Final Docket

Literally hundreds of attorneys and lawyers showed up at the Harris County Civil Courts Building today to say farewell to the traditions of the building. As Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports, the courts housed there are moving into the new civil justice center and the historic courthouse will retire as home to the county's civil cases.

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It was the final Friday Docket Call at the Harris County Civil Courthouse. For more than 30 years, attorneys would assemble on Friday mornings and state to a judge whether their case was ready to be placed on the trial docket for the following week. The group docket was done away with in 1985, but attorneys and judges from several famous cases were brought back into the courtroom today to recreate the scene of the Friday docket call. Many of the attorneys who tried those cases stood up before the judge to reminisce about the old days.

"This case was, at the time, the longest civil case ever tried in this county. It lasted about six months, at the end of which the plaintiffs were successful in proving that the roof of the Astrodome leaked. (Laughter) As anybody in the county who had ever been to a game knew in the first place."

Former Harris County District Judge and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Ruby Sondock told the assembly that each time a motion is argued or a closing argument is presented to a jury, the history of this courthouse becomes richer.

"Once upon a time I was a judge; and when I was, I issued opinions. Today I'm going to issue another one. My opinion is: This old grand courthouse will not die or fade away. She's just announcing her adjournment and her continuance. Long may she stay."

The Civil Courts Building will be vacated in March. The Harris County Commissioner's Court has pledged funds to restore the building to it's 1910 origins. Laurie Johnson Houston Public Radio News.

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