Judge Denise Pratt in Runoff -- But What of Her Peculiar "Gag Order"?
Now that incumbent Harris County Family Court Judge Denise Pratt is in a runoff, we thought it would be a good time for another look at Pratt's bizarre gag order of January 2013.
YouTube screenshot Looking back at Judge Denise Pratt's gag order of 2013.
It appears to be a blanket order barring any party or attorney with such a pending case from talking to the media, or even discussing the case via "Twitter, Facebook, personal blogs, YouTube, Flickr, email or other social media." Anyone violating the order could be found in contempt of court, and wind up jailed and/or fined. We have never seen anything like it.
It's a curious document of unclear provenance. It doesn't resemble a traditional court order prohibiting extrajudicial statements. For one thing, it's headlined "'GAG' ORDER," which is a lay, not legal, term.
It also doesn't cite a specific case, either by cause number or party names. Instead, it states: "The Court, on its own motion, hereby makes the following order in all SAPCR [suits affecting parent-child relationship] cases."
The confusion could have been avoided if Pratt, or a representative of her court, responded to our requests for clarification when we first wrote about the order. But Pratt never responded to those requests.
Attorney Greg Enos -- Pratt's most vocal critic -- tells us via email that "attorneys were given the blanket gag order in her court and told it applied to ALL cases with kids in her court."