Another election year is upon us, and yet again, I find myself shaking my head at the potential havoc that is about to be wreaked in the criminal justice system. Since our legislators in Texas have still failed to remove the necessity behind having an "R" or a "D" next to judicial candidates running for the criminal courts, we are about to miss out on some good people either staying or attaining criminal benches.
I've said it before and I'll say it again -- partisan politics have absolutely no place in criminal law. A criminal judge's view on abortion is never going to come into play in the job we elect them to do. They are there to make rulings on the law and occasionally decide the facts on a case by case basis.
None of those calls have anything to do with a Republican or Democrat Party platform.
Judge Harmon will never have the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade. Judge Fine won't shut down Guantanamo. Judge Fields isn't going to bring our troops home from Iraq. Judge Reagin isn't going to raise our taxes.
Their political beliefs don't affect their jobs anymore than it would if they were the county dog catcher.
I've always thought that it was ironic that the Houston Mayoral Election was (on its face) non-partisan, but criminal judicial elections weren't. It would seem to me that a voting Houstonian would have much more interest in knowing what political party their mayoral candidates were than their judicial ones.
The main problem with partisan politics coming into the criminal justice system is that it also brings in the influence of party stalwarts who otherwise would have nothing to do with the criminal justice system. For instance, you have Houston Socialite Carolyn Farb supporting Rachel Palmer for County Court Judge.
Um, how many of you have ever seen Carolyn Farb hanging out at the CJC?
In a case worse than the Farb/Palmer combination, you have people like Terry Lowry -- a Religious Right Activist who has proven himself to be the pimple on the butt of the Republican Party time and again. You may remember this dim-witted rodent from the 2008 political campaign. He was the one that Pat Lykos paid to support her in his National Enquirer-esque "LinkLetter", which is a publication he puts out in support of candidates who give him money. His petty game is to attempt to slander his candidate's opponent into submission.
My friend, Big Jolly, over at Lone Star Times has written several times about the unfortunate presence of Lowry in the political system, but yet you still find candidates who are so desperate to get their names in front of Republican voters that they go to him.
My position on dealing with candidates who go to Lowry is pretty simple -- if you want to lose my vote really quickly, get him to endorse you. I would strongly encourage anybody who is running for judge to stay away from him just for the sake of your own integrity.
I hope that any thinking voter that reads this would also vote against any Lowry candidate, as well.
In my opinion, each and every judge who takes the bench should have integrity, and going to a political snake oil salesman like Terry Lowry is pretty much screaming out that you lack it.
But, that's the problem with partisan politics being involved in criminal law. It spawns people like that.
Over the two years that I've run this blog, I've had several people suggest to me that I ought to start running advertisements on it and making some money. I'm all in favor of making money, but I've never wanted to turn the blog into a money-maker, because it would limit my ability to freely write my opinions.
I know that about half of you guys agree with me and the other half doesn't, but I guarantee you that you are getting my opinion unadulterated by somebody paying me.
For what that's worth.
I'll be starting up my coverage of the contested primary races shortly.