Thursday, March 13, 2014


TEXAS 2015 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

Over the next few weeks I will discuss issues which should be part of the 2015 Texas Legislative Session. Believe it or not they are already working on it.

INDUSTRIAL HEMP

The Texas Legislature needs to bring Texas in line with the federal 2013 Farm Bill which will then allow for the growing of industrial hemp.  With Texas A& M Kingsville just down the way, the LRGV has in place what it needs to be a leader in the development of industrial hemp.

MARRIAGE

I accept until the US Supreme Court acts Texas will never accept gay marriage so that is off the table.  But the unregulated area of fees charged for marriages has to be reformed.  Texas needs to set specific fees.  They also need to clarify the issue of the waiver for a 72 hour wedding.  Cameron county may be the only county in Texas charging a fee.  It blows my mind no attorney has sued Cameron county to stop this outright theft of money from some of the poorest of the poor.  But this is Cameron county where stealing from the people is a right of elected officials.

I have verified that in Harris county district court judges charge an extra  fee for the 72 hour waiver.  No major county in Texas has a fee  for a 72 hour waiver.  Cameron county is the only county charging the fee.  This must stop.

The state must also change who can marry people.  Any citizen should be allowed to apply for a license to perform marriages.  This will bring competition to the industry.  The state can set a maximum fee, but licensed marriage officials should be allowed to charge a lower fee.  It makes no sense that only certain people can perform marriages.  There needs to be a licensing process and then anyone with a license to marry people should be allowed to marry people

JUDICIAL REFORM

I have discussed this before.  I believe we need to abolish the election of judges.  The money needed to become elected taints the process.  We begin by requiring all JP's being lawyers.  The law has become too complex for non-lawyers to be JP's.

We need a system wherein lawyers are qualified to be judges based on a non partisan basis.  To be a county or district court judge you should have to obtain 15 additional credit hours in judicial studies from an accredited law school.  To be a court of appeals judge you should need an additional 30 credits hours.  To be a Supreme Court Justice or Court of Criminal Appeals justice you should need an additional 45 credits hours in judicial studies from an accredited law school. 

Obviously existing judges should be given a reasonable time frame to meet the requirements or be removed from the bench.  Judges based on meeting these credentials should be put on a list of qualified judges.  The list should not contain any political party affiliation.  A committee appointed by the governor and legislature should appoint all future judges.  Trial court judges should be appointed for 6 year terms with renewal every 6 years.  Appellate court judges should be appointed for 10 year terms with 10 year renewals by the same committee.

The committee should be allowed to consider the qualified candidates credentials, trial experience, appellate experience, and grades.  Upon completion of each judicial studies program the judicial candidate should have to receive a minimum score on a statewide test.

In exchange for this, I would raise the wage of county court judges to $200,000, district court judges to $250,000, appellate court judges to $275,000, and Texas Supreme Court and Court of the Criminal Appeals court judges to $300,000.  The Chief Judges for each court should get an additional $25,000.  The raises would only apply to judges who have met the new qualifications and been appointed by the judicial committee.

This system will only have the cream of the crop applying the jobs.  It will encourage retention.  The judges will be able to afford to send their children to college without struggling. With each judge knowing they could be denial renewal of their judicial appointment because of poor performance or judicial complaints the quality of justice will improve greatly.

Cameron county has at least 2 too many district courts, one too many county courts, and the new JP court 2-3 was created for no reason other than to give Mary Ester Garcia a job.  It is a complete and total waste of taxpayers money. - Shame on Commissioners Court.  In fact commissioners court should abolish the court immediately.  This new court is an outright theft of limited resources from the taxpayer for no better reason than politics. 

With an improved quality of judges, dockets will move faster, and there will be less of a need for appellate judges.  All of this will save the state money.  Quality trial judges means fewer appeals which means a need for fewer appellate judges.  This in time will reduce the cost of running the appellate courts.

Finally as part of this reform the Commission on Judicial Conduct needs to be completely abolished with a new Commission rebuilt from a new foundation up.  Former Judge Abel Limas got a slap on the hand from the Commission on Judicial Conduct for the conduct which sent him to federal prison.  We need stiffer sanctions against judges to include automatic removal for such things as ex parte communications.  When a judge signs an order without jurisdiction the commission must be compelled to issue a public reprimand which later bars the judge's reappointment by the judicial commission.  A second such sanction should mean automatic removal.  The only exception from this rule would be an appellate court finding that the judge acted based on deception by one of the attorneys.

Texas can create the best judiciary in the country if it so wishes - it just takes the will of a good legislature lead by a competent governor.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

"I have verified that in Harris county district court judges charge an extra fee for the 72 hour waiver. No major county in Texas has a fee for a 72 hour waiver. Cameron county is the only county charging the fee."

I don't have the reading comprehension skills to not be confused by this paragraph.

BobbyWC said...

Now instead of playing games, how about going sentence by sentence and telling my readers how they are confusing. You cannot which is why you do not put your name. Each sentence is very clear - no confusion - just a con artist posting a comment

Bobby WC

L. Vela said...

With all due respect Mr. Bobby, I too was confused by that paragraph. "Harris County District court judges charge an extra fee for the 72 hour waiver. No major county in Texas
has a fee for a 72 hour waiver. (?) Cameron County is thee only county charging the fee. " is not Harris County a major county? Based on what was written, would it not be correct to
say that both Cameron and Harris counties charge
fees. Do you see our confusion? I am not a con artist or a troll, but I am confused by this paragraph as well. I only seek clarification of the statement.

BobbyWC said...

You are missing the key language -

"Harris County District court judges" Cameron county not the district court judges charge the fee.

That is the deal - even the San Antonio Express News did an entire editorial on it - they did the same research I did - the county cannot charge a fee for a 72 hour waiver.

But what I am saying in Harris county and I suspect elsewhere the judges charge one fee for a regular wedding and a higher fee if the couple wants a 72 hour waiver.

This is the controversy - can judges charge for the waiver. This is why I am calling on the legislature to spell out what fees can be charged and how much.

But you seem to not know - and to be honest - maybe few people know the judges are not the county or district clerk -

Judges can charge to marry people - but the state has never regulated it in terms of how much and for what. Right now judges charge different fees for a weekday wedding at the court house - a different fee for an after hours wedding at a hall or someone's home and another fee for a weekend wedding at someone's home or hall. It is an unregulated free for all.

So if judges can charge all of these different fees, why can they then not charge an extra fee for a wedding on a 72 hour waiver. there is no law which says how much a judge can charge.

But for sure the Cameron County District Clerk charging a fee is illegal and will eventually get the county sued.

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

Judges appointed by the governor would be the death of us. Can you imagine The Rick Perry or Abbot picks? Campaign contribution reform is the answer. Very strict limits with extremely painful consequences for those breaking the limits would be helpful. Getting rid of PACs is also needed

Anonymous said...

On a separate note, how did Luis Saenz become Montoyas bed buddy when Montoya printed lies about him and defamed him when he ran against Masso? Has Saenz buddies up to Gomez? Gomez is a tainted LE officer and it would surprise me if this was the case. It seems to be the only thing that makes sense. How quickly they forget.

BobbyWC said...

First note how I said the governor and legislature appoint an independent committee - I did not say the governor. The Legislature during reform can make sure the committee is bi-partisan. Also the additional requirements to become a judge and the screening will keep the incompetents away

On Montoya they are all paying for silence. I have been told one has already been is about about to go to the feds. They are very aware of the problem. They are just waiting for a victim to verify why they pay.

Bobby WC