place and it certainly should not have been intentionally backdated by the judge. The order resulted in the arrest of Gary Osborn on May 24, 2013 in Montgomery County. Mr. Osborn’s attorney immediately went to Judge Pratt’s court and convinced her to sign an order that same day withdrawing the capias. See Exhibit 5. After several hours, Mr. Osborn was released.
The story gets even worse. The Osborn-Hyde child custody case was one of several hundred cases that Judge Pratt dismissed on December 31, 2013 without notice or hearing in clear violation of the Constitution and the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. See Exhibit 6. Even though the dismissal was clearly illegal, the case was dismissed.
Apparently, Judge Pratt was concerned that her court has more cases pending for more than a year than any other district court, so she decided to make her statistics look better by dismissing 631 cases that were over a year old. All of the dismissals are dated December 30 or 31, 2013. December 31 is the date used for courts’ statistical reports.
Texas Rule 165a of Civil Procedure states that the court must send notice of its intent to dismiss and the date and place of the dismissal hearing to the parties or attorneys. The rule describes a dismissal hearing. Pratt followed none of these procedures when she dismissed the hundreds of cases on December 30 and 31.
All attorneys have at some time received DWOP (Dismissal for Want of Prosecution) notices during our careers that told us to appear on a specific date and time and explain why our old cases should not be dismissed. We all know to file a motion to retain and appear at the hearing to keep our cases from being dismissed. Pratt herself has presided over many DWOP dockets as a judge and she attended them when she was a lawyer, so she should have known exactly how this all works.
On December 30 and 31, when Pratt sat alone in her chambers signing hundreds of dismissal orders, surely she wondered why her courtroom was not full of attorneys at a DWOP docket. Did Pratt not realize that some of the cases she was dismissing had been settled and the final orders were sitting on her desk waiting for her to simply sign them? Many of the cases Pratt dismissed, like the example cited above, were set for trial in Pratt’s court and the litigants had done everything expected of them to resolve their case. Did Pratt consider what she was doing to the hundreds of families and children effected by these dismissals? Many of these dismissed cases had temporary orders made by Pratt keeping a parent away from a child or limiting visitation or requiring very specific behaviors because Pratt thought it essential to protect the child. Did Pratt not understand that dismissing those cases meant that her temporary orders went away, leaving the children unprotected by court order
Sadly, for Karen Hyde, the story gets even worse. On January 31, 2014, after her case was dismissed, Karen Hyde received a letter from Judge Pratt’s court stating that the case was set for trial on February 5, 2014, just five days later. See Exhibit 7. Karen Hyde called Judge Pratt’s court and her court staff told her the case was still dismissed. The District Clerk web site said her case was dismissed. So, Karen Hyde did not go to court on February 5 because her case was dismissed. However, Mr. Osborn and his attorney did go to court and Judge Pratt issued a default order in the father’s favor and switched custody of the child to him. It now appears that a secret motion to reinstate the case was filed on January 24, 2014, but no copy was ever sent to Karen Hyde. Mr. Osborn’s attorney, Ruby Bolton, has confirmed to me that no copy of the motion to reinstate was sent to Karen Hyde. The image of the motion to reinstate did not appear on the District Clerk’s web site until February 12, 2014. The District Clerk web site as of February 6, 2014 (the day after the “trial”), still showed that the case has been dismissed and did not show any motion or order to reinstate. See Exhibit 8. Presumably, Judge Pratt signed an order which reinstated the case but no one told Karen Hyde that the case was no longer dismissed. The father’s attorney, Ms. Bolton, never sent notice of the February 5 trial date. In December 2013, Ms. Bolton sent a letter to Karen Hyde via regular mail and certified mail but she sent a notice of a trial set for December 16, 2013 which never occurred. The letter sent by Ms. Bolton to Karen Hyde via regular mail is attached as Exhibit 9 and the letter sent via certified mail is attached as Exhibit 10. Oddly, both letters were mailed by Ms. Bolton after the December 16 trial date yet both letters purported to give notice of the December 16 trial, which never occurred.
One more grave injustice in this case should be noted. The original divorce decree gave Karen Hyde primary custody of her daughter. Mr. Osborn filed his motion to modify custody and asked for temporary orders after he had gone to his ex-wife’s house and picked up his teenage daughter and kept her. The Texas Family Code says that primary custody cannot be changed in temporary orders except by agreement or after a hearing showing that the child is in danger or an interview of the child in chambers by the judge. Tex. Fam. Code Sec. 156.006(b). The parents and Mr. Osborn’s attorney appeared before Judge Pratt’s Associate judge on October 9, 2012 and they discussed the situation but no evidence was presented. No hearing on temporary orders was held and the child was not interviewed by the judge. On October 19, 2012, Judge Pratt signed an order entitled “Temporary Injunctions In Suit to Modify Parent-Child Relationship.” That order, attached as Exhibit 11, stated in part, “IT IS ORDERED that the primary residence of the child shall be 10123 Caddo, Magnolia, TX 77354 [the father’s address] and the parties shall not remove the child from 10123 Caddo, Magnolia, TX 77354 for the purpose of changing the primary residence of the child until modified by further order of the court…” Without agreement or proof that the child was in danger with the mother and at least giving the mother a hearing and a chance to present her side of the story, this order clearly violated Texas law and should not have been granted.
The Crime of Tampering With a Government Record
The Texas Penal Code, Sec. 37.01 (2) defines a “governmental record” to include a court record.
The Texas Penal Code, Sec. 37.10 states in part:
Sec. 37.10. TAMPERING WITH GOVERNMENTAL RECORD.
(a) A person commits an offense if he:
(1) knowingly makes a false entry in, or false alteration of, a governmental record;
. . . .
(5) makes, presents, or uses a governmental record with knowledge of its falsity;
. . . .
(c)(1) Except as provided by Subdivisions (2), (3), and (4) and by Subsection (d), an offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor unless the actor’s intent is to defraud or harm another, in which event the offense is a state jail felony.
A copy of these criminal statutes is attached as Exhibit No. 12.
It is a crime for a judge to back date a court order and this time there a two witnesses who saw Judge Pratt backdate the capias order.
Judge Pratt also “knowingly made a false entry in…a government record” when she signed the December 31, 2013 order dismissing the Osborn-Hyde case because the order falsely states that “all parties were given notice of the setting date and that failure to appear would be grounds for dismissal…” No judge dismisses a case for want of prosecution without proof that the parties and attorneys were given notice of the hearing on dismissal, yet that is exactly what Pratt did.
Questions to Ask Judge Pratt
1. It is true that on April 25, 2013, you signed the capias order and backdated it to March 5, 2013 as you told the Hydes and as shown on the District Clerk website?
2. There is no proof in the court file of service on Mr. Osborn regarding Karen Hyde’s petition for enforcement. Without proof before you that the Respondent had been served with an order to appear in your court, how could you possibly issue a capias order that required the man to be arrested for not appearing?
3. If you properly issued the capias order, why did you immediately sign an order withdrawing the capias as soon as Mr. Osborn’s attorney asked you to (without motion, notice to Karen Hyde or hearing)?
4. Why did you dismiss the Osborn – Hyde case on December 31, 2013 for want of prosecution without notice to the parties and apparently after you had set the case for trial on February 5?
5. Why did your order dismissing the case for want of prosecution state that notice of the dismissal hearing had been given when no notice of the dismissal had been given and there was no DWOP docket that day for the parties to even appear for?
6. Why would you reinstate the case without a hearing or notice to Karen Hyde? Attorneys are required to send copies of all motions to opposing attorneys or pro se parties and Mr. Osborn’s attorney did not do that.
7. Your staff and the district clerk web site were telling Karen Hyde that the case was dismissed, so why would you go forward with a trial without proof that Mrs. Hyde had been given notice of the trial?