Best Local Boy Gone Bad (2005)

Former judge and TV star Eric Andell

Eric Andell had as shiny a reputation as any local Democrat, and he wasn't afraid to flaunt it. As a juvenile court judge and later an appellate judge, Andell was savvy with the media and smooth at political gatherings and parties. He had a syndicated television show, Juvenile Justice, and was wooed by Republicans to switch parties. But, as he told the Houston Press in 2001, doing that would mean "I wouldn't have my integrity." That integrity took a hit, however, when he pleaded guilty this year to violating federal conflict-of-interest laws. Andell, who had been working for the Department of Education, admitted billing the government for a trip to New York to see a Broadway show and claiming sick leave for days when he worked as a visiting judge. The price of the transgressions wasn't great -- Andell reimbursed the government about $8,600 as part of the plea deal -- but the damage to the judge's glowing reputation was severe.
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