Tag Archives: Texas Justice

Two Texas Judges Leave GOP – Will the Trickle Become a Flood?

In the past two weeks, two Texas judges have said, “Enough” to the Tea Party dominated Texas GOP.  First Terry Jennings of the First Court of Appeals in Houston switched to the Democrats.  According to Jennings:

 “The Democratic party- and the Democratic party alone- presents our country with a positive and optimistic vision for the future of all Americans, not just a select few.”

Then this week, Judge Lauren Parish of the 115th Judicial District which serves Upshur and Marion Counties returned to the fold.  Parish had served as a Democrat but changed teams as those  rural counties turned more and more red.  Parish cited her Christian values in making the decision to return to the Democratic Party.

“The Grand Old Party of Lincoln no longer exists today. The current Republican Party has abandoned all the principles instilled in me by my parents, my church and my community.

I was brought up to respect my fellow man and to respect authority, to love my neighbor, to help those who cannot help themselves, and to help build people up not tear people down.

I see no way of reconciling my Christian beliefs with the manner in which the Republican Party is conducting itself. That is why I feel compelled to stand up and come back to the Texas Democratic Party.”

Almost too predictably, the Republican powers that be in Upshur County are now contemplating suing Parish after she issued an order making it easier for prospective jurors to do their civic duty.  Parish ordered the court house to be opened at 7:30 on jury days with the metal detector operating.  That got up the hackles of the Tea Party controlled county government and the county commissioners have hired an Austin law firm to investigate whether to sue Parish.

Red doubts that this signifies a larger trend.  It may be that some RINO judges in Harris County join Jennings in abandoning the GOP ship, but it seems unlikely right now.  If the Democrats sweep in November, Red may be singing a different tune.

 

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Is Texas Still Executing the Innocent?

This month Texas executed 67 year-old Lester Bower after 31 years on Death Row.  Bower, a devout Baptist, husband and father of two  daughters had never been in the slightest bit of legal trouble when he was arrested, tried and convicted for allegedly killing 4 men in an aircraft hangar on a ranch near Sherman.  The prosecution’s theory was that he killed the men to cover up his theft of a $3000 ultralight aircraft.  Bower appears to have been in the wrong place shortly before the wrong time and compounded his problem by foolishly attempting to keep his wife from learning about buying the aircraft. Many now think that there is no way that Bower would have been convicted if the current evidence had been available at trial. Several witnesses have came forward to implicate four other men for the killings which probably occurred as a result of a drug deal gone bad.  But without clear and convincing evidence of actual innocence, Bower was out of luck and on the wrong side of the legal system.   Politico reports on the most recent execution of another possibly innocent man.