Sharon Keller’s Been a Bad, Bad Girl

The Dallas Morning News reports that Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Sharon Keller, who recently whined about not getting Chip Babcock appointed to represent her in the Commission for Judicial Conduct’s suit against her, “failed to abide by legal requirements that she disclose nearly $2 million in real estate holdings” in a sworn statement to the Texas Ethics Commission last April.

The sworn statement Keller was required to file with the Texas Ethics Commission last April reflected income of more than $275,000, including her annual state salary of $152,500. It also showed that she owned at least 100 shares of airline stock, a home in Austin and one commercial property in Dallas. County tax records valued the properties at about $1 million.

Keller’s statement did not list her ownership interest in seven other residential and commercial properties in Dallas and Tarrant counties. Those properties are valued collectively by county appraisal districts at about $1.9 million.

When Texas politicians fall, they fall hard. Someone should have told her that falsifying government documents could be a felony.

Sharon Keller’s lawyer, Chip Babcock, had predicted that his anticipated six-figure bill would be ruinous to Judge Keller based “on the resources Keller listed on her latest personal financial report to the state”. He “was not aware of the extent of her holdings until told about them by The News.”

His new position, in light of the assets she was hiding not only from the Texas Ethics Commission but also from him?

Babcock then acknowledged that Keller might be able to sell enough property to pay her legal bills. But he said the amount of Keller’s assets should not alter their legal position that she should be allowed to benefit from reduced attorney’s fees or be provided his legal services at state expense.

“The argument ought to be the same whether you came to the bench after having amassed substantial assets or you inherited it, or you don’t have any assets,” he said.

Yep. Whether you’re a millionaire trust-fund baby or not, if you get elected judge, you’re entitled.

0 responses to “Sharon Keller’s Been a Bad, Bad Girl”

  1. Mr. Bennett, Texas has become a fear-dependent State for elected officials. And many elected officials have capitalized on it; Sharon Keller being an excellent example. Many of the people with whom I grew up here simply think in two dimensions…and the results of that are what they’re going to reap. But, unfortunately, that nearsightedness will be distributed to all of us unless someone literally fights against it.

    There are plenty of examples of the warnings of totalitarian thinking, just off the top of my head are:

    When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it–always.

    The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
    Mahatma Gandhi

    Democracy becomes a government of bullies tempered by editors.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

    I could tell you the first time I contested a traffic ticket at 20 years old, and I realized how naive I was. I wasn’t guilty. But, there was the city attorney, the attesting officer, and the presiding justice of the peace against me. I was so naive that I presumed that since I’d sworn an oath to tell the truth, which I did, that that would be enough. I still half-chuckle to myself now when I think about my innocence. Then, why, when found guilty of going 35 mph in a 30 mph zone, wasn’t I also charged with perjury? I swore an oath to tell the truth. Which I did. The officer was simply mistaken. No biggie. It can happen to anyone. But, really, I wasn’t speeding. I was telling the truth. And I realized the entire force of the authorities that I’d previously trusted were incredibly obtuse and bordering on insane. I realized afterward, they were most afraid of being tricked. Nevertheless, after that, I never trusted a police officer, prosecutor, or justice of the peace again. I knew something they didn’t know: I told the truth, I was honest, and I wasn’t afraid to tell them so. It’s a very trite example, but it literally made me grow up. You need proof. And unless you’ve got a videotape recorder running continuously or other time-recorded device to ride shotgun, then you’re out of luck.

    Now, what would I do if the police were actually acting unlawfully; planting discrediting evidence, colluding, or just blindly hating the general public? God help you. It feels like living in an US-and-THEM society, where those attached to the Court are the US and the rest of the public is the THEM. The police become paid rats, jackals and stool-pigeons; and the general public become the prey. It is very different than the police fighting against burglars, genuine rapists, and the odd murderer. The police must realize they’ve simply become a street-level wing of some type of revenue service. Anything else should be treated in an administrative way. Criminal courts are for criminals: felons. The Bad Guys. When did it become that everyone was a potential criminal? Sharon Keller knows…

  2. Richard: I would rather have the elected officials live in fear, than we mere civilians. Sharon Keller is now experiencing a small, small amount of fear: far less than any defendant has ever experienced it, but it is so far out of her world-view that she cannot understand WHY she should be held PERSONALLY responsible for her judicial actions, even if they WERE highly unethical and led to a premature execution.

    I believe that elected, and appointed, and hired, public officials ALL need to be held to the highest standards, daily. This means holding them accountable when they err. They are our servants, not our masters, regardless of their opinions on the matter. Misconduct on their parts is far, far more grave than misconduct on the part of civilians — and they should start paying the price when they fall below the standards the rest of us mere mortals have to meet.

    I’m amazed that the Commission on Judicial Conduct is holding Ms. Keller’s feet to the fire. I believe that, whether she remains on the bench or not, she will in the long run be a changed judge — for the better. She is having the sort of experience more judges need — and deserve.

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