Note: Edited to correct spelling error
Justice of the Peace place 5-1 is one of the few areas of the county left that has a reasonable chance of electing a republican in November. The primary is contested, and the residents of the district have a change to remove a very poor judge. The Houston Bar Association solicits input from bar members to evaluate judicial performance, and in the category of “Follows the law” the current judge, Ridgway, was rated last insofar as excellent response, tied for last in needs improvement, and last in net excellent minus needs improvement. The actual percentages are listed below.
These results are in line with my personal experience in his court.
The dismal evaluation shows that Ridgway is a poor judge and not worthy of reelection; which raises the question of who is a better alternative, Wolfe or Higginbotham? In the primaries, it’s important to vote keeping two considerations in mind. First, is the candidate reasonably aligned with your views, and second, does the candidate have a chance to win in November.
Of these two, Hibbinbotham is the better choice. Wolfe is a vulnerable candidate in November. Wolfe is presently an elected member of the HCDE. I don’t share the viewpoint of those who attack the HCDE, and will write about that at a later time. His presence on the HCDE easily could be turned into an asset in the general election if he was not bearing the burden of the credible harassment allegation and public report associated with the hiring of a secretary for HCDE. Anyone can make a mistake, but this senseless course of action is so recent as to be possibly insurmountable come November.
Higginbotham makes a better candidate in November. She is an experienced attorney so is not vulnerable to attacks that she would have to learn the legal system and how to evaluate the law. She is actively campaigning so already has some degree of campaign structure in place. While these aren’t the check boxes for what makes a good candidate, they are the check boxes needed to be an electable candidate for a justice of the peace position. The residents of this district are best served by having Hibbinbotham victorious in the primary.
I have appeared before Judge Ridgeway, and found him to be well-prepared and that he followed the law. JP courts are not a court of record and have special court rules, so I would be less confident in bar poll results as an indicator of the quality of the judge. I have yet to see Higginbotham on the campaign trail, and assume she was recruited by Eric Dick, who has endorsed her, and who is no longer a friend of Wolfe.
Dylan Glass says
This is something she knew she wanted to do when Judge Ridgway ignored the advice of her and other attorneys on how to make the court more effective. People currently wait hours on end and cases have been left unresolved for years at a time. She is running for the right reasons. She was collecting signatures weeks before Wolfe and filed before him as well. With the jurisdictional limit of the court being expanded to $20k, it’s important we have a judge who understands the law and won’t legislate from the bench.
Doug aka “Mainstream” openly supports democrats and apparently hates the special needs kids at HCDE. I’m tired of listening to him cry like a baby about stuff at the Pachyderm meetings. Do you need a bottle, Doug? Otherwise, SHUT UP! No one cares what you have to say. No one care who you hate.
Greg Degeyter says
Last time I appeared before him was a bench trial. He says I have proven my case, and he can find no case law to stop me. However he says he is so concerned by the cause of action that he is finding for the defendant.
On appeal to County Court 1 I’m allowed to collect the debt for the homeowners association.
That’s not following the law.
Don Sumners says
In my mind, the consideration of Degeyter’s criticism of Judge Ridgeway immediately came into question. First expressed the opinion he doesn’t agree with the widespread criticism of HCDE. HCDE has serious documented problems, with even more to come. Then he brought up his experience before Ridgeway representing a homeowners association. Obviously, I don’t know the particular circumstances of the case, but homeowners associations don’t have a very good record of treating members fairly. This may been one of those situations. Judge Ridgeway may have made his decision just to show his disdain for the HOA’ behavior in the case. I recall a very well thought of westside JP who would weigh into cases to assure fair treatment of persons before him.
There is the well celebrated case many years ago of the homeowners association foreclosing on an elderly woman over an $8 balance. She was rescued only by the public outcry of the HOA treatment of woman. Years ago I personally became aware of a HOA foreclosure for delinquent dues where the property was sold for a ridiculously low amount, and the owner had evidence the buyer was an HOA insider.
My own homeowners association several years ago had to pay out, I think $500,000, for its persecution of a woman homeowner because they didn’t approve of the landscaping in her front yard. The immediate neighbors supported the woman. A similar case of HOA abuse of an elderly couple was exposed on TV recently.
Greg Degeyter says
Don, you really should consider before criticizing. If motive is considered your hands are especially unclean with regards to HCDE.
Regarding my most recent case with Ridgeay can you actually point to any facts, or is this your usual MO of cast blame without attempting to ascertain the facts?
I’m waiting, what was the fact pattern in my case?
Or are you so blinded by your tunnel vision to destroy HCDE that facts don’t matter?
Greg Degeyter says
What’s striking about the comments us that so far all comments critical of the endorsement both are HCDE related rather than related to the merits of the JP race.
Jack Smythe says
If you’re so appalled by Ridgeway’s behavior, why didn’t you put your money where your mouth is. It has become quite obvious to me that the loudest complainers are the last to step up and run for office.
Gregory Degeyter says
That’s horrible reasoning. A viable candidate is running in opposition, me running would only dilute the vote. In addition, pointing out that he’s a horrible jurist doesn’t equate with me being the loudest complainer. That’s a common position by those who appear before him.
Higginbotham had no idea I was going to endorse her, but she’s clearly the best candidate. Again, supporting a candidate doesn’t mean the loudest complainer.