Bad Judicial Behavior
Dear Harris County judges:
The following is a non-exhaustive list of conduct, engaged in by you or your staffs, that is likely to get you grieved:
Telling defendants, “If you don’t hire a lawyer, you’re going to come back every day and stay until 11:30 until you hire a lawyer.”
Telling defendants, “Go hire a lawyer from the hallway.”
Telling defendants, “You made bond. You can’t have an appointed lawyer.”
Removing appointed counsel from cases when defendants make bond before substitute counsel is hired and without a hearing.
Telling defendants, “Hire a lawyer or go to jail.”
Jailing people for not hiring lawyers.
The days of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers trusting the Commission for Judicial Conduct to do its job are past. If a grievance is filed, it will be news.
Most of you would never do any of these things. That’s great. No need to protest. I hope your staffs realize that you would never do these things.
I know that some of this conduct has been going on for longer than I’ve been a lawyer. If you have a quibble or doubt about whether any of it is unethical, I’d be happy to have a friendly discussion with you about it; maybe you can convince me that it is not only traditional, but also legitimate. I raise these issues because I don’t want HCCLA to have to grieve any more judges. I’d rather the unethical behavior just stopped.
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