Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Esteban "Steve" Pena

Yesterday, I was set for trial in the 180th District Court.

I showed up right around eight o'clock to make sure I had everything ready and set up, even though I had been told by the prosecutor that my case wasn't the first in line to go to trial. As everyone who practices in the CJC knows, just because your case isn't the first one "up" for trial, you can easily find yourself in front of a jury panel at the blink of an eye.

While I was killing time in the courtroom, waiting to find out whether or not my case was going to trial, I thumbed through the court's docket to see who else was set for trial that day. The defense attorney on the first case up was a man named Esteban "Steve" Pena. An attorney I would later realize that I knew in passing, but not by name.

I did recognize his name yesterday, however.

The reason I had known the name was because it had been posted on the Harris County Criminal Lawyer's Association website that Steve Pena had passed away over the weekend.

It was a sobering thought to realize that an attorney set for trial in front of me wouldn't be in court that morning because he had died. It was even more sobering when I realized that Steve Pena was a year younger than I am. When I saw his picture posted in the hallway of the 185th District Court today, I did remember who he was. He was a nice guy, who was always very pleasant to deal with.

As I mentioned earlier, I didn't know Steve other than to nod and say "hello" in the courtroom, but I do wish to extend my condolences to his widow and his family. If any of you knew him and want to say something in the comments section, I hope you will.

And although I didn't know him, I think he definitely provided us all with the reminder that life can often times be unexpectedly short.

You should appreciate it -- love it -- live it well.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is so very sad. I saw him frequently in the courthouse and he was always polite, smiling, and said hello. My thoughts go out to his family who must be devastated by this sudden and unexpected loss.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Pena was always professional and courteous, even in very contentious cases. My condolences to his family.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Newman,
Although I don't know you personally, I am markedly impressed with the compassion and insight you demonstrate through your blog. I am not the only Republican Precinct Chair to think so either--something to remember....keep us informed.
Thanks,
Red

Jen Falk said...

Esteban was always respectful and polite and pleasant to deal with. He truly cared for his clients and fought for their position, yet I never saw him get cross or raise his voice at a prosecutor. If anyone is interested, I have a card in my office and will bring it to the 183rd on Monday for anyone to come by and sign for Esteban's family.

Anonymous said...

Esteban was always a class act. I dealt with him on a difficult case with a particularly unpleasant defendant. As unpleasant as the guy was for me as a prosecutor, I can only imagine how difficult he was for his attorney. However, if there was any ill will between attorney and client I certainly never knew of it. Esteban represented his client with zeal, and ultimately was a credit to his profession. His presence at the CJC will be missed. My condolences to his family and friends.

Anonymous said...

Totally off topic, but you should check out this article about blogging re: lawyers' comments about judges that disparage the bench. I've never seen you do it, but wanted to foward this article to you anyway.

Also, it has something re: facebook when the Judge is your friend. Be very careful!

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/us/13lawyers.html?_r=1&hp

Anonymous said...

I JUST FOUND OUT TODAY THAT ESTEBAN PENA HAS PASSED. IT WAS A SHOCK TO ME HE WAS MY LAWYER AND HELPED MY CASE GREATLY. EVERYONE KNEW HE WAS A GREAT PERSON , LAWYER HE REASSURED ME THAT EVERYTHING WOULD TURN OUT FINE. MY CONDOLENCES GO OUT TO HIS FAMILY AND HIS WIFE THAT I MEET BEFORE. HE IS THE REASON WHY I GOT MY CASE FINISHED. MY FAMILY AND MYSELF THANK YOU GREATLY.

Brenda said...

Steve was a dear friend and colleague during my Law School years. Thank you for your kind words.

Olga Posada said...

He was an Angel in my life, I was blessed in my path with his presence, he won my case, and he was very nice,he was an incredible person, he is AN ANGEL now.

Olga Posada said...

He was an Angel in my life, I was blessed in my path with his presence, he won my case, and he was very nice,he was an incredible person, he is AN ANGEL now.