Harris County, Texas – Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo launched a website where residents can report businesses violating recent state and county orders. But it’s unclear how rules would be enforced and violations dealt with.
KPRC contacted the county judge and her representatives to learn more about how rules would be enforced and violations handled, something that’s yet to be announced, but did not hear back as of Sunday night.
KPRC legal analyst Brian Wice shared his thoughts on the new website.
“Due process requires that you literally catch someone in the act and unless some is there with a webcam or their cellphone and they can show that in fact a violation has occurred I can assure you that there is no way any purported violation particularly one that’s not reported contemporaneously with contemporaneous proof is ever going to make it past the ‘why are we doing this’ stage,” Wice said.
Wice worries the site might become a tool to try and damage a business’s reputation.
“We can’t look beyond the fact that some people might utilize this to settle old scores or people who might find themselves informing on a competitor,” Wice said.
Possible violations that can be reported include businesses that exceed 25 percent occupancy, non-approved recreational locations open and operating, and non-approved establishments accepting customers, to name a few.
The website has been down for several hours and as of 10:45 p.m. Sunday night it is still not back up.