Judge's honeymoon requests raise some eyebrows

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A judge and her fiance are asking for donations to their honeymoon on a public website, and some are voicing concerns (KTRK)

In just a week, Judge Alicia Franklin will take a break from the bench and head to the altar. She is getting married. But her honeymoon requests are raising some eyebrows.

First reported by local blog BigJollyPolitics.com, the judge and her fiance are asking for contributions to their honeymoon via a public website.

Local attorney Greg Enos, who has filed unrelated complaints against Franklin in the past, says he finds the website troubling.

"I absolutely don't think this judge is pressuring lawyers to give her gifts," said Enos, who practices law in the civil courthouse, but not in Franklin's court. "But, lawyers might feel they should (donate) if they hear other lawyers are, then they say, 'Maybe I should.'"

On the site, you can choose to give the couple a variety of items, from upgrading to the honeymoon suite, to a couples massage, or even paying for a lobster dinner. One attorney who practices in front of Judge Franklin sees no problems.

"If I don't want a toaster or a blender, and I want different things, I can ask for those things," says family court law attorney Damiane Banieh. "But I don't feel pressure as an attorney to give it to her."

Judge Franklin would not speak to Eyewitness News on camera. She released the following statement: "We are deeply concerned and saddened by this invasion of privacy at what is supposed to be one of the happiest times of our life. This website was intended strictly for family and close friends."

The State Commission on Judicial Conduct has a code of conduct that addresses such concerns. On the subject of gifts, the code states: "A judge or a family member .. may accept.. a gift from a friend for a special occasion such as a wedding, if the gift is fairly commensurate with the occasion and the relationship."

Enos says while he doesn't think laws are broken, he thinks it never hurts to be extra cautious.

"She should have said come to the wedding, give to the animal shelter, but I don't need your gifts because I'm a judge."
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