Thursday, October 16, 2008

The 337th District Court Judicial Race

Back to Business today.

The race for the 337th District Court Judicial Race has Republican incumbent Judge Don Stricklin running against Democratic Candidate and defense attorney Herb Ritchie. I checked the Net and could not find a website for either candidate's campaign.

Back when I first started at the District Attorney's Office, Don Stricklin was the First Assistant under Johnny Holmes. He was the man who called and offered me the job there, so I will always have a pretty high level of fondness for the man. Apparently, I must have run him off or something, because not too long after my arrival, he was appointed to the 337th District Court. With me being a brand new Misdemeanor Three and him being First Assistant, I never dealt with him on a professional level.

I never served in the 337th District Court and I've never tried a case in their, either, so my knowledge of how the Judge runs his court is based solely on reputation and word-of-mouth.

Judge Stricklin is known for running a fast-paced and efficient court. He holds the State to a high standard and doesn't have patience with delays or mistakes made the prosecutors in his court. Cases are set for trial and actually go to trial in an efficient and timely manner. The State not being ready on trial day is unacceptable to the Judge, and that can often lead to some job stress for the prosecutors assigned to his court.

However, you don't hear the prosecutors complaining much about being in the court. One of my best friends at the Office spent a significant amount of time in there as a Felony Three, and thoroughly enjoyed the court and practicing in front of the Judge. According to him, the Judge was professional, businesslike, intelligent, and fair.

It is also worth noting that you don't hear the Defense Bar complaining about Judge Stricklin either. I'm sure those of you outside of the legal fields will be shocked to know that all attorneys tend to gripe and whine on occasion (especially over a beer or two). But I never hear the Defense Bar griping about Stricklin.

It sounds to me like Judge Stricklin is doing a good job and running a good court.

As little personal knowledge as I have about Judge Stricklin, I have even less knowledge about his opponent, Herb Ritchie. I've been around awhile and I've heard his name and I've seen him, but I honestly can't say that I've ever dealt with him. I know for certain that I've never had a trial with him, but I don't recall ever having a case with him at all.

I'm not claiming to know all of the defense attorneys in the courthouse, but I'd like to think that I know the vast majority of them. Maybe it's just a fluke, but I am honestly at a loss for words on what to write about Mr. Ritchie. I just don't know him.

So I'll have to turn it over to the commenters for their take on him.

However, he'd have to bring some pretty strong recommendations for me to think he'd be a better judge than Judge Stricklin.


jigmeister said...

Of course I know both of them. Don was my first boss in Special Crimes and then as 1st Asst I had a lot of business with him. He has always been no nonsense. He was a fine trial lawyer and tried many high profile cases in the 80's and 90's. I also tried a case with him before he left the office.

As a prosecutor, I tried several cases with him on the bench and can confirm that you had to be ready and prepared. He expects you to be ready with your next witness and with whatever law is relevant to your case, and is probably harder on the DA than the Defense Attorney.

Though I don't remember trying a case against Herb, I have handled several of his clients over the years. I think he has probably slowed down some over the last 10 years. He used to handle quite a few cases and is intelligent. I don't think he ever tried a lot of cases, certainly not on his own. He had a partner that tried far more. I can say that he is a nice guy.

In my opinion DRS hasn't done anything to deserve losing his bench.

Anonymous said...

don't know how Stricklin is on the bench but his hair has the best "part" I have ever seen.

Anonymous said...

JAGJO writes:

Herb Ritchie... didn't he sing with some pop disco duo group years ago?
Had a hit song with " Shake your groove thang".

No, wait. That was Peaches and Herb! LOL Imagine that... Another unknown Dem running for a bench. Why am I not surprised!

I believe he has ran before and more than once. I know he ran for the 174th back in 04'.
Here is a link to a short bio on him. I certainly did not hear any trumpets sound as a I read it.

Today is the first day of early voting! In the words of Peaches and Herb, " shake your groove thang" on down to the polls some time over these next two weeks and exercise that civil liberty.

If only all the voters were knowledgeable on the down ballot races AND were taking into consideration no partisan bias but only knowledge and experience, and the welfare of Harris County Justice System, there would be no be threat to what I deem to be some exceptional incumbent Judges. If only.

D S is getting my vote.

P.S. Shout out today to Bill Moore who's running for the 174th - Happy Birthday!

Anonymous said...

Well, I am not an attorney....I am a felon who appeared before and was sentenced by Judge Striklin. He is a VERY fair judge and holds BOTH the State and the defense accountable. In other words, he doesn't play politics and power. He wants the facts presented in an efficient manner and protects both the State's rights and those of the defendant. I feel that it would be EXTREMELY unfair for this great judge to be removed from the bench due to voter's potentially pulling one lever! Please re-elect this great Judge.

I had never been in trouble before. Judge Stricklin sentenced me to 10 years for theft; I went to prison; and then he released me on shock probation. I am eight years into my probation and I can truly say that I so appreciate him recognizing the good in me. On any given day, we can all make a mistake. Judge Stricklin treated me with the utmost respect and dignity. From my plea appearance through my benchwarrant release hearing, I was very impressed with his court demeanor. Again, he REALLY does listen to both sides and expect the same degree of fairness and efficiency whether you are the State or the defense.

Anonymous said...

I had to appear before him on 2 counts, class 1 felony. He could have sentenced me anywhere from 5 to 99. He went 6. This was 11 years ago. I just bought a new house today. This man literally saved my life.