Trust is the bedrock of our judicial system. People have to believe that the judges and juries who determine their fates are fair and competent. That they have good judgment.
And that question of judgment, more than any accusation that has been leveled against him, is state District Judge Carlos Cortez’s biggest problem.
In 2010, Cortez was referred to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct for bad-mouthing fellow judges. Although the commission dismissed the complaint, Cortez has spent $135,000 in legal fees fighting to keep private related statements and documents that apparently paint an unflattering personal portrait. Additional court filings suggest that the sealed information is related to the use of drugs and prostitutes.
On the job, Cortez has received low marks from the Dallas Bar Association in the areas of impartiality and judicial temperament.