2015.37: Never to Forget


Today the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association held a ceremony in honor all of the local criminal-defense lawyers who have died. There are 125 names on the list; I’m sure we’re forgetting some, but we only started keeping track in 2006 (it was Robb Fickman’s idea, during Wendell Odom’s presidency). Most of us will never find more than fleeting fame; the purpose of the ceremony is to remember those who have fought the good fight, and might otherwise be forgotten.

We invited Harris County’s thirty-seven criminal court judges to the ceremony. Three attended:

  • The Honorable Brad Hart, Judge of the 230th District Court;
  • The Honorable Ryan Patrick, Judge of the 177th District Court; and
  • The Honorable Kristin Guiney, Judge of the 179th District Court.

The Honorable Marc Brown, Justice of the Fourteenth Court of Appeals, also attend us to show respect for our fallen comrades.

The following did not deign to attend:

  • Paula Goodhart;
  • Bill Harmon;
  • Natalie C. Fleming;
  • John Clinton;
  • Margaret Harris;
  • Larry Standley;
  • Pam Derbyshire;
  • Jay Karahan;
  • Analia Wilkerson;
  • Dan Spjut;
  • Diane Bull;
  • Robin Brown;
  • Don Smyth;
  • Mike Fields;
  • Jean Hughes;
  • Ruben Guerrero;
  • Michael McSpadden;
  • Stacey W. Bond;
  • Judge Marc Carter;
  • David Mendoza;
  • Mary Lou Keel;
  • Katherine Cabaniss;
  • Catherine Evans;
  • Denise Bradley;
  • Jeannine Barr;
  • Jim Wallace;
  • Vanessa Velasquez;
  • Renee Magee;
  • Jan Krocker;
  • Brock Thomas;
  • Susan Brown;
  • Maria T. Jackson;
  • Denise Collin; and
  • Mark Kent Ellis.

I’m sure that every one of them has a Very Important Reason for failing to post, even though they were invited a month ago and reminded at least twice since then. I doubt that any of them (except maybe Billy Harmon) would admit that the Very Important Reason is that they can’t be bothered to feign respect for our fallen brethren, and by extension to us. It is not, after all, election season, so there’s no point in pretending to respect the role of the defense or those who fulfill it.

If we had the ceremony in the summer or fall of an even year, the judicial turnout would be much higher. That’s okay: “higher” is not “better.” This way we find out who are friends really are.

Today’s ceremony was about remembrance, and I promise that in the summer and fall of even years to come, when those listed above are seeking campaign contributions, endorsements, votes, and support, the defense bar will remember.


6 responses to “2015.37: Never to Forget”

  1. Mark- It is one thing for the judiciary to treat those of us who are living with disrespect. We are, unfortunately, accustomed to that. It is quite another thing for the judiciary to disrespect our dearly departed brothers and sisters. Today the judiciary did just that. The judiciary disrespected our dearly departed brothers and sisters. Today the judiciary disrespected some of the finest men and women I havd ever known.

    I know that Judge McSpadden, Judge Carter, & Judge Ellis have attended past ceremonies and for that I am grateful.

    However, The vast majority of judges never come to our memorial ceremonies. Today NOT ONE county court judge posted. Who are they to disrespect our brothers and sisters in this manner?

    People, including judges, define themselves by their words and deeds. Today, the vast majority of the judiciary defined themselves very poorly. Shame on them.

    The disrespect shown our brothers and sisters is
    Unforgivable.

    Robb Fickman

    • No, but I did check to see which judges had sent their regrets in the month after they were invited because they couldn’t change their travel plans or arrange their trial schedules to take half an hour on a Thursday to ride a private elevator down 13 floors to attend the ceremony.

  2. I am not surprised. The judges rarely attend this ceremony. They are too busy forcing guilty pleas and sentencing people to prison to give up 20 whole minutes to come honor deceased defense lawyers. Besides, the dead can’t give campaign contributions to keep them on the bench.

    In general, defense lawyers are nothing more than a nuisance to their BFFs in the DA’s office – you crowd their dockets, insist on jury trials, demand they follow the law… Troublemakers!

  3. Remembering our fellow departed criminal defense lawyers is an event that the judiciary mustn’t
    miss. We all have to show respect for these honorable individuals for the services and the contribution they have made to the community.

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