Policing the Politicos

Sunset report calls for an ethics commission with teeth

"The issue is out in the public eye now, whereas before people didn't even know the problem existed," says Lawrence. "I'm very optimistic something is going to happen."

All that's needed now are a few brave lawmakers to carry the reform package at the next legislative session.

Enron's Favorite Judges

The TEC has yet to scare anybody into compliance.
Joe Forkan
The TEC has yet to scare anybody into compliance.

A survey by Texans for Public Justice finds that only one Houston civil district judge, Mark Davidson, took no campaign contributions from either Enron or its law firm, Vinson & Elkins, since 1998. Enron's favorite jurists were Martha Hill Jamison ($9,500) and Sherry Radack ($6,500). V&E's big recipients were Jane Bland ($24,900), Radack ($19,750) and Jamison ($16,050).

Meanwhile, Judge Pat Mizell, who received $9,500 in contributions from V&E two years ago, has resigned his bench to return to the loving embrace of his old firm as a V&E partner.

That move has set off a scramble among ambitious Houston attorneys for a gubernatorial appointment to the bench. Among names in the hopper: Katrina Grider of Grider & Associates and Grant Dorfman of Ogden, Gibson, White & Broocks.

Back to Basics

If you've been wondering what former district judge John Devine is doing for a living since vacating his bench for an unsuccessful run for Harris County attorney, a recent legal publication provides a clue.

In the spring issue of the Briefcase, Devine is listed as a contact in an ad for the Core Funding Group L.P., a company that provides lawsuit financing.

Helping generate more lawsuits seems an odd enterprise for a conservative former judge whose party demonizes plaintiff's lawyers in general and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association in particular. Devine, who sold his plaintiff's practice caseload to John O'Quinn for a pretty penny when God allegedly told him to run for judge, has always exhibited a certain flexibility on the issue. Or maybe the Almighty told him the world needs more litigation.

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