Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mikal Watts' Judge Buying - Grounds For Disbarment?

According to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct:

8.04 (a) A lawyer shall not... (5) state or imply an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official
If we backtrack to see where Watts has claimed an advantage because of his and his firm's "heavy" financial support to court judges, how can that NOT be a grounds for at least some sort of action.

Recently unearthed, though, is a new series of emails between Watts and his chums about how to meet, and how to coordinate their millions to best buy seats on the court. In "A Plot To Control The Bench," El Defenzor posts full emails between Mikal Watts and other area attorneys. With a subject line of Keeping Our Power Dry on the 148, the attorneys collude to hand-pick the best candidates:
What does everyone think about a meeting two Fridays from now to discuss a plan of action? - Mikal Watts, Watts Law Firm

We operate with a lot more clout and effectiveness when we operate together. - Mikal Watts, Watts Law Firm

I am also in trial and also agree entirely. - William Edwards, Edwards Law Firm

I want everyone to be spending money on the same candidate for the 148th. - Doug Allison, Law Offices of Doug Allison

Sounds good. - Jim Ragan, Law Office of Jim Ragan

By the way, it is my understanding that both Elbert Ocanas and David Huerta would only run for the 148th if Marisela did NOT. - David Bright, Watts Law Firm

sounds good. - David Rumley, Wigington Rumley LLP
Which makes me wonder about...
col·lu·sion [kuh-loo-zhuhn] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
1.a secret agreement, esp. for fraudulent or treacherous purposes; conspiracy: Some of his employees were acting in collusion to rob him.
2.Law. a secret understanding between two or more persons to gain something illegally, to defraud another of his or her rights, or to appear as adversaries though in agreement: collusion of husband and wife to obtain a divorce.
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

So at the very least, a solid group of affluent Corpus Christi lawyers are working together to get judges elected, and at least one, Mikal Watts, has used that fact to persuade legal opponents to settle out of court. If not illegal, it's unethical at best. Trial lawyers typically claim they stand for the common guy against large corporations, but at the cost of justice in our courts, I'm not sure that's a fair trade.

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