If you find yourself downtown between 9:30 and noon on a weekday morning, drop by Judge Larry Standley’s court, Harris County Criminal Court at Law Number 6, on the 9th floor of the Harris County Criminal Justice Center at 1201 Franklin Street (at the corner of San Jacinto).
Judge Standley genuinely cares about the defendants appearing before him, and the plea colloquy when he accepts a guilty plea from a 17-, 18-, or 19-year-old defendant is the best free show in town.
He’ll have the defendant’s parent or guardian stand with the kid at the bench. Then he’ll ask the kid: “How many friends do you have?” He’ll press the kid to name a number. Five, ten, twenty-one, whatever.
Then he’ll tell the kid to turn around and look at the courtroom. “How many of those friends are here for you today?” None (of course). “That’s right. You’ve got one true friend, and she’s standing right up here next to you.”