CALLING ALL HILLBILLIES: RE-ELECT JIM SHARP AT YOUR PERIL
Ever so often you get a member of the judiciary who does not give a rodent's posterior about the essential elements of a cause of action, established precedent, or the rules of civil and appellate procedure for that matter, and instead rules according to his whim; -- be it to play favorites or simply to show a disfavored litigant or attorney who is boss with the power of say-so.
Jim Sharp, desk-top jurist of Houston, fits that description.
Not only has Sharp enriched the legal lexicon with gutter slang and locutions far more suitable for inclusion in the Urban Dictionary than the latest edition of Black's, as documented in cringe-inducing detail by both the Commission on Judicial Conduct and a Special Court of Review;
Not only has Sharp seen fit to boost his stature by mounting his desk for the benefit of the readership of the local paper that might not otherwise appreciate his grandeur (see picture).
|The Emperor hath clothes, but what about propriety |
and judicial decorum?
He has also left his unseemly blots on the state's body of caselaw with holdings wacky enough to make one wonder whether he is fit to be a lawyer, not to mention a justice lording over the trial courts: How about holdings to the effect that a breach-of-contract plaintiff does not have to prove the contract; that deemed admissions can support a judgment even though the requests for admissions were never served; that an appellant failed to preserve error for appellate review of an award of attorneys fees even though the appeal was from a post-answer default judgment, which - by definition - means that the party was not present in court to make objections, which -- under long-standing precedent -- does not preclude him or her from challenging the sufficiency of the evidence on appeal; that a superseded pleading can be considered on appeal even though it was rendered inoperative by the amendment in the trial court; that the reviewing court is not bound by the trial court's findings of fact; and that a suit against a debt collector for wrongful garnishment of social security benefits under the FDCPA and the Texas Debt Collection Act/DTPA is jurisdictionally barred merely because the plaintiff also included a challenge to the constitutionality of the garnishment statute and had not notified the Texas Attorney General of that argument.
Justice Sharp felt no compunction about using his authority as a member of the First Court of Appeals in a bid to obtain special treatment for a teen-aged girl caught shop lifting, did not feel constrained to direct a fusillade of insults at county employees who refused to acquiesce to his meddling, and has not felt constrained by established precedent and rules of procedure in his work on the court of appeals either.
As his peers are loath to police one of their own, especially when those harmed by the aberrant jurisprudence are -- to use Sharp's derogatory diction - mere hillbillies -- the job of stopping a wayward jurist on an ego trip from inflicting even more damage, and from continuing to make a mockery of rules and precedent, will be left to the voting public, come election day.
|Justice Jim Sharp wants your vote despite having been reprimanded by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct|