The race to replace retiring Judge Jim Anderson has three Republicans competing to see which one of them gets to face unopposed Democratic challenger Al Leal in November. The candidates run from one that I hear great things about to one that I'm feeling kind of blah about to one that I think the world might fall off its axis if she were to be elected.
Former Judge Janice Law is a very nice lady who has no business being a judge. Her behavior on the bench became so egregious that the Houston Press ran this article about her bizarre actions.
I was the chief in her court for several months back in 2002 and I was there when she came in third place in a primary where she was running as an incumbent. Although many of Judge Law's quirky actions were nothing more than amusing moments, some were very serious.
I can recall dealing with a female defendant who had been found incompetent to stand trial. The State acknowledged she was incompetent. The defense attorney knew she was incompetent. The evaluating doctor had declared she was incompetent with a likelihood to regain her competency. It should have been a simple resolution.
Except that the DEFENDANT decided to declare that she was competent.
This isn't an unusual phenomenon at all. Mentally ill defendants often times believe that they are the only sane ones in a courtroom. An uncontested hearing was to be held and a jury would find the defendant incompetent with a likelihood to regain before facing charges.
But on this particular case, for some reason, Judge Law thought that the Defendant's assertions of her competency called for a contested hearing where the Defense should be arguing for Competency while the State argued that she wasn't. In other words, Judge Law was ordering the defense attorney to proceed in a manner that was most definitely not in his client's best interest. She wouldn't listen to my arguments or the defense arguments to the contrary.
Luckily, we were able to ultimately resolve the case without the hearing being forced upon us, but any judge in their right mind should have known that what Law was doing was insanity.
Trust me on this one, guys. Janice Law does NOT need to be back on the bench.
Defense Attorney Jackie Gifford is also a very nice lady. She and her husband, Bill Gifford, have been fixtures at the courthouse for as long as I can remember. They are a cute couple and kind people. But, I'm not really sure that I see Jackie as a judge. Although she handles a lot of cases and is always pleasant, I don't recall ever seeing her in trial or doing all that much legal wrangling that was particularly astounding. I'm not saying anything negative about her, but I'm hard pressed to say anything that makes me think she is a particularly good choice for judge.
Former police officer and now attorney John Clinton is somebody that I've never met. That being said, it seems to me that I'm about the only person in the CJC who HASN'T met him. I keep hearing great things about him. I hear that he's a good lawyer, a great leader, and that he would make a great judge.
But, I can't offer that opinion from my own knowledge. You guys are welcome to comment in here (as always) on what you know, and hopefully I'll get a chance to meet him in the near future.
But in the meantime, whatever you do, please don't bring back Janice Law.