Harris County Judge Sentenced - Judicial Career in Jeopardy

Barring an appeal of his conviction for official oppression for offereing to help a DWI defendant in his court get a dismissal of her DWI case, Judge Donald Jackson's tenure as a Harris County Judge is over.  Judge Jackson was sentenced to probation that includes 30 days in the Harris County jail as a condition of the probation.

For what it is worth, I always liked Judge Jackson and felt like he tried to do the "right thing" in the cases that I handled in his court.  It seems that most of the lawyers that I have spoken to about Judge Jackson have said the same.  Hopefully, Judge Jackson's replacement will have a similar outlook on the law and do the "right thing" with the cases that come before him/her.

Smart Start and DWI DIVERT Program - What a Scam

What a scam Smart Start has with the the DWI DIVERT Program.  As it turns out, one of the requirements of the DIVERT Program is that the person who enters into the contract with the Harris County District Attorney's office is required to go through Smart Start to have an ignition interlock device.

So why is it a scam?  Well, many of the Judges in Harris County require as a condition of bond to have an ignition interlock device put in a vehicle as a condition of bond.  There are a few companies that offer this service, including EZ Interlock that is run by a friend of ours, John Burns.  John has been around the courthouse since long before I started practicing law.

If a citizen decides to go through a company other than Smart Start for the ignition interlock as a condition of bond, he/she will be required to switch companies (cost to be paid by client) to Smart Start if they decide to participate in the DIVERT Program.  It seems to me that someone (hint: Smart Start) stands to make a lot of money on this new DIVERT Program.  What is the need for someone that has no problems with the ignition interlock device as a condition of bond to change companies?  why do they need to absorb the additional cost of changing companies?  Seems like a pretty good money maker for Smart Start to me.  Wonder who made this monopolized deal go through and if any money changed hands in that process?