TDCAA Community
Nutty visiting judge

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August 20, 2003, 14:48
Tim Cole
Nutty visiting judge
I just concluded a bench trial with a visiting judge who really has no clue. The trial ended with a plea (to a lousy sentence for us) because the judge was giving every indication that he was going to throw out the search warrant even though he had denied the defense motion to suppress prior to trial. After the trial concluded, the judge asked to talk to me and the defense attorney and told us that he believed the search warrant was bad but that he was going to find the defendant guilty and then write findings and conclusions that were sure to get the case reversed on appeal. Incredulous at this point, I asked the judge why he would do that. Why not do the right thing from the beginning (even if I didn't agree with it)? His exact quote, with two witnesses present, was, "It's my job to find these people guilty. It wouldn't look good for a visiting judge to go around throwing out cases. I wouldn't get invited back, so I just find them guilty. This case was going to be reversed anyway." Is this something that should be reported to the state commission? I have never made a grievance against another attorney or a judge, but this guy's dangerous. What do ya'll think?
August 20, 2003, 16:10
You absolutely should document your conversation immediately. Seek documentation from the other defense attorney. File a grievance immediately.

To do otherwise is to make yourself a participant in his illegal behavior. You also should consider asking the judge to recuse himself from any further participation in the case. He clearly is not acting rationally.
August 21, 2003, 08:31
Ken Sparks
Do not delay. Report it right away. Send a copy to the administrative judge who assigned this clown to your county.
August 21, 2003, 10:44
Tim Cole
Thanks for the replies. After stewing (fuming might be a better word) about this for 24 hours I have come to the same conclusion. I am going to draft a letter to the administrative judge and suggest that he never assign this guy again. I have now heard through the grapevine that this judge has been a problem in other counties and is only assigned when there is no alternative. Other counties have requested that he not be assigned there. I now have a dope dealer who manufactured over 1000 grams of methamphetamine serving two years in state jail and it's going to take me a long time to swallow that without choking on it.
August 22, 2003, 11:21
Shane Phelps
I'd like to make sure that we are not subject to this judge's warped sense of justice in our county. Who is it?
August 24, 2003, 18:07
Tim Cole
His name is James Mullin. He is a former district judge from Weatherford.
August 25, 2003, 11:16
On behalf of those from his former district, we feel your pain!
August 25, 2003, 13:19
Tim Cole
I should have called some of you from Weatherford before I agreed to waive the jury but this was a case that I felt confident no judge could screw up. Live and learn.
August 25, 2003, 18:40
Terry Breen
Will reporting this fellow to the admin. judge solve the problem for all time? Suppose you later get a new admin. judge who starts assigning him to court again? Suppose he gets assignments from another admin. judge in a different area?

The only way to be sure to protect the public is to take statements from the witnesses, and to make a careful, detailed statement yourself of all that transpired, and turn it over to the judicial conduct people. If they do their job, he will never serve as a judge again.

Judges have enourmous discretion in how they rule on findings of fact. Appellate courts almost never disturb the trial court's findings. A foolish or, even worse, a dishonest judge can do enourmous damage to the cause of justice, and harmed parties rarely have any recourse from their decisions. Because of the lack of effective oversight, it is extremely important that bad judges be removed from the bench whenever the opportunity presents itself. Not only will this protect future innocent parties from a capricious judge, but it will let other judge's know that there are consequences to bad judging. The removal of a bad judge improves the tone of the whole judiciary and strengthens the cause of justice. For an example of a bad judge who ran rough shod over those who appeared before him for 18 years before he was defeated in a retention election, go to The sooner a bad judge is sacked, the better it is for everyone. Good luck.

[This message was edited by Terry Breen on 08-25-03 at .]
August 26, 2003, 08:27
Tim Cole
I did not mention it in my previous post but I also plan to do this. There were three witnesses to the conversation. Me, my assistant district attorney and the defense attorney. The defense attorney is an honest guy and I am sure he would not lie to protect the judge. However, I am not sure he will want to get involved in this. He was just as stunned by the judge's statement as I because we talked about it afterward. If the defense attorney does not wish to give a statement, I will list him as a witness on the complaint documentation and the Commission can contact him. Thanks for all the advice.