Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Race for the 180th District Court (Democrat) [Updated]

[NOTE: I received an e-mail from Darrell Jordan this morning (2/12/10) pointing out some things he disputed in the post I did on him regarding his dealings with Sylvia Escobedo. I have made those changes and noted where they are within the post. If these edits and additions change your mind about Mr. Jordan, then I apologize for their initial omissions.]

Some of the recommendations in the Judicial Races are very difficult to make.

This isn't one of those difficult ones.

The race on the Democratic side of the 180th District Court race is between former-prosecutor and now defense attorney Lori Gooch and defense attorney Darrell Jordan.

In case any of you are dying in suspense, the clear choice for this race is Lori.

Lori graduated from law school in 2001 and came to work at the Harris County D.A.'s Office that year, which is where I first met her. There are some people that walked in the door of that Office that were just instantly adored by everyone that they worked with, and Lori was one of those people. She quickly earned a reputation as a tough, no-nonsense prosecutor with excellent trial ability and excellent judgment. She had an uncanny ability to read the people she dealt with on a daily basis and use that in trial.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that Lori ranks near the top as one of the Office Favorites during the time I was there. She certainly was one of my favorite people.

I was sad to see her leave the Office around 2004, but stunned at the same time to see how quickly she made the transition to a very skilled defense attorney. She jumped headfirst into the defense side of the law, and soon had a reputation as a tough lawyer who could handle the toughest murder case on down. Lori has also demonstrated an amazing level of "client control", as I've watched her stand up to even the most hardened criminal who tried to be disrespectful to her. She genuinely cares about her clients and tries to get the best result for them, but she definitely doesn't put up with their B.S., either.

She would make a great judge.

Before I proceed on Darrell Jordan, I am going to acknowledge that a lot of my criticisms of him are based on a personal level, although I do think the story is relevant. You can discount it if you want. I'll understand.

Darrell Jordan does have an impressive background in his schooling and his military JAG service. However, he hasn't even been a licensed attorney for 5 years, and prior to the middle of last year, I'd never even heard of the guy. My understanding is that you have to have been a lawyer for 5 years before you can even become a judge. He will cross the five year thresh hold in June, but do we really want someone with the bare minimum credentials sitting on the bench?

My bigger issue with Darrell is the way he treated my ex-wife last summer when she was hired to take family pictures for him.

As many of you know, my ex-wife, Sylvia Escobedo also dabbles as a photographer, which is something she is very talented at. Last year, Darrell asked her to photograph him and his family, which she gladly did.

When the pictures were ready, she turned them over to Darrell, which left the only thing remaining on his order a large canvass photograph that was still being processed. Prior to turning over the canvass to Darrell, Sylvia asked him to pay for the pictures.

And that's when it got ugly.

[ADDITION: Darrell came and picked up all the initial prints from Sylvia and she told him that the bill for those pictures was going to be $1500. At that time, Darrell only had $500 on him, which he gave to Sylvia and said he would pay her the rest the following week. Sylvia agreed and gave him the pictures at that time. On August 25, 2009, he sent her an e-mail saying (among other things) "I am not a confrontational person so I tried to tell you in a nice way that I am not going to pay $1500 for pictures. I have never agreed to do so."] Darrell announced he wasn't going to pay Sylvia's bill because he thought it was too expensive.

After Sylvia had explained to him that the prices were listed on her website, he angrily accused her of changing the prices since the photo shoot. (NOTE: She didn't). [ADDITION: In the August 25th e-mail, Darrell also wrote: "I had no idea you would go from affordable photographer to photographer for the rich and famous. I think it was very clear when I came to pick up the pictures I had no idea how much they were and I told you so." Yet, he was told on that date what the price was, and he said he would pay the rest later and took the pictures.]

In the meantime, Sylvia had an out-of-pocket expense for the canvass that she had to pay.

And although I was encouraging her to sue Darrell, she ultimately made the agreement that if he would just pay her for the price of the canvass, she would call it even -- just so that she could cover the price of its out-of-pocket expense. [ADDITION: Darrell agreed to pay the $549 price for the cost of the canvass, but required Sylvia to deliver it to his wife's office.]

Darrell got all those photos for the [EDIT: $500 and the] cost of a canvass, and Sylvia operated at a loss. [ADDITION: Sylvia had already discounted her website prices about 50% since Darrell had placed such a very large order and she still lost $500 due to Darrell's refusal to pay the remainder of the tab.]

And the follow up was that Darrell had the audacity to later ask Sylvia for permission to use the photographs for his campaign. She told him if he would like to pay her the remainder of his bill that would be fine. She hasn't heard back from him since.

[ADDITION: When I initially wrote this post, I was not aware that Darrell had paid Sylvia $500 on the day he took possession of the pictures. However, in my opinion, he still placed an order for something, received that which he ordered, dictated that he was not going to pay more than what he wished, and basically got what he wanted. That wouldn't work at a store or in a restaurant, but apparently works in the world of photography.]

So, due to the way he treated the mother of my child, I've got some issues with Darrell Jordan's character. Maybe I'm just biased, but you can make that decision yourself.

But, as for Lori Gooch, I've got absolutely no reservation.

Lori has the experience, the ethics, the toughness, the guts, and the integrity to be a great judge.


Anonymous said...

First I must say, Sylvia does more than dabble, she is an excellent photographer and I know you meant nothing by that comment. I highly recommend her if you are looking for a family photographer. Second if Sylvia says that happened with Jordan, then that is what happened. Speaks volumes about character. Enough said.

Edward D. Porter

BLACK INK said...

It is often said that how a person treats a waiter is very significant as to his character.
Darrell Jordan is not someone you'd want eating in your restaurant and surely not an appropriate choice to decide the fate of those he deems less important than himself.

Just imagine how a black robe would further impair his perception of fairness.

Aggie Pct Chair said...

Mr. Jordan epitomizes the lack of depth in the Democratic party. What you just described is theft. If true, the Dems have a thief on their ballot. Shame on them.

Anonymous said...

I don't know you or your former wife but it doesn't have anything to do with my comment.

This is a man who takes advantage and will develop a common disease if elected. Black Robe!

He has no moral nor ethics in his character. How a person handles a business manner reflects on his character and his actions.

I think he has proven his lack of character.

Anonymous said...

APC, shut the %&!$ up. You are such a hypocrit. You endorse idiot Rs because they have a r by the name.

Jordan may not be a good choice but neither is S wood and for the same reasons.

Lori Gooch is best of the bunch. She doesn't have the bitch factor that all the others do.

Anonymous said...

Marc Brown is going to win so who cares about these two. I just hope Dexter does not win in March. Let's get people out to vote so we can win.

Anonymous said...


You are probably the biggest idiot that has ever posted on this board.

Xi said...

Anon 3:45,
Rage will no doubt take umbrage to your insensitivity dethroning her from this notorious position.

Anonymous said...

I am an ADA who thinks Lori will be the best candidate for the 180th. She has integrity, character, intelligence, and compasion. She is respected by both sides of the bar, and with good reason. Go Gooch.

Anonymous said...

This story is indeed helpful into the character of Darrell Jordan. SAD!

Anonymous said...

APC...you sir, are a moron.

Anonymous said...

I love Lori. I am going to vote for Marc in the primary and if he wins that he will certainly have my vote in November (as well as my work on his behalf). But if he loses the primary and Lori wins hers then I (and many others I know) will do what we can to help Lori win. My nightmare scenario is a Danny v. Darrell race for the 180th. I can't imagine Judge Stricklin's bench in the hands of either of them.

Anonymous said...

Lori is my choice of candidate for the election. She has a sense of fairness and perspective that may be lacking in the other candidates. It is helpful to have someone on the bench with some experience on both sides and who is not going to put his ego about the importance of the job.

Anonymous said...

What about the fact that Mr. Jordan was too chicken to call Sylvia Escobedo and deal with this himself. He had his wife call. Not only does the man have very little criminal experience, he has no ethics or principles. I agree with people comments on Lori Gooch. What a wonderful person, and a good lawyer. I think Marc Brown has more experience, but would be happy with Gooch on the bench. And as for the other two candidates, I don't have anything positive to say, so I won't say anything.

Anonymous said...

We have heard several judges laughing because lawyers are complaining about the pay cut.This is disgusting and hopefully the new judges will not go along with this.

Anonymous said...

Xi, Do you not like women? Is there any reason you think calling someone a "her" is derogatory to them?

Xi said...

Anon 8:24,
1st, to the best of my knowledge the identity let alone the gender of Rage has not been established.
2nd, Rage's over the top insecure irritating rants of bravado lend me to believe that he is either an angry lesbian or a short overcompensating Jimmy Leitner type. In either case girly references are intended to piss him off.
3rd, A normal person secure with their gender identity and sexual prowess would not be offended by the tease.

Anonymous said...

So Xi is a misogynist and a bigot. Got it.

Anonymous said...

If true, the Dems have a thief on their ballot. Shame on them.

You never responded to the question as to whether or not Judge Wood ever had her hand slapped for misuse of campaign funds.

But I guess your thief is OK.

Anonymous said...

One of the worst things about Darrell Jordan, other than he is completely unqualified to hold a district court bench, is that when you meet him, he comes across as such a nice person. So, if he looks you in the eye and tells you he will bring you the money next week, you believe him. That is the worst kind of liar. The ones you would never suspect.

He must feel so happy in his new big house and driving his new Benz. Even if he had to screw over a single working mother to get what he wants. Nice.

Anonymous said...

I'm voting for either Darrell Jordan or Danny Dexter. I have decided that Harris County has too many judges and judicial candidates with smarts. What we need to balance the playing field are judges who are intellectually deficient and ethically challenged. Why would I vote for someone who understands the law and has the respect of both prosecutors and defense attorneys? I would much rather vote for social butterflies and slackers. God bless all these competent and qualified folks who are running, but we just don't need smarts at 1201...

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:09,
Judge Pat is that you snookems?

Anonymous said...

I read the update and wow, now we can add unprepared and does not do his homework to Jordan's resume. I have never hired someone without know the price or having an estimate or discussing cost. It appears Jordan is married and thought the wedding photographer just dropped by and took a few photos for fun. His clients must be shocked when they get his bill, he probably doesn't discuss costs with them either. In any case, this is not the type of person we need on the bench.

Anonymous said...

Let's see, now that I've read the revisions, I guess I will vote for Mr. Jordan because he didn't steal as much as I initially thought.

Anonymous said...

I find it amazing that people can listen to the story that one person tells about another and make a conclusive decision about their character. Doesn't say much about the character of the writer either. How about you take your personal issues with Darrell, to Darrell? I'm sure if we investigated your social life a little closer, we would find that you fall quite short from a people person too. In the meantime, I know Darrell. I won't profess to know him extensively but I have no complaints in how he has treated me or my family. He is a neighbor and has welcomed us to his home, and treated us well.

Wendy Collins said...

I have never seen her photographs but I can say that Sylvia is a good person and an excellent attorney who really cares about her clients.

Anonymous said...

Did this Sylvia Escobedo go to Clements High School?