One of the first things County Judge Mark Henry did upon taking office was to sign up to earn an extra $14,000 a year by committing to spend at least 40 percent of his time performing judicial functions, that is where he acts as a judge in real lawsuits and prosecutions. He quickly hustled to set himself up to magistrate inmates, preside over juvenile hearings and take criminal pleas in one county court.

He created a veteran’s court and hired himself to be the judge without any consultation with the Galveston County judiciary. And he did all of this without any legal training. Henry is a helicopter pilot by profession.

Henry created a video system so he could magistrate inmates without going to the Galveston County Jail. Justice Administrator Bonnie Quiroga quickly discovered a very big problem with the video system. Private conversations between inmates and attorneys were also being recorded and able to be revealed to law enforcement and the prosecution. That situation violated the law and put the county at great legal risk. Had that been allowed to continue the county would have been liable for staggering financial costs.

Ms. Quiroga brought the problem to Henry’s attention. The helicopter pilot did not share her concern. The next morning on July 24, 2014, he fired her without consulting the judges she worked for and without prior approval from the county Commissioner’s Court.

District Court Judge and Chief Administrative Judge Lonnie Cox issued an order prohibiting Henry from firing her since she worked for the real judges and not Henry. Henry hired, at taxpayer expense, a law firm to challenge Judge Cox’s order.

After almost a year of litigation, visiting Judge Sharolyn Woods was assigned to hear testimony about who Quiroga worked for and who had the authority to hire and fire her.

For several days, Judge Woods heard testimony on this topic. She also heard about Henry having locks changed to keep the judiciary, their staff and the Galveston County Sheriff out of courtroom and court offices. While locking out staff such as Quiroga and others is annoying and childish, locking out the law enforcement officers responsible for courthouse safety was dangerous and foolhardy.

Then she issued a scathing opinion and order that Henry intentionally interfered with the independence of the Galveston County judiciary and the ability of the Galveston County judiciary to perform its judicial functions. She forbade him from firing judicial staff.

Henry made it clear he had no intention of complying with her order. After all she is just another judge.

Henry’s lawyers, in a brief to the First Court of Appeals complaining about the specter of contempt looming large over him, wrote that, “It is axiomatic…that Judge Henry alone cannot act for Galveston County.”

I think that is what the judges of Galveston County, visiting Judge Sharolyn Woods and the judges of the First Court of Appeals have been trying to tell the helicopter pilot.

Susan Criss, a former district court judge and attorney, is writing columns from a progressive perspective.

(51) comments

Walter Manuel

You tell 'em Susan! [thumbup]

This is obviously where everyone can separate the goats from the sheep (helicoptor pilot) [beam]

Jack Cross

Doyle, the democrats are not in office, it is republicans, remember all the characters that were swept into office in 2010. The Jp and the jusges that are fighting Henry are republicans. Susan is agreeing with them. I also agree with them. That makes me agree with the issue at hand, I don't see this as a Democrat vs Republican issue. Steven Holms a democrat is on the same side with three republicans. Juisti is staying out of it.

Paula Flinn

Thanks, Susan, for a well-written article that everyone can understand. [smile]

Katrina Evenhouse

I agree with Paula....

Doyle Beard

Sores losers. Instead of always bashing another party come p wih ways to fix things. Both parties nedd the hell wake up and serve Galveston County and Ameica also. the reason you lost was your party failed and now the other party is failing so bashing them will result in the other party getting a shot to fail again. When are politicians from either party going to wake up and work for the voters. Wake up politicians and start doing something that is productive, not petty stuff.There is not a dimes worth of difference in either party. It's about power grab. Clean up your own house first then you might have reason to complain.

Diane Brodie

Agreed Doyle Beard but at the moment we all have a problem with Judge Henry's power grab and it must be stopped. I don't know if you got the message that he has locked off a courtroom for his personal use that sits empty and only he has the key. That is an outrageous waste of a county resource. Furthermore, the commissioners court is spending/wasting tax payers money suing Judge Cox even after the upper court has twice told them that they have no authority to interfere with the courts' personnel. They are trying to destroy Judge Cox who is having to defend the courts autonomy at his own personal expense. I for one will donate to Judge Cox' campaign to help him with this fight as well as the upcoming election where I'm sure they will attack him as well. Shame on the County Judge and the Commissioner's Court.

Katrina Evenhouse

Diane is right! I am tired of his abuse of power and using tax payer money to do it.

Susan Criss

Doyle I think you missed the part where I agree with the GOP judges in GC, the GOP visiting judge, GOP sheriff and GOP appellate judges. Not once was a single criticism of Henry based on party affiliation. Not a single shot fired in this piece about GOP party. Not a partisan piece. Try again.

Katrina Evenhouse

[beam]

Doyle Beard

Your columns are on sided ust like the other party. Cant be denide. I did not miss any point. Your point is always pointed.

Mick Phalen

I hear the Dems and GC Tea Partiers are setting her up for a run for County Judge. There's no politics in the Criss family[beam][beam][beam]

Susan Criss

Well if they are then they have not mentioned it to me. Not running.

Susan Criss

as are yours.
but can be denied when I agree with many GOP against others you cannot with any credibility cry your partisan whine.

Doyle Beard

cry cry

Jack Cross

Susan makes good factual points, these lawsuits and atorney fees Are costly plus they could have been avoided. on every issue the county acts without consulting with the affected parties

Doyle Beard

beware Jack Cross We all know politicians say what people want to hear. Her points are to be taken with care so dont heap too much praise. I feel there is an angle to her method of maddness.

Willis Briggs

Ms. Criss, though I don't always (seldom) agree with you, you are on target this time with your comments. The problem is not Democrat or Republican, it is the person and their ambition.

One way to change this is to remove the single party button from all voting machines and force voters to know who they are voting for.

Thank you for cutting through the fog.[smile]

John Dupla

my question is how can Mark Henry act as a judge over legal matters without a law degree? Why hasn't the State bar filed a petition or take legal action against him for practising without a license. The old county judge position allowed some judicial action because of the scarcity of lawyers. This is not the case anymore and it's atiquated.

I also question the validity of any of his judgements in legal matters. If I was a lawyer and had a client sentenced in his court, I would file an appeal to have the decision overturned by reason of not being tried by a trained/licensed judge of law.

An FYI, Mark Henry originally ran for office in Walker county(Spring,TX) against GOP Ted Poe and was thoroughly pounced. He was also investigated by the Federal gov't. for selling tainted jet fuel to the miliitary. Mark Henry is just a stone throw away from being a Judge Christopher Dupuy.

Doyle Beard

Spring Texas is not in Walker County

John Dupla

my bad, it's in Montgomery county,but it's still a fact that Henry ran and was defeated by Ted Poe before running in Galveston county.

Carol Dean

John, Mark also ran for County Judge on a dare from one of his friends when he was still living in Houston.

John Dupla

to clarify Mark Henry lived in Spring ,Tx at the time which is in Montgomery county, however, the district for which he ran included Walker county. He never had nor ever will have the best intentions for Galveston county's citizens. Only his. It's interesting that there are people that condemn Susan Criss, demeanor her, and use "rick-oshay" logic to change the subject away from Mark Henry and his blatant power grab,using the GOP as his "force shield".

M. FARRIS

Thank You Willis Briggs!!! It's as simple as he states. Remove the option for straight party voting!! If you don't know who you are voting for and don't care enough to take the time to research them, do us all a favor and STAY HOME! Straight party voting is why we have this horrible excuse for a Judge!!

Carol Dean

Thank you, Susan for disclosing the facts that many have tried for so long to keep hidden. It is not a Republican/Democrat "thing", it is a county tax-payer "thing".

For whatever reason, we have three commissioners and a "king" who seem to think they are above reproach. Wrong! What part of "NO", don't they understand? The judicial system is not all of a sudden going to resend their decisions on this case. What is the point of continuing a fruitless war?

Ryan Dennard seems to enjoy taking the lead as being the spokes person for the king and his "Band of Merry Men". I can't see how Dennard's participation and advice that he is giving can possibly serve him well as an advertising tool for his private practice as an attorney in the future when he is no longer a commissioner.

Doyle Beard, you are paying for The King's little folly. Wise up. Facts are facts and Susan Criss has done an excellent job of sharing them with us!

.

Doyle Beard

obvisiouly you weren't around when the democrats controlled Galveston County I mean controlled the county I went to a few democrat conventions and I saw first hand what went on. With the republican control it isn't any better. No one pays me anything as you try to insinuate. Galveston county politics are bad on both sides. I have voted for both democrats and Republicians and am damn proud that I don't vote for a party. I know what she said and as I said to Jack Cross beware of politicians as that is what the writer is. They say what you want to hear and ones track record makes you doubt the sincerity of the article.

Carol Dean

Regardless. You are capable of doing your own research, if you doubt the facts, which are true, look it up and talk to people yourself.

You should be thanking Ms. Criss for saving you the time and effort. This time she is "spot on"!

Doyle Beard

you just dont get it do you. I never said the facts were not there. I was speaking about the writers motive. I think it was for her ego to write the article not to really inform anyone. Read Read

Pete Nanos

"Just a helicopter pilot" hmmmmm don't forget "you're just a woman". Being snarky and dismissive works two ways, Susie.

Carol Dean

Pete, I believe you left out the part where she has served as a legal judicial judge.

Susan Criss

Actually Mr. Nanos you misquoted me. I never used "just a " in front of 'helicopter pilot"
I am certain Mr Henry had extensive training to be able to pilot a helicopter. I have not. I am guessing that must be a difficult skill to learn. Consequently I would never pilot a helicopter or presume that I could.
I may be "just a woman" to you but I have had extensive legal training for almost 30 years. The helicopter pilot has not.

Pete Nanos

Yes, so was Dupuy. What's your point. I don't care who you are, being condescending is something I expect from libs. They all hold themselves in high esteem. She could also be termed a loser in that she lost her bid in the last election, but I digress. She could have said everything she said without going to "he's a helicopter pilot" somehow elevating her position in the discussion. She knows what she did. She's a snarky old woman.[wink]

Carol Dean

Pete, why don't you and Doyle get together for lunch and "enjoy" each others company?

Maybe GCDN would consider giving the two of you your own column.

Doyle Beard

I dont need to have lunch , I attended many galveston county democratic conventions and I know how they operate. Neither party is for the people. All about power grabs. I have seen first hand. How many conventions you attended?

Pete Nanos

Maybe you and Susie should sit down for lunch and amaze each other with your vast knowledge of the political system and how it works. I'm sure with the liberal granting of columns by GCDN even YOU could land a platform for your discussions.

Carol Dean

Even "YOU"? Na, you appear to be more of a limelight seeker then I am. I am just upholding the true facts.

This conversation is loosing steam and I will be out knocking on doors and promoting my candidates.

Susan Criss

I am not old Dammit!

Paula Flinn

I can vouch for that! [beam]

Paula Flinn

My mother used to say, "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world."

Carol Dean

Judge Dupuy is another example of why we need to replace the Chairperson of the Galveston County Republican Party. Barbara Meeks and her minions think that all you have to do to be a candidate that they support is to put an R behind your name.

Voters Beware! We will see more of that in the 2016 primaries. Check out the candidates, CW Brown and T Washington. They are running as Rs. Check their voting records. Neither of these men have voted in Republican primaries before! Suddenly they have "seen the light"? Uh, no, Barbara Meeks has sought them out to run against real Republicans who she does not like. Oh, wait, news flash! Mark Henry is also part of that little game!

Doyle Beard

Sounds like the Democrats in the 60s when a crook with a D beside his name {Yarborough) got elected to a I believe a state judge post. Not Senator Ralph Yarbrough anothe guy with a name almost like his. What I am saying is both parties are the same.This is what finally made me stop voting straight ticket because I did vote for the guy on straight ticket. That issue alone shows the fallacy of voting straight party ticket. I now study each candidate in hopes of weeding out such as that.
i bet I have voted for more democrats than you have.

Carol Dean

LOL, Mick! If you only knew who "we" plan to run!

Mick Phalen

Hi Carol,
If they are anything like the phonies you got elected to LC City Council - - bigger government, tax increases, special interest pandering, no integrity - - no thanks, I'll stick with a known quantity.[wink]

Doyle Beard

Alert to both parties. Gruber was right on target. He told the absolute truth.

Pete Nanos

You are correct, Susie. You did not say "just", you implied it and you can deny that all day long. 30 years of legal training may count for something if you learned from it. I know a lot of people who have worked at things for over 30 years and never really got any better or smarter. You certainly picked up the art of laying someone low then denying it because the you didn't exactly say the words. Dems are good at word games. The meaning of "is" comes to mind. Old is defined by ones perspective. 30 years at the job at least puts you past young. I'm a lot older than you, so the truth be known, to me you are a youngster, but a snarky one for sure. [smile]

Paula Flinn

Name calling, such as "snarky" is not very mature. You are attacking Judge Criss' behavior or character because you cannot attack her issues or her positions. She does have the right to express her opinions, whether you agree with them or not. You certainly have that same right, but it would be more effective, IMHO, if you would leave the name-calling out of it.

Pete Nanos

She has every right to speak to the issues, but she should attack the issues without being condescending and without demeaning the other person because he does not rise to the level of expertise she attributes to her all knowing colleagues and herself. A "mature" person would have read the article and discerned the facts as I alluded to them,Paula. If she was right on the issues she would have had no need to stoop to that level. Her argument would have stood alone as testament to her knowledge of the issues being discussed. Dems don't like when you cut the size of government as Mr. Henry has done and he's now paying for it with attacks from dems and those who hand picked someone they thought they could control, but lost. What has she or her colleagues done to reduce the size of government or remove those who are incompetent.

PS the name calling on my part was to make a point regarding her implied name calling. Sorry you weren't mature enough to pick up on that. Better luck next time.

Paula Flinn

"the name calling on my part was to make a point regarding her implied name calling. Sorry you weren't mature enough to pick up on that."

Another cheap shot and a sorry excuse! I did get the point you were trying to make, especially when you said that "she is just a woman." No one cares about your motives. You are responsible for your words when you post, and name calling is immature!

PS I won't need better luck next time, I will ignore your posts.

PS I won't read your posts after this because it is too much trouble to "read between the lines" to figure out your motives.

John Bowen

Just a Helicopter pilot? How about the appointed Judges of Scotus. Everyone comes to position with thoughts and biases. Just because you have a JD does not mean you decisions are in fact good for all. The benefit to all county Judges is we get to elect them every four years.

We should not forget Judge Henry is also a successful entrepreneur and veteran not a career politician.

He stepped up to take on the position of county Judge. If you think that the salary or benefits are worth the time and personal investment, then you too should run.

But just remember it is 24/7-365. There is 300k+ critics of everything you do and you are never going to please all the people all the time.

Many of you checked your principles at the door in the last election not to vote for the best candidate but to vote against Judge Henry. In my opinion that shows the kind of people that do not have principles or morals.


Judge Henry knows me well enough to know that I will or will not vote for him based on performance. Not because I don't like him or because my friend is running. I also base my decisions on people by what they do or don't do friendship is one thing but how you do your job is something completely different.

I have worked with people I did not like but respect because they do their job and I have liked people who weren't worth a crap at their job but they were my friend. But trust me if you can effect my financial well being or liberty all bets are off. You will be judged on your performance.

Look around at the state of this county and if you can be honest and say that it is not in a better state and he has not lived up to his campaign promices than when Judge Henry took office than don't vote for him but before you vote be honest in your assessment. I think you find growth is off the charts taxes have been lowered and the county is safer than it was before he took office and with the limited power a County Judge has he hasn't taken away my liberties. I can't think of another thing I expect from my elected officials; I believe in very limited government.

What he did for as you say is $14,000 power grab by being a Judge is actually saving the county hundreds of thousands by not hiring Judges to to adjudicate cases for criminals and Veterans. Do you really want to allow some potential non-Veteran, litigating from the bench, Judges making those decisions, I think not.

Carol Dean

J.Bowen, if nothing else, you are good for a laugh! Mark Henry, successful entrepreneur, I guess maybe you are referring to his new Beer Brewery? Maybe you consider owning a business that sold tainted fuel to the military and having two other businesses closed in other states being successful, maybe you're right.

Even his poor wife was left by herself at the helo-parts store to run the business. Not exactly an ideal location for a woman to have to fend for herself.

Let's not leave out the nasty divorce and subsequent wheeling and dealing he did with his oldest son so that he would pay for his son's college education.

If your persona; principles correlate with your above testimony, I sure am glad that mine are totally opposite of yours.

Still laughing!

John Bowen

It is just personal attack after personal attack with you Carol D. Time to change that record it's skipping!

Carol Dean

JBowen, in your mind they are "personal attacks" LOL! In the minds of others they are Facts and it seems that you just don't want to deal with them.

I'll quit "picking" on you and King Henry for now. I have a lot more productive things to do with my time!

Have a nice day![smile]

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