Judge Ruben Guerrero Fails to Bully Me

I got the letter (PDF) from Judge Ruben Guerrero’s lawyer, Bruse Loyd, a couple of weeks ago:

It is our understanding that you own the domain name “judgerubenguerrero.com.” This website constitutes an unauthorized use of Judge Guerrero’s identity and is both unlawful and harmful to his reputation. As such, we respectfully request that you take down the website.

…and I had to decide what direction I was going to take.

I could respond to Mr. Loyd’s threats (“If the website is not removed within ten (10) days, we will take the necessary legal action”) with an explanation, either privately or here, of the law (noncommercial use of Judge Guerrero’s name, as in judgerubenguerrero.com, is protected by the First Amendment; attempts to stifle my speech would be met with a defense that would prove very expensive to Judge Guerrero both financially (because of Texas’s new anti-SLAPP statute) and reputationally (because of the Streisand Effect). The effect, if Mr. Loyd were just a little more competent than his client (an unknown, since a competent lawyer would not have sent the threatening letter in the first place), would likely have been to head off a lawsuit.

Or I could give prepare to defend myself in court and give Mr. Loyd and Judge Guerrero a chance to double down and carry through with their threats.

In his letter Mr. Loyd wrote, “Please call or email if you wish to discuss the matter.” So on 18 August I emailed:

Dear Mr. Loyd:

I have your letter of 16 August on behalf of your client, Judge Ruben Guerrero.

In your last paragraph you state, “If the website is not removed within ten (10) days, we will take the necessary legal action.”

I appreciate your explaining to me that “ten” is the same as “10,” but please describe what you consider “the necessary legal action.” I’m a criminal-defense trial lawer; I need things spelled out.

Best regards,
Mark Bennett

In other words, c’mon Bruse, double down!

Loyd didn’t reply. 

I sent the email again on 21 August. Again, Bruse Loyd didn’t reply. He and his client didn’t double down, which either shows a) that one of them came to his senses and realized how bad an idea it would be to file suit or b) that they knew all along that their threats were hollow, but misestimated their target.

A certain class of lawyers enjoys writing demand letters; usually (protip for the nonlawyers out there) they are bluster, with citations (meant to impress people who don’t read law) masking the shoddiness of the legal reasoning. They depend on the ignorance and fear of their targets to get what they want. I don’t know whether it’d be better that they did not intend to carry through on  their vague legal threat, or that they did intend to.

Whether or not he knew that the law was not on his side, Judge Guerrero thought it was okay to try to stifle criticism by threatening legal action. 

I put judgerubenguerrero.com up on a lark a couple of years ago, when I realized how terrible a judge Ruben Guerrero is (worst judge in the Harris County criminal courthouse, even before I knew of his contempt for the First Amendment; I have told him personally what I think of his judging) and that he would be seeking reelection in 2012. I never did anything to promote it, and would probably have forgotten about it had Guerrero not tried to sic his lawyer on me. I wonder how that’s going to work out for him. 

Loyd complained that judgerubenguerrero.com is “harmful” to Guerrero’s reputation. That’s as it should be: when your reputation is a falsehood, the truth tends to harm it.

About Mark Bennett

Mark Bennett got his letter of marque from the Supreme Court of Texas in May 1995. He is famous for having no sense of humor when it comes to totalitarianism.
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16 Responses to Judge Ruben Guerrero Fails to Bully Me

  1. Ted Wood says:

    Mark, what a royal pain in the ass you are!!!! please, keep it up, and give these bastards the hell they deserve- Regards, Ted Wood

  2. J. Nelson says:

    Thanks for the laugh. That was great, too bad you don’t have an imaginary rendition of the conversation that must have taken place between Loyd and his client once your e-mail was recieved, I’m sure it included a lot of head scratching and dusting off of old law books.

  3. Robb Fickman says:

    Mark – I object. Sure it’s your blog but it is not right for you to unilaterally declare one judge the worst judge. It’s not fair to so many other judges who work hard every day to be named ” The Worst Judge.”

    What about judges who lead the way in denying PR bonds and coercing mass pleas? Shouldnt they get some consideration?

    What about judges who illegally revoke bonds when defendants arrive without counsel? It’s not fair to them that they don’t get considered for worst judge.

    What about visiting judges like Robert Jones? Shouldnt he at least get some dishonorable mention?

    I think HCCLA should hold a membership wide election to name worst Judge. It’s more democratic and more fair to those judges who work so very hard, day after day, year after year, to abuse the Constitution, the Defense Bar, and our Clients.

    Just think about what’s best for the worst. It’s important that we be fair to those who work extra hard at being unfair. Let’s hold an election. That’s the American way.

    Robb Fickman

    • Mark Bennett says:

      Robb,

      The number of lawyers in this county foolhardy enough willing to call out bad elected judges publicly is vanishing small. If someone else wants a say in naming The Worst Judge, he can get his own blog and put his name on it.

      MB

  4. Is there no rule of the Texas Bar prohibiting lawyers from knowingly making false assertions about the law or demanding remedies not required by law or generally writing letters which “depend on the ignorance and fear of their targets to get what they want” ?

  5. Charlie Pelowski says:

    You can tell he’s a good lawyer by the fact that he put his signature on the last page by itself with no footer. Let’s go to Kinkos!

  6. Mike Paar says:

    Wise men always look to the future. That said, the following site is now for sale. http://www.judgemarkbennett.com/ (To highest bidder, of course)

  7. Mr. B., the Judge that wasn’t & never will be, held that Dishonorable Award for all of 2011. Now that the time has come to pass the torch to others in need of public scrutiny, we bid a farewell to the King James version of justice, as we welcome the newest of the worst that H.C. has to offer. And, none of this could be possible if not for the voters’ that vote just to be voting.

    http://blog.bennettandbennett.com/2011/03/harris-county-theocracy.html

    Congratulations Judge Guerrero, we pray that you redeem yourself becoming a role model for the rest of those that don robes in efforts to referee justice being sought on behalf of the people. Thanks.

  8. Robb Fickman says:

    Mark- I am glad you Blog cause 92% the time I agree with you. The other 8% of the time I want to stick a blade in you. But, not to worry!! Those feelings almost always quickly pass after 10-30 days and lots of the Green pills.( or is it the Purple ones?)

    For the most part, I find our 37 county & state Criminal court judges likeable and easy to chat with when they are not being judges. However, I also find the judicial policies, customs, practices and prejudices of many of those same 37 judges quite offensive.

    It’s their policies, customs, practices
    And prejudices that often sets me on fire.

    I detest all bullies. I find robed bullies particularly offensive. Its Not exactly brave for a robe, sitting up high, surrounded by all the trappings, including armed bailiffs- to pick on or abuse the presumptively innocent accused. But it happens every day. Every day some judges abuse some poor shmucks who stand in front of them.

    Even the nicest judge should know that At some point, their abusive judicial actions define who they are.

    All men and women are capable of good or evil. Judges have enormous power over people who are often poor, uneducated and without power. Those judges who consistently abuse the poor and the powerless are all candidates for Worst Judge in my book.

    I wish some of the judges who were of “purer heart” would act more as leaders. I wish they would remind their breatheren and sisteren that wrong is wrong.

    In the meantime, I will keep reminding the judges at every opportunity that 37 of them could make a crappy criminal justice system a great and fair system if they would remember their oath and stop acting as Assistant DAs. I will also keep filing complaints with the near worthless Commission on
    Judicial Conduct.

    Oh, how I wish all our county and state criminal judges could watch Senior Federal Judge John Rainey to see how to call balls and strikes and treat all parties with human dignity. Hard to name the worst, but Judge Rainey is most assuredly among the best.

    Robb Fickman

  9. Leroy-Rodney Ditto J. Fackenburpa-Schnitzelwiczski III says:

    Given that Loyd and his client have conceded that you own the domain name, and also that they don’t appear to be doubling d_’own’ any time so_on’e-upmanship-like, I’d wager that it’d be but a retrograde step on their p_art’ifice to not confess that it’s own..err..now left to them to but simply own up_take, and if they give all due consideration to the matter in hand_iwork, they’ll surely see that nobody’$ beyond redemption!

  10. Robb Fickman says:

    Something’s simply make no sense. Some things are nonsense. That posting by that person is nonsense. Restated, it makes about as much sense as the Judge’s logic for continuing to deny PR bonds to the poor.

    Robb Fickman

    • Leroy-Rodney Ditto J. Fackenburpa-Schnitzelwiczski III says:

      Robb, you said it yourself. Some things are nonsense. Your “something’s” — in kindred-keeping with “Muphry’s[sic] Law” — is certainly nonsensical. The fact that you’ve not specified which posting by which person could also be dutifully deemed a nascient nons_ense’mble too, quite apart from the fact that, some things must never be restated p_unless done so verba_tim’elessly.

      Sometimes, things do, at first bl_ush’ering-in, seem indecipherable, but if one p_en’deavours to look beneath the sur_face’tiousness of it all_egorical, one may be very suprised at just what doth lurk there be_lowdown. Ain’t it the t_ruth’less!

      “Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true.” – Demosthenes (c. 384 – 322 B.C.)

      The converse of this archaic quote must also hold true, ergo, we must let the wis_dom’inion of myriad things wish..err..wash over us, lest we find ourselves belonging to the perennially periphrastic p_unwishe..err..p_unwashed.

      Demosthenes ( On the Crown, 321-22)–Faced with the practical defeat of his policies, Demosthenes assessed them by the ideals they embodied rather than by their futili..err..utility.

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