Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Houston Bar Association Poll Results

On April 15th of this year, I wrote this post detailing why I believed that Judge Mike Anderson was a much better candidate for Harris County District Attorney than his opponent.  I also detailed how Kristin Guiney, Joe Vinas, Ryan Patrick, and Renee Magee were the best candidates for Judge in their respective races. Yesterday, the Houston Bar Association released the results of its poll on the candidates' qualifications for office, which showed that I am not alone in my opinions.

If I did my math correctly (which is not a given, since I am an Aggie), 1720 members of the Houston Bar Association voted in the poll.  Those who voted in the contested races were given the option of selecting one of four answers in response to a candidate's qualifications.  Those options were: Not Rated, Not Qualified, Qualified, orWell Qualified. Given the fact that only lawyers who are members of the Houston Bar Association voted in the poll and that the majority of those members do not practice criminal law, it is not much of a surprise that the most commonly selected answer for the criminal races was "Not Rated."

This post is a breakdown of the percentages of each race by those who did feel that they knew the candidates well enough to rank their qualifications.


In the votes for D.A., 570 voters (33.1%) did not rank Pat Lykos and 940 (54.6%) did not rank Mike Anderson.  Of the percentages that did cast votes, the breakdown is as follows:

Mike Anderson WELL QUALIFIED - 452 (57.9%)  QUALIFIED - 166 (21.3%)  NOT QUALIFIED - 162 (20.7%)

Pat Lykos WELL QUALIFIED -350 (30.4%)   QUALIFIED - 270 (23.5%)  NOT QUALIFIED - 530 (46.1%)

SUMMARY: To know Pat Lykos doesn't appear to mean that one loves Pat Lykos.  While some Republican faithful may like Lykos the Candidate, Lykos the Lawyer does not foster much confidence.  It is also worth noting that attorneys working for the Harris County District Attorney's Office have their membership to the Houston Bar Association paid for by the Office.  Despite having over 200 of her own employees voting on her qualifications, Pat Lykos got dangerously close to a 50% "Not Qualified" vote.


In the votes here, 1164 voters (67.7%) did not rank Zack Fertitta and 1172 (68.1%) did not rank Lloyd Oliver.  Of the percentages that did cast votes, the breakdown is:

Zack Fertitta WELL QUALIFIED - 173 (31.1%)  QUALIFIED - 187 (33.6%)  NOT QUALIFIED - 196 (35.3%)

Lloyd Oliver WELL QUALIFIED - 19 (3.5%)  QUALIFIED - 46 (8.3%) NOT QUALIFIED - 483 (88.1%)

SUMMARY: Ouch.  As, I've pointed out before, Lloyd Oliver isn't a real candidate.  He's been indicted numerous times and runs in every election.  88.1% of the lawyers voting recognize that.  If it is any consolation to Mr. Oliver, more attorneys think that Pat Lykos isn't qualified (at least when it comes to raw numbers).


In the votes here, 1350 voters (78.5%) did not rank Joe Vinas and 1353 voters (78.7%) did not rank Robert Summerlin.  In the percentages that did cast votes, the breakdown is:

Joe Vinas WELL QUALIFIED - 157 (42.4%)  QUALIFIED - 106(28.6%)  NOT QUALIFIED - 107(28.9%)

Robert Summerlin WELL QUALIFIED - 110 (30.0%)  QUALIFIED - 60 (16.3%)  NOT QUALIFIED - 197 (53.7%)

SUMMARY: As I mentioned in my earlier post, Summerlin hasn't been doing criminal law for the duration of his career like Vinas has.  The results here are not surprising.


Of the votes here, 1391 voters (80.9%) did not rank Ryan Patrick and 1495 voters (86.9%) did not rank Antonio Benavides.  Of the percentages that did cast votes, the breakdown is:

Ryan Patrick WELL QUALIFIED - 115(35.0%)  QUALIFIED - 99(30.0%)  NOT QUALIFIED - 115 (35.0%)

Antonio Benavides WELL QUALIFIED - 25(11.1%)  QUALIFIED - 27(12.0%)  NOT QUALIFIED - 173(76.9%)

SUMMARY: Patrick is a relatively young candidate for the bench, and I would imagine that would probably explain some attorneys having reservations about ranking him as "Well Qualified."  For those of us who have worked with him, however, we know that he has a good head on his shoulders and will be a good judge.  His age should not be a determining factor, especially in comparison to Mr. Benavides' lack of experience.


In the votes here, 1355 voters (78.8%) did not rank Kristin Guiney and 1225 voters (71.2%) did not rank Lana Shadwick.  Of the percentages that did cast votes, the breakdown is:

Kristin Guiney WELL QUALIFIED - 206 (56.4%)  QUALIFIED - 67 (18.4%)  NOT QUALIFIED - 92 (25.2%)

Lana Shadwick WELL QUALIFIED - 93 (18.8%)  QUALIFIED - 78 (15.8%)  NOT QUALIFIED - 324 (65.4%)

SUMMARY: I think it is kind of amusing to see that almost the exact same number of attorneys who deem Shadwick to be "Well Qualified" find Guiney to be not qualified.  Of course there are going to be hard-core partisan voters in all of these bar polls, but that type of mirroring indicates to me that only a die-hard Shadwick fan would pick her over Guiney.  I cannot stress how much of a better candidate Kristin Guiney is than her opponent.


In the votes here, 1346 voters (78.2%) did not rank Renee Magee and 1223 voters (71.1%) did not rank Jim Barr.  Of the percentages that did cast votes, the breakdown is:

Renee Magee WELL QUALIFIED - 206 (55.1%)  QUALIFIED - 74 (19.8%)  NOT QUALIFIED - 94(25.1%)

Jim Barr WELL QUALIFIED - 83(16.7%)  QUALIFIED - 115(23.1%)  NOT QUALIFIED - 299(60.2%)

SUMMARY: As I mentioned in my previous post, Barr may have once been qualified to be a judge, but his misconduct on the bench effectively eroded those qualifications.


Anonymous said...


The DA's race may not be as vitriolic as the one back in 2008; but it is still highly charged.

As I'm sure you recall, back in 2008 Kelly Siegler had an incredibly high number of votes casting her as unqualified yet I challenge any of your readers to objectively name a prosecutor current or past who is/was better qualified......the Dick DeGuerin and Pat Lykos crowd I'm sure would throw out unsubstantiated allegations and innuendo in protest; but that is precisely the point.

The Bar poll for the most part is a beauty contest which values an individual's popularity and political posture disproportionately to his/her actual qualifications.

To interpret the subjective character of the Bar poll as objective fact is more than a stretch.
This Bar straw poll is perhaps more meaninful than the pep rally straw polls earlier simply because of the perceived legitimacy; but at the end of the day it is as controlling as the Houston Chronicle endorcement.

Anonymous said...

ANON 8:11,

You are no doubt familiar with the "Dick Deguerin Qualification Principle":

-Dick Deguerin is the greatest criminal lawyer of all time (just ask Dick)
-Dick DeGuerin only defends innocent people who the State has wrongfully accused (just ask Dick)
-Kelly Siegler kicked Dick DeGueirin's ass 3 out of 3 times (you may not want to ask Dick about that).
-Therefore, pursuant to the Dick DeGuerin Principle: Kelly Siegler must be a crooked unethical win at all costs prosecutor who is highly unqualified (how else could Mr. Dick defend his regular ass whoopin' by Ms. Siegler?).

DeGuerin don't know Dick!

Anonymous said...

It's easy to get a conviction when everything you want comes into evidence and you get to dry hump an ADA in front of a jury, all the while the. Judge is a prosecutor wearing a black robe.

How many of her cases have to be re-tried because the state didn't follow the law?

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know why the Chron hasn't run this - to be thought of that highly "disqualified" by your peers speaks volumes. To know Pat is to know she is "unqualified" as a human being. Working with her was hell...not because of her "high standards" but because she's a bully and just plain mean all the time!

Anonymous said...

Bar Poll results don't mean "SQUAT" unless you get out the vote and make sure that all your friends and family know what the candidates are about.


VOTE FOR MIKE ANDERSON. It jsut may shut Hooper & Co. up for a while.

Murray Newman said...

Anon 12:03 p.m.,

Get a grip.

First of all, Kelly isn't running again, so you don't have to hyperventilate and start trying to smear her at the mere mention of her name. Go to a warm, safe place and it will all be okay.

Second of all, the answer to your question is "Zero". Kelly has had cases that were reversed that she tried, but none based on any misconduct by her.

BLACK INK said...

Anon 12:03,

Everything is "easy" when you are prepared, talented and not afraid of risk.........hence the wisdom of the old saying: luck is when preparation meets opportunity. This is not a concept easily understood by excuse makers who play the victim card.

Kelly Siegler's murder re-enactment utilizing the blood stained death bed in a brightly lit sterile courtroom setting to convict Susan Wright of savagely butchering her husband would not be sexually provocative to a normal human being.

As to your judicial inference of implied partiality on the part of former prosecutors who become judges: are you seriously suggesting that prosecutors be banned from serving on the bench?

Further, your suggestion that Kelly Siegler has a reputation for not following the law is not supported by appellate review.
Kelly Siegler chose NOT to dumb it down and try only whales that meet your approval.......and I'm glad that pisses you off.
Kelly Siegler tried the tough cases that others were too timid to tee up. She never backed down when the cause was just........crooks were held accountable without regard to how high profile their defense counsel might be.

It is a sad reflection on our society when those who don't excel rationalize their personal failure by condemning the sacrifices and dedication of those who stand above the fray.....

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Not following the law and misconduct are two different things. The reasons for the reversals are important.
I was far from hyperventilating. You might want to issue that warning to Black Ink though. That is, unless his hyperventilating is OK just because he agrees with you.

Anonymous said...

God, Black Ink, why don't you switch to writing novels for lonely housewives or something.

are you seriously suggesting that prosecutors be banned from serving on the bench?

I didn't read that in 12:03's post. It would be nice, though, if they stopped being prosecutors.


Anonymous said...

Anon 10:32,

Unlike Murray and Black Ink innuendo serves you well.
As Jack Nicholson would say, "you can't handle the truth" and most at the CJC would agree with Mr. Nicholson on that assessment.

As for Rage, well his name says it all. Poor angry little fella.

Anonymous said...

sadly the bar poll is like a straw represents a small political ripple that is not scientifically nor actuality accurate of anything credible. The fact that in most races the pros on one side equal the cons of the other substantiates the bias. When you calculate that out of 10-12,000 members only a few hundred participate is an indication of the degree or credence that it carries. When a function only gets less than 7% of the total; then is is viewed as poppycock or fodder and carries no real significance.