Thursday, April 17, 2014


WE NEED TO CHANGE THE LAW TO BAR ELECTED OFFICIALS FROM PRACTICING BEFORE JUDGES OVER WHOM THEY HAVE ANY ELEMENT OF CONTROL

Justice must have the appearance of justice.  I first came upon this issue maybe 20 years ago.  A lawyer was elected as a county commissioner in Dallas.  A demand was made that he not practice law before any judges over whom he may have had an element of control - such as salaries.  In the end the compromise was the county commissioner recused himself on all votes impacting the judiciary.

This simple rule needs to be made into law.  Commissioner Sanchez practices law while also having voting authority over judicial salaries.  This is wrong.  We need a state law which bars elected officials who practice law from voting on any matter related judges.  Of course this would not work at the state level because so many state legislators and senators are lawyers.  But by the numbers the vote of one legislator or senator can not change anything related to judges.

The same problem has developed with the city of Brownsville.  City Commissioner Estela Chavez-Vasquez wants to have voting rights over the municipal judges who may be appointed to the court, or who may be dependent on her vote for a budgetary issue.  The solution is easy.  Unless Commissioner Chavez-Vasquez agrees to not practice law in municipal court, she should automatically recuse herself from voting on any matters related to the appoint of judges or their budgets.

Without a state law this simple solution will never happen.

This is an important area of law the state legislature needs to look at come January in order to restore the appearance of justice to justice.

For the record the same applies to Tony Martinez, but knowing what I know about his practice, I doubt very much anyone in his office has ever seen the inside of the municipal court.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

It has come to my attention the Commissioner Estella Chavez Vasquez INSISTED that she be placed on the hiring committee to replace outgoing Judge Ignacio Torteya as an associate Municipal Judge. She wants to place her good friend Noemi Garcia, the same person that she nominated to be put on the PUB board as the next associate Municipal Judge. Mrs. Vasquez claims to practice criminal law, does she plan on making sure her buddy Noemi gets appointed and them practice before her as a criminal attorney? This is a direct conflict of interest and Estela should not have any say in who is hired for this position. I was told over 15 well qualified people have applied for this same position.

Anonymous said...

If mrs. Chavez Vasquez demanded that she be put on this committee,..is that official oppression?

BobbyWC said...

No just real bad judgment

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

Abuse of Official Capacity?

BobbyWC said...

I'm not sure and really have no time to check he elements of the crime

Bobby WC