Montgomery County district attorney announces 'enhanced punishments,' rescheduled court dates under state of emergency

Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon said his office and law enforcement will pursue enhanced punishments for those that take advantage of others during the state of disaster. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon said his office and law enforcement will pursue enhanced punishments for those that take advantage of others during the state of disaster. (Courtesy Fotolia)

Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon said his office and law enforcement will pursue enhanced punishments for those that take advantage of others during the state of disaster. (Courtesy Fotolia)

In response to Gov. Greg Abbott's March 13 proclamation of a state of disaster in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon said in a press release his office will pursue "enhanced punishments" for those taking advantage of others during the disaster.

The press release said the Texas Legislature enacted the laws aimed at those who take advantage of others during the emergency, and Ligon's office will utilize the provision to seek the "next higher category of offense" for those who commit crimes pertaining to the disaster. For example, Ligon's office pursued a case of looting during Hurricane Harvey. The defendant was then charged with burglary of a habitation and was sentenced to five years in jail.


Ligon's office also said Texas law prohibits price gouging, or selling items such as food, fuel or medicine for an excessive price. The press release said citizens to file complaints of potential price gouging with the DA's office.

The press release also said in compliance with the 50-person maximum capacity set by the county, Montgomery County courts will update its schedule to allow defendants on bond and juries to reset their cases for a future date. Each court will update its own schedule.
By Andy Li