Appellate Circuit

The Judge King Effect on Public Defender Cases Appointing Private Counsel

We’re reviewing the cases assigned to Judge King’s son, Stephen E. Randall, Texas attorney, by S.D. Texas.

LIT COMMENTARY

We’re reviewing the cases assigned to Judge King’s son, Stephen E. Randall, Texas attorney, by S.D. Texas. He would be appointed to numerous criminal cases as a private attorney. Private counsel obtain payment by the hour, not a fixed salary as with the public defenders office. We’d like to know (i) How was he was appointed to so many cases between 2013-2017; (ii) How much he earned each case (iii) When analyzing annual profit and loss statements for his solo law practice, what percentage of his criminal fee income was derived from these referrals each year; and (iv) Why he’s stopped representing accused defendants since around 2018?

As a secondary issue, we’d like the audit report showing (i) if all the public defenders were fully booked (ii) how many public defenders are there assigned to Houston (iii) if the defenders office drafts in other defenders from other branches, as judges do when the docket’s busy to ensure the taxpayer dollars are not going to waste…and much more.

We’d also like to know why Judge Carolyn Dineen King was on the appeal in this case we’ve detailed and are actively following.

Judge Carolyn King

SENIOR FIFTH CIRCUIT JUDGE, S.D. TEX. COURTHOUSE

Judge Carolyn King and her Attorney son, Stephen E. Randall

For those citizens or litigants who may be unaware, the appeals court for Texas Federal court cases are heard by the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, based in New Orleans, Louisiana. The court comprises of judges who domicile in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. While judges are mandated to work out of Louisiana on a rotational basis for set times each year, the majority of their work is performed in their home town. In the case of Judge King, she resides in Houston, Texas and holds an office in S.D. Texas Federal Court in Rusk St., which is located in downtown Houston.

One of Judge King’s sons, Stephen Edward Randall is a Texas attorney and a privately assigned public defender in criminal cases at S.D. Texas, Houston Division. The issue here is he has been assigned cases by judges who reside and operate from the same courthouse as Judge King. And furthermore, Randall’s only licensed in one court, S.D. Tex.

EXAMPLE APPOINTMENTS BY S.D. TEXAS JUDGES OF DEFENSE COUNSEL STEPHEN RANDALL

United States v. Barajas-Barragan (4:17-cr-00161)
District Court, S.D. Texas

DOC 159: HEARING MINUTES AND ORDER: Pretrial conference held as to Rafael Barajas-Barragan, Robert Timothy Thompson, Ismael Gutierrez-Vasquez, Jerry Don Wickliffe, Danny Franklin Stane, Jr, Anna Marie Guerra-Vasquez, Luis Carlos Castillo-Castillo, Nain Gomez-Juarez;

GRANTED 154 MOTION to Continue Pretrial and Jury Trial.

The Court makes Speedy Trial Act findings: Court finds that this is a complex case and that Counsel for Defendants need additional time for analysis of the Governments evidence and preparation of a defense.

Failure to grant the requested continuance in this proceeding will likely result in a miscarriage of justice. 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(B)(i).

Thus, the interests of justice served by granting the continuance outweigh the best interests of the public and the Defendants in a speedy trial. 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(A).

The Court finds that a period of excludable delay commenced on May 24, 2017, and will continue until trial in this matter. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 3161(h)(7)(A) and (B).

It would be a manifest injustice to deny the request.

Appearances: Shelley J Hicks, Houston Interpreter, Octavio Salinas, II, John Riley Friesell, Stephen E Randall, Anthony P Troiani, George Michael DeGeurin, Jr, Andrew J Williams, J. A. (Joe) Salinas, III. Ct Reporter: ERO.

( Status Conference set for 8/23/2017 at 11:00 AM in Courtroom 9F before Judge Nancy F Atlas) ( Signed by Judge Nancy F Atlas) Parties notified. (sasha branner, 4) (Main Document 159 replaced on 8/22/2017) (sasha branner, 4). (Entered: 06/28/2017)

United States v. Penaloza (4:15-cr-00434)
District Court, S.D. Texas

DOC 65: ORDER APPOINTING COUNSEL for Defendant Freddy Penaloza. Stephen Randall appointed. ( Signed by Magistrate Judge Nancy K. Johnson) Parties notified. (sjones, 4) (Entered: 11/16/2015)

United States v. Carmouche (4:13-cr-00298)
District Court, S.D. Texas

DOC 6: Minute Entry for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Frances H Stacy: INITIAL APPEARANCE as to Harold Joseph Carmouche, (Deft informed of rights) held on 6/3/2013. Defendant appeared without counsel. Defendant requests appointed counsel. Financial Affidavit executed and sworn. Order to appoint private counsel to follow (Stephen Randall)

Order of Temporary Detention Pending Hearing pending hearing entered. Arraignment & Detention Hearing set for 6/5/2013 at 10:00 AM in Courtroom 704 before Magistrate Judge Frances H Stacy.

FPD withdrew before court was finished, but the FPD spoke on the record. Case unsealed as to Deft Carmouche. Appearances: Suzanne Elmilady for AUSA.(ERO:Y) Deft remanded to custody., filed.(thanniable, ) (Entered: 06/04/2013)

United States v. Melendez-Gonzalez (4:14-cr-00497)
District Court, S.D. Texas

DOC 10: ORDER APPOINTING FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER ( Signed by Magistrate Judge Nancy K. Johnson) Parties notified. (bdaniel, 4) (Entered: 10/20/2014)

DOC 117: CJA 20 for Material Witness Alan Cortes: Appointment of Attorney Stephen Randall ( Signed by Magistrate Judge Nancy K. Johnson) Parties notified. (kmurphy, 4) (Entered: 10/18/2013)

REAVLEY, THOMAS M.

GRAVES, JAMES E. (JR)

PRADO

Fratta v. Davis (4:13-cv-03438)
District Court, S.D. Texas

The high profile ex-cop and bodybuilder case where Fratta arranged a hit on his wife.

DOC 65: ORDER granting 59 Motion to Appoint co-counsel. Stephen E. Randall added to the case. (Signed by Judge Melinda Harmon) Parties notified. (wbostic, 4) (Entered: 10/04/2016)

DOC 82: Unopposed MOTION for Stephen Randall to Withdraw as Attorney by Robert Alan Fratta, filed. Motion Docket Date 10/25/2017. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Randall, Stephen) (Entered: 10/04/2017)

SMITH, JERRY E.

DENNIS, JAMES L.

CLEMENT, EDITH B.

United States v. Irving (4:14-cr-00439)
District Court, S.D. Texas

Cormeaux appealed to 5th Cir. on basis he was not allowed to withdraw his guilty plea.

Last Updated: Jan. 14, 2019, 10:42 p.m. CST
Assigned To: Lynn Nettleton Hughes
Date Filed: Sept. 3, 2014
Date Terminated: Nov. 4, 2015

CJA 20 as to Jermaine Comeaux. Appointment of Attorney Stephen E Randall for Jermaine Comeaux. (Signed by Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy) Parties notified. (mlothmann, 4) (Entered: 07/29/2015)

JONES, EDITH H.

WIENER, JACQUES L. (JR.)

CLEMENT, EDITH B.

United States v. Lopez (4:15-cr-00564)
District Court, S.D. Texas

Last Updated: Jan. 14, 2019, 7:35 p.m. CST
Assigned To: Simeon Timothy Lake III
Date Filed: Oct. 15, 2015

ORDER APPOINTING COUNSEL for Defendant Margil Reyna, Jr. Stephen E. Randall appointed. ( Signed by Magistrate Judge Nancy K. Johnson) Parties notified. (sjones, 4) (Entered: 02/25/2016)

United States v. Benjamin (4:16-cr-00186)
District Court, S.D. Texas

Last Updated: Jan. 24, 2020, 11:11 a.m. CST

Assigned To: Melinda Harmon
Date Filed: May 11, 2016
Date Terminated: Sept. 18, 2017

ORDER APPOINTING COUNSEL for Defendant Antonio Rasheed Benjamin. Stephen Randall appointed. ( Signed by Magistrate Judge Nancy K. Johnson) Parties notified. (sjonesadi, 4) [4:16-mj-00608] (Entered: 04/26/2016)

HIGGINSON, STEPHEN A.

COSTA, GREGG J.

HO, JAMES “JIM” C.

United States v. Comewell (4:17-cr-00354)
District Court, S.D. Texas

Last Updated: Oct. 25, 2018, 8:08 a.m. CDT
Assigned To: Lee Hyman Rosenthal
Date Filed: June 15, 2017

ORDER APPOINTING COUNSEL for Defendant Francis Echiro Ikpirhirin. Stephen Randall appointed. ( Signed by Magistrate Judge Nancy K Johnson) Parties notified. (sjones, 4) (Entered: 06/20/2017)

United States v. Montes (4:17-cr-00651)
District Court, S.D. Texas

DOC. 34: ORDER APPOINTING COUNSEL for Defendant Giovani Alexander Alecio. Stephen Randall appointed. ( Signed by Magistrate Judge Nancy K Johnson) Parties notified. (kmurphy, 4) (Entered: 11/08/2017)

DOC 114: Minute Entry for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Frances H Stacy:

ARRAIGNMENT as to Giovani Alexander Alecio (2) Count 1,6,7,11,13,17,22,26,30 and Grisel Salas (9) Count 18,20 and Jose Luis Moreno (16) Count 1,6,7,11,13,17,22,26 and Gilbert Espinoza Garcia (17) Count 1,4,7,9,13,15,22,24 and Hector Reyna (18) Count 1,2 held on 11/13/2017. Defts enter a plea of not guilty. Scheduling Order issued w/cc to parties. Deft remanded to custody (Alecio, Salas, Moreno, Garcia Reyna. Appearances: Adam Laurence Goldman, for Govt;

Stephen E Randall, for Giovani Alexander Alecio; Mary Elizabeth Conn, for Grisel Salas; Ali R Fazel, for Jose Luis Moreno; George Michael DeGeurin, Jr, for Gilbert Espinoza Garcia; Robert James Fickman for Hector Reyna(ERO:L. Conrad) (USPS/USPO: Yes) (Interpreter:Yes) (Case Manager: Beverly White); Court time: 2:35 – 2:38 pm), filed.(jtabares, 1) (Entered: 11/14/2017)

US District Court Order Regarding Interim CJA Payments

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas has issued General Order number 2020-09 in regards to interim Criminal Justice Act payments during THe COVID-19 pandemic.  See the order, linked below, for details.

General Order No. 2020-09

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The Judge King Effect on Public Defender Cases Appointing Private Counsel
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