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Eddie Brown - Who's Watching The Judges?

Eddie Brown

FW Weekly Staff Writer 

Who’s Watching The Judges? FW Weekly staff writer, Eddie Brown joins Fortitude to detail his lengthy investigation into judicial misconduct involving several of Tarrant County’s top judges. Have more than 200 people been convicted of crimes and incarcerated by an ineligible judge? In this interview, Brown names names and outlines an alarming trend in the Tarrant County judicial system of utilizing retired judges or “personal friends” to preside over cases in which they are legally not qualified to do. The implications are tremendous and begs the question, Who is Watching the Judges? Your tax dollars have a right to know.

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roxo media house
welcome to fortitude everyone jw wilson my co-host and buddy for life brinton
payne uh being here fortitude brinton where the story never
dies or stories never die stories uh brought to you by captex bank they make
all this beautiful world happen for us they’re just the the best place to be if you bank you better be making it cap
tech you’re not you’re probably doing something wrong yes and if you’re doing something wrong this guy between us
might actually uh pin you down so i catch you today’s show brinton is a bit of a step out for us uh we are we
brought on one of our longtime friends friends of the show eddie brown he’s a 12-year uh staff writer for the fourth
weekly uh throughout his career as a writer he’s uncovered many many issues dealing with government malfeasance
today’s particular topic is one of those back in may he wrote an article titled who’s watching the judges
that that article dealt with some judicial misconduct in tarrant county
uh and it’s it’s pretty heavy brinton so uh sit down hold on tight yeah a lot of a lot of stuff going around about judges
nationwide yeah locally like you be the judge you know no fun intended but um
so how do you get into this eddie like i mean how does this how do you get into the investigative reported and then what led
you kind of down this path towards this subject so my background i don’t have a college degree in journalism my
background is actually i have a music degree but i started writing for the fourth weekly doing reviews i wasn’t
doing news at first we had an editor at the time a wonderful woman pulitzer
prize-winning journalist herself named gail reeves and i i just i became interested in news stories and i wasn’t
good at it at first but i kept trying i kept getting better and just really loved it it’s an
interesting way to get to know your community you feel like you’re doing something really good for the community when you’re uncovering these things um
it’s just endlessly um interesting um work so i just it’s really my passion okay did you
watch a lot of news growing up i mean were you kind of a news you know did it make an impact on your life i don’t
think there was anything about my adolescence that pointed toward this okay um even being a writer per se um um
my background again you know was in music and i thought i was gonna be a music teacher and i still am yeah uh but
this is a really really uh enjoyable um job that i have and yeah i don’t know it just once i found it i just fell in love
with it i would just say i think i know one of the students you had for two weeks or so um you might be sitting in
this room i don’t think you’ll put that on a cutting room floor i know i don’t know if i went up to that yes well eddie you’re the reason you’re here today to
talk about um who’s watching the judge’s article back from may like we talked about but before we get into the crux of
the story uh please explain to the our audience what what’s going on with the retired judge system here in tarrant
county and how that all works pre uh moving into the story okay yeah
so um cases can be presided over by uh retired judges and a lot of people don’t
understand this system so if i’m an active judge i have a career and i retire i could just just retire
and never preside over a case or i could elect to become a visiting retired judge also known as a
senior judge we’ll talk about that title because it’s really important and once i meet certain qualifications
under chapter 74 or 75 of texas government code if i do all the steps involved
i can be requested for civil criminal family courts depending on what my previous career
what my qualifications and experience um are so one thing that’s interesting about
retired judges is that they are requested and in tarrant county’s felony courts
judges are randomly assigned we’re told they’re randomly assigned because ontario county’s websites um they say
you know very clearly active judges are randomly assigned there’s a reason for that because you don’t want a judge who
chose you because they had some kind of personal vendetta they may have known the victim whatever so the system is
meant to be unbiased well retired judges are hand-selected by basically their
buddies and um it kind of undermines that whole system of of having randomly selected
judges they’re paid about five hundred dollars a day so it’s not an insignificant amount of
money um the active judges continue to earn their salary while their friends that they pull in are making about 500
bucks a day um so that’s that’s one possible issue but the bigger issue
that i found um is two part one is the retired judges not taking their oath of
office and um in one case there was a judge who never attained senior status
and that judge’s name is daryl coffey do you want me to go and talk about you
might as well get into this is the big part if i can ask what what was the reason for
the these retired judges to come back was it because to just move things along more was it so the actual judge could
take vacation and they can still yeah you’re basically right so there needs to be a pool of um judges who are qualified
to fill in for active judges because active judges um they do take time off work they do have emergencies
they do do ongoing training educational training and so if you just have active judges you can’t
pull in another active judge their doc gets busy so you have a list of retired judges and they’re like
substitute teachers in a sense you can go on the list and pick this this judge and have him or her fill in for you uh
while you’re um unavailable so that’s that’s i believe that’s the the reasoning behind why we even have this
system how big a list is that any of the retired judges excuse me yeah it’s it has uh fluctuated over the
years i’ve seen that all the lists um in 2015 it was rather long it would be um [Music]
a couple dozen right now the list is a rough estimate it’s like two pages or maybe one page of
retirees so um i would say maybe it’s a rough estimate i didn’t bring the documents but there’s maybe 20
25 retired judges who are eligible right now so and a lot of them don’t get a sign or maybe they don’t want to get assigned
they’re not all being used there seems to be a small number of those um who are actively
being used possibly because they’re the ones that are more well-connected right so the ones that have friends who are so
active they’re calling their their buddies up and you know having that person earn some extra
money is there so you mentioned the randomness of it is there a way that the
judges uh similar to like a jury trial if you have some type of um connection
there where you’ll be recused from it does that work the same way with the judicial assist like being a judge
is that oh wait i like you mentioned the scenario where oh you know the victim and
it’s random because of it what if just randomly that judge was selected and does know say the victim or the whoever
uh the crime was or whatever knows somebody or something about it does um
did they then recuse like how does that happen there well it’s on the judge they’re the ones that need to um state
that there is a conflict and then in that case um they’ll recuse themselves and often retired judge judges are
brought in because of a recusal because you have kind of a vacancy last minute as for you know our retired is more
likely to not um be clear about uh conflict of interest i’m not quite i’m not quite
sure if they’re worse at that than active judges but that’s a that’s a burden that falls on judges to always
mention if they know the victim or they have some kind of personal stake in the case they should not be presiding over it so this focus is more on
that pool of backups and your thoughts of being that that
there’s some kind of coordination going and getting back into the system based on this is that kind of where
things are going absolutely i mean the fact that they’re able to to request their friends um already conflicts with
the county statement on its website that uh district level courts are chosen randomly because there’s this form
called a request for assignments and it’s a form that a lot of people are not aware of it’s a
form that we discovered through our request for documents a lot of attorneys don’t know that it
exists and i think when we even talked about that it was something that was unknown but the biggest thing that i
found um was this judge daryl coffey um who was listed on 200 orders of
assignments as a senior judge and what we found out was that he um was
not a senior judge and he even admitted as much possibly he didn’t understand how important that was but the reason is
it is important is because only a senior judge this is a term that only applies to retired judges right so it’s a
term that means a qualified uh retired judge that’s given by the supreme court
justice and you have to have that designation to preside over cases at that point you
become what they call a judicial officer um and to learning about this stuff um
is difficult because there’s no book that um tells you the rules that
judges have to play by when i whenever i reach out to the state commission on judicial conduct or
um even you know smu school of law or um the supreme court justice you find very
quickly that when you’re investigating a judge people don’t reply they don’t answer your questions
there’s it’s kind of like there’s yeah there’s it’s very clear that um you’re going into territory that um you know
maybe you you shouldn’t be or they’re afraid to comment on it so that was interesting
but in order to find out that you have to be a senior judge i had to do some research into court of
criminal appeal rulings which is the highest court in the land on par with the supreme
court and by looking through their rulings and the way they would describe like they described a case where there
was a senior judge who had his uh entire ruling overturned because
he did not gain senior judge status until after he had ruled he retired he
assigned himself to a case presided over it and then got senior
judge status and so that whole ruling was overturned so i know from that and the language they used
the court criminal pill used very clear language that says any ruling that’s done with before you gain the title of
judicial officers nolan void so what matters for tarrant county is that um
i have 200 documents that show daryl coffey was assigned to 200 plus criminal cases
in some instances felony cases in one instance a gentleman was sentenced to life in prison
and you can only imagine everything in between and so right now there are people in prison um
who were presided over by a judge who should never have presided over cases
and in a system that knew he was not qualified so the reason i can
our reporting shows that the administrative judge for the region david evans knew coffee was not a senior
judge it’s because on the public list that these judges are given in the list of retired judges they can choose from
it always listed daryl coffey as a non-senior judge 2015 2016 17 18 19 20
21 up to this year he’s correctly listed as non-senior the reason they had to say
that publicly is because someone might see that maybe the supreme court justice would see that and it would catch the
error but privately he was assigned under this false title basically they were appears they were covering for him
and in the process he may have made hundreds of hundreds of thousands of dollars um presiding over cases that he
should not have presided over so you know i want to emphasize it wasn’t it appears it wasn’t a mistake or over
or a lapse of judgment it was a system that was allowed to persist for seven years where
judges knew that he was not qualified the administrative judge knew he was not qualified and he was continually
assigned to criminal cases that in some cases landed people’s life in prison was
he presiding over the cases or he was he was assigning another uh retired judgment coffee was sitting um good
question daryl coffey was sitting on the bench presiding ruling over cases and so if
there is a case where a judge was not constitutionally qualified uh there’s a lot of precedent that shows
that ruling is uh void so these people it’s up to some 200 maybe you would say
i know it’s at least two there’s i have 200 plus documents that are assignments that he was given over several years
which is a lot so he was yes he was pretty busy as a retiree you were though like a lawyer in one of those cases and
you you kept losing or the the the um verdict didn’t go your way wouldn’t a
lawyer have brought this up right like i mean is this where you got the story idea from or how did that it appears
that no attorney at any point um ever really understood the complexities of what we’re talking
about today um i don’t no judge sorry no attorney from what i can tell ever realized he
wasn’t a senior judge the whole system is so um somewhat convoluted and complicated and it’s not something
that’s well known and that’s rather appears to be intentional and so the attorneys didn’t know and also it’s
important you know a lot of defendants and attorneys when you walk into a courtroom and something as serious as a
you know a felony case you assume your judge is qualified to be here just like you would
assume a doctor is about to perform surge surgery on you is qualified something at that level people tend not
to question and what we’re finding is that there’s a lot of botched
and falsified documents behind the tarrant county judiciary
that people maybe shouldn’t trust them as much as they have historically well
you know your question earlier was a great one what brought you this case how did this how did this information find
you and what why did you want to pursue this somewhat stumbled upon it um i was following a trial in january of this
year for a former former justice of the piece named jacqueline wright um she reached
out to me i knew some of the details about her case and i found it to be very unusual that’s kind of its own story so
i attended her attended her trial um saw daryl coffee preside
she did not know that this retired judge was going to be sitting on her case so again at the time she assumed he was
qualified and then i was actually contacted um shortly after by a gentleman in
austin who follows judges very closely that’s his thing he’s a government watchdog and he alerted um me to the
fact that this judge had not filed his oath of office at the
beginning of that trial and that’s kind of a separate topic um i’ll try to summarize it very quickly retired judges
their oath of office is dead so as an elected or appointed official you have an oath of office that you take it it
survives the term of your office and then it dies and we know that because um you have to
retake your oath of office if the president’s reelected he doesn’t just float through float by with his previous
oath he retakes the oath and there’s a lot of court um rulings that have affirmed that so we know judges that are
retired they don’t have an active oath of office that they can just carry around their pocket it doesn’t exist and
so they’re supposed to take their oath of office with each assignment that’s been the the historically that’s how it was done
and retired judges have um consistently failed to do that and there seems to be
a concerted effort on their part to avoid this constitutional requirements
and i have you know um a theory and actually was presented by this gentleman in austin that the retirement system and
i’ve looked this uh looked this up the retirement system for retired judges pauses when you file your oath of office
and so by not filing the oath of office they’re able to continue to earn retirement
while they’re making 500 a day some would say that’s double dipping on the taxpayers money
but that’s definitely a benefit they get from not found their oath of office and i think that’s the best um theory i have
right now um but that’s what started this whole thing at the beginning i didn’t quite know what a senior judge was i knew some
judges were called senior some didn’t i didn’t realize how important it was until um i eventually stumbled upon a
supreme court criminal appeal ruling um in the early 90s that clearly stated
that judges have to have this title retired judges and if they don’t their rulings are overturned and in that
case um this huge civil case uh was overturned what’s the qualifications for
becoming a senior judge so any retired judge you have senior judges and a non-senior right like or just well most
of them it’s interesting on the list most of them 98 of the judges on the list that we’re
talking about are senior judges which makes sense what gets you a senior judge so it’s a two good question it’s a
two-step process um we’re going to call it chapter 74 chapter 75 which is what it’s listed
under under texas government code chapter 74 is when you reach out to your administrative judge of your region and
you say um i qualify i meet the qualification to be on your list because of x y and z i’ve never been disciplined
by the commission on judicial conduct um you know kind of obvious things i imagine you know having a clean criminal
history having served a certain number of years you can’t just be a judge for a year and then retire and get into the
system so you have to meet certain qualifications and then once you’ve done that you alert the supreme court justice
that you have met these qualifications and you and you ask to be uh become a judicial officer and that’s actually the
term they use in these in these formal letters and then the judge probably just makes sure that you have
qualified and it’s a pretty straightforward process you get a letter back in the mail from nathan heck that
says you are now a senior judge and you have to have that title to preside over cases daryl coffey never
sent that letter so the the magnitude of what your what your your article is the crux of it is that these people that
were incarcerated been incarcerated have a potential appeal opportunity and
because this judge was not qualified to make these rulings uh before we dig into that a little further
as an investigative journalist eddie what who are you going when you’re digging this story up are you
approaching judge coffey in the tarrant county da’s office and who all are you seeking out and who how much how much
help are they offering you i’m curious on your steps of getting to the bottom of this what you had to go through to
get there so in these kinds of stories i’m necessarily doing research that
undermines the credibility of our criminal justice system right and so the more serious the story is the less
cooperation i i generally expect to get and and the less cooperation i do get the district attorney’s office has
ignored um this information i know that they are aware of it because i’ve done open records requests because i want to
see what they’re talking about and i know that sharon wilson has been updated on on this situation um david evans um
the the judge who signed all these documents um fraudulent fraudulently um
has refused to comment on it so so he has ignored my request um considering
that he created this situation i feel like he owes people some kind of answer for what happened but um that’s not
gonna happen um daryl coffey did talk we we uh emailed several times
um initially um well i guess those were private emails so i don’t want to talk about
that but he he did he he definitely did you have to write off the record on him or something like that i’m kind of being
facetious there he’s always allowed to do that but because the emails were kind of personal nature
i don’t want to go into go into that we did publish some statements that he that he said and he did want to defend
himself um it wasn’t a very good defense his defense was that i never
portrayed myself as a senior judge um so he said i never said i was a senior judge and you showed me cards
that you know say retired and i don’t think he unders i don’t think he understood how bad that sounds because
he he apparently doesn’t know what it means to be a senior judge well what what does it um you know we talked about
what you needed to do to get to b1 but then is it just kind of like a senior pilot where you get all the good you
know the good sp flying uh gigs like all the junior pilots pick you know these
times and you get to bump them and get the the cush day spots not fly through the night like what was it
it sounds fancy the term uh sorry the title senior sounds very fancy um it’s really a pretty straightforward
process um that just means that you’re allowed to preside over cases as a retired judge
i don’t think there’s any special perks amongst retired judges to become a senior judge other than you have to be a
senior judge to make any money as a retiree to make this extra money i should say oh but you
could be a retired judge and then just what you just don’t get the money that’s it’s strictly a financial you can also
just be a retired judge that pulls in uh from the retirement plan but you’re not presiding over cases for
extra money and the system it looks the system looks like it was intended to not allow this double dipping so again you
know the the way the the rules were set up um from what i’ve read once you go back to work as a as a
senior judge you’re supposed to notify the retirement system and they they say tell us the dates of your trial
beginning and end and they will pause your retirement which you know sounds fair you’re going back to work you’re making money
uh just let us know you know when you’re going to be working and we’ll pause your but they appear to have found a way to
circumvent that by just never telling people that they’re going back to work but then why did they i mean even do
this is kind of gonna get stuck on it but then it’s like why would they have the senior judge
incentive there were they like out of retiring judge you know it’s like what was the point in then putting that
moniker on to pay these folks like were they not getting enough retired judges like oh it was
like a jury deal we’re like we can’t find anybody because nobody wants to come back and do it especially for free
you know kind of thing is that what was happening that they needed a way to i would say that’s a good theory and
actually i haven’t dug uh back that far and why they created that system yeah but the benefits i mean
it’s it’s more than just money for some for certain judges they are retired they really enjoy the
work they want the ability to go back and preside over big they can preside over big cases sometimes because they’re
no longer limited to their old court um daryl coffey for instance was a misdemeanor judge but as a senior judge
he presided over many uh felony cases which he never would have been allowed to do as an active judge so there are
certain incentives some of them have to do with purely maybe pure ego reasons you know because you’re you have a title
you can go back and oversee a murder case you’ve never gotten to do that there is a hierarchy for judges they may not admit it but district judges are um
you know they probably see their positions as more important than your dwi misdemeanor judges and they probably
think they’re more important than the justice of the peace and so and so so this system allows these judges to jump
around and try different trials they never would have had access to as an active judge again making extra money
i think the original system was fair where they were expected to pause their retirement for a couple days at a time
um but they don’t they appear to not be abiding by that agreement anymore eddie you uh so
um your story and i’ve read it several times it’s you offer some very compelling evidence to support this
argument you’re making here today what what is your what is your end goal and all this what do you hope to see happen
is it the obvious get these people a retrial get him out of jail see judge
i coffey let go at some extent what are you trying to get out yeah and he is not being assigned anymore i know
that i i know that much this is more of a of a personal
statement that i’ll make because i’m you know i’m here as a reporter but i’m also
a person i’m also um you know a u.s citizen someone who cares about this community i have a
social conscience as you guys do so i’ll speak from that point of view these defendants
deserve some kind of relief for what happened if if it were simply an oversight that
someone misfiles in paperwork one could argue ethically that there’s not a moral obligation to fix this
but um as we found there was a concerted effort to cover up his false title by a lot of
people not just david evans but all the judges who requested him would have known
from the list that he’s not qualified to preside over cases and they allowed it to happen
um so from that point of view there is a there is a moral obligation of the judiciary to fix this problem
these defendants you know many of whom are languishing in prison they have no idea that their
case was bogus it was it was all something that was set up to help this judge make some extra money
so his buddies could you know um bring them on and whatever favors went back and forth with that that whole system
um so to answer your question you know one of the reasons that i’m very adamant about getting this story
out we’ve published it but that reaches so many people i want to reach other people is because this county needs to fix
fix this they need to fix it is it your thought eddie that like almost it would
be like um kind of a good cop bad cop like me ask you know
asking my wife like hey i need the you know the the real stern person to
come in like on this is your thought that they would kind of that some of this would be calling a judge in like i
need you to handle this one because i need this kind of uh verdict on this deal
are you going that coordinated with it or you just there’s a couple there’s a couple ways to answer that like with
with coffee um he was strictly a misdemeanor dwi judge
and so he also i will say he the people i’ve talked to as far as his career as an active judge he had a very very good
reputation yeah so i mean there is people would have brought him in for different reasons um they might have brought him in because they know him
um personally they might have brought him in because they thought he did a good job as an active judge um more broadly retired judges from what
i’ve seen oh that was first book oh okay so it must be a poltergeist action someone’s
upset there’s no no angry ghost judges going after my hope retired judges
they get assigned to a lot of very controversial cases from what i’ve noticed and we’ve looked into this
some of them have involved exonerating uh people who committed um murder like outright there was a
story in south texas there was a gentleman who shot a young black um 19 18 year old boy in the neck cold
blood a retired judge comes in finds him now i shouldn’t say he did the jury did he preside over the case um there was a
case of uh um someone who is believed to have been innocent uh who was on death row and he
was executed by the signature from the signature of a retired senior judge
and so they do seem to be given i’ll just say maybe the dirty cases you
know there’s some stronger words but there’s something something interesting going on with with why they’re being
picked for for certain and if i’m an active judge and i see i see there’s a case on my docket uh it has a lot of um
ethically compromising i know there’s a lot about it that you know maybe the defendant was set up or there was some
questionable police work involved i might just want to back out and call in a retired judge so that might be part of
the reason why we why we see that you mentioned that judge coffee is no longer being assigned has anything else
come since your story was published in may and obviously this is going to recharge some of that we hope because we
have our listeners i’m sure they’re going to want to know some more stuff about this but has anything further come from this
story since uh besides the judge coffee assignment you just mentioned so um our reporting
did lead to some of his assignments being cancelled um there was a june assignment um as this stuff was getting
known all his assignments were pulled right um my understanding is he’s no longer
active in the area i don’t think any judge would uh want him or you know with with what’s um happened
um as far as action has has gone from the part of the government to fix the situation there’s been no movements
um there are there are i should say there are other people besides myself who are
working to raise awareness of this with the supreme court justice people in austin um the aclu different groups you know
and i’m trying to help people um enable people to to do something as well well
here’s here’s the really scary part um that there’s 200 plus people sitting in
in a correctional facility right now that i got to believe they have a reason or a
an opportunity to appeal that being said i mean what what happens
to happen there because i’m not saying that judge coffey or whoever sat there that wasn’t qualified made the wrong
decision or helped the guy get put in prison but these people are in jail if they had
this information in front of them i got to believe they would play that card and
if one of them were to hear this or a family member doesn’t that open up a whole new situation where yeah i imagine
if i could magically inform the family of 200 people what happened they would collectively file a lawsuit or something
would happen but um part of the problem it’s it’s complicated to find these defendants names
um i personally think the first thing that needs to happen if the government
did its job is they have an obligation to contact these defendants they know the names they know the
addresses they know what prisons uh these folks were in and to and and inform them give them this basic information give
them a form for a writ of habeas corpus which allows you to appeal your case uh give them the documents um to do at the
very least that’s that’s step one you know the more important step would be to just offer a retrial or if it warrants
it you know drop the case all together but so i mean kind of back to i mean if
i’m like um a defender of those folks i would think i would be the first one
i mean you like when you talk about two like that’s a lot of people a lot of
cases wouldn’t the um the person defending it would be the first one i mean i would think if i’m a
lawyer and you know doing my job and doing it to the best of my ability and i’m publicly
defending somebody i would be the first one to to call this out that hasn’t happened at all right so
yeah i think it’s because there’s because they’re part of the game too like i mean like that’s part of the
scene i think the defense attorneys of all these um defendants definitely would like to know what happened um what they
would do with that information depends you know i hate to break it down to money but if these people are in
prison they don’t have the money to pay a retainer for legal counsel and attorneys have to be paid to work
um i am reaching out to some defense attorneys i do think there should be interest within the the defense attorney
community uh to know about this because there were a lot of attorneys who um tried to defend their their clients and
didn’t have this information and again like as you said they should be the first to know about this because they
also would know what the remedies are but then again the other thing is these defendants by this point um they no
longer have assets you know they’ve they’ve spent their money defending themselves by this point they’ve exhausted their appeals so these
attorneys unfortunately wouldn’t have any clear way to get paid but all those are kind of factors that would have to
play out at some point and should play out has anybody in tarrant county uh
publicly said things to the negative and you’re in your situation they called you out
for being you know a nosy guy or spreading slanderous lies have they had
anybody said anything to the to the contrary what you’re trying to get to not to my face um i
did reach out to um the process there’s there’s an interesting connection with the italiana
jefferson case and i believe i i was reaching out to some assistant district attorneys to let
them know that uh this retired judge um didn’t take her out of office and she was making a ruling related to this
ongoing trial and the message that was relayed back to me was that i don’t know what i’m talking about so
yeah i’m sure they all i’m sure it depends on you know who stands to win or lose uh with the information i have
right the people who tend to lose a lot they probably would like to discredit but everything that i’ve found is well
documented so ongoing still as well eddie the investigation is still moving forward i mean is there more to uncover
you mentioned talking to the defense attorneys is there more people that need to be involved in this i think public
awareness is is a big part of this you know i i think at some point maybe this will start gaining speed as um families of these
defendants start recognizing the name coffee um defense attorneys once they start talking and realize like oh you
know i preside over case i have an interest in um addressing this there is a defense attorney’s association in
tarrant county and they can make this they can make a public stink if they care to you know and it once you reach
that kind of level then maybe you’ll finally have some traction um but the other side
wants this to go away they want to ignore this way and i very much i’m very much aware of that
which is why i’m kind of stubbornly you know looking into this and and speaking to
folks like you um as far as you know new this is opened up in the proverbial can
of worms because once now that i know how this works i can look for inconsistencies elsewhere um if they
were doing this for coffee they’re definitely um likely covering for other judges as well
who aren’t qualified um so one thing i did and it doesn’t take rocket scientists um
you have to be a rocket scientist to understand this i went through the list of who’s not a senior judge and there
are four judges um in tarrant county who are not senior judges they’re listed as non-senior right
and then i asked for all their assignments within the past six months and i already know from
what i’ve received so far that there are 167 pages that are coming my way eventually and so
if and i’ve reached out to the supreme court they have a very good spokesperson who actually always responds
to ask if these folks ever requested to be senior judges and they may have i don’t know yet um
it looks it’s looking like we might have some other situations where we had non-senior judges being placed on
criminal courts probably again falsely listen them as senior judges but i’m gonna find out you know and when i
find out you guys will find out fantastic so do you um you know you
mentioned uh kind of discrediting and the information we’re kind of i mean not to like
this info you know i mean you’re you’re spending time digging up stuff that is
contrary to [Music] most people’s just normal lives kind of moving through that type of thing um
where do you see the media and yourself in this like what what is it that you’re
trying to accomplish here is this for for trying to get those 200 convicted folks um
you know what you would deem as a fair shake is it too um you know
the timing of it is here we are in almost september before a november uh midterm election you know like is
there aspects of that i mean and i think those are tough to answer yourself because we’re all influenced by all the
things around us you know i mean today i could be influenced by the way he was acting earlier rather than the way i was
whatever you know the case may be but so what is it that um
that that you feel the media’s or your part is in in this kind of discussion and
kind of who benefits most from it i guess so i want to answer that a couple of ways one is
um i can only speak for myself and i can only speak for my newspaper
and while the media has a has a kind of a collective
job and uh mandates um they’re also very different and so
i could you know i honestly wish other local uh publications looked at the
stuff that i’m looking at i i think these are the things that really matter because if you’re just doing superficial
reporting you know ribbon cutting type stuff that doesn’t help our society become
more protective of civil rights the kind of stuff that that we look into
at the fourth weekly i think it really really matters to the readers because it affects um their freedoms
how they interact with government government accountability to what extents you know will the government ever
change and become more accountable to the people so it’s important work
i don’t know if if my work has really changed over the years other than to say that it’s i do feel
like i’m constantly inundated with just the the craziest um
news story news stories that i that i hear about and it’s always more than i can uh have time to report on if that makes
sense but that’s because things are uh particularly bad right now in tarrant county especially on the the
county level with how they’re operating and how they are or aren’t operating
within the law so why do you think that is you think that goes from uh up above or you think
it’s just because they’ve managed themselves for so long like what do you think the impetus of that is
it’s a lot of factors you have an older elected officials on the county are are
older they have a different mindset they’re more entrenched in their positions
they’ve been there longer they probably feel more like they have more um stability
and with that you you end up having more arrogance and and kind of a lack of accountability our city council i think
is great you know we have a youngish city council um very diverse you know
really reflects the population but if you look at if you look at our city council you look at who are the
leaders at the county level you can just you just see you just see the difference they’re just they’re just from a different generation and i think
the country’s moving in a certain way we expect more of our elected leaders and they’re very much just stuck in the way
they’ve done things for 40 years maybe that’s the best answer i have well i admire you eddie because it’s got to
take a certain level of courage to to go after the system itself i mean you’re going after some pretty powerful folks
you know we’re not here to take aside one way or other but we do we do appreciate someone who spends time and learns and
does that does the due diligence to get to the heart of a matter and if that is the case i think this is an incredibly
powerful story you put together uh is there a way that people can stay current with what you’re doing in this story
with you in regards to you yes and we’re going to keep like we may we may publish something online today
that’s related to this because we keep finding new things out um not just about coffee but of course judges and in
general and and tarrant county but to answer your question the easiest way folks can find out is they can go to fw
40:13 and click on news we of course we do it music food all that kind of fun stuff
but if you’re interested in news click on news uh feature metro
and static is our editorial section so you’ll have more of our our opinion
language kind of stuff there but we always disclose our opinion pieces in our straight
reporting pieces is there anything else on the store you like to share before we end the show because i mean we’ve left a
lot on the table there not not that it needs to be solved here today but there’s some people in behind bars that
probably uh you know have some some work to do right we like to know how this story goes if
something comes of this down the road we’d love to continue the story but uh i i’m i appreciate the time being
here this is anything else that you can share with us before we go last thing if you know an elected official even if
it’s at whatever level of government just when you see them next mention this
story just say you have concerns about these defendants that were deprived of their constitutional right to a fair
trial and if you really want to take the time to email or write a letter it’s it’s worth it you know whatever you think of
people who are in prison they’re human beings and they deserve a fair trial and these people were not given that and
they deserve that um and they’ll deserve it until someone gives it to them it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re
not guilty correct we’re not saying they’re innocent but we’re saying we have we have certain
institutions and certain beliefs in this country you’re innocent until you’re proven guilty um you have a right to a
free and fair trial we have certain things that were that we are given constitutionally and this really gets to
the crux of that and is the government gonna gonna fix this or not does is this happening anywhere else
throughout the country like where these type of kind of technicalities are getting statements to reason right yeah
that’s safe to say i think people don’t dig into judges in in the at all and so
that’s probably the case unfortunately all right eddie brown staff writer for the fourth wiki thank you for talking
about this very interesting uh yeah sorry it’s pretty heavy i know you guys are going to go and take a shower
please no no thank you for joining us thank you to cap tech bank for making all this happen uh mike thomas we know
you’re out there thanks for watching buddy thank you appreciate you thank you guys thanks for coming thanks for being afforded to daddy we appreciate you
we’ll see you guys next time thank you thank you