A woman said a warrant was issued for her arrest after she was late to court due to courthouse elevator malfunctions.
Hundreds were forced to wait outside on the coldest day of the Winter so far. All but one of the elevators to the misdemeanor courts in the Harris County Criminal Justice Center were shutdown when a fire alarm was triggered. It turned out to be a false alarm, but by then, the lines were backed up and the crowd had to wait outside in the cold for hours.
Jessica Husk said that was just the start of even more serious problems for her. She said the elevator issues caused her to be three hours late to see her judge.
“I was stuck out here in the freezing cold,” said Husk. “Then, I walked ten flights of stairs up to my courtroom.”
Once Husk was able to get into the room, she said the court coordinator signed her paperwork and issued her a new court date. Husk said she was shocked when she checked the court website three days later and saw a warrant had been issued for her arrest.
“Seeing that I had a warrant, my heart just sank,” said Husk.
Husk said she called the court coordinator, who Husk said admitted there was a problem.
“She said it's a mistake,” said Husk. “She told me if we can't get your file here today, you are going to have an active warrant for the weekend until Monday. And she said your best bet is to turn yourself in.”
Local 2 contacted the judge's office several times, but have not yet received a response. Local 2 also reached out to the district attorney's office, but they referred us back to the judge.
After Husk and Local 2 started asking questions, the warrant was removed from Husk's records.
Husk said it is a welcome relief, but she still worries about others who could be sitting in jail because of a similar error.
“A lot of people don't have these resources,” said Husk. “A lot of people don't have the internet and a lot of people don't know what to do.”