Channel 13's Miya Shay is reporting tonight from the trial of Judge Don Jackson that controversy has arisen over the signing of a political petition.
The gist of the story is this -- Don Jackson was the judge of County Court at Law # 3 of Harris County, Texas. In the race, there is a Republican challenger named Cary Hart (who would be a freaking excellent judge, by the way, but there will be more on that later). As part of her preliminary steps towards running for judge, she asked friends and other supporters to sign a petition that allowed her to run without paying a massive filing fee.
It's THE common practice for all candidates who run for office. It is common for there to be big political party events (both Republican and Democrat) where party faithful can sign petitions for all the candidates. I signed Cary's petition gladly. So did plenty of other defense attorneys who know and support Cary. So did plenty of prosecutors who know and support Cary.
One of those prosecutors who signed the petition was Lance Long, who is the lead prosecutor in Jackson's trial. It is also worth noting that Lance signed it far in advance of ever being assigned to handle the case against Judge Jackson.
Jackson's defense counsel, Dan Cogdell, has taken issue with that fact and has brought it before Judge Ellis. I'm not going to comment on the merits of Dan's Motion, because I just typically don't comment on jury trials that are currently underway.
But I do think that it is worth pointing out that probably the majority of the criminal lawyers who practice in the CJC and are voting in the Republican Primary signed off on that petition. I understand Dan wanting to cover all his bases in his defense of Judge Jackson, but I don't like the idea of the media blowing it out of proportion. I would imagine that if one looked at the complete list of signatures on Cary's petition one would see a lot of familiar names on it.
I don't think that signing her petition would necessarily make one an "enemy" of Judge Jackson per se.
The reason I'm writing this post is that I got an e-mail from a commenter who asked what Lance had been charged with. Um, Lance wasn't "charged" with anything.
Lance Long is one of the most honorable, talented and intelligent prosecutors that Harris County still has to offer, and for Channel 13 to zoom in on him like he did something wrong is ridiculous. He's doing the job that he's supposed to do, regardless of what petition he signed.
(NOTE: Due to the fact that this trial is still going on, I'm not going to publish any comments regarding the trial, trial tactics, or the actions of the participants until after the trial is complete. Not that I think the general public reads the blog, but just to be on the safe side.)