Guest Post: Robb Fickman on Judicial Disrespect

 Posted on September 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

This post was contributed by Robb Fickman . Robb is a criminal-defense lawyer and a leader of the Houston criminal bar. He is a past president of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association.

No disclaimer applies. I agree with Robb. <hr />Sometimes it takes me a couple of days to get steamed about something.

Last Thursday we honored all of our fallen colleagues. The event was well-publicized and all the County and District Criminal Court judges were invited.

To my knowledge, out of 37 judges only Judges McSpadden and Ellis were in attendance. (There may have been another judge that I didn't see.)

Bottom line: we invited the judiciary to attend our memorial ceremony and they snubbed not only us but also our fallen colleagues.

After three decades I am used to certain state judges and certain court staff treating me rudely. I can live with that. What I cannot abide, what none of us should abide, is the utter shameful disrespect that the judiciary showed our fallen colleagues.

Some of our colleagues have only recently passed. They practiced law in front of these very judges for many years. Yet these same judges, almost to a man, elected not to attend our memorial ceremony.

President Earl Musick set the time at 11am. This did not conflict with docket call. The ceremony, which was on the 7th floor, was easily accessible to the judges via their private elevators. What's more, the ceremony took less than 30 minutes.

No matter what they were doing, the Judges could have taken less than 30 minutes to properly honor our colleagues. The Judges elected not to do that. Their uniform disrespect of the defense bar is not new. Their uniform disrespect of the memories of our colleagues is new and it is disgraceful.

People who lack the common decency to honor the memory of good men and women who have worked with them for years, lack the moral integrity to sit in judgement of anyone.

I thank Judge McSpadden and Judge Ellis for taking the time to attend and to do the right thing.

The next time any other judge invites me to take my time to attend their fundraiser I will remember the disrespect they showed our fallen colleagues And I will Just Say No.

Today we learned that our friend Bennie House died last night. He was a past President of HCCLA and a good man. It will be our sad duty and our honor to add Bennie's name to the memorial plaque. Barring some unlikely moral awakening, I suppose the judiciary will show Bennie's memory the same disrespect they displayed last week for our other fallen colleagues.

The judiciary may choose to disrespect and forget our fallen colleagues. That defines who they are. We, on the other hand, will never forget those who spent their life in the defense of liberty. By remembering them we honor them, and we define who we are and who we hope to never become.

Robb Fickman

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