As Zac Crain mentioned earlier, Governor Greg Abbott has appointed a new district attorney for Dallas County. Her name is Faith Johnson. So what if the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct once admonished her for “cast[ing] public discredit upon the judiciary”? It’s local lawyers that really matter. I popped over the the Dallas Bar’s site to see what they think — or what they thought. The Bar conducts anonymous polls of its members every year to evaluate our judges. Johnson has been in private practice for about a decade, so I had to go back a few years.
In 2003, when she was running the 363rd District Court, Johnson did not impress the lawyers who voted. To the question “Does this judge correctly apply the law?” only 41 percent said “yes.” Next question: “Do you approve of this judge’s overall performance?” Just 49 percent said “yes.” Those numbers are pretty consistent over the years, as you look at older polls.
Numbers like that in isolation are hard to interpret. How did the other criminal court judges fare in that poll? Great question. Well, in 2003, on those same two questions, Judge John Creuzot got 85 and 87 percent “yes.” Manny Alvarez, 80 and 76. Vickers L. Cunningham Sr., 71 and 68. Keith Dean, 78 and 78. Robert W. Francis, 78 and 77. Karen Green, 61 and 56. Lana McDaniel, 90 and 89. Mark Nancarrow, 61 and 61. John Nelms, 82 and 82. Henry Wade Jr., 56 and 56. Janice Warder, 71 and 71.
Of the 12 criminal district court judges, that year Johnson scored the lowest. That’s the judge that Abbott picked for us.