Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sealed With A WHAT?

I remember as a kid sending out Valentine Day cards to classmates and receiving them each February. It was always a special thrill when the envelopes also came signed SWAK (Sealed With A Kiss).

I imagine the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rarely receives correspondence with that romantic acronym. But I was shocked to find out it does receive correspondence sealed, or in this case smeared, with human EXCREMENT. This is not the only time it has happened to the highest criminal court in Texas. I'd hate to be the court clerk in charge of opening that mail.

The appeals court sought guidance from the federal court system on how to deal with this type of situation. It seems that the federal courts ALREADY have a rule in place to deal this these type of submissions.

On December 17, 2007, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals entered Miscellaneous Order 07-101.

In four short sections, it sets out a new rule and consequence:
1. Don't send us stuff that constitutes a health hazard.
2. The Clerk of the Court can throw stuff that is a health hazard away without permission from the court. Oh and if you don't know what a health hazard is, here are a few examples: corrosive or dangerous chemicals, blood, food, feces, urine, or other bodily fluids.
3. The Clerk of the Court will maintain a written log of
name, address, and identification numbers of the person who sent the offending material, and a brief description of the item disposed of. I can't wait to see the Freedom of Information Act requests to see THAT list.
4. The Clerk of the Court then gets to send a letter to the sender AND the supervisor of the jail or prison s/he is in, if applicable, telling the sender that any more "treats" like that will get him/her sanctioned by the court. No word on whether the Clerk may return the same generosity and consideration in its letter to the sender.

Believe it or not, this is why I stay on the civil side of the law.

1 comment:

Houston to Boston Adventurer said...

Yuck! Good thing we don't get that type of mail here at the Cronk - or my 9/hr would not be enough!