This is a reprint of the September 3, 2014 Mongoose newsletter. My first published book might not be set in London in the Spring of 1881 after all. It could well be about Judge Franklin and her predecessor, Judge Pratt. I have more than enough information to fill a book.
Click here to read about this truly too-sleazy-to-believe scenario: an amicus attorney appointed to represent a child in a nasty custody case decides to run for judge and accepts a large campaign contribution from a party to the case. Sadly, Alicia Franklin, is the protagonist in this wretched story as well.
Ms. Franklin was appointed an amicus attorney for a young boy in a hotly contested custody case by Judge Lisa Millard in case no. 2012-04106 on April 20, 2012. This case involved parents and grandparents.
On October 15, 2013, Ms. Franklin and the grandparents’ attorney filed a joint motion for enforcement against the mother for not obeying a court order on visitation. It is extremely unusual for an amicus attorney to file a joint motion with another party. I have never actually seen it happen in my 27 years of practice. It certainly shows that on October 15, Franklin was very actively involved in the Maxim case and would have known who the grandfather, Joe Maxim, was.
On the very next day, on October 16, 2013, Ms. Franklin, who then was running for judge, accepted a $1,000 contribution from the grandfather in that case. That contribution was not disclosed by Ms. Franklin to the other parties or their attorneys or to the judge.
Franklin admitted that she accepted the grandfather’s contribution when she met with the Houston Chronicle editorial board. Franklin insisted she had done nothing improper, in part because she had accepted a $4,000 contribution from a lawyer who briefly represented one of the other parties to that case.
A grandfather who so badly wants custody of a grandchild because of the parents’ bad behavior really needs the “neutral” amicus attorney on his side to have chance for custody. How could any lawyer in their right mind ever think it was ethical to solicit or to accept a campaign contribution from such a grandfather while the candidate was the amicus in the grandpa’s hotly contested custody case?
This is just another example of very bad ethical decisions Ms. Franklin has made recently. Ironically, the grandfather was represented by Rita Lucido, the law partner of Sherri Cothrun, who is the Democrat running against Franklin. Cothrun made Lucido aware of the grandfather’s contribution in May 2014 after Cothrun looked at Franklin’s campaign finance reports. I wonder what other ethical lapses of Judge Franklin are out there waiting to be discovered? My next newsletter will provide a few more examples unfortunately.
Our system of justice works only if we have fair, ethical judges who command the respect of attorneys and the public. Franklin’s defective moral compass is something to really worry about as long as she is a judge.