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All right. I haven't produced a serious diary in quite some time, but I can't let wingnuttery's tool of the year, Bill Frist, drop his nuclear option next week in honor of this piece of shit Owens without putting a face on what the fuck this despicable load of corporate feces truly represents.

And that face is: Willie Searcy

I first read about Priscilla The Hun's rat fucking of Willie Sercy a couple of years back in a book called "Bushwhacked: Life in George Bush's America" by Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose. I remember reading the account at the time and feeling physically ill and I told myself I'd never forget what this person did to that young man, all in the service of corporate America.

Then yesterday, Dubose reprised the harrowing story in an article on Salon (subscription or day pass required). Please read the entire account. Dubose's retelling loses some of the great Ms. Ivins' acid-tongue Texas wit, but still manages to convey the complete lack of morality and, to put it bluntly, a true lack of humanity on the part of Owens.

More on the flip

I think that sometimes it is helpful to step away from our talking points when we make the case for or against a particular nominee. In Owens' case, we all know that she is an absolute extremist right wing judicial activist who's view on abortion are somewhere to the right of Tom Delay's. But that particular issue is so contentious that it sometimes can be summarily dismissed as nothing more than a partisian squabble.

But I truly think that every fucking thing that anyone with a modicum of human decency would find abhorrent about a judicial nominee is apparent in the the sad, tragic case of Willie Seacry. The story shows:

  1. An utter lack of compassion;
  2. Out of control judicial activism;
  3. Complete subjugation to corporate interests;
  4. And a tenuous, at best, grip on the notion of "fairness" as it relates to judicial review.

For those of you who want the nuts and bolts of this case in 16 inches, here's an AP account of the story filed on July 16, 2002 when Owens was first nominated by Shrub.

Here's the nut graph:

...A jury agreed and awarded the family $40 million in damages. An appeals court reduced the amount to $30 million before the case reached the Texas Supreme Court.

Attorneys on both sides of the case asked for a quick ruling, Ford because it hoped the verdict would be reversed and Searcy's family because they needed the money.

"The family did not have the money to provide the medical care he needed," Jack Ayres, the family's attorney, told the Austin American-Statesman.

The case sat for more than two years. For more than a year after oral arguments, the case languished with Owen, who was to write the opinion. When she issued it in March 1998, the opinion wiped out the damages and ordered a new trial.

Owen's opinion held that the original lawsuit was filed in the wrong court, a question that was not among the issues the Supreme Court had agreed to hear when it accepted the case.

To sum up the case: Willie Seacry was a young black man who, at the age of 14, became a quadriplegic in 1993 when a car veered into the one driven by his stepdad and a defective seat belt caused his spinal cord to be severed in the crash. Although a jury awarded him $40 million in damages (reduced to $30 million on appeal), Ms. Owens tossed the award and ordered a new trial, all the while the family's bills piled up and the quality of his care deterioated. The full extent to which Ms. Owens rat fucked this young man is stunning and involves a disregard for life -- to say nothing of blatant, reckless judicial activism -- that you really must read the entire account as layed down by Dubose.

In 1996, Owens received the case in the Texas Supreme Court and promptly -- or most would argue, in anything but PROMPT attention -- stretched it out for the next 5 years.

Willie Scearcy died in the summer of 2001. Here's how Dubose characterized his death (remember, this is a kid that a jury and an appeals court agreed deserved millions in damages):

Ford's second round of procedural appeals finally ran out on June 29, 2001, when the Dallas Court of Appeals handed down a ruling that seemed to guarantee Susan Miles the money she needed to care for her son. The boy -- who had (heroically) graduated from high school, wheeled from class to class by an attendant who monitored the ventilator that kept him breathing and held a transducer to his throat to allow him to "talk" -- was now 21 and living by a system his parents had patched together.

Four days later, on July 3, the patchwork system of care unraveled. Willie's night attendant left at 4 a.m. At 5 a.m. Susan Miles walked into her son's bedroom and immediately realized that something was wrong. The ventilator was not working. "Aged out" of Medicaid at 21, Willie's weekly nursing allotment had been reduced from 104 to 34 hours. His working-class parents didn't have the resources to hire round-the-clock attendants or place him in a facility where he would have round-the-clock monitoring and care. What Jack Ayres had described nine years earlier as "a race to save this kid's life" had become a marathon. But it was over.

When asked by Sen Dianne Feinstein during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, why the decision took so long while Willie Searcy's life was in peril, Owens had this to say:

"He didn't pass away while his case was before my court," she said.

Culture of Life, indeed.

Originally posted to bigskiphazzy on Fri May 13, 2005 at 03:13 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  recommend if you want (4.00)
    But read Lou Dubose's article and don't let this story die. This woman (a bonafide Rove creation I might add) must be stopped.

    If you aren't outraged, you're not paying attention.

    by bigskiphazzy on Fri May 13, 2005 at 03:02:59 PM PDT

  •  This fits in with a long pattern (4.00)
    of delay by Owen on parental notification cases and the like.  It's a subtler way of engaging in judicial activism; instead of writing an opinion that people might criticize you for later, just bottle the thing up with procedural delays until it's too late.
    •  Yeah, but (4.00)
      it was even grosser, in the sense that then she ruled on the case on a point that WASN'T EVEN PART OF THE APPEAL, which seems to me, to be the very definition of OVERT judicial activism.

      If you aren't outraged, you're not paying attention.

      by bigskiphazzy on Fri May 13, 2005 at 03:33:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  maybe (none)
        Let me see if I can look up the decision.
      •  my answer (none)
        There was a dissenting opinion by four judges, who basically said that Owen was wrong about the case being in the wrong court.  But the dissenters never claimed that the issue shouldn't be considered at all since it wasn't listed as one of the issues for appeal - suggesting that she didn't overreach in the manner you suggested, or they would have raised some objection.
        •  Boy, do I disagree (4.00)
          I was a law clerk to a NY appellate Court for two years.  Never, during that time, did my justices reverse on an issue nobody had appealed. In fact, I've been a lawyer for nearly 25 years, and I have yet to see that happen in NY.

          The fact that the other four didn't object to the fact that the issue wasn't briefed surprises me, but that doesn't mean the Court can't look at the issue.  But the bottom line is that the appellate courts don't have the time (usually) to scan a record for any issues that aren't raised.  And, if they should happen upon something that bothered them, they would ask the parties to brief the issue (at least giving the plaintiff's lawyers a chance to be heard).

          AND to take two years on a case where an expedited hearing had been requested by BOTH parties is unconscionable.  My Court never took two years to decide ANY case.  My Presiding Justice (the chief judge) would have had an almighty FIT.  The most they took was a few months, when a particularly difficult criminal case provoked some judges to change sides after conference, requiring a new judge (now in the majority) to write the opinion. And THAT made my Chief Judge get mighty prickly (every draft circulting between chambers seemed to have big red ink on it, saying "HURRY UP!!!!").

          I just hope what goes around, comes around.


          We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

          by Mary Julia on Fri May 13, 2005 at 04:46:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  well, it depends (4.00)
            There are certain issues that an appellate court can raise sua sponte (for example, subject matter jurisdiction).

            Putting that aside, I think we have only the word of the press account that venue wasn't among the issues appealed by Ford.  This strikes me as odd; venue was clearly disputed in the trial court (a detailed factual record was made), and the issue was analyzed by the intermediate appellate court, 922 S.W.2d 572.  It seems counterintuitive that Ford would appeal the issue of venue to the Court of Appeals and then abandon it in their Supreme Court appeal, so I don't know what to think other than that we are not getting the full story.

            I absolutely, positively agree with you that the delay is completely unreasonable, and as a former appellate clerk, I hope people recognize that you are in a position to know.

            •  I'm no lawyer, (4.00)
              but the Salon article said something about the state law allowing a court case to be tried anywhere the defendant had an interest.  There was a Ford dealership in the area where they finally brought the case.  

              ::shrug::  As I said, I'm not a lawyer, but that seemed to fit the guidelines, at least to my meager opinion.

              One-issue voters get what they deserve.

              by Heiuan on Fri May 13, 2005 at 05:12:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yeah (none)
                but Owen was like well, it really means any county where the defendant has an agent who is authorized to represent the corporation, and a dealership isn't really authorized to represent the corporation, all they do is sell cars, blah blah blah, they don't have discretionary power over corporate affairs, blah blah blah...

                It seems like a big stretch to me, and the dissenting judges basically said "Hey!  You just ignored the facts that you didn't like!" but it's a nuanced point that lawyers could argue all day.

                •  here's how i see it... (4.00)
                  Priscilla Owen is a corporate tool who was a corporate lawyer before Karl Rove turned her into a judge. Whatever nuance she wants to attribute to her ruling, the fact is, she went OUT OF HER WAY, to not just delay this case, but to burn it to the ground on what can generously be called a "difference of opinion." ... On behalf of Ford Motor Company and against this disabled kid. And I also found it interesting that lawyers on BOTH SIDES request a speedy decision and she proceeded to wait nearly 18 months to rule.

                  To my mind, Priscilla Owen was "working the clock" hoping time would expire, and it finally did on July 3, 2001.

                  Is this the type of person we want with a lifetime appointment to a federal bench?

                  If you aren't outraged, you're not paying attention.

                  by bigskiphazzy on Fri May 13, 2005 at 08:26:40 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  hey, I don't disagree (4.00)
                    What I'm saying is, her brand of activism is cagier than most.  Instead of writing extremist opinions that people can criticize, she relies on delays to do her dirty work for her, while keeping her written opinions narrowly confined to vanilla issues of appellate review.  Only when you put all the pieces together - as some have done by identifying her pattern of delay in ALL the abortion notification cases - does the plan become apparent.
    •  Is this the judge... (4.00)
      that Abu Gonzales said was "too extreme" and "legislated from the bench" when he was on the TX SC?

      One-issue voters get what they deserve.

      by Heiuan on Fri May 13, 2005 at 04:37:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Evil (4.00)
    Was that the whole response to Feinstein?
    No, remorse? No soul searching?

    Hey, the kid died after I tried to kill him and failed. It's not my fault.

    I've got tons of secret evidence that proves my case. Trust me.

    by mungley on Fri May 13, 2005 at 03:11:34 PM PDT

  •  Bitch? (4.00)
    Please, no need for that. Weakens your argument and makes you look like a hater of women.

    "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

    by Armando on Fri May 13, 2005 at 03:13:19 PM PDT

  •  Souless Murderer (4.00)
    Thank you for this post. I was not aware of this case. This is George Bush's culture of life. This is a heartbreaking story that should serve as a warning to all those who seek justice in America today.

    Heartless bitch is a gracious assesment of this woman.  Souless murderer is more appropriate.

    Thanks again for the post. Just emailed this story to some friends.

  •  me too (4.00)
    his piece of shit Owens without putting a face on what the fuck this despicable load of corporate feces truly represents.

    my sentiments exactly

    spin positive... inspire change

    by missliberties on Fri May 13, 2005 at 04:28:59 PM PDT

  •  Great post (4.00)
    I wanted to diary this exact case after reading it in Ivin's book but I suck at diaries. Thanks.

    I liked that part in the book where someone states that activist judges are poisonous to the court system. They take away predictability of the law.

    New idea for Comedy Central game show: Kick Ben Stein's Ass

    by bobinson on Fri May 13, 2005 at 04:33:51 PM PDT

  •  People like her only care... (none)
    about disabled people dying when they can score political points from it.  I wonder what her position on Shiavo was?
  •  This is a despicable story (4.00)
    . . . that deserves to be much more widely aired. "Compassionate conservatism" at work. What a witch. As an attorney with extensive appellate experience, I cannot emphasize how unusual and improper what Owen and the other judges in the majority did. As Dubose says in the article, it is beyond extraordinary that Owen would decide the case on an issue that Ford had never raised, in relation to a statute that no longer existed. Ford plainly waived the venue issue by never raising it at any level -- the trial court, the appellate court, or the state supreme court. Courts very, very rarely overlook a complete waiver like this and raise and decide such an issue on their own. They might, very rarely, do so if the issue is a recurrent one that will be faced by many courts in the future. In that -- I emphasize very rare -- event, the court would surely have briefing and oral argument on that issue. It is judicial activism of the worst sort to decide a case, with such momentous consequences for the losing litigant, on a waived ground raised only by the court itself, without argument or briefing on that issue. This was an incredible, obscene, outrageous judicial gift to Ford. Someone should take a look at the campaign contributions Owen and the other four justices in the majority received after this decision. I would not be surprised to find that they were handsomely rewarded.

    Send Dubya back to the ranch! BeatBushBlog

    by Frederick on Fri May 13, 2005 at 04:42:04 PM PDT

  •  Life imitates art: Rainmaker film (none)
    1997, starring Matt Damon, Danny Devito. I really liked it. Leukemia victim dies while insurance company refuses to pay for a bone marrow transplant. Damon smashes them in court. Just for fun, here is the review from
    The Rainmaker

    Moral Rating:     Very Offensive
    Moviemaking Quality:     3½
    Primary Audience:     Adults

    Francis Ford Coppola brings to life John Grisham's The Rainmaker. The injustices of a major health insurance corporation and the struggle of a neophyte attorney are the centerpieces to this novel gone motion picture. Matt Damon plays the fresh-out-of-law-school attorney, Rudy Baylor. He is joined by Danny DeVito a.k.a. Deck Shifflet, a streetwise lawyer wannabe. Together DeVito and Damon represent a newly formed partnership handling their first case. The case is the denial of medical coverage to Donny Ray Black (Johnny Whitworth), a young leukemia victim. Another David and Goliath story played out in the courtroom.

    Novels often suffer in translation to the big screen and The Rainmaker is no exception. The complexities of the storyline are often simplified to focus on a single thread of novel. Throughout The Rainmaker, one can detect the interplayings of these various stories; however, without the depth that a book provides all we get is the sense that there is more to this story. The other effect is the characters often seem two dimensional, more caricatures than people.

    The Rainmaker contains profanity, violence, and mature subject matter, including terminal illness and wife battery. The profanity is mild. The violence is very bloody, very realistic, and of a very disturbing nature. The Rainmaker touches upon issues that cannot be treated lightly (domestic violence, justifiable manslaughter, terminal illness); however, this movie does nothing to shed new light on any of these subjects. Keep the kids at home.

    If courtroom drama is your cup of tea, you will enjoy The Rainmaker (and I would recommend reading the book). Otherwise you will not miss anything by passing on this movie.

    Year of Release - 1997

  •  Priscilla Owen is a disgrace (none)

      She is a despicable judge.

      She is a despicable lawyer.

      She is a despicable American.

      She is a despicable human being.

      This vile, disgusting woman belongs on a federal bench the way Michael Jackson belongs in a third-grade classroom.

      Crack whores and their pimps have a hundred times more class and dignity than this waste of skin cells known as Priscilla Owen.

      Was this...this organism conceived by anal sex and left to gestate in a hardened turd for nine months before being shat out into the world to pollute the rest of us?


    A gay Republican is, by definition, a prostitute.

    by Buzzer on Fri May 13, 2005 at 05:40:32 PM PDT

    •  crack whores and pimps (none)
      are probably more likely to be driven to those career decisions because of circumstances beyond their control than she is.

      i don't think it's fair to michael jackson to use his name in the same comments as owens's.  even if he did cross the line with some of these boys, alexander the great had boy ...i don't know what they call them...lovers (sick!), didn't he?  anyway, even that pales in comparison to what the corporate christianists are doing to our country.  what happened to william searcy is certainly a travesty; knowing she and people like her compose the majority of political power in this country is something for which we will not be judged favorably in the history books.

      "It says in the Bible that the morning-after pill is wrong. I believe the passage is Pharmaceuticals 3:16." -Adrian Roy, Systems Analyst

      by mediaprisoner on Fri May 13, 2005 at 08:09:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  W/o trying to piss anyone off (4.00)
    was she correct in that his case was argued before the wrong court? Just curious.

    While at first blush it seems inexcusable that she took so long to render an opinion, is there any statements from her as to why it took so long?

    One cannot imagine why, with the acuteness of Mr. Searcy's condition so evident, she took so long.

    •  i'm no lawyer (unlike many around here) (none)
      but i didn't get the impression that she was right in that situation because of the laws on the books at the time of the original suit...  maybe i misread.

      "Willie's attorney, Jack Ayres, wanted to get the case to trial as fast as possible. He believed that a defective part with a history of failure had caused Willie's near-fatal impact with the dashboard, and he set out to sue Ford. Until the tort reform law that Gov. George W. Bush pushed through the Legislature in 1995, plaintiffs in Texas could file suit either where the cause of the lawsuit took place or in any county where the defendant did business. Ford would have preferred to defend itself in Dallas, where conservative judges and juries are friendlier to corporate defendants. Ayres filed in state district court in Henderson, a small East Texas town where there was a Ford dealership. The docket was shorter there, which ensured a faster trial date. The jury pool was probably more favorable to his client. And the state law allowed him a choice of forum."

      Maybe she was referring to an appeal?  Anyway, if it wasn't one of the 'points of error' the court was taking up, she was playing the wrong game altogether, wasn't she?

      and i hate to say it because i know god made us as we are or whatever, but she looks like a total Bitch.

      "It says in the Bible that the morning-after pill is wrong. I believe the passage is Pharmaceuticals 3:16." -Adrian Roy, Systems Analyst

      by mediaprisoner on Fri May 13, 2005 at 07:57:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  OT, sorry... (none)

    This business will get out of control. It will get out of control, and we'll be lucky to live through it.

    by Omar on Fri May 13, 2005 at 07:28:49 PM PDT

  •  I want to reiterate that I am (none)
    NOT a supporter of Owen.

    Let me put my comment a different way. Suppose this was a murder case, and the young man's lawyer had slept through the trial, and in fact, he should have picked up on a mistake but didn't. While other matters were brought to appeal, this one thing wasnt', but the judge picked up on it and through out the conviction.

    Judicial activism?

    •  You may have a case; however... (none)
      IF that were the reason for her decision, it shouldn't have taken her two years to come up with that decision.  The decision to remand back to the lower courts really is secondary, IMO, to the fact that she took TWO YEARS to make it.

      To this non-legal mind, that is an unconscionable.


      un·con·scion·a·ble    ( P )  Pronunciation Key  (n-knsh-n-bl)

      1.  Not restrained by conscience; unscrupulous: unconscionable behavior.
      2.  Beyond prudence or reason; excessive: unconscionable spending.

      Yeah, I believe she fits these definitions.

      She's a slug.

      One-issue voters get what they deserve.

      by Heiuan on Sat May 14, 2005 at 07:39:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  possibly offensive comments (none)
    I think the initial 40 million judgement was absurd.

    The crash was caused by a 17 year old driver who hydroplaned across the median.  Before the crash, it seems that Searcy bent to pick up a piece of paper, and the seat belt did not immediately retract.  It often doesn't, in a lot of cars I've been in, and I just give it a yank.  It was bad luck, and incredibly unfortunate timing that crippled Searcy.

    And what killed him was the absence of a decent public health system with universal insurance.

    Whom does one really blame? The 17 year old veering driver? How about the 17 year old's tire manufacturer, for producing tires that hydroplane? The state, for granting an unskilled driver a license? Ford, for producing a belt that works merely 99.9% of the time? The jury, for practicing deep-pocket jury-box activism in a case that is really a horrid random tragedy? The judge, for practicing conservative judicial activism to overturn populist jury-box activism? I would blame society at large, for failing to provide for people who suffer terrible misfortune. A reasonable settlement would have been, say, $60K for life to pay for nursing, out of a universal insurance fund.   We're all going to pay for these tragedies one way or another, so we might as well be rational about it.

    •  C'mon (none)
      She went out of her way to counteract the juries findings, and then through negligence allowed the case to die on the vine. Why? Because the only people she responds to and speeds up the process for are wealthy commercial interests with business before her. She obviously views herself as a game referee and not a purveyor of justice. Her actions directly contributed to the boys horrible condition, and her failure to admit any responsibility, to the point of dishonoring his memory by being so terse and cavalier before Congress, doesn't argue well for a lifetime appointment, with the clear intention to nominate her to the Supreme Court when a vacancy arises.
      •  Sure (none)
        She is a lousy judge. Agreed. She is underqualified, and a undeserved political appointment. When on the bench, she was too cozy with corporate interests. My point was that much of the moral outrage at this case is somewhat misdirected, because it was rubbish all around.  Yes, Ford was was a moneyed interest, but I think it was a largely innocent moneyed interest forced to pay 30 million because it had the deepest pockets in the vicinity. I don't hate Ford. I don't love Ford. I think that Ford was made a scapegoat for society's failings.  Apparently, they made a pre-trial offer.  If it was enough to pay for  nursing care, the family should have taken it.

        I guess I am just disgusted all around, and exasperated at the American beliefs that 1) nothing bad should ever happen to us and 2) when something bad happens, someone must be to blame and 3) there is no communal obligation to help the unfortunate (which is motivated by 1 and leads to 2).

        •  While we're thinking about broader responsibility, (none)
          the auto, tire, and petroleum companies colluded (illegally) early last century to put this country on an ineluctable path to auto- and petroleum dependency. Car crashes now kill 43,000 Americans per year (equivalent to a Vietnam a year, or over 150,000 Americans killed since 9/11/01), and car-related pollution, affecting both hearts and lungs, kill untold more Americans. It's not a rational or desirable transportation system, but it has a vested set of entrenched corporate interests. There's no huge moneyed "pedestrian" or "streetcar rider" lobby, but sure as shinola there's a huge oil lobby and a huge automaker lobby. They are a little bit responsible for the deaths, including Willie Sercy's, just like the tobacco industry has been held responsible for billions in states' health care costs. Just sayin' is all.

          Reality - Humanity - Sustainability

          by Em on Fri May 13, 2005 at 10:20:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sometimes we need to look in the mirror (4.00)
            But the fact that WE love our automobiles. And Europeans love them too. And the Chinese love them as soon as they can afford them. This transportation system isn't just the result of corporate shenanigans, though they did deliberately murder some local transport.  (But I thought the conspiracy was to replace streetcars with buses, in part.)

            We love our cars big and heavy and inefficient, and we like to drive 'em fast, and we don't expect much of our drivers in the way of skills. Driving is a right. We don't lust for public transport; we lust after the latest Ford Expedition. We lust after big houses in the suburbs, accessible only with cars, even though they make us fat and isolated. Cars are great from an individual perspective - what freedom!  I wish I had one, sometimes.

            And don't even get me started on the tobacco settlements... despite the corporations' lies, people knew cigs were dangerous (they were called coffin nails way back when), and the states  themselves (that is, WE ourselves) are now desperate to keep the cig companies alive now to keep the money flowing in.

            There's a lot of corporate malfeasance out there, but sometimes Joe Q. Public needs to look in the mirror.

            •  I agree with everything you've said (none)
              but the fact remains that this woman is up before the Congress -- not the auto industry, the culture of cars, the culture of smoking, our makeshift health system.  There's little doubt, is there, that she will continue making such decisions -- Until the Congress has the same healthcare as the majority of Americans - this will continue - Why don't they?  And isn't it a lifetime privilege?  Disgraceful.

              It sure the hell is heavy, father -- it's my grandchildren's share of the birth tax

              by xanthe on Sat May 14, 2005 at 05:33:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Facts (none)
      You don't hydroplane unless you are going faster than the road conditions can support or you do not properly take care of your car (bald tires).  The 17yo was negligent and the verdict was correct.

      Sometimes I'm a complete idiot. Sometimes I make sense. You choose which it will be this time.

      by tarminian on Sat May 14, 2005 at 04:19:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  wait (none)
        The verdict was against Ford for producing a seatbelt that (supposedly) didn't retract immediately after the victim leaned forward to pick up a piece of paper. The the crash happened at a bad moment, when the seatbelt was in a somewhat slack configuration. They didn't go after the real perp - he was 17 and had no money.
  •  In Addtion, She is One Butt Ugly Bitch n/t (none)
  •  Un-bleeping-believable (none)
    I thought I'd seen it all from these Repubs--but this takes the cake.

    I hope somebody has the courage to tell this story on the Senate floor during the inevitable filibuster.

    If you haven't already, pester your senators about this.  I'm definitely pestering Dole and Burr about it--if they don't at least listen to this, they have no heart.

  •  Judges being elected (none)
    I truly don't understand why some states still elect judges.  It makes the candidates beholden to their campaign donors.  This is a practice that should be outlawed.  
    •  A Big Problem in Texas (none)
      Our former Chief Justice tried for years to get the practice changed here without success.  Neither side wants to give up the possibility of having its people in power and voters in general are loathe to relinquish what they perceive as a measure of control.

      The system is wretched.  As a lawyer I refuse to donate to judicial campaigns or to attend fundraisers for jusdical candidates, but few of my colleagues take my position.  There is a feeling that if you do not participate your clients will suffer.

      I much prefer practicing in federal court where this is simply not an issue.  

      God and ego are not equivalent expressions of reality.

      by Othniel on Sat May 14, 2005 at 06:49:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Everyone does realize (none)
    That the taxpayers of Texas paid for Willie's healthcare all those years, right?  Not Ford.  

    No wonder Medicaid is broke.  

  •  the pure evil of george bush and the texasnazis (none)
    laid bare.
  •  Late to the game (4.00)
    but with due respect to Mary Julia and any other lawyers who have posted, I think the worst aspect of this has been missed -- and forgive me if this sounds crude and manipulative, but hey, we're lawyers.  Lawyers want to file suit quickly on these kinds of cases for two reasons.  The first is the reason noted here -- to help the poor kid injured and in need of major league medical treatment.

    The second reason, and I think Owen was reacting to this more than anything else, is that juries respond better to people who are alive than those who are dead, particularly children.  Having Willie wheeled in front of a jury melts even the most hardened, tort-reform addled hearts to be found in a Texas jury pool.  If he's dead, forgive me, the value of the case goes down.  A lot.  Watch any movie about these kinds of cases -- plaintiffs want quick trials, defendants want to delay.  Nobody talks about why.  This is why.

    So Priscilla Owen takes an "expedited appeal" and holds it for five years.  All the while the horribly injured kid is getting worse and worse, and running out of medical options available to him.  Then, after holding the case for five years, she rules that everyone has to start over.  Shortly thereafter, Willie dies.  Yeah, there's a new trial, but the star witness is deceased.  Value of case, either at trial or in settlement?  Vastly reduced.  Possibility of a defense verdict?  Greatly increased.

    Everyone involved in these processes knows the deal, including Priscilla Owen.  I think this is a motherfucking, disgraceful outrage that clearly shows the "results-oriented" judging that assholes like Owen engage in.  Corporations good, trial lawyers bad.

    A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day -- this day we fight

    by jsmdlawyer on Sat May 14, 2005 at 07:13:44 AM PDT

    •  Sing it! (none)
      Everyone involved in these processes knows the deal, including Priscilla Owen.  I think this is a motherfucking, disgraceful outrage that clearly shows the "results-oriented" judging that assholes like Owen engage in.  Corporations good, trial lawyers bad.

      Oman, Amen, Ohm, Namaste, Slainte and hearty Huzzahs.

      One-issue voters get what they deserve.

      by Heiuan on Sat May 14, 2005 at 07:49:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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