Dear Friends of the Foundation:
In a climate where the marginalized are feeling hopeless, The Honey Brown Hope Foundation remains focused on planting seeds of hope, awareness and justice.
During this global pandemic, COVID-19, we want to make you aware of another crisis that friends of the Foundation are facing in addition to the virus.
STAND WITH ATTORNEYS WHO STOOD UP FOR VULNERABLE CHILDREN IN FORT BEND ISD (FBISD)
Attacks on people who dare to stand up to power are nothing new in this country. After suing Fort Bend ISD (FBISD) for establishing an illegal truancy court without a trial, pro bono attorneys Deron R. Harrington, Susan H. Soto, and Carole Stewart Anhalt were ordered to pay Fort Bend ISD’s attorneys’ fees to the very entity whom they sued for setting up the illegal Fort Bend truancy court.
Showing no compassion during this virus devastation, Fort Bend ISD has already started collecting their unfair $250,000 judgement. Recently, they cleared out the accounts of one of these pro-bono lawyers who exposed the District's illegal truancy court that unfairly targeted black and brown students.
This miscarriage of justice sends a message to our community: we must stand together to defeat this unjust system. This is an urgent request for you to join the Honey Brown Hope Foundation in supporting these attorneys.
HOW TO HELP
If you are concerned about the injustice perpetrated against these attorneys who stood for vulnerable black, brown, economically disadvantaged and special needs students, please join us in a fundraiser to help these attorneys pay off the unjust $250,000 receivership judgment against them.
These compassionate attorneys need our help. This receivership judgment gives the creditor, Fort Bend ISD, the power to seize and liquidate or reduce any of these attorneys’ non-exempt assets to cash, and use it to satisfy the judgment.
To Fort Bend Commissioners’ credit, they used in-house attorneys and did not pursue the $250,000 judgment for attorneys’ fees against opposing attorneys.
While we don’t have control over this biased court judgment, we can help these attorneys pay the $250,000 credit collection judgment. Would you please make a donation to the Honey Brown Hope Foundation earmarked for expenses of this important litigation and unjust outcome?
TWO WAYS TO DONATE
Honey Brown Hope Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations will go toward the expenses of this important litigation and unjust outcome.
OTHER WAYS TO HELP | USE YOUR VOICE
It’s unjust for FBISD to recoup attorneys’ fees when they were responsible for the illegal truancy court and benefitted from parents paying fines. It’s unjust for parents not to be able to recoup attorney and court fees from FBISD and its illegal truancy court.
We are encouraging Fort Bend ISD residents to use their voices to question and hold FBISD accountable. Below is content you can question and call out FBISD on social media; through letters and at Board Meetings.
- Did Fort Bend ISD pay attorneys’ fees through a TASB Risk Management Fund claim? If so, would it be considered insurance fraud to have opposing attorneys pay for Fort Bend ISD’s attorneys’ fees?
- Fort Bend ISD needs to explain to Fort Bend taxpaying residents why they demonstrated poor fiduciary judgment in using taxpayers’ dollars to hire high-power attorneys instead of using in-house attorneys to keep attorneys’ fees within reason.
- Considering that FBISD was the proximate cause for this suit, they should not have received a $250,000 judgment to recoup their attorney fees.
Sharing on Social | #FBISDIllegalTruancyCourtShutDown
- Share this email: https://us3.campaign-archive.com/?e=&u=dc8f206e4df3e67a5e88cab79&id=1b49f8e90e.
- Share the Go Fund Me: https://www.gofundme.com/f/we-stand-with-the-lawyers-who-stood-up-for-us
- Be sure to tag FBISD when sharing on social media using their social media information below and the hashtag: #FBISDIllegalTruancyCourtShutDown
WOULD YOU LIKE MORE INFORMATION BEFORE DONATING AND SUPPORTING?
- No? Please see donation options above.
- Yes? Please see background information and related media below.
- Houston Style Magazine | COVID-19 a Double Disaster for Attorneys Hit with a $250,000 Judgment for Challenging Fort Bend ISD’s Illegal Truancy Court | Click here to view
- Texas Observer | Ghosts of Truancy Laws Past | Click here to view
- Houston Chronicle
- Click here to view "Attorneys who fought Fort Bend truancy court must pay hefty legal bill, judge rules"
- Click here to view "Witch hunt? Truancy case lawyers allege Fort Bend ISD’s demand for legal fees politically motivated"
- Click here to view "Lawyer loses suit over FBISD truancy process"
In a recent report, data revealed that a disproportionate number of Fort Bend ISD’s students referred to truancy court were African-American, economically disadvantaged, and Latino.
In an effort to protect and defend the constitutional rights of Fort Bend ISD’s students and parents, these attorneys filed a lawsuit in 2015 claiming that the Fort Bend County truancy court was not lawfully created under the Texas Constitution, and that Fort Bend County Commissioners had no judiciary authority to create a Criminal Court to hear “Failure to Attend School” complaints.
The suit was filed on behalf of three students against the Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees, the Fort Bend County Juvenile Board, Fort Bend County truancy judges, and other Fort Bend County and district employees.
Since filing the lawsuit and bringing the unconstitutional Fort Bend truancy court to light, the court was shut down. However, exposing this illegal truancy court and filing a lawsuit to protect students’ civil rights came with what the community is calling a retaliatory judgment against the four opposing attorneys, who stood up for children in the Fort Bend Independent School District.
Fort Bend ISD and Fort Bend Commissioner’s Court created the illegal court and blamed the opposing attorneys for exposing them. If it were not for Fort Bend ISD and Fort Bend Commissioners Court setting up this illegal truancy court, these attorneys would not have filed suit against them to defend vulnerable schoolchildren who are still being set up for the school-to-prison pipeline. According to the U.S.
Department of Education, black students are six times more likely to receive out-of-school suspensions than white students and four times as likely to be placed on in-school suspensions.
Although retired Judge Brady Elliott was a named defendant in this case, he didn’t recuse himself. Instead, he improperly presided over it, dismissed it in 2017 and entered a judgment ordering opposing lawyers to pay $250,000 to cover Fort Bend ISD’s attorneys’ fees.
Current Status: Believing justice would prevail, these three lawyers pursued the civil action unsuccessfully to a Texas appeals court in 2017 and then to the Texas Supreme Court, where, unfortunately the ruling was allowed to stand.
Although the attorneys didn’t win this case, they can be classified as Truancy Reformers who derailed Fort Bend ISD’s school-to-prison pipeline.