I have to admit that when I first saw Felicia Cravens’ complaint against Judge Mike Anderson, I was half, oh well, and half, hey, that is Judge Denise Bradley’s courtroom, I need to warn her. I mean, I’ve seen this stuff so often through the years that I’ve come to accept it. Yeah, I know shame on me and good on Felicia for not. And as for Judge Bradley, she had been very nice to me during her campaign and I thought that I was returning the favor. Although I was never able to contact her directly, I was able to get word to her through an intermediary.
Lot of good that did. I couldn’t have protected her because Judge Anderson himself hung her out to dry. In a blog post on Chron.com, either Chris Moran or Brian Rogers got this from Judge Anderson:
“Whether it’s the Cub Scouts or the South Texas College of Law doing mock trials or (Houston Bar Association) doing (continuing legal education), those are public courtrooms and you seek permission from the judge, which I did,” Anderson said. “It’s just been customary at the courthouse, for the 30 years I’ve been around, that if you want to use a courtroom, you ask the judge.”
He said Bradley even signed the group in and watched them go through the metal detectors at security.
Let’s review the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct:
Canon 2, B. A judge shall not allow any relationship to influence judicial conduct or judgment. A judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others; nor shall a judge convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge. A judge shall not testify voluntarily as a character witness.
Great. Wonderful. Now both judges are guilty of judicial misconduct. Sad state of affairs down at the courthouse. And this is what people want to go back to?
No, Judge Anderson (and Judge Bradley), you don’t just “ask the judge” if you want to use a courtroom. Here is how it is done:
SECTION 7. NON-OFFICIAL USE OF PUBLIC AREAS
7.1 In accordance with this section, those Public Areas suitable for meetings or gatherings may be made available for Non-Official Use after regular business hours provided such Public Areas are not needed for official business. However, such Non-Official Use may not be scheduled between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m..
7.2 Any Entity desiring to meet or gather in such Public Areas for a Non-Official Use shall submit a written request at least ten days prior to the initial proposed use. Each request shall be valid for a period not to exceed ninety days. All requests shall be submitted to the FPM Customer Service Section at 1310 Prairie, Suite 140, Houston, Texas 77002. The request shall provide: (1) the full name, mailing address, e-mail address, and telephone number of the Entity, and the Person representing the Entity, desiring to make the Non-Official Use; (2) a specific description of the Public Area to be used; (3) a general description of the nature of the Non-Official Use (i.e., meeting) and the expected number of participants; (4) the dates and hours during which the Public Area is to be used; and (5) a promise to pay any cleanup or other costs.
7.3 Use is allocated by the County or District on a first-come, first-served basis, and is subject to the availability of the requested Public Area.
7.4 The Public Areas provided herein are primarily for official business, and in the event of a conflict, the need and use for official business shall take priority.
7.5 The County or District reserves the right to preempt or interrupt the scheduled use of the Public Area if the Public Area is needed to conduct official business.
7.6 A Person who makes Non-Official Use of a Public Area Surrounding a Public Building may hold, carry, or display as much material as that Person can hold, carry, or display on his or her Person at all times. Any excess material or any material found in the Public Area after the Person has left shall be removed.
7.7 A Person may use a portable chair or table while holding, carrying, or displaying material, but a Person may not place articles in or on Premises that give the impression of permanent or semi-permanent occupancy or residency (for example, a bed, cot, filing cabinet, sofa, desk, heater, refrigerator, stove, or portable bathroom facilities). Any excess articles shall be removed.
7.8 Activities may not interfere with or disrupt the conduct of official business, or interfere with the free ingress and egress to the Premises.
And here are copies of the forms that are supposed to be filed ten days prior to expected use: