Babies and Bathwater

 Posted on February 22, 2008 in Uncategorized

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 CourtDemocratic CandidatesRepublican Candidates174thRuben Guerrero or Lloyd OliverJohn Jocher or Terrance Windham or Bill Moore or Kevin Keating (no incumbent)176thShawna L. ReaginMichele Sattarelli Oncken or Brian Rains (incumbent)177thKevin FineDevon Anderson (incumbent)178thDavid Mendoza, Jr.Roger Bridgewater (incumbent)179thRandy RollMike Wilkinson (incumbent)337thHerb RitchieDon Stricklin (incumbent)338thHazel JonesBrock Thomas (incumbent)339thMaria T. JacksonCaprice Cosper (incumbent)351stMekisha Murray or Silvia V. PubcharaMark 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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