Impact Player of the Year: State Commission on Judicial Conduct

Rules and Reliance: Post-Execution Fight Reveals Conflict Among Judicial Governing Standards

by Mary Alice Robbins

2010 was a tough year for members of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct in their case alleging Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Sharon Keller violated the Texas Constitution and the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct.

On July 16, the commission released an order publicly warning Keller for her conduct in the case of convicted killer Michael Richard who was executed in 2007.

But commission executive director Seana Willing, who also is the commission’s examiner, contended that the order was based on a rule that does not comport with the Texas Constitution. In July, Willing told Texas Lawyer, “I’m not criticizing the commission for what they did, but I don’t understand why they did what they did.” Willing was concerned that the commission’s public warning in Keller could result in “bad law” and cost taxpayers more money.

Then in October, the commission took another hit: A three-justice special court of review appointed by the Texas Supreme Court to hear Keller’s appeal vacated the commission’s order of public warning and dismissed the charges without addressing the merits of the case against her.

The special court held that under the Texas Constitution and the Government Code, the commission cannot issue a sanction — such as a public warning — after initiating formal proceedings against a judge, which the commission had done in February 2009.

Willing apparently changed her position about the commission’s action. The special court wrote in its Oct. 11 opinion, “The Commission’s Examiner now contends that the Commission’s Order is consistent with the Texas Constitution, Government Code, and applicable Rules.” Willing declines comment.

The special court’s order could not have been the ending the commission wanted after spending about 21 months prosecuting the case against Keller.

But the outcome of In Re Honorable Sharon Keller does highlight the need to revise the rules that govern the judicial conduct commission’s proceedings.

“There’ll be a great deal of scrutiny placed on the rules the commission is operating under,” says Charles “Chip” Babcock, Keller’s attorney and a Jackson Walker partner in Dallas and Houston. “The rules need an overhaul.”

Commission on Judicial Conduct chairman Jorge Rangel

Jorge Rangel, the commission’s chairman, says he “absolutely” stands by the commissioners’ decision in Keller but cannot comment on how they reached that decision.

“The deliberations of the commission are confidential,” he says.

Rangel, president of and a shareholder in The Rangel Law Firm in Corpus Christi, says commissioners followed the rules that the Texas Supreme Court gave the commission to follow.

“It is not our role to declare the rules the Supreme Court promulgates for us to follow are unconstitutional,” Rangel says.

As noted in the special court’s Oct. 11 order, the commission relied heavily on Rule 10(m) of the Texas Rules for the Removal or Retirement of Judges as its authority for issuing a public warning to Keller. Titled “Formal Proceedings,” Rule 10(m) contemplates a sanction after a formal proceeding. But, as the special court pointed out in its order, Rule 10(m) is the only provision that does so. The special court noted that Rule 10(m) is inconsistent with other of the Rules for the Removal or Retirement of Judges, the Texas Constitution and the Government Code.

State Supreme Court Justice Wallace Jefferson says the court will look at the rules. “The court is always interested in ensuring that the procedural rules are clear and fair,” Jefferson says. However, Jefferson declines to say when the Supreme Court will begin such a review.

Austin solo Lillian Hardwick, co-author of the “Handbook of Texas Lawyer and Judicial Ethics,” says the relevant statutes, the constitution, the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct, and the Rules for the Removal or Retirement of Judges should all be in sync. “If you mess with one and don’t change another, you will wind up getting in the same trouble as we’re in now,” Hardwick says.

“If the bright light gets shined on this area, the commission’s [internal operating] rules also should be examined,” Hardwick says, adding that those rules should be available to the public as such rules are in other states. “That just provides another check and balance.”

But change often comes slowly. Hardwick says that in 2004, a state Supreme Court-created committee held five hearings across the state to get input on possible changes to the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct. People made recommendations at the hearings, but changes were not made, Hardwick says.

Hardwick says that in 2007, the American Bar Association dramatically changed its Model Code of Judicial Conduct. Even the structure of the model code is different from the Texas code, Hardwick says. For example, while the Texas code has only judicial canons, the model code has canons and individual rules, and a judge could be disciplined under the rules, she says. The model code also has substantive comments, but the Texas code does not, she says.

When the Supreme Court begins considering changes in the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct, it will have to look at what the committee intended to do in 2004 and compare that to the model code, Hardwick says. “That’s going to be the next big project for the court,” she says. 

The Impact Players

Nancy Atlas: D&O a No-Go

by Brenda Sapino Jeffreys

An October order by U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas — which cuts off R. Allen Stanford and two other former Stanford Financial Group (SFG) executives from insurance money to pay their legal bills — will impact the insurance-coverage practice in Texas.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas

On Oct. 13, Atlas issued an order finding the two insurance companies holding directors-and-officers policies for SFG are not required to pay anymore for the defense of three former SFG executives in a criminal case, United States v. Robert Allen Stanford, et al. She also wrote that the insurance companies do not have to pay anymore for their defense in a separate U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission civil suit, Securities and Exchange Commission v. Stanford International Bank Ltd., et al.

The insurance companies had alleged the executives engaged in money laundering as defined by the D&O policies, which the executives denied.

“[T]he court concludes that the Underwriters have met their burden of proof to show substantial likelihood that the preponderance of evidence would demonstrate that the Money Laundering exclusion applies to each plaintiff,” Atlas, a judge in the Southern District of Texas, wrote in a 45-page opinion.

Atlas’ ruling could lead to a rash of coverage suits if insurers seek to invoke exclusions and deny claims for coverage filed by directors and officers. It also could lead to more work for lawyers, as corporate clients hire them to negotiate D&O policies without the exclusions that would allow an insurer to deny coverage prior to a final adjudication.

David Schubert, who represents insurance companies and corporations in insurance-coverage suits, says that in the wake of Atlas’ ruling, insurance companies proactively may seek similar judicial rulings based on exclusions. Schubert, a shareholder in Schubert & Evans in Dallas, says the ruling is significant because Atlas made a “front-end determination of whether or not money-laundering [as defined by the policy] had occurred and of course found there was evidence that money laundering [as defined by the policy] had occurred and therefore there was no duty by the carriers.”

Kara Altenbaumer-Price, a former securities lawyer at Andrews Kurth in Dallas who is now director of complex claims and consulting for USI Southwest in Dallas, an insurance and financial services company, says Atlas’ ruling is a “half-win” for corporate executives seeking coverage under D&O policies and a “half-win” for insurance companies.

She says it gives executives a means to battle an unfavorable coverage decision, but it also encourages insurance companies to launch coverage actions if the policy allows them to deny coverage prior to a final adjudication of the underlying litigation.

Altenbaumer-Price says Atlas’ ruling should remind corporations to make sure the language in their D&O policies includes final adjudication language that would ensure that insurance companies can’t decline legitimate coverage prior to final adjudication.

Stanford, former chairman of SFG; Mark Kuhrt, former global controller for Stanford Financial Group Global Management; Gilbert Lopez, former chief accounting officer of Stanford Financial Group Co.; and Laura Pendergest-Holt, former chief investment officer of SFG, filed Laura Pendergest-Holt, et al. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London, et al. to force the underwriters to pay their legal bills. Pendergest-Holt settled with the underwriters in August, the day before a hearing in Atlas’ court on the coverage issue.

All four are defendants in the civil SEC suit and the criminal case. The defendants have denied the allegations in both cases. In the criminal case, the defendants have pleaded not guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges related to an alleged conspiracy to defraud investors who bought about $7 billion in certificates of deposit sold through Stanford International Bank Ltd.

While finding the money-laundering exclusion applies to “justify underwriters’ denial of insurance coverage,” Atlas noted in the order that the findings and conclusions are “neither final findings of fact nor conclusions of law for use in the criminal or SEC cases pending against each plaintiff.”

The underwriters paid $11.2 million in defense costs for work through July 14 and a portion of the $3.2 million billed by the plaintiffs for the period through Sept. 15.

Stanford’s criminal trial begins in January 2011 in Senior U.S. District Judge David Hittner’s court in Houston. 

Gary Cobb: The Hammer Gets Nailed

by Mary Alice Robbins

Gary Cobb, a 20-year veteran in the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, led a four-lawyer team that successfully prosecuted Tom DeLay, the former U.S. House majority leader nicknamed “The Hammer.” On Nov. 24, a jury convicted DeLay on one count each of conspiracy to money launder and money laundering.

Gary Cobb, assistant district attorney in the Travis County District Attorney’s Office

“We nailed him,” says Cobb, an assistant DA.

Andrew Wheat, research director at Texans for Public Justice (TPJ), says Texas has drawn a line in the sand to say no corporate money can go to political candidates. “Tom DeLay’s conviction has reinforced that,” he says.

Wheat says that in early 2003, TPJ filed a complaint with the DA’s office regarding the transfer of $190,000 in corporate contributions from the DeLay-created Texans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee (TRMPAC) to the Republican National Committee, which sent campaign contributions that totaled $190,000 to seven GOP state legislative candidates in 2002. The Republican Party won a majority in the Texas House in 2002, setting the stage for a Republican-dominated Legislature to redraw congressional districts in 2003.

Cobb, director of the grand jury unit in the DA’s office, says he did not join the team prosecuting DeLay until mid-July. “It was a very, very steep learning curve,” Cobb says, noting that there were more than 100 boxes of evidence in the case.

Cobb says he and other members of the prosecutorial team in State v. DeLay — assistant district attorneys Beverly Mathews, Steven Brand and Holly Taylor — spent long hours digging into everything about the case. Among the things they found within TRMPAC’s files, Cobb says, was a list showing the candidates who ultimately received the contributions from the Republican National Committee.

“It listed the names of candidates and the amounts they were to be given,” he says, noting that the seven candidates received the same amounts that appeared on the list.

Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg, who ran against Cobb in the 2008 Democratic primary, says she assigned Cobb to the DeLay case because “he’s a good trial lawyer” and was available to lead the prosecutorial team for DeLay’s trial.

Lehmberg says Cobb and other team members did a good job “taking a lot of material in the political world and making it understandable to a jury.”

Dick DeGuerin, DeLay’s attorney and a partner in Houston’s DeGuerin & Dickson, says Cobb “knows his audience” and argued an emotional case to jurors in Travis County, one of the Democrats’ strongholds in Texas.

“He made politics per se look dirty and money in politics look dirty,” DeGuerin says of Cobb. “I can’t take anything away from him; he’s a talented guy.”

DeGuerin says DeLay will appeal his conviction.

Senior District Judge Pat Priest of San Antonio scheduled DeLay’s sentencing hearing for Jan. 10, 2011. Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson assigned Priest to preside over State v. DeLay. 

Ophelia Camiña and Sharon Freytag: Into the Thicket

by Brenda Sapino Jeffreys

In a significant win before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Haynes and Boone partner Sharon Freytag won a reversal and remand of a sanction order against Susman Godfrey partner Ophelia Camiña of Dallas.

Ophelia Camiña, partner in Susman Godfrey

Camiña, a litigation partner in Dallas, says the 5th Circuit panel made the right decision by overturning the $10,000 sanction. “It was the right result, and Sharon’s a great lawyer,” Camiña says.

Camiña and Freytag’s success before the 5th Circuit in a high-profile case helps define how the Federal Arbitration Act limits a federal judge’s power over arbitration proceedings. The 5th Circuit panel noted in the opinion that the sanction is in “serious tension” with the Federal Arbitration Act, which does not provide a court with authority to interfere in arbitration proceedings beyond some narrowly defined procedural powers.

Robert Hinton, a Dallas lawyer who defends attorneys in malpractice litigation, says the 5th Circuit opinion is “pretty doggone significant” and gives Freytag credit.

“Sharon Freytag is an ultra-bright lawyer, and I think she really did a great job on this thing. Without her, there really could have been a different outcome,” says Hinton, of Robert Hinton & Associates.

Sharon Freytag, partner in Haynes and Boone

Freytag declines comment on the appeal.

The unusual sanction order against Camiña came in an acrimonious intellectual property suit filed in 2003 in the Northern District of Texas, Positive Software Solutions Inc. v. New Century Mortgage, et al.

In a Feb. 25, 2009, sanction order, U.S. District Judge David Godbey of Dallas imposed a $10,000 sanction on Camiña, who represented New Century. In his order, Godbey found merit to allegations that Camiña acted in “bad faith” in four ways: issuing an instruction to destroy evidence; issuing an instruction to review evidence and produce it if favorable; and two instances of failure to correct false testimony.

Camiña denied acting in bad faith. And during oral arguments at the 5th Circuit, Freytag said only the arbitrator, not Godfrey, had the power to sanction Camiña.

On Sept. 16, the 5th Circuit panel found in the appeal that Godbey “lacked inherent authority” to impose a sanction against Camiña for her alleged conduct in the arbitration in Positive Software v. New Century.

“Because Camiña’s conduct was neither before the district court nor in direct defiance of its orders, the conduct is beyond the reach of the court’s inherent authority to sanction,” 5th Circuit Judge Jerry Smith wrote in a nine-page opinion joined by Judges Jacques Wiener Jr. and Jennifer Elrod.

“If inherent authority were expanded to cover Camiña’s conduct, there would be nothing to prevent courts from inserting themselves into the thicket of arbitrable issues — precisely where they do not belong,” Smith wrote.

The appeals court also noted that Godbey’s sanction order “threatens unduly to inflate the judiciary’s role in arbitration,” and by using its power to sanction, a court could “seize control of substantive aspects of arbitration.”

In its Sept. 13 opinion, the 5th Circuit panel reversed the sanction and remanded it for “any further proceedings that may be needed.” Nothing further has occurred, according to online court records in the suit. The underlying suit settled in 2008, according to New Century’s brief in the sanction appeal.

Michael Shore, a partner in Dallas’ Shore Chan Bragalone DePumpo who represented Positive Software in the case, did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

For Camiña, the appeals court victory wasn’t the only good news she received during 2010. In June, she won a more than $225 million verdict, including $150 million in punitive damages, for her client Dillard’s Inc. in Dillard’s Inc. v. i2 Technologies Inc. In that verdict, a Dallas County jury found i2, now a division of JDA Software Group Inc. of Scottsdale, Ariz., liable for fraud and breach of warranty. On Sept. 30, 191st District Judge Gena Slaughter signed a judgment awarding $76.2 million in actual damages, $10.8 million in interest, and $150 million in punitives to Dillard’s, of Little Rock, Ark.

Related stories:

* “Partner Prevails In Appeal of Sanction Order
* “5th Circuit Hears Attorney’s Appeal of Sanction Order
* “Federal Judge Sanctions Susman Godfrey Partner Ophelia Camina
* “Judgment of the day: $150 million in exemplary damages

Gary Cruciani: Fighting Firm and Founder

by John Council

Plenty of disgruntled Texas lawyers have sued their former firms for one reason or another. But few of them have done it exactly the way Gary Cruciani did.

Gary Cruciani, McKool Smith principal

Cruciani sued Baron & Budd founding partner Russell Budd in 2008 — adding the firm as a defendant after it brought counterclaims against him — for an unusual reason. Cruciani accused Budd and his firm of fraud and negligent misrepresentation, alleging, among other things, that Budd hired him away from Dallas’ McKool Smith under false pretenses. Cruciani alleged that when he arrived at the prominent plaintiffs firm in 2006 to head its commercial litigation group, the job wasn’t as advertised.

Cruciani returned to McKool Smith a year later as a principal, but he alleged he lost millions of dollars in compensation during the year he spent at Baron & Budd. Specifically, he alleged in his petition in Gary Cruciani v. Russell Budd, et al. that Budd failed to tell him about plans under discussion to restructure the firm by laying off a third of its staff, virtually eliminating the commercial litigation group. Cruciani also alleged Budd misrepresented the firm’s financial condition and its compensation system.

Those are not common allegations in employment law suits in which the plaintiff is an attorney, says Michael P. Maslanka, managing partner of the Dallas office of Ford & Harrison. “It’s creative use of traditional employment law theories in a nontraditional setting — namely a dispute between lawyers.”

“Baron & Budd is a very well-heeled, powerful law firm, with deep political connections. And I knew that at the outset,” Cruciani says.

Baron & Budd returned fire by filing counterclaims alleging Cruciani breached a contract with the firm and breached his fiduciary duty when he quit. Bill Sims, a partner in Vinson & Elkins, represented Baron & Budd, and Baker Botts partner Rod Phelan represented Budd.

Cruciani’s lawyer was Jim Hartnett Jr., a partner in Dallas’ Harnett Law Firm.

For six weeks, the lawyers on both sides argued the case. Considering the nation’s bad economy and high unemployment rate, it wasn’t the best time to try a suit in which lawyers were squabbling over millions of dollars, Cruciani says.

“We thought that was the toughest aspect of the case. No. 1, you have a lawyer that is a plaintiff, and you have amounts of money that were being discussed that are beyond the reach of most jurors,” Cruciani says. “We interviewed the jurors after the trial, and none of them seemed troubled by that,” Cruciani says of his status as a lawyer and the money involved in the case. “Rather, they seemed like they carefully considered the evidence.”

In the end, the jury awarded Cruciani $8.8 million in damages for Budd and his firm’s negligent misrepresentation. However, jurors found that the defendants did not commit fraud. They also rejected Baron & Budd’s counterclaims against Cruciani.

Hartnett says it was a hard-fought trial victory. “You had two parties who were willing to take chances, because they believed so strongly in their positions,” Hartnett says. “Gary — I don’t know that I’ve ever met anybody that’s more thoughtful about the decision he makes and his willingness to see it through. Gary was tough as nails.”

The parties settled the case confidentially on Oct. 26. But in an unusual twist, they filed an agreed order seeking a new trial the same day. Judge Martin Hoffman of Dallas’ 68th District Court signed it, essentially erasing the jury verdict in the case.

“We felt very strongly about our position,” Budd says. “But, since then, we obviously have resolved our differences, and we wish him well.”

Sims declines comment.

Phelan says of Cruciani, “He made an exceptionally good witness, and he is an exceptionally talented lawyer. I wish him all the best.” 

Barack Obama: The Buck Stops There

by John Council

It has been two years, and President Barack Obama has not seated Texas’ four U.S. attorneys. And while the White House has nominated two people for vacant U.S. district judgeships in Texas, the president has not nominated anyone for four other federal trial benches in the state.

President Barack Obama

Granted, the partisan battle over who should suggest Texas candidates to the White House has been epic: Texas’ Republican U.S. Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn have laid claim to that duty, even though the job traditionally fell to the Texas Democratic congressional delegation when a Democrat was president. Hutchison and Cornyn have forwarded names of candidates to Obama as has the Texas Democratic congressional delegation. In some cases, both sides even agree on the candidates.

“It’s unbelievable,” says Cornyn, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He says he has talked to U.S. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, D-San Antonio, about it. “He’s as frustrated as I am by the White House not forwarding nominations that we can act on. I’m at a loss. We’re open for business . . .,” Cornyn says.

“It’s not good. We have acting U.S. attorneys, but there’s no such thing as an acting federal judge, so that work has to be absorbed by other judges, especially on the border,” Cornyn adds.

Gonzalez says, “As much as I’d like to say that it’s all the president’s [fault], I don’t want to. The honest truth is yes, I think the president waited too long to begin with. And in his attempt to reach out and give some deference to the Republican senators, he may have complicated things.”

By Senate tradition, senators can block presidential nominees they object to by what is known as the blue-slip process. Obama’s willingness to give Republicans a say before he selects a nominee has made the process more complicated, Gonzalez says.

“I think there is some fault to be shared. But it is still within the realm of the White House’s authority to simply make the nomination. And if the senator wants to blue slip, so be it,” Gonzalez says. “You can only be cooperative up to a point. I’ve never heard of this. Just put the burden up to the senators to oppose qualified nominees.”

A White House spokesperson did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

U.S. attorney positions are some of the first nominations a new president makes in a state. Typically U.S. attorneys resign their posts when a new administration takes over, then the U.S. attorney general or Texas’ U.S. district court judges appoint U.S. attorneys to serve until the president makes his nominations. That Obama has not nominated Texas’ U.S. attorneys baffles Matt Orwig, a former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas. He was nominated to that post within a year of then-President George W. Bush taking office in 2001.

It’s just as bad that Obama hasn’t moved quicker in filling U.S. district court vacancies in Texas, Orwig says.

“It’s a gift that the administration has left on its doorstep, and they didn’t bother to unwrap the gift,” says Orwig, now managing partner of the Dallas office of SNR Denton. Filling those jobs isn’t going to get any easier, he says.

“Those opportunities get a lot worse every day that passes,” Orwig says. “After the midterm elections, the Republicans see blood in the water and understandably are not going to want to initiate appointing a bunch of Democratic judges or U.S. attorneys.”

A president who doesn’t have his own U.S. attorneys in place will have trouble enacting the agenda of the U.S. Department of Justice, Orwig says.

“There’s just not the energy or focus on that agenda, regardless of the people who are” serving as acting U.S. attorneys, he says.

Two potential Texas U.S. attorneys withdrew their names from consideration this year: John Stevens, who Obama nominated for the Eastern District of Texas position, and Mike McCrum, who was a candidate for the Western District of Texas position (McCrum withdrew his name from consideration before it could be forwarded to the Senate).

Stevens says his name was forwarded to the White House by the Texas Democratic congressional delegation in February 2009. Obama nominated Stevens a year later, in February 2010. Stevens is judge of Jefferson County’s Criminal District Court and says he eventually had to make a call between running for re-election to that bench or waiting on the nomination process. He chose to serve his county, he says, by running for re-election.

When asked why he believes it took the White House a year to nominate him, Stevens says, “It’s hard for me to say, but the Democratic congressmen were very frustrated that the White House deferred to the senators.”

“I would never criticize this administration. They have a lot of important issues on their plate,” says Stevens, who withdrew his name from consideration in April. “But I felt the same frustration as the Democratic delegation, when we thought in 2009 this would be quick.”

McCrum, who waited for his name to be accepted by the White House after the Republican senators and the Texas Democratic congressional delegation recommended him as a candidate in February 2009, says he just couldn’t wait any longer to become a nominee and withdrew his name from consideration in October.

The wait made his legal practice suffer, says McCrum, who is of counsel in the San Antonio office of Thompson & Knight.

“In essence, my practice had dwindled to almost nothing. I had to advise potential clients that if they hired me I may not be around through the course of the matter. I had to recommend to them that they might be better off with other counsel,” McCrum says. “Thompson & Knight was extremely supportive of me, but at some point it was a severe burden on me and my family and my law firm.”

U.S. Rep. Gonzalez also is surprised Obama hasn’t been more active in nominating U.S. district judges in Texas, who serve for life and could shape federal law for generations.

“This is a Harvard-educated president that taught constitutional law,” Gonzalez says. “The significance of those nominations should be quite obvious. And the longer time passes, the greater the disadvantage.”

There are two bright spots on the judicial nomination front. Obama has nominated Marina Garcia Marmolejo, a partner in Reid Collins & Tsai in San Antonio, to replace Sam Kent in the Southern District of Texas. Kent left the bench in 2009 after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice and was sentenced to federal prison. Marmolejo awaits the Senate confirmation process. [See "Judge Denies Samuel B. Kent's Request for Order Vacating His Sentence," page 5. ]

And Obama has nominated U.S. Magistrate Judge Diana Saldaña to replace U.S. District Judge George Kazen of the Southern District in Laredo. Kazen took senior status in 2009. The Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed Saldaña in November, but the full Senate must still vote. If confirmed, she will handle one of the busiest criminal dockets in the nation.

While Kazen continues to hear a full docket as a senior judge, other judges would rather slow down and reduce their caseload when they take senior status. But that can’t happen until the White House names their replacements, says U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack of Corpus Christi, who announced this year that she will take senior status in June 2011.

U.S. District Judge T. John Ward of the Eastern District in Marshall also announced this year that he will retire from the bench in November 2011 and return to private practice.

Jack, who has been serving on the federal bench since 1993, says she can’t reduce her workload “until there’s a replacement at least very close to confirmation.”

And that likely won’t happen anytime soon, she says. “I am horrified.”

U.S. District Court Vacancies in Texas
District Judge Reason for Vacancy Vacancy Date Nominee
Southern District Hayden Head Senior Status Nov. 13, 2009 None
Southern District George Kazen Senior Status 31-May-09 Diana Saldaña
Southern District Sam Kent Resigned 30-Jun-09 Marina Garcia Marmolejo
Southern District John Rainey Senior Status 11-Jun-10 None
Eastern District Thad Heartfield Senior Status Jan. 1, 2010 None
Western District David Briones Senior Status Feb. 26, 2009 None
Western District W. Royal Furgeson Jr. Senior Status Nov. 30, 2008 None
Source: 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Texas Lawyer, December 2010

Texas U.S. Attorneys’ Offices
District Bush-Nominated U.S. Attorney Date Post Vacated Appointed U.S. Attorney* Nominee
Northern District Richard Roper Dec. 31, 2009 James T. Jacks None
Southern District Don DeGabrielle Nov. 9, 2008 José Angel Moreno None
Eastern District Becky Gregory 30-Apr-09 John M. Bales None
Western District Johnny Sutton 19-Apr-09 John E. Murphy None
* These U.S. attorneys were not nominated by the president. Source: Texas’ four U.S. Attorneys’ Offices.
Texas Lawyer, December 2010