HOUSTON, Texas — When Harvey hit, it took Houston’s entire justice system offline.
Months later, the county still hasn’t recovered. The courthouse and a jury assembly center, which were both built right next to the flood-prone Buffalo Bayou, are still completely unusable. They may remain so for months.
This means that countless defendants — some in jail, some not — are left waiting for trials that have been suspended indefinitely.
“Your life is put on hold when you are charged with a crime,” said attorney Murray Newman. He has several clients who have been waiting to appear in court, but without a functioning court system, there is little he can do to help them. Until the system is fully operational, he says, “justice isn’t being done.”
VICE News met with Houston officials — and a man who is still waiting for his day in court — to find out how the county is coping.
This segment originally aired November 22, 2017, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.