Friday, September 18, 2020
Judge Franklin Accused of Ambushing Defendants in a Complaint Filed With Commission on Judicial Conduct; Smoots-Thomas Released
Judge Ramona Franklin, (left) the presiding judge for the 338th Criminal District Court in Harris County, Texas is being accused by criminal defense attorneys of ambushing unsuspecting citizens who are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in her courtroom. According to an article that appeared in the Houston Chronicle earlier this week, some of these defendants appeared before Judge Franklin and had no notice of what was about to take place -- many didn't even have representation. As for former Judge Alexandra Smoots Thomas, (right) she pled guilty and received time served on her well-publicized embezzlement case. In the end, federal Judge Lynn N. Hughes had mercy on former Judge Alexandra Smoots Thomas -- which is more than can be said about the way some defendants who appear before Judge Ramona Franklin in the 338th Criminal District Court, in Harris County, Texas are being treated -- if you believe the complaint filed by several local defense attorneys with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. Judge Franklin is up for re-election on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, but does not have an opponent running against her. Early voting will begin on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, and end on Friday, October 30, 2020.
Rough Last Few Days for Blacks in Politics in Harris County, Texas as the Tuesday, November 3, 2020, General Election Draws Nearer
AUBREY R. TAYLOR REPORTS©
This week has not been good for Black females in politics in the Harris County, Texas area. In case you haven’t heard, former Judge Alexandra Smoots Thomas plead guilty this week to embezzling campaign funds – which has effectively ended her career. In a published report (SEE HERE) this former judge stated, “My world truly turned upside down,” in a Houston Chronicle. She went on to tell federal Judge Lynn N. Hughes that her husband’s unemployment. Her home being placed into foreclosure. The cancer treatments she had to endure. The cancer diagnosis that was received by her father – coupled with her child’s attempted suicide – all impacted her decision-making ability. She was also quoted in the Houston Chronicle article as stating, “I regret wholeheartedly leaving such a terrible stain at what is the end of a wonderful and rewarding 18-year legal career.” She went on to say, “I truly apologize for my actions. I apologize for the stain that this has placed on my family and even my former colleagues on the bench.” And in the end, Judge Hughes, after taking into consideration her admission of guilt, and the hardships she’s suffered only sentenced former Judge Alexandra Smoots Thomas to 36 days in jail – which is what she has spent in jail for a bond violation connected to a recent charge she picked up in connection to a shooting charge. She was also given three years of supervised release. And to the dismay of prosecutors, Judge Hughes also demanded that former Judge Alexandra Smoots Thomas be released from the federal lockup in Conroe where she was being held.
JUDGE RAMONA FRANKLIN FINDS HERSELF IN HOT WATER
As I said, this week wasn’t good for Blacks in politics. Based on the number of phone calls I’ve received this week about Judge Ramona Franklin, she needs to be praising God that she does not have a general election opponent this time around. A recent report in the Houston Chronicle titled, “Defense attorneys group files complaint against District Judge Ramona Franklin over bond revocation,” isn’t a good look for Black female judges. But we have to stop with the businesses of lumping every Black person in with the shortcomings of another person who has Black skin. There’s an old saying, “All my skin folk ain’t all my kinfolk.” Well, let’s hope Harris County, Texas voters keep this in mind when they go to the polls on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, in the general election. I have no idea what’s going on in the head of Judge Ramona Franklin – these days. However, what I do know is that we have one of the best groups of “DULY-QUALIFIED BLACK DEMOCRATIC NOMINEES” that I’ve seen in my 30-years of focusing on local politics and the criminal justice system at-large. I repeat, the allegations being leveled at Judge Ramona Franklin does not (and should not) impact your voting decisions in the upcoming general election -- whereas Black candidates are concerned. Anyways, in case you haven’t heard, since last November, eight defendants fresh out of jail on bond have walked into the 338th Criminal District Court, that’s presided over by Judge Ramona Franklin – only to be sent right back to jail, according to the Houston Chronicle reporting. What’s wrong with that? Well, for starters, according to the article, Judge Ramona Franklin is engaging in behavior that unfairly penalizes these defendants who are presumed innocent – and is causing undue hardship on them. How? Well, her alleged actions have caused some of the presumed citizens who appeared before her to lose thousands of dollars they scraped together to get bail in the first place. And these attorneys didn’t stop there, according to their complaint, Judge Ramona Franklin revoked the bonds of these citizens without notice or cause, some of these presumed to be innocent citizens even appeared before Judge Ramona Franklin without any legal representation – which according to the attorneys is illegal. According to the article, Grant Scheiner, with the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association stated, “Many times these people are effectively ambushed.” He went on to say, “They can’t defend themselves and have no access to counsel.” For now, it seems that we won’t get Judge Ramona Franklin’s side of the story, because according to her – she cannot comment due to judicial canons that bar her from speaking about ongoing legal matters. But in the end, she’s going to have to given an account of her actions – because these attorneys are serious. As per the article in the Houston Chronicle, these defense attorneys have watched Judge Ramona Franklin for years. According to them, they’ve watched her call defendants to the bench and conduct “bail reviews” without taking record of the proceeding. They also claim that some of these defendants (who should be presumed innocent until proven guilty) aren’t even given any notice about what’s going to happen to them. Anyways, as I said, Judge Ramona Franklin’s name will appear on the November 3rd general election ballot – but she’s running for re-election unopposed.
AUBREY R. TAYLOR COMMUNICATIONS
957 NASA PARKWAY #251
HOUSTON, TEXAS 77058-3039
Some politicians don't play fair. So, if you need opposition research conducted on your opponent, please call Mark A. Aguirre at (713)816-4151 today!
We Are Better Together. So, please wash your hands; wear your mask; practice social distancing, and get tested if you have not done so already!
Most Recent Ground-Game Editions of Houston Business Connections Newspaper© to Help You Identify the 2020 Nominees Who Value Our Vote!
Key 2020 Democratic and Republican Nominees You Should Get to Know if You Live in Harris County, Texas
Aubrey R. Taylor is the President/CEO of Aubrey R. Taylor Communications, the publisher of Houston Business Connections Newspaper©. Taylor has more than 29-years of experience in marketing, branding, investigative reporting, public relations, opposition research, and political consulting. A master at his craft, he’s assisted in branding Republican and Democratic candidates in statewide elections and in local municipalities throughout the State of Texas. Over the years, he’s also assisted in branding and marketing (through his various publications) such corporations and institutions as Shell Oil, The City of Houston, Texas A&M, Texas Southern University, Prairie View A&M University, Chevron, Shell Oil, Waste Management, Nationwide Insurance, Momentum Jaguar/BMW, Channel 11, Channel 13, State Farm Insurance, and Allstate Insurance to name a few.
AUBREY R. TAYLOR COMMUNICATIONS
957 NASA PARKWAY #251
HOUSTON, TEXAS 77058-3039