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Best Criminal Court Judge Houston 2006 - U.S. District Judge Sim Lake

Technically speaking, Sim Lake isn't a criminal court judge, since he sits on the federal bench and hears both criminal and civil cases. But this year he heard the biggest white-collar-crime case to hit Houston since the Allen brothers started the ball rolling with real estate fraud. We mean, of course, the trials of Enron co-defendants Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling. Lake came from the world of defending giant corporations; but he's not been unsympathetic to government prosecutors. That balance helped ensure a fair trial, but what was more impressive was how Lake stuck to his well-known habit of never deviating from an excruciatingly planned schedule. With all the world watching, with scrums of high-priced lawyers eager to give speeches, Lake kept the complex trial moving with a minimum of fuss. What could have become a circus, or a marathon taking a year instead of four months, became a lesson on how to run a courtroom.
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