I have now practiced criminal defense law For 30 years. In the early years, being an Eagle Scout and all, I held certain false, rather naive beliefs. It took me a number of years to learn that not everyone called “Your Honor”, had honor. It took me a few more years to overcome my natural fear of those called “Your Honor”. After courting death a few times, during my mountaineering years, I gained a broader view of the world. The mountains tend to dwarf men, even those who wear robes.
The world is much bigger than the Harris County Criminal Courthouse. With clearer vision, I have come to see that not all judges are worthy of being called ” Your Honor”. Some are quite abusive, particulary to the poorest amoung us.
The criminal justice system draws bullies. Some wear police uniforms, some carry DA badges, some wear Robes, some carry probation officer badges, and some even call themselves defense lawyers. I try not to discriminate. I dislike all bullies and I dont give two shits what their role in the system is. If they are bullies, they are my adversary.
A justice system should not tolerate bullies. A justice system that tolerates bullies, encourages abuse by these same bullies. Unfortunately, The Texas criminal justice system is rife with bullies abusing whomever they like. Even more unfortunately, too many good men and women with bar cards stand silenty by, while bullies treat the poor as mean as hell. Most unfortunately, too many good judges sit silently by, knowing that their brethern or sistren* are abusing the presumptively innocent.
Some in the criminal justice system, think I am too harsh in my criticism . Well, I am not too harsh in my criticism. They are wrong. We each have a duty to speak up regarding this disgraceful system.
I dont believe this malignant self-perpetuating, fraud of a justice system is capable of ever self-correcting. In 30 years, I have seen no evidence that those who perpetuate the evils within this system will have an epiphany and do the right thing. That doesnt happen. I do believe that with constant pressure, raised voices, lawful provocation and bad publicity- change may be forced on those in power.
To those who would like me to “Shut Up”, I am sorry. In the Fickman house we were raised Never to say “Shut up” to anyone. Likewise we were raised to ignore the words “Shut up”, if we were in the right. So, while the bullies may like me to shut up, I aint shutting up. Not till they are tossing dirt on my box.
Those who participate in perpetuating the evils of the system, make excuses to justify what they do. I guess it makes it easier for them to look in the mirror. Additionally,Those who are part of the meanness in the system support one another. They reinforce each other with “ends justify the means” arguments and communal deliberate ignorance.
They can pat each other on the back till they knock each other down. The System is a disgrace and I will keep saying it, till there is true change.
Robb Fickman, Houston @rfickman