Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Judge Has Said This Is the Deal, You Will Take the Deal

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has this eye-popping story of Judge Bob Gill ([pic), the Tarrant County, Texas Judge who handled probation revocation hearings like Mickey-Ds dispenses burgers. 

Gill who retired in 2007 "disposed" of almost 8,000 probation violation cases in 14 years on bench dwarfing the caseload of his peers--all without the necessity of the Prosecutor's office participating in the bargaining.  Get this, if you were indigent, in front of Judge Gill on a probation violation, Gill would appoint your attorney, tell you what the deal was, and if you didn't like the deal, then too bad, you would do a lot more time in jail.  Neither he, the court-appointed attorney, (had had a favorite), or the prosecutor had a problem with this unconstitutional game of judicial solitaire.  In fact after Gill retired from the bench his buddies in the prosecutor's office made him the chief deputy. 

The story came out because some poor crazy woman sought a writ of habeus corpus and her new counsel wanted to know why this woman's mental health wasn't put in to issue as it related to the probation violation mattter in front of Judge Gill particularly when she tried to hang herself in the jail cell.  According to Danny Robbins Associated Press article:

 "An attorney who regularly represented indigent probationers facing revocation in Gill's court has testified that the jud ge personally negotiated plea deals, a role normally reserved for prosecutors. Rejecting Gill's offer often meant a tougher sentence if he later heard the case and decided that a violation occurred, the attorney, William H. 'Bill' Ray, said under oath. 'In his court as opposed to other courts, there was no interaction with the prosecutors,' Ray testified. 'They didn't enter into the conversation unless it became a contested matter.' Ray, a well-known Fort Worth criminal defense attorney, testified at a hearing in federal court in May that was part of a case that has since been sealed. Documents from the case were obtained by the AP."

Ray was the favored litigator and made mucho bucks for essentially turning a blind eye to the Judge's antics. 

This is a scary tale of a Judge entirely losing his grip on what the role of a judge is;  Judge Gill was not a neutral and impartial referee, he was Monty Hall and his courtroom was Let's Make a Deal. 

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately for my son, he is facing the same terrible circumstances with Bill Ray being appointed to his case in Wise Co. We filed a grievance and now Mr Ray has retaliated and has the local DA involved and my son will probably suffer the consequences because he is a crooked lawyer not doing his job and trying to get clients to plead guilty to make his life easier so he can collect what small sum of money they get for each case. He has already proved that he is unprofessional and should step down and not inflict his "judgements" on people that cant help themselves. I do take note that these kind of attorneys will practice in crooked counties, such as Wise Co, where all the lawyers, judges and law enforcement are in the sack together. Its all about money and power.

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