Babies and Bathwater


The Harris County Republican primary, with its fight among Jim Leitner, Kelly Siegler, Doug Perry, and Pat Lykos is very interesting. Conventional wisdom is that Pat Lykos, who may very well be the absolute worst candidate for the position (sharing Doug Perry’s lack of trial experience but not his niceness nor honesty), has the nomination sewn up. Kelly Siegler’s minions aren’t giving up, though; they’re going door-to-door every weekend talking to the people, getting a favorable response from voters, many of whom don’t know that anyone but Kelly is running.

The Republican candidate will face ex-HPD chief C.O. Bradford for the job of D.A. Bradford hasn’t come out to play with the other candidates yet — he hasn’t had any reason to — but I’m hoping to get to know him better when there’s one Republican left in the race.

We all know, though, that there’s little chance the identity of the Republican candidate will make a difference in the general election in January. When all of the votes are counted, either the Republicans will have swept the countywide seats or the Democrats will have.

With that in mind, here’s a table of the criminal district court (felony trial court) benches that are in issue this year. Looking down either column, there are at least a couple of people who should be judges and at least a couple who have no business being judges.

District Court Democratic Candidates Republican Candidates
174th Ruben Guerrero or Lloyd Oliver John Jocher or Terrance Windham or Bill Moore or Kevin Keating (no incumbent)
176th Shawna L. Reagin Michele Sattarelli Oncken or Brian Rains (incumbent)
177th Kevin Fine Devon Anderson (incumbent)
178th David Mendoza, Jr. Roger Bridgewater (incumbent)
179th Randy Roll Mike Wilkinson (incumbent)
337th Herb Ritchie Don Stricklin (incumbent)
338th Hazel Jones Brock Thomas (incumbent)
339th Maria T. Jackson Caprice Cosper (incumbent)
351st Mekisha Murray or Silvia V. Pubchara Mark Kent Ellis (incumbent)

So should we pull for a Democratic sweep? I think so. I’m inclined to believe that replacing the names in the righthand column with the names in the lefthand column would improve the overall quality of justice in these nine courts.

I’m also of the opinion that public servants should be reminded periodically for whom they work. That hasn’t happened much in Harris County in the last 14 years — Republican candidates have been pretty well assured of election once they bought the support of Steven Hotze.

Judges shouldn’t be running in partisan elections. Whether a judge is a Democrat or a Republican should not matter; the position should be above such petty considerations.

If these eight incumbents lose their jobs in January, then their successors, as well as the other fourteen criminal district court judges and the fifteen criminal county court at law (i.e. misdemeanor trial court) judges will have received an indelible reminder that they do, and always will, answer to the voters rather than to the party.

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0 responses to “Babies and Bathwater”

  1. Well, I certainly gotta give you credit for having balls of steel for advocating for a democratic sweep amongst the judges you practice in front of.

    Never did quite get around to reading “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, did you?

  2. You assume that I’m brave, rather than too dumb to be scared. The two conditions are generally indistinguishable.

  3. Yep, sometimes the folks who appear the bravest are the ones too dumb to know they’re in danger.

    You and AHCL are pretty funny.

  4. I agree that whether a Judge is a Democrat or Republican should not matter which is why I will hope there is not a clean sweep. It is my naive hope that the right man or woman for the job will end up on each bench and I will vote accordingly.

  5. I agree with VirgoGirl. I think it is a crying shame that party politics play a role in the criminal justice system.
    I can remember when Chuck was running for DA in 2000 and people would demand to know what his stance was on abortion. I remember at the time thinking that the abortion issue had nothing to do with Chuck’s job description, but it was certainly important to the voters.
    I disagree with Mark that I think there are a lot of good judges on that list (not all, but alot) that shouldn’t be swept out. By that same token, there may be a couple that don’t deserve to stay by virtue of their party affiliation.

  6. Thanks for the comments.

    I don’t want a sweep either, but since we’re going to have one, please let it be a Democratic sweep.

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