GOP leader calls on judge to resign

November 26, 2008 8:23:15 AM PST
A Harris County GOP leader wants a Republican misdemeanor court judge to resign because he has used the courthouse computer system to send e-mails that used racial slurs and ridiculed blacks, Hispanics, women and gays. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Harris County Republican Party Chairman Jared Woodfill has called on County Court at Law No. 6 Judge Larry Standley to resign over e-mails sent in 2006 that recently resurfaced.

"When you see racism like that you have to kill it one act at a time," Woodfill said. "Regardless of what party you are affiliated with, you have to stand up and say it was wrong."

Standley, who was re-elected in 2006 to a four-year term, said his actions were cleared by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

"If there were any complaints filed, they were investigated and they were dismissed," he said.

The commission took no official action on a complaint about the e-mails, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Among the e-mails was one sent to two black Republican judges that included photographs from a short film that combined the word "gay" with a slur against African-Americans.

"The people have given him the trust of the office of judge, and when you have sent e-mail like that you have compromised the trust that people have given to you," Woodfill said. "You surrender the moral authority when you promulgate e-mails like that. They are not funny and they have no business in the courthouse or your personal life."

The e-mail controversy resurfaced this month when another misdemeanor court judge was not promoted. County Court at Law No. 14 Judge Mike Fields, the only black misdemeanor court judge, was not promoted by Gov. Rick Perry to a vacant seat on a Houston-based appeals court.

Woodfill had recommended Fields, also a Republican. Fields had objected to Standley's e-mails in 2006 and his relationships with some judges became strained.

If Standley does not resign, Woodfill said, a GOP advisory committee or precinct chairs will consider a resolution publicly criticizing the judge. Party officials will also try to find candidates to run for Standley's job in the 2010 election, Woodfill said.

Woodfill and other GOP leaders also called for the resignation of District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal over his controversial e-mails. Rosenthal resigned months later.

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