Monday, October 6, 2008

The 178th District Court Judicial Race

The race for the 178th District Court has the newest Judge in the CJC, Republican candidate Judge Roger Bridgwater, defending his bench against Democratic attorney David Mendoza, Jr. (who does not have a website listed for him on the Harris County Democratic Party webpage).

I'm at a bit of a disadvantage here, because I don't know the first thing about Mr. Mendoza. I've checked out the internet for information with no luck, and I actually don't recognize him from his picture on the Democratic Party's website. I will say that after having been around that courthouse (in one form or another) since 1996, that it would be somewhat unusual for me to not recognize an attorney who practices there regularly.

But, stranger things have happened, and I don't mean to sell Mr. Mendoza short. If you know him and have dealt with him, please let us know your thoughts on him.

Judge Bridgwater, on the other, I have known pretty much since I first started working in Harris County. However, for the vast amount of time, obviously, I knew him as a member of the Defense Bar.

My experience with Roger Bridgwater as a defense attorney is one of great admiration and respect. He was one of the members of the Defense Bar that you could take every representation that he made to the State as the 100% truth. He was honest as the day was long, and he was a formidable adversary in trial. He was very soft-spoken, but prosecutors knew that they had better listen when he spoke.

There was actually something very Judicial about Roger Bridgwater long before he became a judge.

Judge Bridgwater has only been on the bench since July of last year. As the "rookie" Judge, he was virtually guaranteed an opponent, which is shame, because I expect great things out of Judge Bridgwater in his continued tenure.

I don't have much to report on his first year in Office, which is to be expected.

He hasn't had any major high profile cases or rulings that he's tackled quite yet, and he is probably considered to still be "transitioning" from the role of "attorney" to "judge".

If Judge Bridgwater is still in a "transition period", it is one that I expect he will come through with flying colors.

He's got my vote, and I hope to see him on the Bench for many more years to come.


Anonymous said...

I was before Bridgwater several times since he has been on the bench and I know the DA's in his Court. He was very fair to my client and I have no complaints. The DA's in the Court told me that he didn't lean to either side (DA v. Def Bar) and was very fair. I did hear he got burned on a case where he refused to raise the bond and then the Defendant made bond and committed two murders out of county - but that can happen to any Judge.

He deserves to remain on the bench.

Just my pennyless thoughts.

cjclawyer said...

What you may be referring to is Randy Sylvester, the man that murdered his two children and is charged with Cap Murder in the 263rd. He was on probation for PCS in Bridgewater's court and had some technical violations but had not yet been revoked. Regardless, I agree... you can't predict that someone on probation will go off and kill his children, and Sylvester didn't have much of a record that would indicate such behavior. He may have been a mandatory probation case... I'm not sure.

Murray Newman said...

I'm familiar with the case you are talking about. If I recall correctly, Judge Bridgwater actually set a higher than standard bond on the Defendant. Unfortunately, the Defendant could still afford the bond and got out and did what he did.
It was a tragedy to be sure, but I don't think that was the Judge's fault.

jigmeister said...

Mendoza was on the county court bench in the late 80s or early 90s without distinction.

I have know Roger since his early days from law school on. He is a great guy and you can't go wrong with him. He is low key, soft spoken, very bright and thoughful, and an all around good guy.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was a child porn case and a ASAC case where Bridgwater denied the higher bond and the murders were committed out of county.

But I could be wrong.

Anonymous said...

David Mendoza was the judge of CCL#11 back in the late 80s, early 90s. He was defeated by Judge Bull in the Republican sweep. He is an extremely nice gentleman, but was weigh over his head as a county court judge and has no business being a District Court judge. He is merely running because he is a democrat. Bridgewater is going to be a great judge and should remain on the 178th bench. So far, he has proved to be fair to both sides which is nice to see.

Anonymous said...

I have known Roger Bridgewater for many, many years and have nothing but the greatest respect for him in and out of the courtroom.

He is honorable and he word is gold.

It would be a great loss for the County and its citizens for him not to remain on the bench.

Anonymous said...

JAGJO writes:

Mendoza was slightly before my time but I agree with
"bestinshow" in regards to, he is not qualified to be a district criminal judge. I also agree with the democrat comment. Without the intent of stirring a wasp nest, it seems several of the democrat candidates year end/year out are not qaulified but simply on the ticket because they are dems. Some run repeatedly to no avail for any court slate they can get their name on. However, this year their 'blue' eyes are filled with dreams of grandeur ( translated: a free ride courtesty of the Obama train). Several dem candidates have a very lax attitude in campaigning for that very reason.

I hope that it is just that - a dream and that reality brings the registered 'informed' voters to the polls, that they will take the time and care to vote down ballot and keep Bridgwater on the 178.

Anonymous said...

I practiced in Mendoza's court in the early 90s. I actually did quite a bit of work in there. I agree with jigmeister that he served "without distinction." He was always polite and never treated the lawyers like Rains does now. On the other hand, he was hardly a legal giant. He would go on the record and cite the reasons for his ruling. His recitations would last forever. I always thought it was odd that he had his court reporter (Don, who is now in Court 1) drive him everywhere. I have also had many dealings with Judge Bridgewater. He still has his training wheels on, but I think he will be riding in the Tour de France in no time.

Anonymous said...

It's funny when people say that they have known Judge "Bridgewater" for a long time or they have had many dealings with Judge "Bridgewater" but they don't know him well enough to spell his name correctly. Sorry, couldn't resist.

Judge Bridgwater is good man who treats >everyone< with dignity and respect without regard to position. We are lucky to have a judge like him on the bench.

Anonymous said...

I have worked with David Mendoza for several years. He is more than qualified to be a district criminal judge. He was an elected judge as a matter of fact for eight years. He is just, thorough, and honest. Visit his website for those of you all who don't know much about him.

Anonymous said...

We have a Democratic system of government which allows the people to choose our judges. THE PEOPLE did NOT allow Bridgewater to be judge. THE PEOPLE were ignored by the governor as he appointed Bridgewater despite his rejection by THE PEOPLE.
Here is another opportunity to INSIST that our voice be heard and respected. NOT because he is Republican, but because he has already had his chance to be duly elected and THE PEOPLE said "NO"!
Throw Bridgewater OUT!

Anonymous said...

It looks like the "people" have spoken in regards to the 178th bench.

Anonymous said...

Sign seen this morning at a home in Clear Lake:

"Harris County:

Better Dead than RED!

Congratulations on electing Barak Obama as our new President of the United States!"

Maybe Harris County isn't the Repiblican stronghold it once was.

ckapp said...

Roger Bridgwater is a lawyer with incredible integrity. He spends much time serving our community in many ways. He is a loving husband, father and grandfather. He is a man with vast wisdom and fairness. He has great discernment, a critical need for a judge.

I have been blessed to known him for 20+ years.