2015.37: Never to Forget

 Posted on February 05, 2015 in Uncategorized

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:

  1. The Honorable Brad Hart, Judge of the 230th District Court;

  2. The Honorable Ryan Patrick, Judge of the 177th District Court; and

  3. 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:

  1. Paula Goodhart;

  2. Bill Harmon;

  3. Natalie C. Fleming;

  4. John Clinton;

  5. Margaret Harris;

  6. Larry Standley;

  7. Pam Derbyshire;

  8. Jay Karahan;

  9. Analia Wilkerson;

  10. Dan Spjut;

  11. Diane Bull;

  12. Robin Brown;

  13. Don Smyth;

  14. Mike Fields;

  15. Jean Hughes;

  16. Ruben Guerrero;

  17. Michael McSpadden;

  18. Stacey W. Bond;

  19. Judge Marc Carter;

  20. David Mendoza;

  21. Mary Lou Keel;

  22. Katherine Cabaniss;

  23. Catherine Evans;

  24. Denise Bradley;

  25. Jeannine Barr;

  26. Jim Wallace;

  27. Vanessa Velasquez;

  28. Renee Magee;

  29. Jan Krocker;

  30. Brock Thomas;

  31. Susan Brown;

  32. Maria T. Jackson;

  33. Denise Collin; and

  34. 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.

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