More crime and corruption in the federal judiciary

U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith, Jr. of Waco may have illegally accepted free legal services from an attorney who practiced in his courtroom, according to documents that I obtained from that attorney, and it looks like Judge Smith’s colleagues are trying to cover up the extent of his sexual misconduct. Meanwhile in D.C., Hillary Clinton’s personal lawyer filed charges to disbar me, apparently to cover up the misconduct of his former law partner, U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle.

Judge-SmithDavid Kendall, who chaired the D.C. court’s grievance committee, began representing the Clintons before  the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and he and Judge Huvelle worked together at Williams & Connolly, L.P. from 1978 to 1990. They were partners from 1984 to 1990. As I explained in October, Judge Huvelle secretly and illegally communicated with several attorneys around the same time that she was covering up their crimes in her courtroom.

I filed a judicial misconduct complaint, and her colleagues have blocked an investigation for more than a year. At the same time, Mr. Kendall’s committee has blocked an investigation into the attorneys for more than a year. Instead, Mr. Kendall and his committee decided to seek my disbarment.

More on that below, but first the news about Judge Smith. After filing a sexual misconduct complaint against Judge Smith, I learned that attorney Greg White of Waco had been secretly representing the judge in that investigation, and that neither of them had disclosed their relationship to the attorneys who appeared before Judge Smith and opposite Mr. White. … Read more

Ken Paxton and the State Bar of Texas

Yesterday’s bad news from the State Bar of Texas may not be the last for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. On Saturday, I filed a separate bar grievance against him for violating state securities laws.

Ken PaxtonI wasn’t planning to make the grievance public so early, and my decision to file it had surprisingly little to do with Ken Paxton himself (more on that below). That said, I now think there is a decent chance that the bar will act on the grievance.

Back in 2014, Erica Gammill of the Texas Coalition on Lawyer Accountability filed a grievance against Mr. Paxton for violating state securities laws, but the state bar dismissed the complaint without so much as an investigation. Less than a year later, however, a Collin County grand jury indicted Mr. Paxton for the same violation that was named in the 2014 bar grievance.

That begs a question: if the Texas Rangers, special prosecutors, and grand jurors found enough evidence to support a criminal charge, how can the state bar plausibly claim that there is no reason to investigate? Particularly when the criminal charge must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, while a disciplinary charge must only be proved by the lower “preponderance of the evidence” standard? The grievance that I filed on Saturday asks that very question.

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Circling the wagons in Grimes County

Several weeks ago, a tipster told me that Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell had sent his county-owned truck to a repair shop in suburban Houston that was allegedly owned by the sheriff’s cousin, incurring thousands of dollars worth of repair bills. Naturally, I started asking
questions, and apparently that has the local ruling class in a dither.

Jon FultzAfter sending emails and leaving voice messages for Sheriff Sowell and County Auditor Mary Nichols last week, I received the following email from County Attorney Jon C. Fultz this morning:

I would ask that you observe State Bar Rule 4.02 (communication with one represented by counsel). Should you have any further inquiries of County officials or employees, they should be directed to my office.

In other words, Mr. Fultz is telling me that he doesn’t want me talking to anyone in the courthouse. Interestingly, Mr. Fultz copied his email to County Judge Ben Leman, County Treasurer Janice Trant, Sheriff Sowell, and Ms. Nichols, even though I had never attempted to contact Judge Leman or Ms. Trant.

Frankly, I’m a little disappointed that Mr. Fultz thinks I’m dumb enough to accept such a misapplication of Rule 4.02. Here’s what the relevant part of the rule actually says:

In representing a client, a lawyer shall not communicate or cause or encourage another to communicate about the subject of the representation with a person, organization or entity of government the lawyer knows to be represented by another lawyer regarding that subject, unless the lawyer has the consent of the other lawyer or is authorized by law to do so.

Rule 4.02(a), Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct (emphasis added). I’m not representing a client. In fact, I’m not acting as an attorney in any capacity. I’m just a blogger who happens to be an attorney, and I have a First Amendment right to ask questions as I see fit. I also have a statutory right to file open records requests.

So, what’s the story with the sheriff’s truck? I’ll tell you what I know thus far. On January 12, 2016, I sent the following email to County Auditor Mary Nichols: … Read more