WE ARE DEDICATED TO EXPOSING BAD JUDGES IN STATE AND MUNICIPAL COURTS

Our local court system is in crisis. Runaway juries that get it wrong, the impossibility of even scheduling hearings within a decent time frame, judges who refuse to recuse themselves when they should and an ignorant electorate that has no clue what is going on. We believe the first part of the problem with the courts is "bad judges". Judges who disregard judical conduct statutes, judges who don't care about being impartial and applying the law fairly and judges that are just incompetent in the knowledge of the law and in their management of their courts. We believe the second part of the problem is the ignorance of the American voter (and candidates running for judicial office that take advantage of that). Few Americans have any clue about judical races at election time. Its time for the American Voter to start holding all judges, at all court levels, accountable for their behavior! This website is not about political affiliation or political beliefs; this is about judges who are abusing their power, who have no regard for fairness or any code of judicial conduct, whose arrogance has become so overpowering in their view of themselves and what they do, they have forgotten who they serve. This website is about educating you, the electorate, about these bad judges and who they are.

WE NEED YOU TO HELP US! IF YOU HAVE WITNESSED BAD BEHAVIOR, INCOMPETENT BEHAVIOR OR UNABASHEDLY BIASED BEHAVIOR BY A JUDGE, TELL US HERE!




Thursday, July 12, 2012

MARK PRICE, 89TH DISTRICT COURT, WICHITA FALLS, TEXAS. UNFIT TO SERVE.

BLOGGER'S NOTE:  This blog posting is not about a disagreement with this judge because of a final decision he made in my divorce, a divorce not of my choosing.  Judges make enemies every day with their decisions.  This is not the case here.  What is the case is the story of a judge that has a total disregard for his obligations to the citizens that elected him and has no regard for the judicial code of conduct in the State of Texas.  His arrogance is such that he feels he is above the law.  Though my experience with him only involved a divorce case, it runs chills down my spine to think this man is presiding over criminal cases, cases that demand a judge that is serious about his conduct and the people he serves.

Here is what what other lawyers that practice law in Wichita County, Texas say about Mark Price:

“I would never practice in the 89th court without being a campaign contributor of Mark Price.” – statement made to me in October, 2008 by an attorney I interviewed, in my search for legal counsel for a divorce my wife filed.

“I am a campaign contributor of Mark Price.  He will do anything I ask him to.”  - statement made by another Wichita Falls attorney I interviewed in May, 2010, in my search for legal counsel.

This guy is clearly running a “pay for privilege” court as he goes about his business as judge!  It’s a system of legalized bribery.  It’s Chicago-style politics in the heart of North Texas and its corrupt.  I witnessed this man show a clear bias to my wife’s attorney, who was not only a campaign contributor, but a close friend.  My attorney for most of the duration of this divorce was not a campaign contributor and it was to my detriment.

What I witnessed for 24 months convinced me that Mark Price is not only a corrupt judge, but inept.  He makes no secret of his bias to friends and campaign contributors.  He has no sense of when it is appropriate to recuse himself from a case. 

Over the course of this proceeding, my final hearing was postponed 5 times.  What should have taken no more than 120 days, took 2 years.  There is no doubt this was intentional, for the most part, and in small part, due to incompetence in the administration of Mark Price's own court.  Intentional, because its a way of rewarding his campaign contributors that practice in his court more legal fees.  The longer and drawn out a proceeding, the more legal fees attorneys can charge.  In the case of my wife's attorney, who was a campaign contributor and close friend, it was an attempt to get his attorney's fees paid (as she was not paying her legal bills).  Postpone the final hearing, make it difficult to schedule a final hearing, but yet keep granting requests for this attorney for more temporary support hearings, that equate to more temporary support payments, on the chance that out of those support payments, attorney's fees will be paid.  Incompetent in that your court can't get the scheduled hearing dates right and everyone misses the hearing, because they were given another date and time by a clerk in the court.

Here's another quote:  “A judge shall comply with the law and should act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. A judge shall not allow any relationship to influence judicial conduct or judgment.  A judge shall perform judicial duties without bias or prejudice.  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.”  Those lines were taken from the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct.

If you have read this far, please read further. 

For what was scheduled to be the 3rd final hearing date, I showed up at my attorney's office at the appropriate time, 1 hour before the hearing.  While we were preparing for the hearing, we get a call from the court, wondering why we were not in the courtroom for the final hearing, which they claimed had been scheduled 2 hours earlier.  We rushed over to the courthouse, at which time my attorney, and my wife's attorney, went into Judge Price's chambers.  Both my attorney and my wife's attorney had been given a later time by the clerk in the Court than what the Court said was the actual time for the hearing. After about 30 minutes, my attorney comes out and ushers me to a private room.  I was told, by my own attorney, that the Judge gave him a message to deliver to me: "Pay your wife more money, or I am going to assess you back temporary support since the last temporary support order expired."  The last temporary support order had expired 6 months prior to this date.  That order had been honored in every respect.  It was through no fault of my own that it had expired and we were now having a final hearing 6 months after that expiration.  But, without any due process, which I was entitled to, I was being "blackmailed" into paying more temporary support.  On top of that, Judge Price was telling me what his ruling was going to be if we had a hearing, without even hearing any evidence.  Are these the actions of a judge that has sworn an oath to be unbiased in his conduct?

Many times judges “punish” problem defendants.  That was certainly not the case here, as I was a model defendant that honored every order and observed every decorum in the Court.

Some quotes from Mark Price himself:

“Okay, I have made my decision.”  - Judge Mark Price, after only hearing the testimony of my wife, the plaintiff, and not even hearing any of my testimony as the defendant in a divorce proceeding, June 14, 2010.

“He’s just going to state the opposite of what she said…” – Judge Mark Price,  after making the statement above, responding to my attorney telling him that his client had not yet testified.

This man openly admitted he had made his decision without even hearing one bit of my testimony.  These are the actions of a Judge that is serious about his job?  My attorney, who had entered into evidence a deposition I did for this hearing, asked the judge to at least read that deposition, if he would not allow me to testify.  He agreed to do that, but there is no evidence that he read that deposition before he announced his final decision the next day.

I filed a complaint with the Judicial Review Board of Texas, knowing that I would not get the justice I seek.  As I thought, the Board responded, after 8 months of "investigating" my charges that there was "not enough evidence".  Of course, the Board did not bother to interview at least one key witness I listed, that witnessed the incident where I was told to pay more money to my wife without any temporary support hearing.

In a telling event in this saga, at one of the temporary support hearings, a visiting judge from Denton, Texas heard the case because Mark Price was ill.  When this judge heard that this case had dragged on for a year and half and that we had only been married for 11 months and there was no disagreement as to the division of what little community property there was, he said, "It's time to end this.  Let's have the final hearing now".  My wife's attorney objected, saying that he "was not prepared" to have a final hearing.  And so no final hearing was had. 

When the final hearing did occur, with Judge Price in attendance, the hearing lasted a little over an hour.  But yet over the course of 2 years, Judge Price's court was more than willing to grant 2 hour time slots for temporary support hearings requested by my wife's attorney, but found it hard to get a time for a final hearing that lasted 1 hour.

In closing, through some post-trial motions I instructed my attorney to file, Mark Price finally made a ruling that was fair in my divorce, but it came after a bad (and arguably illegal) initial ruling, under threat of an appeal by me and only after my wife's attorney withdrew from the case (and I had now hired an attorney that was a generous contributor to Mark Price's campaign).

This is not how justice should occur.

So, I am convicted.  Convicted that something needs to be done about this Judge, that the people that vote in elections in Wichita County, Texas need to know about how this man behaves in his courtroom.  I am convinced that this is not just a problem confined to a small county in North Texas, but it is an epidemic affecting our courts across the country.

If you would like to view or download the complaint I filed with the Texas Commission on Judical Conduct, go to this site: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/v1zb8dccbb5wm91/PUXCiCC6bi

Russ Darbyshire
Frisco, Texas