Friday, March 6, 2009

It pays to be a judge

To paraphrase Chris Issak, notice the robe.

First we had State District Judge Elizabeth Berry receive a free pass from a Johnson County court in an evidentiary hearing in which the presiding judge tossed out a blood test due to insufficient probable cause in the affidavit. Of course, if ordinary Joe or Jane were stopped for driving more than 2o mph over the speed limit and weaving and had a strong smell of an alcoholic beverage on their breath and had red glassy eyes and had a bevy of empties in the floorboard of their car, I dare say a judge would find enough probable cause to support the arrest.

Now we have the tale of Montgomery County (Texas) Judge Alan Sadler who was arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated after rear-ending another car in Conroe after leaving a restaurant where he had dinner and a couple of drinks. Police obtained a search warrant to draw Judge Sadler's blood. Judge Sadler blew a .02 about two hours after being detained. The Montgomery County DA's Office was kind enough to have Judge Sadler release the following morning and is now awaiting test results before deciding whether or not to file charges.

[note: in Texas, the County Judge is an administrative office -- the presiding officer of the commissioners' court which is the chief administrative body in a county.)

I wonder how many ordinary Janes and Joes are given the same benefit of the doubt? My clients are held at the county jail until someone posts a bond and they are left to fight a DWI while we await the results of a blood test.

The presumption of innocence lives in Texas - if you're a judge, that is.

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