To be clear from the outset I am a supporter of the Honorable Judge Jonathan Bailey who currently sits on the bench of the 431st District Court of Denton County. Judge Bailey was appointed to the bench by Governor Rick Perry on January 21, 2011 and was re-elected on November 6, 2012.
Judge Bailey is running for re-election in 2016. He runs a tight ship with integrity, and is known to be tough, but fair. He suffers fools poorly and it is some of those who take exception as to how he manages his court. Bailey is a good judge and he has earned the right to represent Denton County for an additional term.
But this article isn’t about the “making of a judge,” it’s about the “unmaking of a judge,” specifically Steven Weinstein, Judge Bailey’s opponent in this election. In my opinion Mr. Weinstein, who I have never met, is a train wreck who has no business sitting on any bench in Denton or any other county. I rarely dive too deeply into publicly discussing politics as I so often find it reprehensible and petty. That said, I cannot stand by quietly in regard to Mr. Weinstein’s campaign.
The first disqualifier in the “unmaking of a judge,” was when Mr. Weinstein, a purportedly seasoned attorney who has ZERO cases filed as the attorney of record in Denton, Collin or Dallas counties, posted on his Facebook that he was “on the short list” for a presidential appointment by two presidential administrations, Bush and Obama. Question one is how does a conservative republican president and an ultra-liberal democratic president home in on the same unknown potential appointee for such a nationally influential position? Not stopping there, Weinstein went on to explain that his lack of recorded filings as an attorney of record in Denton and surrounding counties was a result of a purge of his records by the Bush and/or Obama administrations so his record could not be examined during any Senate confirmation and used as a reason to exclude him from the federal bench, if so appointed. This leads to the second question. How would a presidential administration explain to the Senate the ethics and legalities related to purging the records of a potential federal judge to avoid the scrutiny that is the very basis for congressional appointments? To believe that a presidential administration would openly engage in this behavior is to believe in fairy tales.
The second disqualifier in the “unmaking of a judge,” is that Weinstein posted a poll on his Facebook page purportedly commissioned by Mercado Research and Consulting, showing that he had a commanding lead over Bailey in the race. Following the posting of the poll the Bailey camp contacted Norma Mendoza, the owner of this polling company. They were told by Ms. Mendoza that not only did she not know Mr. Weinstein, but that her company had not conducted any poll on his behalf. Shortly thereafter, the poll was deleted from Weinstein’s FB page. This leads to a third question that doesn’t even need to be asked.
The final disqualifier in the “unmaking of a judge” goes so far beyond the pale that it reads like comedy from a Seinfeld episode. At the annual republican Lincoln-Reagan Gala last Saturday, showcasing Denton Counties elected officials, candidates and other luminaries, Mr. Weinstein was witnessed carrying a significant stack of Judge Bailey’s magnetic election signs towards the bathrooms where, once inside, he was witnessed disposing of them in the trash can. Yes, you read that correctly. Weinstein, the judicial candidate, was witnessed carrying Bailey’s signs rather clumsily to the bathroom, removing the lid of the trash can in the bathroom and dumping the signs into the can. When confronted directly about his highly inappropriate actions by one of those who had witnessed his surreptitious activities, Weinstein initially denied the allegations. He was subsequently detained and questioned about his actions, first by Denton County law enforcement and later by the DFW Airport police. Two of our finest Denton County Judges (neither of which was Judge Bailey) and a prominent Denton County attorney observed some or all of these activities. Weinstein was later released from his detainment. You just can’t make this stuff up.
On his Facebook page Weinstein did not deny his actions and stated, “With my apologies for a moment of unintended childishness on my part, I have excused my previous campaign advisors….” I take from Weinstein’s statement that his only excuse was his own immaturity and the inference that his advisors might have somehow been complicit in his “childish” act since he excused them from his campaign. If so, I hope his new advisors are more mature.
This leads to the final question. Is there any way any citizen of Denton County could ever pull the lever for a man who comports himself in such a manner, particularly a man who aspires to be a District Judge?
Voting is terribly important, maybe even more so in local elections where each vote carries additional weight. Please take the time to learn about your candidates and please put the integrity of each candidate at the top of your list.
Chuck Elsey is senior partner of the law firm of Elsey & Elsey, located in Flower Mound, Texas.