Thursday, December 17, 2009

Petition Signings

Channel 13's Miya Shay is reporting tonight from the trial of Judge Don Jackson that controversy has arisen over the signing of a political petition.


The gist of the story is this -- Don Jackson was the judge of County Court at Law # 3 of Harris County, Texas. In the race, there is a Republican challenger named Cary Hart (who would be a freaking excellent judge, by the way, but there will be more on that later). As part of her preliminary steps towards running for judge, she asked friends and other supporters to sign a petition that allowed her to run without paying a massive filing fee.


It's THE common practice for all candidates who run for office. It is common for there to be big political party events (both Republican and Democrat) where party faithful can sign petitions for all the candidates. I signed Cary's petition gladly. So did plenty of other defense attorneys who know and support Cary. So did plenty of prosecutors who know and support Cary.


One of those prosecutors who signed the petition was Lance Long, who is the lead prosecutor in Jackson's trial. It is also worth noting that Lance signed it far in advance of ever being assigned to handle the case against Judge Jackson.


Jackson's defense counsel, Dan Cogdell, has taken issue with that fact and has brought it before Judge Ellis. I'm not going to comment on the merits of Dan's Motion, because I just typically don't comment on jury trials that are currently underway.

But I do think that it is worth pointing out that probably the majority of the criminal lawyers who practice in the CJC and are voting in the Republican Primary signed off on that petition. I understand Dan wanting to cover all his bases in his defense of Judge Jackson, but I don't like the idea of the media blowing it out of proportion. I would imagine that if one looked at the complete list of signatures on Cary's petition one would see a lot of familiar names on it.

I don't think that signing her petition would necessarily make one an "enemy" of Judge Jackson per se.

The reason I'm writing this post is that I got an e-mail from a commenter who asked what Lance had been charged with. Um, Lance wasn't "charged" with anything.

Lance Long is one of the most honorable, talented and intelligent prosecutors that Harris County still has to offer, and for Channel 13 to zoom in on him like he did something wrong is ridiculous. He's doing the job that he's supposed to do, regardless of what petition he signed.

(NOTE: Due to the fact that this trial is still going on, I'm not going to publish any comments regarding the trial, trial tactics, or the actions of the participants until after the trial is complete. Not that I think the general public reads the blog, but just to be on the safe side.)

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't recall Cary being one of the "folks." Why are you supporting her?

Anonymous said...

Dan knows that what he is doing is chicken shit - and I both like and respect him. Judge Jackson isn't running. Cary didn't announce she was running until it was clear that Jackson wasn't running. She has a primary opponent who also didn't announce that she was going to run until after Jackson wasn't running. Lance signed the petition before he was assigned the case.

This is no more relevant to any real issue in this case than going into all of Dan's prior divorces.

This is an invented issue for the case. I would expect that shit from Dixon. But I really thought better of Dan than that.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Dan has nothing to work with and now attacks Lance. Fuck you Dan. Lance is probably one of the best trial attorney's in the nation. He signed the petition weeks before he was assigned the case. At least Ellis made the right call.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has watched the trial can tee you there has been no shortage of grand standing by the defense and the media has eaten it up.Whether Jackson is guilty will be up to the jury to decide but they will have to sift thru the smoke and mirrors first.

Anonymous said...

I've never been a big supporter of Lance's. He's arrogant and a snob. Having said that, Channel 13 should have researched this just a little further and noted in their report that Lance signed the petition way before he got that case. It makes perfect sense for Dan to bring this to Judge Ellis' attention but 13 has a responsibility as well. Of course none of this would have mattered if Jackson hadn't abused his office!

A Harris County Lawyer said...

I'm supporting Cary because she's been doing criminal law for well over ten years, she's smart, and she has an even temperment that would make her an excellent judge. She's worked on both the prosecution and defense side of criminal law and would do the job with intelligence and integrity.

Anonymous said...

Well, I realize YOU have your opinion, but the fact of the matter is, many of the DA attorneys AND OTHERS who signed this petition were ACTIVELY involved in the investigation of Judge Don Jackson at the time they signed it, including Lance Long. Do YOU personally know who else signed it? You might want to also check that out. So say what you want, but it appears to be a huge conflict of interest. It also appears that the DA's office has a direct personal interest in the outcome of this trial. I guess we'll see what happens in court this morning. I have attended the trial all week, and I suspect some heads are going to roll in the DA's office over this.

Anonymous said...

The problem I have with Cary is the same with Denise Bradley, Diane Bull and Mike Fields. They all have spouses in law enforcement and that can present a potential conflict.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Anon 9:05 a.m.,
I understand why you would say that, but that's just part of the criminal justice system. It does tend to be rather incestuous, I'll admit.
But I don't really think it's fair to base your decision on who someone is married to if there are all kinds of other items to look at.
Would you be more comfortable with a prosecutor running for the bench or a lawyer married to a cop or a former prosecutor/current defense attorney married to a prosecutor? The bottom line is that you should look at the person and decide who they are. Otherwise you're prejudging them and might make a bad decision at the ballot booth.

And Anon 10:16 p.m.,
you sure do seem to be Bird Dogging my choices on judicial campaigns, aren't you?

Anonymous said...

I am a member of the general public and I read your blog. It looks like the prosecutor must have known something about that Judge's character to sign Ms. Hart's petition before any of this stuff broke in the press. Ms. Hart must have had some insight into Judge Jackson's charater as well to run on the republican ticket against an incumbent republican judge. She will get my vote.

Anonymous said...

Judge Jackson has always had a certain affection for the pretty ladies. His conviction was not a complete surpise.

What we need to worry about now is who will occupy the bench until the next election. Rumor has it that we may be saddled with a former civil judge with no prior criminal law experience.

Anonymous said...

Judge Jackson was a civil lawyer with no prior criminal law experience before his appointment to Court 3.

Anonymous said...

Well he has plenty of criminal experience now.